Trump appeared to declare the end of the rally era Tuesday. He said the events — the success of which he has always measured by the size of the crowd and the “ratings” — are a casualty of the coronavirus pandemic. Or more exactly, of the dispiriting optics that proper social distancing would mandate.

“You can’t have empty seats,” Trump said in an interview with Fox Sports Radio. “You know, if I had five empty seats — for instance, they said, ‘Would I do a rally, sir?’ The reason I won’t do them [is] because, ‘You can have one seat and then seven around that seat, sir, have to be empty.’ ”

“Oh, that’ll look great,” he added sarcastically. “You know, you have one person and everything’s empty around them. You can’t do that.”

Speaking later with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, Trump was more succinct.

“I’d love to do the rallies. We can’t because of the covid. You know, you can’t have people sitting next to each other.”