President Donald Trump and his allies see the coronavirus as a political winner for them.
While the administration has already faced criticism for its handling of the outbreak, two sources say the president himself has joked that critics would be “so surprised” that the outbreak might actually “help, not hurt” his re-election campaign because of his team’s “terrific” response, reported The Daily Beast.
Trump’s view is widely shared among his closest associates, and his campaign has already honed that belief into a political weapon.
“While President Trump proactively combats coronavirus, Democrats campaign to curb Americans’ health care access [with their] Bernie Sanders-inspired, socialist health care agenda,” the 2020 campaign said Monday in a mass email.
Trump and other officials have been coordinating with the administration’s coronavirus task force to develop a strategy for blunting Democratic criticism of their COVID-19 response, according to the Beast’s two sources and a third source with direct knowledge of the discussions.
The White House has reshuffled the coronavirus task force, which was placed under the leadership of Vice President Mike Pence, and those changes initially caused a bottleneck in administration communications.
Two officials told The Daily Beast that the process has improved, but tension remains between scientists and the vice president’s office over the release of public health information.
As the virus has spread, the president has launched customary attacks at his critics, who say the administration has underfunded and mismanaged their response — and the White House expects Trump’s allies to follow his lead.
“While the President is leading aggressive response and preparation efforts, many in the media remain focused on attacking him at every turn,” read a list of talking points sent out by the White House to the president’s media surrogates. “Blinded by their bias and ignorant to the irony, the [New York] Times is accusing the President of having a ‘credibility’ problem on this issue — while publishing politically-motivated disinformation blaming the President for a virus.”
Trump himself has been using the virus to bash Democratic policies on immigration and blame them for politicizing the outbreak — which he’s doing himself.
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