White House reporter claims 'cooped-up' Trump may end social distancing because he's bored
President Donald Trump and Jonathan Lemire (MSNBC)

President Donald Trump, like many Americans, is already sick of social distancing, and the Associated Press' White House correspondent he's ready to get back on the campaign trail.


The AP's Jonathan Lemire told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that Trump was already feeling stir crazy in the White House, and he was eager to call for an end to social distancing well before medical experts have been recommending so he could return to the things and places he loved.

"It's a real factor," Lemire said. "As much as the president is a homebody, both here in New York and at the White House -- he likes to spend most nights in his own bed -- he misses the road. He misses the rallies, the time on Air Force One. He brings on aides and advisers or friends to fly with him, he works the phones. As someone put it to me in the last 24 hours or so, he's feeling a little cooped up."

The president is also frustrated that the COVID-19 outbreak had spoiled his re-election campaign, which he's been planning and eagerly anticipating for months.

"He's frustrated because this whole year was meant to be about his re-election campaign," Lemire said. "He loves the campaign -- he talks about the 2015, 2016 campaign all the time. He wanted to recreate that, and he believed he was going to face one of two options, a socialist, in his words, a Bernie Sanders, or if it were to be Joe Biden, Joe Biden would be weakened, that he would perhaps have to have a long, drawn-out nominating fight, Joe Biden was struggling to raise money, we would start hearing about Hunter Biden again. That was their argument, and that is now all gone away. He can't run the campaign he wants."

Trump and his team had hoped to use this spring to soften up Biden with an advertising onslaught, much like President Barack Obama did to Mitt Romney, but the viral outbreak had upended those plans.

"He can't run an advertisement right now it's too political," Lemire said. "He can't have a rally anytime soon. The only silver lining, and I will say, for him, his aides have said, they're surprised they haven't seen more of Biden in the last week or two. They're surprised that the Democrat has ceded the stage to the president. The vice president had a virtual town hall yesterday. That's something that the White House is taking some solace in."

Trump is considering calling off the widespread shutdowns in hopes of juicing the stock market, but Lemire said he's also just bored.

"Part of why the president is musing about pushing things forward is he is simply frustrated about how this year, this pandemic is defining his presidency and could take away his re-election campaign," he said.