“Nobody likes me,” he said, baffled by how health experts in his administration might receive praise as he is accused of ignoring and denying the public health crisis that rage.
There is an answer.
- Even his staunchest Republican allies categorically rejected his suggestion to delay the November vote, with some in fact scoffing at what, according to most accounts, was a serious (albeit unnecessary) proposal by the president to undermine the election.
- The country’s civic leaders, including three of Trump’s four living predecessors, gathered without him in Atlanta to honor the late Representative John Lewis, which made the absence of the sitting president obvious, but unsurprising.
- The stimulus talks at Capitol Hill proceeded almost entirely without his participation and were notable primarily for the dismay they exhibited among Republicans, many of whom were unpleasantly surprised to learn that the president’s demand for a new building of the FBI was included in the final proposal.
- In a closed-door hearing on Friday, intelligence officials working in Trump’s own administration ruled out the possibility of foreign countries mass-producing fake ballots to interfere in the November election – a claim that Trump appeared to be doing simultaneously from the Cabinet room.
- And Trump’s concerted push to delegitimize mail-in ballots is ringing alarm bells among Republican agents, who fear that the president’s request to vote in person will serve primarily to reduce the turnout of his own supporters.
Trump’s attempts to regain his rank have only exacerbated the divorce and raised fears that it will hinder his party’s ability to move forward. Long dismissive of the Washington establishment, Trump has shown little concern about how his movements force allies into awkward positions or stray from long-held norms.
Far from a simple ‘personality’ difference, examples of ‘nobody loving’ Trump this week suggested a president actively isolate himself in his own bubble of conspiracy theories and questionable science, with less and less of people ready to come in to join him.
In an effort to uplift his mood, Trump’s advisers rushed to stage a scaled-down political event on a Florida tarmac on Friday, where Trump addressed a mostly maskless crowd a few inches away. others. Other events in the state that Trump had planned for Saturday were called off as a storm approached.
The event illustrated what White House officials describe as an ad hoc effort to plan appearances for Trump that allow him to bask in at least some adulation as his election rallies remain on hold and after a acceptance speech of the convention in person was scuttled.
White House officials are still weighing their options on how Trump will formally accept the nomination, said a person familiar with the planning, including assessing venues across the country where he could speak in prime time. Still, the task has proved difficult as Trump insists on something dramatic as assistants try to temper some of his expectations regarding the scale of potential places.
According to Aides, Trump grew up to recognize the extreme political peril he created for himself less than 100 days before the election. When he talks with friends, his grievances are long and his complaints are many, but his willingness or ability to change course seems minimal, according to people who spoke to him.
Trump has voiced versions of “nobody likes me” over the past few months, these people said, describing a burgeoning president brought down by a pandemic he believes he has little ability to control.
Speaking on Thursday, Trump appeared resigned to the fact that the number of coronavirus cases would continue to rise, and said it was probably no one’s fault, let alone his own.
“It’s like that,” he said.
Leading Republicans, many of whom have given up on hope that Trump will deliver anything that looks like a cohesive national plan to contain the virus, have long since decided to promote mask wear and social distancing without being guided by Trump. One of those who didn’t, Republican Louie Gohmert, a Republican from Texas, found out he had coronavirus from a test administered at the White House.
Instead of avoiding the question or denying knowledge of Trump’s tweet Thursday suggesting a postponement of the election – a tactic they have fallen back on before when the president sends something inconvenient or embarrassing – almost all Republicans this week rejected the idea out of hand.
“I don’t think that’s a particularly good idea,” said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, informal adviser to the president.
” I read it. I laughed. I thought my god was going to consume a lot of people, ”said GOP Senator Kevin Cramer. “I’ve long since stopped being surprised by the things he does that other presidents wouldn’t have done, but I also understand why he does and why his base appreciates him so much. ”
On Capitol Hill, the ill-fated Election Day chariot was passed, along with the administration’s proposal to include $ 1.75 billion for a new FBI building in a coronavirus relief program – a fixation of long standing for the president whom his opponents decry as ethically questionable.
Republicans simply decried it as nonsense in a bill intended to extend unemployment to millions of newly unemployed Americans whose lives have been crushed by an out of control pandemic.
“There are a number of unrelated things in this,” Republican Senator John Cornyn said of the provision, which he said took him by surprise.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who also appeared to have been caught off guard by the article, called it “irrelevant.” In the absence of any support, the White House ultimately declared that the new money would not be a compromise.
Yet, on Wednesday, Trump’s isolation from the leaders of his own party – who hope to save what looks to be a difficult November – seemed cemented. Aboard Air Force One, Trump told associates he would not intervene in the Kansas Republican primary, even after hearing calls from his political team and senior Republicans that siege – and control of the Senate – was in danger if the late Tory brand Kris Kobach wins.
The move seemed to some another break with a president whose political interests usually do not extend beyond his own. While his absence from Lewis’s funeral on Thursday was no surprise given the animosity between the two men, it also reflected Trump’s general impatience for the rituals of politics that do not revolve around him.
Aides never expected Trump to join his three most recent predecessors – Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton – at the funeral. But even some White House officials were surprised when Trump on Monday categorically rejected the prospect of going to the U.S. Capitol where Lewis was in the state. Some had quietly considered a quick trip to pay homage.
As it stands, all three former presidents have made remarks that could be read as slanting reproaches about how Trump approached the post they all held.
“In the America that John Lewis fought for, and in the America I believe in, differences of opinion are inevitable and evidence of democracy in action,” said Bush, the most recent republican president.
Deprived of traditional avenues of assertion, Trump began to look elsewhere. Frustrated that his once-favorite Fox News TV station was ready to interview Democrats, Trump adopted the right-wing NAO as his hangout and spoke with the CEO of the outlet this week. hydroxychloroquine, the antimalarial that he says works to prevent the coronavirus. .
Even amid attempts by his aides to refocus his attention on the pandemic, Trump continues to hear from a wide range of associates who undermine administration health experts and question their approach to the pandemic, people say. familiar with conversations.
A group of medics who promoted hydroxychloroquine and cast doubt on the decision to apply lockdowns to contain the virus were invited to the White House for a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday, though a video of a press conference they gave has been deleted. social media for breaking the rules against disinformation.