Writing in the Washington Post this Friday, columnist Henry Olsen says that although President Trump recently canceled his scheduled convention acceptance speech in Jacksonville, Florida, due to the states continued coronavirus spread, the move nevertheless reflects a Trump pattern of "belatedly recognizing that fighting the coronavirus is Americans’ top priority."
"Trump has, unfortunately, long resisted this notion," Olsen writes. "Throughout March and April, he veered between prioritizing fighting the virus and displaying a barely concealed desire to see this fight quickly put behind him. As the novel coronavirus’s spread slowed, he shifted to show support for a quick reopening to turbocharge the economy. He never adopted the views of some extremists such as Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R), who said he was willing to risk older people’s lives to keep the economy open. But that’s what millions of older people thought Trump believed as he played down their real fears and emphasized getting back to business."
Signifying Trump's reluctant reversal are his recent press briefing and appearances wearing a mask, in an attempt to convey to the public that he does indeed take the virus seriously. He's even slightly walked back his insistence that all schools reopen in the fall.
"All of this surely has political motives as well as altruistic ones," writes Olsen. "Trump’s job approval ratings had been dropping since April, and he now trails former vice president Joe Biden in all national polls and virtually every swing-state poll. If these ratings don’t improve, Trump is looking at the biggest popular vote loss by an incumbent president since Herbert Hoover."
Ultimately, Olsen writes, the new tone will "tax Trump’s abilities as nothing in his life has before."
"...Trump hates looking like a loser, and right now, he’s looking like one of the biggest losers in U.S. history," he concludes.
Read the full op-ed over at The Washington Post.