Trump tries to claw back control as coronavirus pandemic threatens his reelection

The most notable addition to the president’s preferred social media feed was a black-and-white photo posted Monday afternoon, showing him modeling a face mask, a personal mitigation measure Trump had long been reluctant to model.

“There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President!” he wrote online.

The president seems poised to reprise those rosy sentiments Tuesday evening, when he is slated to resume his appearances at televised White House coronavirus press conferences.

Trump revealed Monday that he would return to the podium for a coronavirus briefing after a nearly three-month hiatus. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany is also scheduled to brief reporters in a separate news conference Tuesday morning.

This week has also seen a brief détente in the president’s feud with his own health officials, after the White House rebuked CDC guidance for reopening schools and waged a smear campaign against Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, in recent days.

Although Trump did deem the doctor to be “a little bit of an alarmist” during an interview Sunday in which he again downplayed the nature of the coronavirus threat, Fauci appeared optimistic Tuesday about the White House’s plans to restart its task force briefings. “I think if we do this and we do it right, it will be very informative for the American public,” he told NPR.

The apparent shift in the administration’s messaging comes as state and local leaders continue to wrestle with soaring Covid-19 caseloads exacerbated by rampant community spread, while Trump’s reelection team reckons with the latest public polling showing him trailing former Vice President Joe Biden less than four months from Election Day.

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