Despite blustering in public that the coronavirus is “Fake News!” and being weaponised against him, Donald Trump is reportedly fretting about the growing crisis behind the scenes, with one ex-West Wing official telling Vanity Fair: “He’s just now waking up to the fact that this is bad, and he doesn’t know how to respond.”
The White House has said that the president himself has so far not been tested for the disease, despite coming into contact with several Republican allies who have since gone into self-isolation, including new chief of staff Mark Meadows and congressmen Doug Collins, Matt Gaetz and Paul Gosar.
Democratic 2020 front-runner Joe Biden has meanwhile opened up a commanding lead over rival Bernie Sanders, according to multiple national polls, as the states of Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and Washington all hold primaries on Tuesday.
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This video is a pretty perfect illustration of why Fox is quite so integral to the president’s re-election effort.
Here’s what’s come of that so far:
The ex-veep’s latest campaign trail is certainly causing a stir online with his supporters praising it as straight-talking and Team Trump gleefully cheering a fresh gaffe.
The studio audience in New York – where the coronavirus case total is now up to 167 with a state of emergency declared – made its feelings clear when the comedian addressed the president’s latest turn around the green with the world suffering a major healthcare panic.
“You took the ‘uuuurrrghhh’ right out of my mouth,” the host told them.
Here’s Andrew Naughtie with more on the golfer-in-chief.
This is surely the definitive riposte to the president regarding the necessity or otherwise of his under-construction border wall to the south.
You can, by the way, follow the latest on the coronavirus in America on our dedicated liveblog below.
Trump said today would be a “a BAD day for Crazy Bernie” and, according to Clark Mindock, he could be right.
A week after Super Tuesday narrowed the field to two serious contenders, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are facing off in six more states.
Between them, these primaries have the potential to all but decide the nomination fight – or confuse it even further.
While Biden is so far well ahead and heavily favoured to win overall, the pledged delegate gap between the two men is not yet decisive.
From the west coast to the Midwest to the Deep South, here’s what’s at stake with Andrew Naughtie.
More reassurance, balance and wisdom from the president:
My god he’s desperate for love today.
Another of the GOP self-quarantiners is being rightly toasted online for his ludicrously grandiose Twitter meditation on disease and death, with Democratic favourite Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez bringing the scorn.
The real reason the president is insisting on downplaying the threat of the coronavirus? To protect his hotels, say his (many enemies).
“If there is any public health shutdown of restaurants, conventions and meetings, that will impact his property and his finances,” says Kathleen Clark, an ethics lawyer at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis and frequent critic of Trump. “I think a reasonable person can conclude that he is motivated by personal interests.”
Clark Mindock has a great deal more where that came from.
In the last hour, the president has been back on Twitter predicting “a BAD day for Crazy Bernie”, claiming to care about the public’s health while promoting a sychopant’s attack on the media, trailing a White House ceremony to award Fox pundit General Jack Keane with the Medal of Freedom and again rollicking Jay Powell over the fluctuating economy.
Here’s John T Bennett on all the president’s posts.
For Indy Voices, Jay Caruso has this warning for Magaworld on the very real threat posed by the Vermont senator.
US surgeon general Jerome Adams appeared on CNN’s State of the Union over the weekend and entirely failed to convince with some wild claims about the president’s allegedly exceptional health.
Andrew Naughtie has this report.
Melania Trump has canceled a California fundraiser set for later this month.
Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s spokeswoman, cited an unspecified “scheduling conflict” as the reason on Monday. The cancellation comes as organisations and groups around the country are scrapping large gatherings amid an outbreak of the new coronavirus.
Her husband’s re-election campaign had been asking supporters to make a donation for a chance to meet the first lady in California.
“Win a trip to meet first lady Melania Trump in Beverly Hills,” campaign literature said. A date for the event was not included, though it was believed to have been set for mid-March.
Mrs Trump will go ahead with plans to deliver remarks Tuesday at the National PTA Legislative Conference in Alexandria, Virginia, Grisham said.
President Trump, meanwhile, headlined a $4m (£3.1m) fundraiser on Monday at a private home in the Orlando, Florida, area.
As Biden leads the race heading into the next set of primary votes today, he has unleashed a rarely used weapon in what has become a two-man battle for the Democratic presidential nomination: Brevity.
His campaign event in St Louis clocked in at about seven minutes on Saturday. A short time later, at a windswept event in Kansas City, people were streaming towards their cars after Biden wrapped up in 12 minutes. His longest speech of the weekend, in the gym of Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi, didn’t quite make 15 minutes.
The tactic represents a seismic shift for Biden who in five decades of political office and three White House runs has never had a reputation for breviloquence. It’s a habit perhaps nurtured in the Senate, which prides itself on limitless debate and has a special term – filibuster – for talking endlessly.
A new video game has been created which lets players control Bernie Sanders and jump on the heads of his Trump-supporting enemies. Called Super Bernie World, the free-to-play platforming game is designed in the style of the iconic Super Mario games.
According to a message at the start of the game, Super Bernie World ”is designed to get out the vote! Newsworthy persons are portrayed and their actual statements are provided to help educate voters and inspire political action.”
Louis Chilton has more on this.
Ben Chapman has the latest on the market response to the coronavirus and Trump’s latest pronouncements as European stocks rebounded this morning after a rout on Monday that saw £124bn wiped off the combined value of FTSE 100 companies.
The UK’s blue-chip index of large firms rose two per cent in early trading to 6,086.76, erasing some of the previous day’s plunge – the index’s worst since the 2008 financial crisis.
Trump administration aides have had preliminary talks about calling a national emergency over the coronavirus, which would allow disaster-level action to be taken by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, The Washington Post reports this morning.
Rory Sullivan has more on this.
The latest tweets from the president again find him descending into self-parody and taking the fight to English grammar.
Does he now consider himself an ironic abstract concept, rather than a living breathing human being?
He’s also been busy accusing Britain’s own dear Daily Mail of “Fake News!!” so even a stopped clock etc.
Conrad Duncan has this on the humbling of a Trump apologist and self-parodying frat boy.