From denial to alarmism, Donald Trump’s change of course in the face of Covid-19

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From denial to alarmism, Donald Trump's change of course in the face of Covid-19


Long resistant to wearing a mask as a means of fighting Covid-19, the President of the United States now recommends its use. A sudden turnaround, possibly interested in the approach of the presidential election.



© ALEX EDELMAN / AFP
Donald Trump wearing a mask – Illustrative image


The turnaround is unexpected, but it is very real. In recent days, US President Donald Trump seems to be taking the dramatic measure of the coronavirus in the United States, the most affected country worldwide with nearly 4 million cases and more than 142,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to the count from Johns Hopkins University.

“Patriotic” gesture

In the first days of the spread of Covid-19 across the Atlantic, the strongman of the White House had tried to moderate, or even minimize, the impact of the disease on American territory. For him, the dizzying number of contaminated people identified over time was in fact due to the prevention policy carried out by his administration and to numerous tests implemented throughout the territory. His ambiguous behavior had also been echoed by many of his supporters, which largely questioned the dangerousness and the very existence of the virus.

However, during a press conference held on Tuesday, Donald Trump surprised his world finally recommending the wearing of the mask in situations where social distancing remains impossible.

“Adopt the mask, whether you like it or not, it has an impact, it works. We need it,” he said, just hours after a message posted on Twitter where the latter assured that wearing this protection was a “patriotic” gesture in order to get rid of the “Chinese virus.”

“Unfortunately, the situation will certainly get worse before it gets better. It is not pleasant to say, but it is true,” he also added during his speech.

An interested turnaround?

This realization comes just over three months before the US presidential election, where Donald Trump will try to run for a second term against Democrat Joe Biden. Only problem, the current president is largely the loser in the latest polls, and would also be in decline in various states that are historically favorable to him, including Texas, where moderate Republicans seem to have more and more difficulty in placing their trust in Trump.

It must be said that many indicators are in the red for the former real estate mogul. Accused of denial and inaction, Donald Trump saw his confidence level wane, as the health crisis grew in importance in the United States. According to the latest figures from Rasmussen Reports, they are now 51% of those polled to disapprove of the work of the current administration, a rate which jumped to 55% at the end of June. Same story for the YouGov institute, where 56% of respondents say they are unhappy.

A mistrust that is illustrated in national polls in anticipation of the future presidential election. Already in trouble last JuneDonald Trump is now relegated to nearly 10 points behind Joe Biden. According to the latest data from Real Clear Politics, the latter would be given a large winner with, to date, 8.6 points in advance, without even campaigning. With this abrupt change of course, Donald Trump probably hopes to reduce this important gap, which some already consider decisive.

Panic among Republicans

However, the damage could already be done for Donald Trump, and this turnaround a bit too late. In recent days, faced with the resurgence of the virus, several states in the south of the country, governed by Republicans, were forced to reconfine part of their population. A hard blow for Donald Trump, who had never ceased to attack the Democrats and their management of the health crisis.

“The worst is happening in the southern United States, in states that are held by Republicans, when Donald Trump’s strategy was to explain that it was democratic mismanagement that was causing this pandemic to spread in the United States “, explains at the microphone of Europe 1 the specialist of the United States, Jean-Éric Branaa.

Thus, the new political line followed by Donald Trump could allow him to regain control of his most loyal troops who, in recent days, have found themselves “very poor”, continues Branaa.

“It is the anti-Trump compared to what we have had for six months. We find the one we had seen very briefly, which explained that America was going to live through very difficult times. It had lasted two weeks before he leaves for the countryside and completely forgets this message to take the opposite view and affirm that the pandemic did not exist “, explains the latter.

Hunt the natural …

Despite this desire by Donald Trump and his administration to show a white footing, old habits are tough. The world points out that on June 15, in the columns of Wall Street Journal, Vice-President Mike Pence had deemed “exaggerated” the panic linked to a possible second wave of the epidemic before praising the merits of Donald Trump.

“Thanks to the leadership of President Trump and the courage and compassion of the American people, our public health system is much stronger than it was four months ago, and we are winning the fight against the invisible enemy “, he estimated.

For his part, the president had, in an interview broadcast on Sunday, also qualified as “alarmist” the words of Anthony Fauci, director of the national institute of infectious diseases, who had mentioned an epidemic out of control on the ground American. As a precaution, Donald Trump is still screened several times a day, the White House spokeswoman said this week.

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