Donald Trump indulges in his obsessions as the coronavirus pandemic breaks out

However, Trump found time to defend a statue of former President Andrew Jackson, who retired to his slave plantation in 1837, and retweeted a video in which a supporter chanted “white power.” Trump denied reports that he was informed that Russia was offering a reward for the Taliban killings of American and British soldiers, but did not say how he would respond and defend American troops if the story were true. And Trump, who criticized his predecessor, Barack Obama, for his less prolific golf hobby, made two trips to his Virginia course, despite boasting that he canceled a weekend trip to his New Jersey resort to make sure that “law and order are followed” in Washington, DC.

Trump’s weekend represented yet another sign that he has passed a pandemic, which has killed more than 125,000 Americans and threatens to claim tens of thousands more, which he initially ignored, then mismanaged and politicized and has now grown weary of. to mention. his reelection fight looms. His negligence came despite his Health and Human Services secretary Alex Azar issuing an alarming warning on CNN that seemed to contradict Vice President Mike Pence’s claim of “truly remarkable progress” in the battle against the coronavirus and false statements that the United States had “flattened the curve”. “

“This is a very, very serious situation and the window is closing so we can take action and get this under control,” Azar told CNN’s Jake Tapper in “State of the Union.” But like other members of the administration, Azar insisted that the history of the pandemic is a great success, in terms of making hospital beds, protective equipment and tests more available than two months ago.

Since Pence spoke on Friday, the United States has accumulated a record number of new coronavirus infections, with more than 40,000 on Friday and more than 42,000 on Saturday. States like Florida, Texas and Arizona, which accepted Trump’s demands for rapid economic openness and failed to meet the administration’s benchmarks for doing so safely, are discovering that the virus is rampant. New cases are now on the rise in 36 states, remain constant in 12, and decrease in just two, suggesting that the pandemic is almost out of control, even when some U.S. counterparts, such as the European Union and countries Asians have been far more successful in reducing the virus.

Pence denies that the early opening caused the resurgence

The vice president traveled to Texas on Sunday and appeared alongside Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, and appeared to make a significant change, calling on Americans to wear masks if they cannot observe the patterns of social distancing, a step Trump, who refuses to use A mask and says that those who do it are trying to hurt him politically, he refuses to drink.

“Wearing a mask is just a good idea and, we know from experience, it will slow down the spread of the coronavirus,” Pence said.

The vice president’s comments, as much as he tried to avoid putting Trump in a difficult position, will increase political pressure on the president to publicly ask Americans to cover their faces and model a face mask. That political heat had intensified that morning when Republican Senator Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Work and Pensions, effectively asked Trump to show leadership on the issue.

“If wearing masks is important, and all health experts tell us that it contains the disease in 2020, it would help if the President occasionally used one to help us get rid of this political debate that says if you are for Trump, you don’t wear a mask, if you’re against Trump, yes, “the Tennessee Republican said on CNN’s” Inside Politics “.

In addition to his comments on the masks, Pence praised the “leadership” of Trump and everyone involved in a failed government effort and made a new attempt to argue that state openings had nothing to do with an increase in infections.

“About two weeks ago, something changed,” Pence said, trying to portray the Texas reopening plan before then as a massive success.

However, medical experts say states experiencing an increase in infections are now paying the price for a lax opening.

“If I were to give a rating for all of us except maybe some states like New York, Washington, New Jersey, I would say that we are primarily getting an ‘F’, right now, going from the first part of May until we reopen so far, “Dr. Michael Saag, a professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, told CNN on Sunday.

A new storm in Russia

Reports that the Moscow military intelligence agency GRU rewarded American and British troops in Afghanistan sparked a new storm in Russia for the White House.

The New York Times quoted unidentified officials for the first time as saying that Trump and Pence were briefed on the matter but had so far taken no action.
A US official with knowledge of the matter told CNN’s Barbara Starr on Sunday that the United States received information several months ago that the GRU contacted Taliban-linked militias and offered money to attack US and coalition forces in Afghanistan. . The official said it was unclear how verified the intelligence was or who exactly the Russian representatives approached.
The Washington Post reported Sunday night that the rewards are believed to have resulted in the deaths of several US troops, citing United States intelligence obtained from military interrogations. A European intelligence official told CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh on Saturday that the incentives offered by the Russians, in their assessment, had led to Coalition casualties.

Trump tweeted Sunday that “everyone has been denying it and there have not been many attacks on us,” but the president, who has consistently undermined his own administration’s efforts to toughen Russia, did not promise to defend American troops. May or to get to the end of the report.

If the plot is genuine and Trump knew it but did not act, he could be considered negligent in his duty to defend the Americans and there would be new questions about his strange deference to Russian President Vladimir Putin. If you were not informed, your entire national security process will be exposed.

Former Trump national security adviser John Bolton, publishing a deeply critical book with the president, said Sunday that Trump’s defense of himself exemplified his inability to office.

“The fact that the president feels compelled to tweet about the news here shows that his fundamental focus is not on the security of our forces, but if it seems like he wasn’t paying attention. So he’s saying, ‘Well, nobody therefore, He said he can’t blame me, “Bolton said in” State of the Union. “

Trump retweets the song of ‘white power’

The president had his own definition of leadership in mind for much of the weekend.

In a shocking moment, he thanked “great people” in a Florida retirement community for their support, retweeted a video showing a man on a golf course adorned with “Trump” placards that sing “white power.” Trump later deleted the retweet with one of his spokesmen, Judd Deere, insisting that “he did not hear the only statement made in the video.” Previously, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, the only black Republican senator, said the video was offensive and “indefensible.”

Bolton told CNN’s “Jake Tapper” that “not paying attention” would be typical of Trump. But it was only the last time the President retweeted an article that tore through the nation’s racial divisions. Normal minimum presidential standards of conduct could suggest that a commander-in-chief would verify content before tweeting it to millions of followers. On Saturday, Trump tweeted about an attempt to tear down the Jackson statue in Lafayette Park across from the White House last week, after signing an executive order that apparently only required his government to enforce the law protecting property monuments. federal, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison for desecration. However, Trump claimed credit anyway for stopping attacks on icons of Civil War generals and figures in United States history who have ties to slavery or racial records recently exposed by a national trial after the death of George Floyd in police custody.

“Since a very powerful 10-year prison sentence was imposed on those who destroy monuments, statues, etc., with many people arrested across our country, vandalism has come to a complete halt. Thank you!” Trump tweeted on Sunday.

By ignoring the pandemic but spending his time defending basic monuments and names honoring Confederate generals, the president is actively using the darkest moments in U.S. history to try to spark a culture war rage to solidify his political support. while falling behind presumptive Democratic candidate Joe Biden. His use of the word “inheritance” invokes the suggestion that a traditional white American culture is under siege by protesters and non-white radicals. He seems to be betting that such tactics, guarantees that the fight against the coronavirus has ended when it doesn’t, and an assault on Biden’s brainpower will lead to reelection. The president’s constant rebellion against his own government’s advice on the pandemic – for example, wearing masks – is part of the same approach designed to appeal to voters who long ago engaged in what they see as liberal values, of elite and establishment. version of the truth

Biden on Sunday featured the president in a tweet.

“Today, the president shared a video of people screaming ‘white power’ and said they were ‘cool.'” Just like he did after Charlottesville, “Biden wrote.

“We are in a battle for the soul of the nation, and the president has chosen a side. But make no mistake: it is a battle that we will win.”