WaPo: Donald Trump didn’t care about the pandemic until red states got hit

Trump Meets with Retail Leaders

We’ve 98 days away from the election. Will Donald Trump’s numbers continue to tank? Will his approval rate continue to hover around 40% and never get any higher? Who knows. Of course I find it disturbing that it took a literal global pandemic and 150,000 dead Americans to make *some* people realize that Donald Trump is truly the f–king worst. But here we are. The people around Trump have finally made him understand that as long as the pandemic rages, he can’t pretend not to notice. He can’t pretend that the pandemic numbers are a hoax. The Washington Post did a detailed story about how Trump got it so wrong (spoiler: he’s a moron) and what led to his recent “change in tone.” Some highlights:

He got it wrong: Both President Trump’s advisers and operatives laboring to defeat him increasingly agree on one thing: The best way for him to regain his political footing is to wrest control of the coronavirus. In the six months since the deadly contagion was first reported in the United States, Trump has demanded the economy reopen and children return to school, all while scrambling to salvage his reelection campaign. But both allies and opponents agree he has failed at the one task that could help him achieve all of his goals — confronting the pandemic with a clear strategy and consistent leadership.

Why he got it so wrong: People close to Trump, many speaking anonymously to share candid discussions and impressions, say the president’s inability to wholly address the crisis is due to his almost pathological unwillingness to admit error; a positive feedback loop of overly rosy assessments and data from advisers and Fox News; and a penchant for magical thinking that prevented him from fully engaging with the pandemic.

He only began to care when “red states” began getting hit hard: In recent weeks, with at least 144,000 Americans now dead from the virus, the White House has attempted to overhaul — or at least rejigger — its approach. The administration has revived news briefings led by Trump himself and presented the president with projections showing how the virus is now decimating Republican states full of Trump voters. In the past couple of weeks, senior advisers began presenting Trump with maps and data showing spikes in coronavirus cases among “our people” in Republican states, a senior administration official said. They also shared projections predicting that virus surges could soon hit politically important states in the Midwest — including Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, the official said.

It would have been easy: “The irony is that if he’d just performed with minimal competence and just mouthed words about national unity, he actually could be in a pretty strong position right now, where the economy is reopening, where jobs are coming back,” said Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser to former president Barack Obama. “And he just could not do it.”

He was always the victim: He was overly preoccupied with his own sense of grievance, beginning many conversations casting himself as the blameless victim of the crisis. “This could have been stopped. It could have been stopped quickly and easily. But for some reason, it wasn’t, and we’ll figure out what that reason was,” Trump said Thursday, seemingly to simultaneously acknowledge his predicament while also trying to assign blame elsewhere.

[From The Washington Post]

I mean, we saw it in real time – Trump came close to celebrating the virus when Northern states were being hit hard, like New York. It was a political thing for him even back then, in March and April. Now that we’re in the tailend of July and Florida, Texas and other deep-South states are viral cesspools, NOW he cares. And that quote is insane – “This could have been stopped. It could have been stopped quickly and easily. But for some reason, it wasn’t, and we’ll figure out what that reason was.” I… actually laughed. He’s so stupid and he’s trying to kill us all. But I laughed.

Also, I don’t actually believe that if he had just mouthed words of unity and taken the pandemic seriously, he would be in a better position. Because he’s so self-defeating, petulant and incapable of looking at things long-term. He genuinely couldn’t do that.

President Donald Trump Speaks in the Brady Press Briefing Room

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red & Backgrid.

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30 Responses to “WaPo: Donald Trump didn’t care about the pandemic until red states got hit”

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  1. Rapunzel says:

    We’ve known from the get go he’s incompetent and that if we had a real crisis, we’d be screwed. This is just what we’ve always feared happening.

    • NatureLover says:

      @ Repunzel, the only thing I wish for right now is for Obama to come into the homes of Americans and make clear and precise reasons as to why Drumpf has failed the American citizens. I wish for this due to the fact that Drumpf becomes UNHINGED for weeks after Obama makes a public comment about Drumpf!! We need to encourage Obama to make comments more often and hit Drumpf in his ego as he is incredibly jealous of Obama and can’t handle the fact that people still revere him!!

  2. Darla says:

    Imagine having a President of the UNITED States of America who evinces not one ounce of caring while blue state residents go down by the thousands. No lower period or president in my lifetime. I’m so beyond disgusted at my fellow Americans. I want to be like John Lewis and rise above and be good, but the truth is I wish them decimation. I think to myself, get em get em get em! So that’s where I am. It’s not a good feeling, but it’s an honest one.

  3. Green Eyes says:

    One thing Trump has demonstrated he is consistent about is he can’t stay on message for long if he doesn’t believe it or there is nothing in it for him. I give it 2 weeks tops.. he will be back to his old messaging that the virus is a hoax. Jr, his minion of a son was already tweeting falsely about hydroxychloroquine being a cure and masks were not needed. Got his acct temp suspended with that garbage; and Trump is whining on twitter about negatively trending. Trump will go back to his lies. Like I said I give it 2 weeks tops and that’s being generous.

  4. Tashiro says:

    Agreed. I knew if a major crisis hit he would be totally ineffective. He’s s everything you’ve said but ultimately he cares for no one but himself which makes him incompetent and dangerous as we’ve seen.

  5. Lizzie Bathory says:

    I really wish the media would stop acting like he cares at all or has a strategy of any kind or a change in “tone.” He does not care. He’s a 74 year old with complex pathologies that render him incapable of empathy AND he’s been in active drug addiction for years. He is no more capable of caring about this than he is of keeping his focus on any one issue for any length of time.

    Some of the people around him may “care” in the sense that they can see this looks bad for the campaign, but Trump is incapable of changing. So they’ll show him new polls, leak panicked stories to the media, rinse, repeat. Also, I’m more & more convinced that many of the people left in his inner circle are themselves in active addiction, which doesn’t help.

  6. Notafan says:

    No matter what polls say, he has a very good chance of winning. Mitt Romney called it, I think. Now Trump is going to wear a mask and look sympathetic and make great pains to deliver necessary aid to Red states. He will swing moderate in his speech and will bring back the people who left him in the last few months. Russia and other troll factories will ramp up the “there’s something about Biden I just can’t trust” in republican voters and independents, and congress will pass an aid bill with more direct payments to Americans. Trump will play doctored footage of black and brown bodies “rioting” and appeal to white fear. There will be widespread voter suppression and attempts to invalidate mailed in ballots. And if Biden ekes out a narrow victory, Trump will take a flamethrower to every remaining decent law we have and use his remaining months to enrich himself before decamping you someplace he won’t be brought to account.

    We are not safe. Please vote everyone! Vote so much that there is no doubt in anyone’s mind. Make the popular vote margin ten million people and monitor your local elections closely.

    I am generally an optimist but there have been warnings for a while now that this election and the aftermath will not go smoothly.

    • Swack says:

      But he hasn’t been wearing a mask. Only that one time. Unless he wore one last night and haven’t seen pictures of it.

  7. ziaaa says:

    How is this Doofus’ approval rate still hovering around 40%…why has it not tanked to Zero yet? Who the eff is still voting for him in pre-election polls? What other egregious stuff does he have to do apart from the carnage he has caused for people to realize the utter shite this orange small-handed monster is? The mind boggles….

    • Louisa says:

      I lost it with and unfriended someone on FB last night for saying that he wasn’t going to vote for Biden, because DNC.. rigged… blah blah blah…bernie! I couldn’t believe that with all that is at stake and with all that this maniac has done the last 3 1/2 years, that there are still people whining about Bernie and are happy to risk another 4 years of this.
      I guarantee some of that 40% are actually angry Bernie supporters.

      • ce says:

        You’re right – but here’s what I keep repeating to these Bitter Bros: NO. ONE. VOTED. FOR. HIM. TWICE!!!! How much more proof can there be that these people talk a big game online and then DONT GO OUT AND VOTE?!??? I’m sick of them and I can’t take it. Ugh.

  8. Lightpurple says:

    Just a point on states where the number of cases are rising but the GOP is pointing out that the death rates are low, we saw that here in MA too for about 2-3 weeks. People who died were diagnosed or confirmed cases when they entered the hospital but many of them did not die right away. This disease takes its time. Many were in hospitals two or three weeks, struggling, fighting, before succumbing. Our infection surge started in early April but the death surge was late April to mid-May. I did not go a single day during that period without knowing at least one person who lost someone, sometimes as many as 3 a day. I sent so many sympathy notes. My point is Trump and the GOP are offering false hope. This will get much worse.

    And Trump is still pushing false cures. A video he tweeted yesterday got pulled and Junior was suspended for tweeting it repeatedly.

    • tcbc says:

      Excellent observation. There’s also the point that a lot of people who had a “mild” experience of COVID have long-lasting aftereffects which significantly weaken them and make them more vulnerable to other sickness or disease that they may face in the future. For example, people are reporting scarring of the lungs or thyroid which will be with them for the rest of their lives. “Mild COVID” only means you weren’t hospitalized. It doesn’t mean that damage has not been done.

      And what happens if this doofus wins again and the Supreme Court manages to remove the current edict that health insurance must cover people with preexisting conditions? Everyone who had a brush of COVID would no longer be able to get health insurance! AMERICANS, PLEASE VOTE IN NOVEMBER.

      And if you plan on voting by mail, get that ballot in by October!! The USPS is says to give 14 days roundtrip for your ballot. That means your deadline is Oct 20th or sooner!

  9. Sarah says:

    In other news, ‘water is wet’.

  10. tcbc says:

    He’s such an idiot. He can’t win with just the red states. What was the logic of being MIA when Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania were hit in the beginning? He needs the purple states to win.

    (We in New York never expected him to help us. We knew what he was. We’ve always known.)

    All he had to do was be a little less stupid and he would have had re-election in the bag. Lock down the whole country at the beginning of this for 2 months, give everyone stimulus checks and unemployment for that time, business loans, mandate mask usage, that’s it. This could have been mostly over, or a game of containment of local outbreaks, by now. And he would look “presidential” to the people who were willing to overlook his bigotry (aka the majority of white voters.)

    • H says:

      I said this to a friend who voted for Trump in 2016. Trump could have steered this virus into the ground like Europe, but no…he’s a moron. My friend is a registered Democrat, a NYer who thought Trump would put more money “in her pocket.” Her entire Italian-Catholic family voted for 45. Now they are singing the blues. People in the family got laid off, unemployment is a joke and they might be getting cut off for benefits. While the rest of us were screaming Trump was a nightmare from the beginning.

      It seems people only care when it involves THEIR interests. Sometimes I just can’t with her. But at least, her whole family will now be voting for Biden. November can’t come quick enough.

      VOTE!

      • NatureLover says:

        @ H, this is what I am finding with Drumpf supporters. They are only interested in what he will do for them and they revered his racist beliefs. They only have their self interests in their voting choice and the fact that Drumpf came out strong and publicly spewed his racist and disgusting remarks to people who are not white, created this delusion that if the president can verbally attack POC, antisemitism and racism, they had the right to do so as well. The explosion of hate crimes started in 2015 that the FBI has stated that hate crimes continued to increase.

  11. MCG says:

    Ummmm…. mouthing words of unity would literally be the bare minimum that a normal leader would do and people would still be dying by the tens of thousands and people would be irate. It’s dangerous of Ben Rhodes to make such a remark- we would’ve still be up shitcreek. He didn’t just fail at messaging (although he did so spectacularly!), he failed at every single turn of events…starting with gutting the Pandemic Response team and fund allotment. JFC.

  12. DrSnark says:

    Saying he “cared” when the red states were hit seems inaccurate. He only realized he could be personally impacted when the red states were hit. He does not care about 144,00 dead Americans, no matter their party registration, so long as he is not among them.

    • lucy2 says:

      This is true – he cares about nothing but himself and his re-election.

      I do think there’s a hint of truth to the idea that if he had been the slightest bit competent in dealing with this, he’d be in a better position. I listened to an interview with one of the Lincoln Project guys yesterday (the enemy of my enemy is my friend) and he said Trump’s failure at the virus response is one of the main reasons Biden is doing well in the polls everywhere, not just the Dem strongholds. He’s flailing, and failing, and people are seeing it.

  13. jferber says:

    Bottom line in Trump’s mind: “Dead people can’t vote for me. I care now.” But he still doesn’t.

  14. ce says:

    Does he care, though? I don’t see it

  15. Nina says:

    What the heck is going on with that chart? It lists (among others):

    - France
    - Belgium
    - Italy
    - Spain
    - European Union (?)
    - Europe (??)
    - Sweden
    - Germany
    - World (???)

    So what is this case fatality rate by? Country? Region? World??

  16. The Recluse says:

    Vote Blue to Save America.
    That’s it.
    That’s the message.
    Good luck, everyone.

  17. Dina says:

    I have never been so disgusted with someone in my entire life. Hang in there, my American friends xoxo

  18. emu says:

    Such a freaking child. I really truly hope there is not four more years of him

  19. Beesknee says:

    Trump is a nightmare! Believe me there are plenty of whites that will not vote for Trump no matter what the pubs and Russians blast for the next 98 days. Yes—even in Texas has a growing number of Dems and Independents! Our large cities of transplants from the East and West are key to changing the tide! Trump will be defeated. I believe that. Get involved. Become a registrar, volunteer to call or text.