President Donald Trump seemed to be trying to take a somewhat different approach on coronavirus this week.
Sure, he’s still saying the virus will magically disappear and the CDC is strongly suggesting that kids go back to school in person, so take this “change in tone” with a grain of salt. But the President is certainly changing his tack (for now) on a number of pandemic-related problems.
Trump returned to the White House press briefing room, similar to the daily televised affairs this spring – which stopped after the President suggested ingesting bleach.
On Tuesday, Trump added this caveat about the virus: “It will probably unfortunately get worse before it gets better.”
After tweeting an image of himself wearing a mask, he urged Americans to wear them – though he has yet to make any sort of federal mandate.
And on Thursday, Trump cancelled events for the GOP convention in Jacksonville, Florida, and instead will go back to Charlotte, North Carolina as originally planned.
What’s behind it all? One word: Polling.
The President is slipping in every national poll – and in trouble in key states including Texas and Florida. And Trump’s coronavirus handling has a lot to do with the slide.
The nonpartisan Cook Political Report was already forecasting a Biden win, and just today updated its prediction saying Florida now “leans Democrat” from previously being a toss-up.
That might have had some effect on Trump’s abrupt decision to leave Jacksonville – a Quinnipiac poll released Thursday showed 62% of Floridians registered to vote opposed holding the convention in Jacksonville.
Advisers have said the slip in polls spurred Trump’s decision to don a face mask in public as well as his return to the press briefing room. But, but, but: There are only 102 days until Election Day.
The Point: Clearly the numbers matter enough to Trump to make some changes. But will admitting the obvious fact that things will get worse – or abandoning hastily made plans to hold a new convention – be enough to turn the tide?