On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump, in his first coronavirus briefing in several months, delivered a sober assessment of the fight against Covid-19 – acknowledging that “it will probably unfortunately get worse before it gets better” and even offering a sort-of endorsement for mask-wearing. At just over 30 minutes, the briefing was far shorter than the rollicking (and rambling) updates Trump was providing on the virus earlier in the year. And Trump himself was significantly more disciplined, largely sticking to prepared remarks and avoiding long asides in which he cast blame on everyone but himself for the current coronavirus state of affairs.
“Trump’s press conference today marks a change in tone and a more disciplined and realistic approach,” tweeted Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak. “It will be a good message for the public and he will benefit from it politically. Welcome news.”
If there is anything we have learned – or should have learned – about Donald Trump over these past five-ish years, it’s that that there is no “new” Trump, no version 2.0, no new leaf to turn over. There is just Trump. He has been this same person – bullying, blaming, convinced of his own brilliance, willing to bend and break facts for his own purposes – his entire adult life. He may be able to subsume those natural characteristics for a day or even a week. But they will come back out – sooner rather than later. They always, always do.