Electoral dynamics playing on Trump’s mind - GulfToday

Electoral dynamics playing on Trump’s mind


Donald Trump. File

US President Donald Trump is known for making outrageous comments. He has defended overseeing the world’s highest coronavirus death toll, saying 200,000 Americans amounted to “doing it right” because the mortality rate could potentially have been far higher.

He even mounted racist attacks on Democratic Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, accusing the former of “telling us how to run our country.”

Donald Trump once said the coronavirus might be a “good thing” because it would stop him from having to shake hands with “disgusting people.”

“Those disgusting people are the same people that he claims to care about. These are the people still going to his rallies today who have complete faith in who he is. The truth is he doesn’t actually care about anyone else but himself,” Olivia Troye, a former top adviser to US Vice President Mike Pence, said.

In February he tweeted, “The coronavirus is very much under control in the USA.”

In May he said the coronavirus is “horrible” and “unbelievable.”

In a video released by the group Republican Voters Against Trump, Ms Troye said working with the president was “terrifying” and claimed he was more concerned about re-election than protecting the nation from the virus. Politics, not public health, seems to be the main concern of the Donald. Trump appears to be capitalising on the coronavirus to gain a solid edge at the hustings in November.

Less than seven weeks from Election Day, he appears motivated to say and do what he sees as necessary to secure a second term, whether backed by science and evidence or not.

And despite the grim death toll, the president continues to frame the past six months as a success.

Over the past six months, the Trump administration has prioritised politics over science at key moments, refusing to follow expert advice that might have contained the spread of the novel coronavirus and the disease, COVID-19, it causes. Trump and his people have routinely dismissed experts’ assessments of the gravity of the pandemic, and of the measures needed to bring it under control. They have reportedly tried to muzzle scientists who dispute the administration’s rosy spin.

Trump publicly played down the virus in those crucial first weeks, even though he privately acknowledged the seriousness of the threat.

By mid-March, hospitals in New York and elsewhere were deluged with patients and storing bodies in refrigerated trucks.

The doctors said unless the country adopted masks, practised distancing and kept businesses closed there would be 100,000 to 240,000 deaths. But instead of issuing a national mask mandate, the Trump administration within weeks posted its “Opening Up America Again” plan.

The predictable happened: cases surged after communities reopened, and hope for keeping the death toll under 100,000 disappeared without a trace.

Just last week, Trump described Dr. Robert Redfield, a virologist and head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as “confused” because he said a vaccine was not likely until late 2021. Trump, without evidence, said it could be ready before the election.

Trump told a raucous Ohio crowd at a rally on Monday: “We’re going to deliver a vaccine before the end of the year. But it could be a lot sooner than that.”

It remains to be seen how far this is true. However, going by Trump’s record for seesawing in his comments, the goal seems to be far-fetched. While there is no indication that Trump’s desperation for a vaccine has affected the science or safety of the process, his insistence that one would be ready before the election is stoking mistrust in the very breakthrough he hopes will help his reelection.

Related articles