Monday, August 3, 2020

‘Nobody likes me,’ Trump complains, as his allies fade

Lamenting his plunging popularity this week, President Donald Trump wondered how it all went wrong.

“Nobody likes me,” he said, confounded at how his administration’s health experts could be receiving accolades while he is accused of ignoring and denying the raging public health crisis.

“It can only be my personality,” Trump said, “that’s all.”

In a week that saw a devastating global pandemic worsen, a record economic meltdown confirmed and an all-out bid to stoke racial tensions for political gain deepen, Trump is finding himself more and more the odd man out: absent and detached from the leadership of either party, locked in antique cultural battles and increasingly unpopular among voters.

Far from a mere difference of “personality,” the examples of “nobody liking” Trump this week suggested a President actively isolating himself in his own bubble of conspiracy theories and questionable science, with fewer and fewer people willing to step inside to join him.

In an attempt to boost his mood, Trump’s advisers scrambled to assemble a scaled-down political event on a baking Florida tarmac on Friday, where Trump addressed a mostly mask-less crowd standing inches from one another. Other events in the state that Trump had scheduled for Saturday were canceled as a storm approached.

The event illustrated what White House officials describe as an ad-hoc effort to schedule appearances for Trump that allow him to bask in at least some adulation as his campaign rallies remain on hold and after an in-person convention acceptance speech was scuttled.

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