The first reporter, CBS News’s Weijia Jiang, confronted him on his false claim that the United States leads the world in testing and then objected when he told the Asian American reporter to “ask China”; the second, CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, who has effectively confronted Trump previously, refused to yield the microphone when Trump wanted to call on someone else. He then abruptly retreated, later claiming the media was conspiring against him.
Trump’s frenzied rage-tweeting on everything from “psycho” Joe Scarborough to false claims of 96 percent approval from Republicans to swipes at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (“Crazy Nancy would be a total disaster, and the USA will never be a Communist Country!”) evidences a whole new level of emotional disturbance or panic.
One major reason for his break from reality could well be his rotten polling and growing, unavoidable evidence that his reelection campaign is in deep trouble. The New York Times reports that Trump’s failed response to the pandemic has “cost President Trump support from one of his most crucial constituencies: America’s seniors.” The report explains:
A recent Morning Consult poll found that Mr. Trump’s approval rating on the handling of the coronavirus was lower with seniors than with any other group other than young voters. And Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the presumptive Democratic nominee, in recent polls held a 10-point advantage over Mr. Trump among voters who are 65 and older. A poll commissioned by the campaign showed a similar double-digit gap.
Likewise, CNN polling shows the federal government getting rotten marks on the pandemic (44 percent approve, 54 percent disapprove) and “most say the government is not doing enough to address the growing death toll (56%), the limited availability of testing (57%) or the potential for a second wave of cases later this year (58%).” Trump personally is doing worse with each passing month. “(55% now disapprove, up from 48% in early March and 52% last month), and only 36% say they consider Trump a trusted source of information about the outbreak.”
Meanwhile, Biden has held an extraordinarily steady lead of about 6 points. (“Biden’s advantage is the steadiest in a race with an incumbent running since at least 1944.”) Although he is squirreled away at home, his ads expertly reinforce the public’s negative image of Trump’s performance:
So which came first: Trump’s accelerating emotional tailspin or the terrible polling, leading to heightened concern that he is heading for defeat? Actually, both have their origin in the undeniable reality that Trump has utterly failed to combat the worst domestic crisis in a hundred years. To the contrary, his penchant for denying unpleasant facts, aversion to experts, self-absorption, dearth of empathy and utter incompetence allowed the virus to fester and spread. His fixation on “opening” the economy while the pandemic is still raging as a means to boost the markets and his reelection prospects has only made matters worse.
As protesters, energized by his message, take to the streets and red-state governors foolishly follow his lead to open prematurely, new data suggest the virus is surging in red America as coastal blue states push their own infection rates down. The new hot spots are in states such as Alabama, Kentucky, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Texas and Tennessee. The Trump approach is killing those in his strongest base of support. No wonder his temper tantrums have become more intense.
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