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By Isaac Newton Tetteh – GITFIConline.com
It took a surge of nearly two million coronavirus cases over the last month — and the spate of devastating polls that ensued for President Donald Trump to finally begin acknowledging reality.
“It will probably, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better,” Trump read grimly from a script during a subdued news conference, looking up from the podium to concede the gloom didn’t exactly come naturally: “Something I don’t like saying about things, but that’s the way it is.”
The President and his team had discussed the warning that morning, people familiar with the matter said, recalling an earlier moment in the pandemic when a similar dose of real-talk provided Trump a boost. Doing it again could help mark a turning point for a badly wounded president, advisers reasoned.
The admission became the first in a series of remarkable about-faces this week for a President ordinarily loath to course correct. After spending the last month in denial about the worst health crisis in a century and downplaying a surge in coronavirus cases by falsely claiming it was artificially juiced by increased testing, Trump this week — prodded by aides and sinking poll numbers — has tried to show Americans he is taking the pandemic seriously.
He has finally joined public health experts in calling masks effective and taken to carrying his navy blue mask around in his pocket to urge Americans to wear them. He acknowledged Thursday that some school districts may need to delay reopening, though he still wants students in classrooms come soon. And on Thursday he finally abandoned his demand for a crowded in-person convention, canceling activities in Jacksonville, Florida, after advisers suggested the turnabout would demonstrate leadership.
In truth, Trump’s retreat came only after aides showed the President a series of crushing polls showing him not only trailing the presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden nationally and in must-win battleground states, but also revealing that a growing majority of Americans disapprove of his handling of the pandemic.
The shift comes too late to erase the months Trump spent in denial — both on his convention and on the virus itself. Canceling events and bowing to facts now aren’t going to contain a virus that, partly because of some of Trump’s actions and decisions, is still spreading out of control.
Trump is now trailing Biden by double digits with an average deficit of 12 percentage points, according to a CNN average of recent national polls. A series of Fox News polls this week showed Biden handily leading Trump in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota. And a Washington Post-ABC News poll showed that just 38% of Americans approve of Trump’s handling of the pandemic — with 60% disapproving