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.
Texas GOP will proceed with in-person state convention in Houston this month
In light of the decision to go forward with an in-person convention with a new mask requirement, two sponsors announced they would drop out. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said he was hopeful that the organization would still reconsider.
The Texas GOP's executive committee voted Thursday night to proceed with plans to hold the party’s in-person convention in Houston later this month.
The State Republican Executive Committee, a 64-member body that serves as the governing board of the state party, voted 40-20 to approve the resolution supporting the in-person gathering. Thursday’s vote comes as the state grapples with a surge of coronavirus cases, with Houston serving as one of the country’s hot spots for the virus.
Ron DeSantis threw temper tantrum after Trump hired strategist he ‘exiled’ from Florida GOP: report
On Friday, Politico reported that President Donald Trump has brought back longtime Florida Republican strategist Susie Wiles to try to save his electoral chances in the critical swing state — and that Gov. Ron DeSantis, who worked to cast her out of power in the Florida GOP, is enraged by the move.
"Trump’s decision to reinstate Susie Wiles to his campaign’s good inner circle follows months of behind-the-scenes efforts to bring her back after she was exiled at the demand of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who had her cast out of the president’s good graces in September," reported Gary Fineout and Marc Caputo, and it "comes as polls show Trump trailing Democrat Joe Biden in Trump's adopted home state. Trump won Florida four years ago by less than 113,000 votes and a loss in the battleground would likely doom his reelection effort."
Mike Pence calls his wife ‘mother’ — and just referred to Trump as ‘my father’
Mike Pence raised eyebrows on Friday when he sent a campaign message referring to President Donald Trump as "my father."
"We need you right now," Pence wrote in a campaign ad. "It's going to take EVERY Patriot stepping up if we want to CRUSH Sleepy Joe's dreams of turning America into a BIG GOVERNMENT SOCIALIST Nation."
"I convinced my father to give you another chance, which is why he's decided to EXTEND your PERSONAL 500%-MATCH OFFER FOR 1 MORE HOUR," Pence wrote.
NBC News reporter Brandy Zadrozny posted a screengrab of the advertisement.
Zadrozny also offered a theory that language could've have resulted from a copy and paste error with language from an ad that was meant to come from one of Trump's children.