Trump fears his base will turn on him if he flips and calls for nationwide mask guidelines: CNN
Female Trump supporters gaze on the president in a Raleigh, NC rally. Image via Chip Somodevilla/AFP.

On CNN Saturday, analyst Ron Brownstein outlined the key reason President Donald Trump is struggling to adapt his message to proper public health guidance on the coronavirus pandemic.

"Ron, there is a retail trade group that has asked President Trump to institute federal, nationwide mask guidelines at stores across the country as the country continues to re-open," said anchor Alex Marquardt. "Experts are saying that masks could save thousands of lives in the coming months. Do you see a scenario in which — any chance in which he would issue that?"

"I think the short answer is no, and for a revealing reason," said Brownstein. "He is in a trap of his own construction. On coronavirus, we talk all the time about how President Trump's base is bonded to him, immovably. He's also bonded to the base in the other direction, that he is very reluctant to get out crosswise with a base that includes the kind of people that showed up at the Michigan capital to protest lockdown without wearing masks and waving Confederate flags and carrying automatic weapons."

"On all of these issues, he has — he plays, as someone said to me, he is playing to the short side of the field because he is so reluctant to get out away from the portion of the Republican base that views all of this either as a hoax or as an infringement on their liberty," said Brownstein. "When you poll, three-quarters of Americans say they support mask wearing. I suspect there will be a majority support when people start asking if there should be a national mandate, especially with what we're seeing in the states."

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