President Trump lifted his spirits a bit Tuesday when he visited his beloved unfinished border wall and held an event in a megachurch filled with 3,000 fans who were demonstrating their devotion in Phoenix, one of the country’s most intense COVID-19 hot spots. Virtually none of the crowd wore masks and sat together, shoulder to shoulder, for hours, screaming and laughing, sharing their sprays with abandon.
The show undoubtedly reassured Trump. They love him so much that they are ready to die for him.
It lasted 70 minutes or so, hitting most of its greatest hits and complaining about the vote by mail, saying this election will be the most corrupt in history. But the main objective of his message was that he had led the best pandemic response of any leader in the world and that the United States had returned, baby.
The “numbers” he was referring to were economic statistics. But as you know, he’s also been complaining about COVID case numbers for months, even insisting earlier this week that if we didn’t do all of these tests, we wouldn’t have as many cases. He seems to have a mental block on this topic and is simply unable to understand that if we weren’t testing, we would still have the cases. Apparently, no one has asked him if he believes that fewer tests would result in less deathYes, but it would certainly be interesting to know the answer.
In fact, those numbers are intertwined, although Trump doesn’t seem to understand exactly how. He persists in his delusion that if we simply “open,” the pent-up demand will result in a massive economic revival just in time for the elections. He believes that we should all ignore and ignore the continued stress, illness and death that we have been experiencing for more than four months and return to normal. It must have encouraged him to infinity to see all those admirers doing that.
His demand that the country open up is inexorably leading to unprecedented economic distress because, as much as he wanted to pretend that the crisis is not happening, it is. The economy is going to suffer far more than is necessary due to Trump’s unwillingness to treat the pandemic as seriously as the leaders of many countries who are actually finding a way back. He is the instrument of his own failure with this magical thought. But that is the story of his life.
While Trump was on his way to his last rally, Congress convened an audience with four of the government’s top health experts, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, infectious disease specialist Dr. Anthony Fauci, the FDA director Dr. Stephen Hahn and HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Administrator Brett Giroir, also a physician. These four doctors were not feeling the magic. In fact, his message was clear: It is not over and it does not look good.
Fauci described a “disturbing wave” of coronavirus infections that he found very “troublesome.” He said: “The next two weeks will be critical to our ability to address those waves that we are seeing in Florida, Texas, Arizona and other states,” and pleaded with people to stay home as much as possible and to wear masks if they must go out. He seemed to be really concerned.
He is not alone. Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican who ostentatiously opened his state early and arrogantly proclaimed, “We have this,” seemed more than a little nervous on Tuesday. COVID patients may be close to overloading the state’s hospital capacity after hospitalizations went from an average of 1,600 per day to 3,200 per day.
“Because the spread is so rampant right now, there is never a reason that you have to leave your home unless you need to leave,” he said. “The safest place for you is your home.”
“There are still many people in the state of Texas who think that the spread of Covid-19 is really not a challenge,” said Abbott, who has resisted the idea of another shutdown.
That’s a long way from a couple of months ago when Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, an even more true Trumper believer than Abbott, appeared on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show to say the economy should reopen entirely because “there are more important things than to live “.
Abbott was not the only one to sound the alarm. That is unfolding across the country in several states with Republican governors who are seeing spikes in cases, hospitalizations and deaths since they began reopening in May. It is not clear how this is affecting the approval ratings of these governors, but those of the president are getting worse. His head-in-the-sand strategy is not selling well. The New York Times / Siena College’s first general election poll, released Wednesday, shows him behind Joe Biden by 14 points.
According to the Washington Post, the campaign is increasingly concerned:
At the center of the erosion is a dramatic abandonment of Trump by key demographic groups. The 2018 college-educated women’s rebellion against the president, which gave Democrats control of the United States House through suburban victories, has begun to register more deeply in recent months among older women and without a university education.
The Trump weekend rally in Tulsa, which focused more on his personal complaints than on solutions to America’s pressing problems, reinforced the sentiments that political strategists say have led women to leave him.
Understandably, women, many of whom are overburdened in this crisis with jobs, full-time child care and vulnerable elderly parents, are specifically dampened by Trump’s self-centered obsession with his “numbers” and openness-focused approach. the economy Most people understand that it is not safe to resume normal life while a dangerous virus stalks the population. They want serious leadership, not bravado and stances.
“These women really describe their lives as filled with grueling chaos,” said Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster who advises on the Biden campaign and who charted recent changes to Trump’s pandemic response. “It’s something new every day. And they want someone to guide them through this, not someone who makes it more chaotic.”
Trump is the latest agent of chaos, teetering from one catastrophe to another, unable to discipline himself in even the smallest ways. That may have worked well enough for him when we were dealing with political battles and palace intrigue, all of which were important but had no direct bearing on the daily lives of Americans. The coronavirus crisis does, and brings up the fact that his narcissism and emotional incontinence make everything worse. It’s a traveling disaster, and that’s the last man he wants in charge during a real crisis.