Welcome to this weekly update in the run-up to the US presidential election on November 3. With this week: Donald Trump staged his corona infection, and what did the voter think of the debate on Tuesday?
Has Trump staged his corona infection?
My name is Matthijs le Loux. I write about foreign news for Press and have been reporting on American politics since 2014. In this update I give you an overview of the big news of the week, but I mainly cover less obvious developments and ‘side-paths’ and I share facts, interesting sources and short analyzes to provide you with more context.
After a holiday, I usually prefer to start slowly. That was not possible this time. The week kicked off with revelations about President Trump’s tax history, news that soon faded into the background following an unparalleled debate (if that is the case) between Trump and Biden. To top it all off, it was announced on Friday morning that the president and first lady Melania Trump had contracted the corona virus.
An unexpected benefit of this hectic week was that I finally saw my colleagues from the video editorial team again (albeit via webcam). We made short explanatory videos about:
In this edition of the Election Update we will of course start with the last, most recent bombshell. Then we move on to the aftermath of his showdown with Biden – what did the voter really think about that? Finally, you read the news overview and we talk about the rules for future debates.
That was the question that arose for many after the news of the contamination came out. “Then he claims that he is not experiencing negative symptoms and that helps him to downplay the severity of the pandemic,” it said.
It is a theory that does not resonate much with experts. American style: it doesn’t pass the smell test. The president and his campaign team have been trying hard in recent months to divert attention from the corona virus. The spearhead of Trump’s campaign is not the virus, but the perceived threat of far-left violence and the decline of the suburbs. Being self-diagnosed with the virus has not been determined on message.
In addition, the diagnosis means that the president will have to call off his beloved mass rallies, while his agenda for the next few weeks was filled with it.
His backlog in the polls seems largely due to his handling of the corona crisis, which is disapproved by a good majority of Americans. The question is whether voters will feel much pity for the man who invariably downplayed the severity of the pandemic and pushed for already in February told journalist Bob Woodward that the virus was life-threatening).
Not only Democrats think that Trump’s contamination could have a negative effect on him in the voting booth. Republican consultant Rob Stutzman said today to The New York Times: “It’s hard to imagine that this doesn’t torpedo his hopes for reelection,” as Trump “taunted obvious precautions.”
Party strategist and political veteran Alex Castellanos told the paper he hopes the president’s isolation will dampen his bellicose rhetoric. “Peace and calm help him. He is the polarizing element, not his plans for the country.” Castellanos did add a side note: “Unless he starts tweeting more.”