President Donald Trump claimed he’s “learned” more from the “real school” of contracting the coronavirus than he ever could have from “‘let’s read the book’ school.” But despite one spokesperson attacking Joe Biden for not having the “firsthand experience” of an infection, another adviser is now insisting that the campaign is “not changing course.”
Confronted by Fox News anchor Sandra Smith with a CNN poll that found 63 percent of Americans believe Trump acted “irresponsibly” when it came to handling the COVID risk to the people around him, campaign adviser Mercedes Schlapp seemed unconcerned about political fallout over the president’s obvious recklessness.
Suggesting that Trump's personal experience will make him more “empathetic” to the millions of Americans who have been affected by COVID-19, Schlapp said, “At the end of the day, I think that the president will share that strong message of we can’t let this dominate us. We can’t give up. We cannot surrender like Joe Biden is saying. We have to stay strong, defeat this virus together.”
“A lot of that sounds very similar to the messaging that we heard prior to the president’s diagnosis,” Smith pointed out, steering the conversation back to the poll that found that not only nearly two-thirds of respondents think Trump acted “irresponsibly” but, by the same percentage, believe he’s “not likely” to change his approach to the pandemic.
Asked how the president will demonstrate that he is “changing course or strategy” now that he’s been diagnosed with the virus, Schlapp replied, “The president is not changing course. The president is focused on solving this very difficult global pandemic that’s impacting all of our lives.”
“You’re telling me there’s no change in course?” Smith said, interrupting her guest. “These polls are showing people are concerned, obviously, about the irresponsible nature, as the poll put out, about how he’s handled it. So you don’t see the need, the campaign doesn’t see the need to change course on the messaging?”
“We are all concerned about this global pandemic that’s affected all of us,” Schlapp responded, pivoting to the “stress” of having her children’s schools closed and highlighting the one time Trump called mask-wearing “patriotic.” She failed to mention the moment during last week’s debate when the president directly mocked his opponent for wearing the “biggest mask” he’d ever seen.