President Donald Trump is fighting back against the public health and economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic in the same way he’s navigated other political perils — by stoking the nation’s partisan divide.
But the scale of the crisis the U.S. is facing — over 39,000 people dead and tens of millions out of work — is bigger than anything Trump has faced. Even some Republican strategists doubt that his standard campaign playbook will work in November.
With the “rally around the flag effect” waning and his poll numbers down, the president abandoned a pretense of bipartisanship on Friday by tweeting that his supporters should “liberate” Minnesota, Michigan and Virginia — three states with Democratic governors and strict stay-at-home orders. Protests in Michigan, whose governor, Gretchen Whitmer, is a possible running mate for Democrat Joe Biden, have been organized by a Trump campaign surrogate.