Donald Trump and his advisors believe that “his reelection hopes hinge almost entirely on his ability to manage” the coronavirus crisis, according to Politico. “While they acknowledge his initial response was lacking and that the virus poses a mortal threat to his 2020 prospects, they foresee a possible silver lining. If the virus passes and businesses and schools reopen before the election, they say, the president could present himself as the protagonist in an American comeback story.” Trump is ostentatiously trying to sell himself as a steely-eyed “wartime president.”
Meanwhile, some in the Democratic camp are wringing their hands over the possibility that the regime will send stimulus checks out to Americans struggling with the economic fallout of the pandemic, and doing so will dramatically improve his public image.
But there are a couple of problems with the Trump team’s strategy and with Democrats’ sense of foreboding.
First and foremost among them is video. While Trump’s conservative propagandists are furiously gaslighting America with the claim that Trump never called the COVID-19 outbreak a “hoax,” there’s video of him saying just that. It’s just one example in a series of consequential lies and gross self-flattery that have marked his communication to the public as markets meltdown in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime public health crisis.
— Ian Fraser (@Ian_Fraser) March 18, 2020
Trump can’t help himself. He is a narcissist and a bullshitter, and making it up as he goes along has served him well until now. But it won’t serve him well as a very real and unspinnable disaster progresses.
It has been 22 days since Trump said, “because of all we’ve done, the risk to the American people remains very low. … within a couple of days [the number of cases] is going to be down to close to zero.” As of this writing, the US has over 13,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and experts say that we’re probably months away from the peak in infections.
Even if we succeed in “flattening the infection curve,” it is not possible to bullshit away the illnesses, deaths, economic shocks and social upheaval to come over the next months. Every time he opens his mouth and claims he’s doing a great job, or otherwise says up is down, Trump is cutting ads for the eventual Democratic nominee and opposing independent expenditure groups. He is his own worst enemy.
Trump explaining his reluctance to actually use the Defense Production Act to ramp up medical infrastructure: “governors are supposed to be doing a lot of this work. we’re not a shipping clerk”
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) March 19, 2020
— Max Burns (@themaxburns) March 19, 2020
Asked why he isn’t pulling the trigger re using Defense Production Act, Trump says: “Governors are supposed to be doing a lot of this work…the federal government’s not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of item and then shipping. You know, we’re not a shipping clerk.”
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) March 19, 2020
“The 500 million N95 air-filtering respirator masks President Donald Trump said the federal government ordered could take up to 18 months to be delivered, according to the grant application.” https://t.co/u8VoenGmOf @shiramstein
— Josh Eidelson (@josheidelson) March 19, 2020
Today, the Trump campaign said that the virus is an “attack” from China.
But back in January, when many of us were urging the Trump admin to press China harder to allow our scientists to get on the ground — when it mattered — Trump was saying this 👇 https://t.co/7LomXv2fY8
— Ronald Klain (@RonaldKlain) March 19, 2020
As to the possibility that Trump will win over his critics by sending out stimulus checks, that’s not a likely scenario. First, because over half of the country has been steadfast in their disapproval of Trump despite three years of strong economic growth and low unemployment. Second, rightly or wrongly, people blame the party that occupies the White House for bad economic conditions, and we’re about to enter some very tough times.
In 2008, George W. Bush responded to the collapse of the housing bubble by sending most Americans relief checks, and he had a 28 percent approval rating on that Election Day, according to Gallup.
Biden demands Trump put aside ‘pettiness and ideology’ and reopen Obamacare exchanges to fight coronavirus
On Friday, The Daily Beast reported that former Vice President Joe Biden is calling on President Donald Trump to end the "pettiness and ideology" and reopen Obamacare's health insurance marketplaces so uninsured Americans can obtain coverage and protect themselves against the coronavirus pandemic.
“During this outbreak, when health care coverage is more important than ever, Donald Trump is refusing to give those who have been uninsured access to the best resource we have: the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces,” Biden told the Beast. “This is no time to put pettiness and ideology above helping those who are in the greatest need.”
Trump’s path to re-election ‘smashed to splinters’ as his only achievement is swallowed up by the pandemic: report
In a piece for Politico, Ben White writes that Donald Trump was going into November's election with only one achievement under his belt -- a healthy economy -- and now he has nothing left to run if he wants to be re-elected.
With all of the gains made in the stock market long gone due to the coronavirus pandemic and the collapse of oil prices, White claims that the president's campaign strategy lies in tatters.
"The fundamental pillars of Donald Trump’s presidency — a hot economy, strong job growth and a rocking stock market — are all being smashed to splinters by the ravaging coronavirus, which has shuttered much of the nation and now officially ended a streak of 113 months of job gains dating back to the end of the Great Recession a decade ago," he wrote before noting the explosion of unemployment claims -- over ten million so far -- that has the country reeling.
Anti-science Christians who went ‘all in’ for Trump bear responsibility for COVID-19 crisis: religious extremism expert
Appearing on MSNBC with host Ayman Mohyeldin, the author of a widely shared New York Times article on the dangerous rise of religious nationalism lambasted religious leaders who are still holding public services when the government is advising social isolation and claimed they are making things worse for the rest of the country.
Speaking with the host, Katherine Stewart, who is also the author of the book "The Power Worshipers," explained that years of anti-science rhetoric from the predominately rightwing evangelical movement is a contributing factor as to why the country is in the throes of a deadly pandemic that may lead to over 250,000 deaths.