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Coronavirus keeps the spotlight on Trump and away from Joe Biden

The less the latter appears in public, the more popular he will become

March 20, 2020

3:17 PM

20 March 2020

3:17 PM

Well, well, well. There was former White House press secretary Sean Spicer at today’s press conference in a new incarnation as Newsmax reporter. Looking much better tailored than when he was press secretary — Trump was apparently livid about his schlumpy appearance back then and a GoFundMe campaign was launched to buy him fresh habiliments — Spicer was looking quite the dandy, or about as dandyish as he can get: checked jacket, pocket square, shirt and tie all of which appeared to be various hues of purple. For the most part, Spicer’s posture towards Trump remained unchanged, which is to say that he was as cringing as ever. ‘Mr President, two questions if you’ll indulge me,’ he said. Trump indulged.

sean spicer trump

Sean Spicer sits among members of the press as he waits for the beginning of a news briefing on the latest development of the coronavirus outbreak

Spicer asked Trump about his support for small businesses, a softball that Trump easily handled. Then Spicer asked about whether Trump was concerned about senators dumping stocks after being briefed about the coronavirus. Trump quickly pivoted, mentioning Dianne Feinstein ‘and a couple others’. Of course Feinstein never attended the original briefing. Trump didn’t want to take a stand on Republican senators Richard Burr and Kelly Loeffler who are coming under fire for dumping millions in stock holdings after being briefed on the looming coronavirus. Burr tried to claim publicly that all was well as he divested himself of stock; Loeffler, to turn a profit by investing in a telework company.


Trump, who denounced NBC reporter Peter Alexander for asking a ‘nasty’ question, went to his old standbys at the end of the conference as well. He emphasized that his administration had inherited an ‘obsolete, broken old system’, indeed a ‘terrible system’. But it was ‘incredible what we’ve done’. The problem is that many Americans remain incredulous about how little he has done to try and address the pandemic after spending several months claiming that the coronavirus would never, ever become one.

Even if he tries to tune it out, the bad news keeps coming for Trump. New York is shutting down. Washington, DC just announced its first coronavirus death. The borders with Mexico and Canada are closing. Investor confidence has been shattered and jobless claims are soaring.

What more could go wrong? Enter former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg. He’s vouchsafing $18 million from his presidential campaign to the Democratic National Committee. He couldn’t perform this charitable action as an individual but as a former presidential candidate there’s no legal impediment to transferring his campaign funds to the DNC. In Bloomberg’s case, it just so happens that he funded his own campaign. As the donor to it, he’s can now donate his millions directly to the Democratic party. Now that America appears to be headed into a new Great Depression, Bloomberg’s $18 million is more valuable than ever for the Democrats.

At the rate the economy is deteriorating, however, the Democrats may not require much of a cash infusion to defeat Trump. The coronavirus keeps the spotlight on Trump and away from Joe Biden. The less the latter appears in public, the more popular he will become. Biden’s opportunities for gaffes have been almost unlimited while Trump gets almost unlimited time to expostulate about how things are getting better every day in every way. In the short run, he may experience an uptick in popularity. But the discrepancy between reality and Trump’s promises is likely to become increasingly egregious in coming weeks and months. Not even Spicer will be able to help him.


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