According to a report from the Washington Post, senior Democrats are holding their fire on Donald Trump’s campaign to quickly re-open the country while the coronavirus pandemic continues to infect Americans, convinced it will “backfire” because the public strongly disagrees with him.
The report states that Trump has been taunting Democrats with tweets such as “REOPEN THE COUNTRY!” and “TRANSITION TO GREATNESS,” in the hopes of baiting his political foes into contradicting him so he can paint them as anti-business and — in the case of transitioning to “greatness” — as anti-American.
For their part, the Democratic Party is holding back letting the president paint himself into a corner should COVID-19 infections sharply spike in what is expected to be second coronavirus wave.
As the Post reports, “The exhortations [from Trump] follow a political strategy his advisers hope can help frame the coming election season: A president who had hoped to run on his economic record as a job creator might still be able to reclaim the brand despite the historic economic collapse by painting Democrats as opponents of an economic resurrection.”
“But for the moment, Democrats say they are not worried about the offensive — and convinced instead that it will backfire. From the campaign of presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden down to local House races, operatives and lawmakers point to new public and private polling to argue that Trump is out of step with a nation worried about a new wave of coronavirus outbreaks and a second economic freeze,” the report continues.
“The contrast can be seen daily on what passes for the campaign trail these days. Trump has returned to traveling the country on Air Force One, while refusing to wear a mask, as Biden claims to be quite content with campaigning from his Delaware home, where he has been spotted wearing a mask even inside. And as Trump demands that his party move forward with a grand nominating convention of thousands in North Carolina, Democrats are increasingly suggesting that a virtual meeting would be better than an arena show in Wisconsin,” the report continues with Rep. Conor Lamb (R-PA) offering, “There is no doubt that people are anxious to get back to work, but what you see from Vice President Biden’s campaign is just much more realistic.”
Noting that “a recent Quinnipiac University national poll found that 75 percent of voters say the country ‘should reopen slowly, even if it makes the economy worse,’ rather than ‘reopen quickly, even if it makes the spread of the coronavirus worse,'” Democrats see the president bucking popular opinion in a “Hail Mary” attempt to get the economy up and going and salvage his re-election hopes.
“The Democratic confidence that this will fail is anchored in extensive surveys that suggest the fight over opening more quickly is largely taking place within the Republican base, with Democrats and independents largely united in their conviction that the only way to recover economically is to focus first on preventing more outbreaks of disease,” the report states.
“The idea that we can achieve economic development without a science-based approach is a fantasy,” explained Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI). “Everybody understands we can’t stay closed forever. The question is, can we do it based on the whims of a president who doesn’t know what he’s talking about or based on the guidance from the people who know what they’re talking about?”
According to Republican pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson, the Democrats may be right.
“If leaders appear overeager to go back to normal operations before Americans feel confident that we can do so safely, those groups who are at particular risk of the health consequences — seniors — may be none too thrilled with that direction,” Anderson wrote in an email.
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Trump accused by ex-Defense Secretary of putting US on ‘the trail toward a dictatorship’
During an appearance on CNN on Friday morning, former Defense Secretary William Cohen - who also served in the U.S. Senate as a Republican -- denounced Donald Trump in no uncertain terms, saying his use of military personnel against anti-police brutality protesters is a sign he has set the country on the path to a dictatorship.
To emphasize his point, he later called Trump the "dictator-in-chief."
Speaking with host Jim Sciutto, Cohen didn't mince words after the CNN host noted that the president and his former attorney called the protesters "terrorists."
"What does it mean for you to hear a sitting president dismissing a whole range of protesters, who in fact were largely peaceful around the White House, dismissing a whole range of them as terrorists? What does that mean to you?" the CNN host asked.
Trump ‘crossed the line’ with the military this week — leading retired officers to revolt: former general
Appearing on CNN's New Day with host John Berman, retired Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute explained that Donald Trump finally went a bridge too far this week with retired military officials when his administration deployed military police to turn on peaceful protesters in a Washington D.C. park.
Speaking with the host, Lute -- who also served as U.S. ambassador to NATO -- said tension between the president and military officials has gradually increased over the past three and a half years, but that the past week's incidents led to a "tipping point."
After host Berman read off a list of high profile ex-military officials who have either criticized Trump or defended their former colleagues from attacks from the president, Lute was asked what had changed.
Trump is bleeding support from the only voters who have stuck with him since 2016
President Donald Trump is losing support from his evangelical base as he lurches from one crisis into another.
Numerous polls show that religious Americans, like most other Americans, disapprove of the president's performance, and that could imperil his re-election chances, reported the New York Times.
Nearly 80 percent of white evangelicals -- a group that's already shrinking as a share of the electorate -- approved of Trump's performance in March, but his handling of the coronavirus pandemic has bled 15 points from their support, according to a new poll from Public Religion Research Institute.