Just hours after his divisive speech, Donald Trump’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, issued a statement Saturday night to announce the President has been cleared to retake his active schedule and said Trump has met criteria from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to end isolation. However, Conley didn’t say if Trump tested negative for the virus since first testing positive almost 10 days ago.
Last week, Trump staged a reckless stunt when he briefly left Walter Reed Medical Center to wave to supporters from his presidential motorcade. He then managed to use his return to the White House as a photo-op to divide and provoke as he ripped off his face mask in yet another act of defiance toward basic public health guidance.
Since then, the President has continued to sow chaos. On Thursday, Trump called for Attorney General Bill Barr to indict Biden along with former President Barack Obama. The move prompted CNN’s chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin to write, “Have our standards fallen so far
that this kind of antidemocratic authoritarian behavior passes without criticism? Is this now normal?”
When the FBI broke up a horrific plot to kidnap the Democratic governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, whose lockdown policies became the focus of armed right-wing protesters, Trump decided it was fitting to continue lashing out at her.
In a Twitter string on Thursday he said the governor “has done a terrible job” and complained that she’d called him a White supremacist instead of thanking “my Justice Department and Federal Law Enforcement” for foiling a dangerous plot against her. He also tweeted that he does “not tolerate ANY extreme violence” and called on her to “open up your state, open up your schools and open up your churches!”
The next day, Trump spoke to the conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh for nearly two hours and attacked everyone from Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris to NBA star LeBron James.
All of this comes after the President openly threatened the election process by refusing to commit to a peaceful transition of power.
Democrats are right to be worried. What we are witnessing is not some sort of grim reality show, but our political system in turmoil. With less than a month to go before the election, President Trump is spinning out of control.
With each passing day, we see just how desperate the President is to keep his grasp on power. At this point, there is no other way to characterize President Trump than to say he is a weak and vulnerable incumbent who can’t figure out a way to expand his support.
Trump is on shaky territory, and he could end up following in the footsteps of one-term presidents like Herbert Hoover, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush. Polls shows that Joe Biden continues to maintain a steady lead over Trump, and Senate Republicans are beginning to distance themselves from the President in an act of self-preservation. Even Texas Republican Ted Cruz admitted that the GOP might be facing a “bloodbath of Watergate proportions” come November.
As the going gets tough, Donald Trump is becoming more vicious and unhinged. His instinct is to double down, even though that’s exactly the behavior that has made him such an unpopular incumbent. It doesn’t help that Trump has flagrantly defied the norms and rules that have kept other presidents in check.
At this point, Trump is like a boxer who has been pummeled in the first 11 rounds of a match. Barely able to stand, he is willing to bite and hit below the belt in the final minutes of the competition.
Things are bound to get worse, and the balcony speech marks the start of the final phase of Desperate Donny’s take-no-prisoners campaign.
Thus far, the Biden-Harris ticket has done well essentially sitting back and letting the President do his thing. Biden has remained focused on the President’s obvious points of vulnerability.
But they shouldn’t underestimate what can happen next. During the final weeks of the campaign, Democrats should not refrain from driving home the threat this president poses to the country if he remains in the White House for another four years. They should be blunt about the fragile state of the nation and the multiple failures that we have seen under this administration.
Nor should they assume that their strong position in early October allows them to sit back and coast to the finish line. The power of a president is an awesome thing. And when you have someone who can no longer see a path to victory through legitimate means, that’s when the institutions of government face their greatest risk. Democrats need to maintain a strong resolve as they face a firehose of political attacks. The next few weeks will be brutal, and the ability of our democracy to preserve itself will be tested unlike any other moment in modern US history.