Trump avoids opportunity to change course on coronavirus approach

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And instead of embracing a new empathy for his fellow coronavirus sufferers, Trump touted experimental ‘remedies’ available only to him and walked out of the hospital saying the virus had nothing to fear without mentioning the most. of 215,000 Americans who died from it.

The fact that this precise strategy has dragged him towards historic problems in the polls, especially among women and the elderly, does not appear to weigh on Trump as he begins a three-week sprint until Election Day , mostly through states he won four years ago.Convinced that he can recreate the formula against all odds that initially propelled him to power, people around Trump say he has learned few lessons from his illness other than a reinforced view of his own invincibility, at both political and medical.

“I spoke to him last night,” Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, said on Tuesday. “He felt like he needed to get into the election campaign. I know Vice President Biden is campaigning. I think it’s good to campaign. “

Tight circle

Instead of recalibrating, aides say Trump attributed his current political fortune to bad polls, even as he questions decisions made by his campaign on TV spending and travel. With many senior White House officials still working from home due to a viral outbreak in the building, Trump remains surrounded by a small group of assistants who have mostly reinforced his approach, including Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and social media advisor Dan Scavino.

Where a different approach might have aroused sympathy, Trump’s refusal to change has opened him up to further criticism from his opponents, including in a new Democratic ad openly suggesting that his lax approach to the virus is what led to his own infection.

“He was warned, but ignored the evidence, staging rallies inside, turning the White House into a super-spreader, and contracting the virus himself,” said a narrator on the scene, who the Committee said National Democratic Party, would air in the battlefield states and on cable in Washington – where it will surely catch Trump’s attention.

Republicans who once hoped for more serious attention from Trump in the latter part of the campaign – including the appointment of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court – are no longer looking for clues. Trump has found little support among Senate Republicans for the “big” new stimulus package he now wants after calling off talks last week. The Republican majority leader said last week he was avoiding the White House due to lax coronavirus protections.

Since returning from the hospital more than a week ago, Trump has held no official events at the White House except for an openly political speech on the South Lawn this weekend. He spoke with a few foreign counterparts, including the British and Canadian prime ministers. His closely watched arrivals in the West Wing typically arrived later in the afternoon before he left for the election campaign.

Free advice

Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa and an ally of Trump, suggested on Twitter that the president attempt last-minute message discipline.

“I suggest you use a podium pocket card with 5 short sentences on what you accomplished 5 things that set you apart from Biden 5 things you will accomplish in the next 4 years,” he wrote on Tuesday . “Focusing on these simple highlights will help your msg and only take 5 minutes. ”

“So say what you want,” he concludes.

Only this last tip was highlighted when Trump reappeared on Monday’s election campaign in Florida. Trump delivered what is now a fairly familiar litany of lies and exaggerations about his rival and the 2016 election, with barely any mention of how he plans to rule if reelected.

As usual, he attacked Biden’s mental acuteness, a line of attack that has hardly gained popularity in the months Trump uses it. Trump’s campaign sought to substantiate the claims a day later, by arranging a conference call with Trump’s former White House doctor Dr. Ronny Jackson in an attempt to raise questions about Biden’s suitability to hold a position.

Jackson, who is running for a congressional seat from Texas and also served in President Barack Obama’s White House, has baffled former Obama and Biden aides, who say his right-wing attacks and his willingness to flatter Trump hardly resembles the kind doctor they knew. . After 10 minutes of detailing what he claimed to be Biden’s mental decline, Jackson was asked if his assessment amounted to medical advice on a topic he had only reviewed on television.

“I don’t do a medical assessment,” Jackson said. “I actually don’t even practice medicine at this point. ”

Trump’s most recent material on Monday was about his own illness, which he sought to use as proof of his own endurance and not as a cautionary tale to ignore public health guidelines. Although he threw face masks into the crowd as he took the stage, few of his guests chose to wear them.

Trump’s decision to call his illness both inevitable and a ‘blessing from God’ disappointed some of his allies, who had once hoped he could use the events of last week to take a new serious approach to the pandemic. Instead, he went the other way, claiming that the experience of the disease only reinforced his feeling that it shouldn’t cause undue disruption in people’s lives.

“The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself. The cure cannot be worse, ”he said in Florida, repeating a mantra he first uttered in March when the pandemic was still in its easiest stages. “If you’re not feeling well, if you want to stay, stay relaxed, stay. But if you want to get out, get out. “

Trump vs. Fauci

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He reluctantly abandoned his efforts to express the esteem of Dr.Anthony Fauci, the foremost infectious disease scholar, whose Trump respectability campaign tried to exploit TV commercials.

After Fauci expressed his own displeasure at being used in the spots, Trump mocked his wayward first pitch at Washington Nationals Park earlier this year, writing on Twitter that his arm is “much more precise than his predictions. “.

After months of intermittent sniping, the feud between the two men that erupted just before the election hardly seems timely for Trump. Many more Americans say they trust Fauci on the pandemic than Trump; By cutting the campaign spot in which Fauci praised the president’s handling of the virus, his campaign was hoping some of that reliability might rub off.

“I think it’s really unfortunate and really disappointing that they did this. It is so clear that I am not a political person. And neither have I, directly or indirectly, supported a political candidate, ”Fauci told CNN’s Jake Tapper on“ The Lead. ”

Asked about the prospects for Trump’s campaign, with a second ad featuring his statements out of context, Fauci issued a veiled warning.

“It would be outrageous if they did. In fact, it might actually come back against them, ”he said. “It would be kind of like playing a game that we don’t want to play. “

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