President Trump fumbles in difficult meeting with undecided voters in Philadelphia

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Trump appeared at an ABC News city hall in Philadelphia and dotted a socially aloof audience with the rhetoric and talking points that delight his loyal base. But while his aim was to satisfy relatively small groups of voters who, according to polls, have yet to make up their minds, the president appeared not to have responded and rarely addressed the substance of questions about his handling of the pandemic. coronavirus, race relations and health care. .

It was an unusual moment of exposure for a leader who demands constant public praise from his subordinates. On Tuesday night, spectators gave him the respect due to his office, but none of the adulation he needs.

Trump was largely cordial and probably came across as strong to voters who love him. But his performance gave Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden multiple openings just two weeks before the first clash in their debate – one of the last potential turning points in the White House race. First-term presidents who have spent years expecting deference from everyone they meet are often shocked when they first face off with a challenger eager to grill. Tuesday’s event suggests that the surprise could be particularly acute for Trump when he takes on Biden on September 29.

Responses that normally draw fierce cheers during Trump’s campaign events fell flat when confronted by voters who seemed to want to cut short the swagger and propaganda. And his responses did little to acknowledge the scale of the challenges the country faces in a frightening year, suggesting the president has yet to find the language or calls that could overthrow an election he seems. so far lose.

On a day when America recorded more than 1,200 new deaths from Covid-19, Trump effectively told the country to ignore his own words to Bob Woodward by downplaying the threat earlier this year, even though he knew to how serious it was.

He said he had done a “wonderful” job on the virus, insisted that “it will go away” and that “a lot of people think masks are not good”. He bizarrely said the “herd mentality” would make it go away, in an apparent reference to herd immunity which medical experts say could cost millions of lives. The president jumped at Biden’s verbal slips as proof that he didn’t have the mental capacity to be president. But his own confused responses after six months supposed to lead the national pandemic effort have failed to inspire confidence that he fully understands the implications of the emergency, even now.

He also illogically complained that Biden, who has no power, failed to execute a national mask warrant, and falsely claimed that the US response to the crisis was the best in the world. And the president has denied any blame for how the pandemic turned out – placing full responsibility on China, where the virus first emerged, and has repeatedly complained of not getting the credit it deserves.

At the end of the night, a voter named Ashley West asked the president to quote the most difficult part of his presidency and asked what he had learned from it – and in a way that seemed shocking given that the 200 000th American wills will soon die of the disease, the president reflects on his own sense of loss.

“I learned that life is very fragile. I knew people who were powerful people, strong people, good people, and they were knocked out by it and died. Six persons. It was five until about two weeks ago. Now it’s six, ”Trump said.

Trump se défend

The president became more exercised when he denied reports that he called America’s war dead “losers” and “suckers”, calling them “bogus.” He tried to stop showing empathy to a new American citizen of the Dominican Republic who lost her mother to complications from breast cancer a month ago and asked her about it. ‘immigration. Trump responded by telling him it was terrible that people had died alone in hospital from Covid-19 – and turned the response into an infomercial for his leadership in the event of a pandemic. Biden, who buried a first wife and two children in a life marked by tragedy, puts forward his own empathy as a balm for the country in a time of mourning.

Trump ignored questioners who asked him if it was appropriate that America should reexamine its painful race history, again arguing that there were a few “bad apples” in the police force “choking” on it. incidents in which unarmed black Americans were killed.

The president also wrongly claimed Democrats wanted to remove protections for patients with pre-existing conditions introduced on Obamacare. His own administration is currently arguing a case in the Supreme Court trying to destroy the affordable care law, while Democrats seek to preserve the law. While Trump says he would protect pre-existing conditions, he has offered no credible health plan.

The president’s appearance has arrived in critical critical condition as it trails Biden by nine points in the CNN polls as the country faces simultaneous crises: a pandemic, the resulting economic crash, a racial calculation and historic fires in western states. .

Nine percent of voters in a CNN / SSRS poll this month said they could still change their mind about who they would vote for. Trump’s task in the election appears to be to add less enthusiastic voters to his coalition after spending four years playing incessantly at his base. But while his strongest moments on Tuesday were the end of foreign wars and the economy, and he likely satisfied his supporters with his unequivocal pro-police statements, the president has offered few new policies or approaches. at the event that differed positions in three years when its approval the rating rarely climbed above the low of the 40s.

Trump’s campaign insists that the untapped seams of pro-Trump voters who sidelined in 2016 are being ignored by pollsters and will embrace the president’s tough culture war rhetoric to lead him to a second term.

Trump again denies evidence with his own voice

The town hall event, exactly seven weeks before Election Day, was a reminder of the kind of chaos, lies and division that is a selling point for the president’s most loyal voters, but it is the kind of behavior that may cause an undecided voter to turn away.

The flood of lies and alternate realities that the president has promoted recalled a statement attributed to former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats in Woodward’s book “Rage” which was released on Tuesday.

“For him, a lie is not a lie. It’s just what he thinks. He doesn’t know the difference between the truth and a lie, ”Coats reportedly told former Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

One such comment was confirmed when Trump responded to a question posed by a first Pittsburgh voter who asked why he was captured on tapes made by Woodward as downplaying the pandemic.

“Yeah, well, I didn’t downplay it. In fact, in many ways, I improved it, in terms of action, ”he said.

In essence, the president is urging voters to refuse to believe the evidence with their own ears about his precocious attitude to the worst domestic crisis since World War II that has now killed 195,000 Americans and left 30 million unemployed.

He implicitly maintains that not only does he deserve no blame for a response that lags behind other industrialized countries – the United States has 4% of the world’s population and over 20% of Covid-19 cases and deaths. .

But such a vision rests on an interpretation that distorts the traditional sense that the responsibility rests on the Oval Office and instead relies on voters to believe in a blatant bill of sale that defies the reality of their own lives.

After Trump told Fox News earlier Tuesday that he read Woodward’s book Monday night and found it “boring,” Woodward said the president lives in an “Orwellian world.”

“We told him, he knew, he told me about it,” the veteran reporter told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

“I don’t know, to be honest, if he understood what is real and what is unreal.

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