According to a report from Politico, Donald Trump’s desire to be seen as an indefatigable superman after contracting the COVID-19 virus is not sitting well with voters who have been witnessing the real horror of the pandemic that has claimed almost 220,000 Americans.
As the report from Politico’s Nancy Cook notes, Trump has always tried to portray himself as someone who could last longer, go farther and work harder even if that is not the case. As Cook points out, Trump believes that is his “brand.”
“It’s an image of vitality and stamina Trump has promoted throughout his real estate career, his reality show and his presidency, suddenly upended by his Covid-19 diagnosis in the final month of the 2020 race,” the report states. “Now, in the middle of a once-in-a-century pandemic and searing recession, Trump is closing out his campaign with this attitude of fighting, dominance and aggression rather than empathy and compassion many undecided voters may want in a moment of national uncertainty.”
According to one White House official, “Portraying weakness or vulnerability is not a comfortable spot for him. He thinks his supporters like seeing him as a fighter.”
That may play well with his rabid base, but it is also a red flag to suburban women, and senior voters whose votes he needs because they see him not taking the deadly pandemic seriously as their own ranks suffer the most.
“The strategy has not done enough to win the support of key voting blocs including senior citizens, suburban women and independent voters. Many of them are turning away from Trump this election cycle, dismayed by his administration’s handling of Covid-19,” the report states. “Now, Trump’s post-Covid macho man routine could become a political liability as cases rise this fall across the nation.”
According to Jeremy Faust, an emergency physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, “When he said, ‘Don’t let the virus dominate your life,’ I heard a million epidemiologists cry out in terror. The fact that when Trump recovered, it was all about him beating the virus and not about, ‘I went through this ordeal and here is what we can do to stay safe’ — that is a terrible disservice. As a president, you have the opportunity to educate people every day.”
“What Trump most fears and denies is weakness,” explained Tony Schwartz, the ghost-writer behind “Trump: The Art of the Deal” explained. “I can only imagine he found it virtually intolerable to be in a hospital. ‘I am not a sick person, ever’ is how he sees himself.”
“He has always defined every outcome as a victory even when it wasn’t,” he added, “Trump’s advantage in promoting himself is that a victory is a victory, but he also declares victory in defeat.”
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