Trump Tries To Shift Conversation Away From Covid After Return From Walter Reed

Topline

President Trump is attempting to move the political conversation away from coronavirus one day after his return to the White House following his hospitalization at Walter Reed Medical Center.

Key Facts

Trump was discharged from Walter Reed on Monday, three days after he was checked in for a coronavirus infection amid reports he was suffering from a fever, coughing and difficulty breathing, among other symptoms.

Trump and his aides have sought to dismiss continued concerns about his health, with Trump tweeting “FEELING GREAT!” on Tuesday, followed by a memo from White House physician Sean Conley stating the president “reports no symptoms” and is doing “extremely well.”

But Trump also tried to downplay the virus itself on Tuesday, falsely comparing it to the flu in a tweet and asserting the country should learn to “live with” coronavirus just as it does with the flu.

Trump has focused most of his tweets Tuesday on topics aside from coronavirus, tweeting about abortion and Roe v. Wade, mocking Mike Bloomberg and calling to “REPEAL SECTION 230!!!” after Twitter and Facebook took action against posts he made on both platforms falsely claiming that coronavirus is less deadly than flu.

Trump also accused the “Fake News Media” of refusing to cover “how good the Economy and Stock Market, including JOBS under the Trump Administration, are doing” amid his health scare, declaring “All they want to discuss is COVID 19.”

Trump nonetheless insisted Republicans “beat the Dems all day long” on coronavirus, but he has just 42% approval on his handling of the pandemic in the RealClearPolitics average, while 63% of Americans said in a CNN poll that Trump acted irresponsibly in dealing with the risk of infection to those around him.

Big Number

12%. That’s the share of likely voters who said in a SurveyUSA poll that coronavirus is their top priority in the 2020 election, compared to 15% who said the economy and 14% who said defeating Donald Trump.

Crucial Quote

“There’s a lot to be concerned about,” Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said Monday after Trump urged Americans not to be afraid of coronavirus or let it “dominate” their lives despite a death toll of 210,000 in the U.S. “I hope no one walks away with the message, thinking that it is not a problem. It’s a serious problem,” Biden added.

What To Watch For

Coronavirus is unlikely to disappear from campaign discourse as President Trump seems to wish it would. One study from the University of Washington predicts deaths could continue to tick up as the U.S. moves into fall and winter, with deaths reaching 2,900 per day.

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