New reporting from Gabriel Sherman confirms what we have long suspected: Trump sees himself as the biggest victim of the coronavirus pandemic:
As he headed into Memorial Day weekend, Donald Trump complained that he was COVID-19’s biggest victim. “He was just in a fucking rage,” said a person who spoke with Trump late last week. “He was saying, ‘This is so unfair to me! Everything was going great. We were cruising to reelection!” Even as the death toll neared 100,000 and unemployment ranks swelled to over 38 million, Trump couldn’t see the pandemic as anything other than something that had happened to him. “The problem is he has no empathy,” the adviser said. Trump complained that he should have been warned about the virus sooner. “The intelligence community let me down!” he said.
Actually, U.S. intelligence agencies issued warnings about the coronavirus “in more than a dozen classified briefings prepared for President Trump in January and February, months during which he continued to play down the threat,” The Washington Post has reported. Apparently, Trump was too busy watching Fox & Friends to read them.
Sherman also reports that Trump has shaken up his campaign staff and promoted an ally of Jared Kushner, Bill Stepien, to deputy campaign manager.
But the real problem, even Trump’s buddies acknowledged to Sherman, is Trump, himself. While Americans lose jobs, get sick and die as a result of the pandemic, Trump plays golf and engages in Twitter attacks, such as obsessively smearing Joe Scarborough.
“Trump is doing it to himself by tweeting idiotic conspiracy theories about Joe Scarborough. Women are tired of this shit,” said another former West Wing official. An outside adviser agreed. “Trump can’t pivot to a different strategy,” the adviser told me. “He only knows one strategy—which is attack. It worked in 2016. But now it’s not what people are looking for.” The adviser told me that Trump’s New York friends are planning an intervention to get him to stop tweeting about the Morning Joe cohost.
At this point many Republicans I spoke to said the only hope for Trump is that Biden implodes. As one prominent Republican put it: “Right now the only person who can change the dynamic is Joe Biden.”