Trump Identifies the Real Coronavirus Victim: His Presidency

NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland—Facing growing concern over the spread of coronavirus globally, President Donald Trump and his Republican allies have ginned up a communications strategy that leans heavily on blaming Democrats and the media for hyping those fears. 

According to three sources who have independently discussed the crisis with him in the last three weeks, Trump has appeared preoccupied with his theory that liberals and the press were attempting to use coronavirus to make him “look bad” prior to the November election. 

“He made a joke about how he could invent a cure for the coronavirus tomorrow, and [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi would still find ways to criticize him for it,” said one individual who spoke to Trump in the past week on the matter.

Trump has hardly kept those beliefs private, even as he has attempted to portray himself as soberly on top of the emergency response to the outbreak. On Thursday, he took to Twitter to chastise “Do Nothing Democrats” for insisting that the coronavirus was “the fault of ‘Trump.’”

On Friday evening, near the start of the president’s speech at a South Carolina rally, he revved up the crowd by trashing news organizations and Democratic figures for being critical of his coronavirus response. He presided over a chorus of lusty boos for the “horrible” liberals and rowdy cheers for the “great” things Trump has done.

“Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus—they’re politicizing it,” Trump said on stage. “How’s President Trump doing? ‘Not good, not good,’ [they’ll say].”

He also accused CNN and others in the media of going into full-blown “hysteria mode” to try to hurt him politically. And he brazenly went after Democratic lawmakers for their immigration stances, suggesting that their more open policies would lead to more “infection” being imported into the United States. “Border security is also health security,” he said.

Throughout Trumpworld and the administration, those talking points have been pushed as a primary message point for surrogates to emphasize. According to a person familiar with the strategy, the White House has encouraged members of the president’s coronavirus task force to denounce Democrats for attempting to politicize the crisis during media appearances this week.

“Unfortunately what we are seeing is a political effort by the Left and some in the media to distract and disturb the American people with fearful rhetoric and palace intrigue,” White House spokesman Judd Deere told The Daily Beast on Wednesday. “The United States economy is the strongest in the world thanks to the leadership and policies of President Trump. The virus remains low risk domestically because of the containment actions taken by this administration since the first of the year.”

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