Donald Trump plays down COVID-19 as he steps up the pitch for second term – Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado 2020-10-17 14:15:01 –

WASHINGTON – Gone are the days when President Donald Trump stood on the White House podium daily, surrounded by members of his coronavirus task force. And the days when Vice President Mike Pence and other task force officials went to Trump’s office to brief him immediately after their meetings.

The White House will not say when Trump last met with the task force.

In the week following his release from coronavirus isolation, Trump demonstrated a new determination to downplay the threat of the virus that has killed more than 215,000 Americans and made it harder for his chances of winning another four years in the White House.

“The light at the end of the tunnel is near. We’re turning the round, ”Trump told supporters on Friday at an event in Fort Myers, Fla., One of many moments in a campaign week where the president attempted to downplay the viral threat. “Don’t listen to cynics, supporters and angry pessimists.”

In word and action, he is pushing an optimistic outlook even as coronavirus infections increase in Europe and public health officials sound the alarm that the infection rate in the United States climbs to a new high.

Over the past week, he has spread misinformation about the virus, undermined the country’s leading infectious disease specialist and maintained his practice of avoiding the use of masks. Efforts to reduce the virus have gone into haste as Democrats attempt to structure the White House race as a referendum on Trump’s handling of America’s worst public health crisis in more than a century.

The US economy is still about 11 million jobs short of recouping the 22 million jobs that were lost when the pandemic struck in early spring. The country has recorded on average more than 50,000 new cases of coronavirus per day over the past week. National and battlefield public opinion polls suggest Trump faces strong headwinds in his bid for a second term.

Olivia Troye, a former task force aide who has become a harsh critic of Trump, said that at the start of the crisis Trump was “asking the right questions” when medics spoke to her about their fears the country might do. faced with an upsurge in cases. in autumn and winter.

“This is why it is so completely reckless of him, having had COVID himself, to turn around this week and double the mask removal and parade like it wasn’t a necessary thing,” claiming to be immune, ”she said. “He redoubled information on the disinformation that came out of his mouth throughout the duration of this pandemic.”

At his NBC News town hall on Thursday night, Trump was asked if he should have known better than to announce his appointment of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court with a Rose Garden ceremony and indoor reception where little of guests wore masks and social distancing was non-existent.

He responded by mistakenly citing a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to incorrectly suggest that wearing a mask does not lessen the spread of the virus. The study did not say that.

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