(CNN) — President Donald Trump’s failed bid to ignore science and prioritize his political goals at the start of the pandemic, revealed Wednesday in new details by the new Jared Kushner tapes, is failing devastatingly at the critical moment of his candidacy for the re-election.
Dark warnings from scientists and new data showing a nationwide explosion in a virus Trump says is disappearing, crashing stock markets, and real-time examples of the White House’s delusions about his failed response are consuming. to the president as tens of millions of early voters make their judgments.
Democratic candidate Joe Biden, a leader in the polls with five days of the campaign remaining, accused the administration of surrendering to the virus and offered his shoulder to the nation’s pain in the grim months to come.
The extent to which the country’s deteriorating trajectory has passed the final days of the campaign underscores how the election has turned into a personal referendum on Trump and how he mishandled the worst domestic crisis in decades.
The roots of his current difficulties were laid months ago.
“Trump is back in charge. They are not the doctors », said the first son-in-law and adviser to the White House, Kushner, in April on tapes of interviews with Bob Woodward, obtained by CNN.
To win next Tuesday, the president will have to convince enough Americans to build a majority in the Electoral College that his populist anti-Washington message, cultural issues, hard-line “law and order” rhetoric and his Presumed experience in rebuilding the devastated economy are more important than your failed decisions about a pandemic that is getting worse by the day.
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Stocks crash is another blow to Trump
As the coronavirus took hold, the president tried to change the subject, taking advantage of the violence in Philadelphia after another police shooting to blame Democrats for the looting.
But another big crash on Wall Street showed how the election-ending narrative was slipping out of his control. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, one of the president’s favorite metrics for his own performance, lost more than 900 points Wednesday.
Former top Department of Homeland Security official Miles Taylor declared himself the author of a scathing “anonymous” opinion piece from The New York Times in 2018 criticizing Trump’s leadership.
And a new poll showed little sign that the president is making the kind of late race that helped fuel his stunning victory over Hillary Clinton four years ago. A new CNN national poll it had Biden leading by 12 points among likely voters. Even a high single-digit victory could secure Biden a comfortable margin in the Electoral College. Other polls of swing states in Wisconsin and Michigan also had the Democrat ahead.
The president insisted that he was doing “fantastic” in the polls and that he was in better shape than four years ago. However, Trump appears to be facing a complicated scenario on the electoral map that would force him to move the table on a series of battlefields in the south and west before a final showdown with Biden in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
With more than 75 million votes already cast, a third of registered voters, the possibility of a late turnaround in the race is limited, even as the president tried to shore up his power base in the Wild West with demonstrations in Arizona, State. that could help Biden close his path to 270 electoral votes.
New recordings of Kushner’s interviews with Woodward for his book “Rage” show in the most intimate detail yet how the president and his close associates sidelined government scientists earlier this year in an attempt to boost economic openings. at all costs to aid his reelection effort.
In a conversation on April 18, the president’s son-in-law told the veteran of The Washington Post that Trump was “taking the country back from doctors.” And he referred to public health officials as adversaries when he spoke of a “deal” with them.
Misreading the situation, Kushner, who had no prior government experience to match its high influence, also said that the US was moving rapidly through the “panic phase” and the “pain phase” and was in the “beginning of the comeback phase,” while allowing a lot of pain for a while.
At the time of the recordings, more than 40,000 Americans had died from the virus. Now more than 227,000 have died. The death toll is increasing. And hospitals in many states are at risk of being overwhelmed.
But Trump told his crowd in Bullhead, Arizona, as usual, huddled together and with little use of masks, that “people are getting better.”
“We are going to defeat the virus and emerge stronger than ever. Our country will be stronger than ever, “he said.
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Biden warns that beating the virus is not just ‘flipping a switch’
Unlike the president, who is in charge of stopping the latest spike in infections, Biden had a public health expert briefing on Wednesday. He came out to tell Americans that wearing masks was patriotic, not political. But he warned that if he is elected president, he will not be able to end the pandemic by “flipping a switch.” And he drew on his own experience of personal tragedies to comfort the families of the Covid-19 victims.
«I know very well what it feels like to have your heart ripped out. Losing a loved one too soon. Sit by the hospital bed and feel like there is a black hole in the middle of the chest, ”Biden said.
Health experts inside and outside the government made it clear that the state of the pandemic was closer to the situation report presented by Biden than the president’s continued false assessments.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said, “We are not in a good place.” And he predicted that even with a vaccine, it would be “easily” in late 2021 or the following year before Americans experience any degree of normality.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former director of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said the United States was on a trajectory to “look a lot like” Europe’s current peak in early November.
Trump has been arguing with some justification in recent days that European countries hailed for doing a better job than he in fighting the virus are now experiencing dire escalations in infections. France imposed a new lockdown starting Thursday.
But those countries, by aggressively managing the virus, were able to give their populations a breather during the summer, saving thousands of lives. Trump’s push for state openings set off a viral surge in the Sun Belt in the summer. And the United States never returned to the lowest levels of infections experienced on the other side of the Atlantic.
Several Trump aides on Wednesday tried to defend Trump’s handling of the virus, but only served to expose his negligence. Campaign spokesman Hogan Gidley told CNN’s “New Day” that “we are moving in the right direction.” After a White House document bragged that Trump had ended the pandemic.
And Alyssa Farah, the White House communications director, admitted the choice of words was bad. But he said the United States is “turning the corner.”
White House attacks on former official who signed “anonymously”
The White House went on the offensive Wednesday after Taylor, who had been chief of staff to then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, revealed that he had written the op-ed for The New York Times in 2018 and a book critical of Trump. (He was Nielsen’s deputy chief of staff when the op-ed was published.)
“Issuing my criticisms without attribution forced the president to answer them directly on their merits or not answer them at all. Instead of creating distractions through petty insults and nicknames, “Taylor, who is now a CNN contributor, wrote in a statement. “I wanted the focus to be on the arguments themselves.”
In the op-ed, Taylor criticized Trump for “amorality,” “reckless decisions,” and “erratic behavior.” And it sparked a hunt for his identity in the White House.
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White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany issued a statement criticizing Taylor as a “low-level and disgruntled former staff member.” And a “liar and coward who chose anonymity over action and leak over leadership.”
But in many ways, the president’s decision to ignore the ramifications of sidelining scientists in favor of downplaying the pandemic and focusing on his own electoral perspectives validates Taylor’s criticism.
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