'Denial and dismissiveness': NYT reports 'Trump’s mishandling of the virus presents a threat to his re-election'
President Donald Trump after his Tulsa rally (screengrab)

President Donald Trump's failures in responding to the coronavirus pandemic are threatening his 2020 reelection efforts, The New York Times reported Friday evening.

"In the past week, President Trump hosted an indoor campaign rally for thousands of cheering, unmasked supporters even as a deadly virus spread throughout the country. He began easing up on restrictions that had been in place at the White House since Washington instituted a stay-at-home order in response to the coronavirus in March, and he invited the president of Poland to a day of meetings. Then, on Thursday, he flew to Wisconsin to brag about an economic recovery that he said was just around the corner," the newspaper reported.

"But by Friday, it was impossible to fully ignore the fact that the pandemic the White House has for weeks insisted was winding down has done just the opposite," The Times reported. "The rising numbers in Texas, Florida and Arizona made that clear, as well as the reality that those are all states where the president and his Republican allies had urged people to return to normal."

Vice President Mike Pence and the coronavirus task force held their first briefing in two months.

"The return of the televised task force news conference — at which reporters were limited to only a handful of questions — revived the deep disconnect between Washington and the states where local officials spent Friday sounding the alarm and, in some cases, halting the reopening that Mr. Trump has so often encouraged," the newspaper reported. "Taken together, it was grim news about a pandemic that is still a threat to the public’s health, the nation’s economy and the president’s political future."

"At a time when his poll numbers now call into question whether he can win a second term in November, Mr. Trump faces the prospect that his efforts to boost the economy by shrugging off the virus have backfired. Rather than head into the summer with a country on the mend, the president will be forced to explain how his response to the coronavirus contributed to a resurgence of it that may force some Americans back into a painful shutdown," the newspaper explained.

It has all been part of a pattern.

"All spring, Mr. Trump expressed his impatience and annoyance with the social distancing measures that various states, and his own aides, were taking," The Times noted. "He showed some concern when his personal valet, who serves his food, was diagnosed with the coronavirus and Mr. Pence’s press secretary tested positive. But since then, Mr. Trump has maintained a posture of denial and dismissiveness."