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Donald Trump chooses denial and recklessness as he’s set to resume campaign rallies

As President Donald Trump stood on a White House balcony Saturday — spewing mistruths about his opponent’s plan for policing and claiming the coronavirus is “disappearing” while hundreds of people watched from below — it was clear that his illness has taught him very little and he will continue to endanger Americans until Election Day.



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump removes his face mask to speak from the Blue Room Balcony of the White House to a crowd of supporters, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)


© Alex Brandon/AP
President Donald Trump removes his face mask to speak from the Blue Room Balcony of the White House to a crowd of supporters, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

There was a chance for a strategic pivot by the President after he contracted Covid-19 that would have helped him shore up his flagging approval ratings on the handling of the virus. After learning a great deal about coronavirus, as he claimed during his stay at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, he could have chosen a path of responsibility by using his platform to educate the public about the risks of the virus at a time when US cases are surging and doctors fear that the nation is entering a second wave.

But nine days after he announced his coronavirus diagnosis — and hours before his physician said he is no longer considered “a transmission risk to others” but did not say he had tested negative — Trump chose his familiar tactics of denial, risk and ignorance. Two weeks after one super-spreader event in the White House Rose Garden, he held another on the South Lawn with no social distancing. This time, it was before an audience of Black and Latino Americans, groups who have been disproportionately harmed by the pandemic.



a group of people posing for the camera: Supporters cheer as President Donald Trump makes remarks on law and order on the South Lawn of the White House on Saturday, where there was little social distancing. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)


© Samuel Corum/Getty Images
Supporters cheer as President Donald Trump makes remarks on law and order on the South Lawn of the White House on Saturday, where there was little social distancing. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Rather than mitigating risk, Trump is planning at least three campaign rallies next week in Florida, Pennsylvania and Iowa, stating Saturday, “We are starting very, very big with our rallies and with our everything” as he again threw caution to the wind.

In his speech from the White House balcony and during his interviews with right wing outlets like the Rush Limbaugh radio show on Friday, he embraced the only political strategy he knows — playing to his base, rather than attempting to broaden his appeal, as his campaign spirals toward Election Day. He still appears either unwilling or unable to see the huge drag that the public’s lack of confidence in his handling of the pandemic is having on his election prospects.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll released this week showed only 37% of Americans approved of Trump’s handling of the pandemic, while 59% disapproved. And the Pew Research Center found that Biden had a 17-point advantage over Trump when registered voters were asked who could better handle the public health impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

View Trump and Biden head-to-head polling

The President continued downplaying Covid-19 on Saturday, referring to it with

Trump’s coronavirus infection is the result of his deadly, foolish recklessness

President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive at the White House on Sept. 11. <span class="copyright">(Associated Press)</span>
President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive at the White House on Sept. 11. (Associated Press)

Americans awaken this morning to the grave news that President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the dreadful coronavirus that has killed more than 207,000 people in the U.S. and brought the U.S. economy to its knees.

The news came the way that so much of the news from the White House does: in a tweet early Friday from the president himself. Trump wrote that he and the first lady had tested positive for the coronavirus (he noticeably did not call it the “China virus”) and declared: “We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”

No matter how you feel about Trump’s performance as president — and we feel pretty strongly that it has been a disaster — this is another crisis for a nation reeling from a year that almost seems apocalyptic: Trump’s impeachment, COVID-19, a popular outcry over racial injustice, the deaths of John Lewis and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, catastrophic wildfires. And now this: A reckless president whose irresponsibility has endangered not only himself and his family but the stability of the country by throwing the executive branch into chaos. Another crisis, this one fully of Trump’s own making.

The president may not be showing COVID-19 symptoms yet. His physician later said Trump was feeling well and would continue his presidential duties. But the fact is that Trump is at particular risk of severe illness and death by virtue of his age: He is 74, and also obese. We hope he doesn’t find out how much worse COVID-19 is than flu, but it’s a real possibility for which we must be prepared.

Furthermore, how many others in the White House have been infected? We have now learned that one of Trump’s closest aides, Hope Hicks, experienced symptoms and tested positive for the coronavirus Wednesday. Astonishingly, Trump went ahead with an indoor fundraiser at his New Jersey golf club. Considering the lack of regard Trump and his aides have shown for the simple infection-control measures of social distancing and face masks, there’s no telling how many other people working in critical White House roles may have been infected.

In a way, this outcome was inevitable. From the start, Trump has downplayed the severity of the coronavirus, dismissing it as no more than the flu even when he knew full well that it was a serious threat. While other nations were launching serious and sustained testing and tracing responses to keep the spread of the virus in check, Trump dithered.

Worse still, the president politicized the pandemic, contradicting and sidelining his own health officials when they said things he didn’t want to hear. He undermined the federal agencies charged with fighting infectious diseases, including the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and urged governors to lift restrictions and reopen schools before state and local