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Ten Days That Shook the Presidency
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What a difference a week can make.

Saturday, Sept. 26, was among the best days of the Trump presidency, or so some of us thought watching the president introduce in the Rose Garden his sterling candidate for Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court.

The academic and professional credentials of Amy Coney Barrett, 48, a U.S. appeals court judge, were superb. Moreover, she was a devout Catholic and mother of seven, two of whom were adoptees from Haiti.

From every standpoint, a 10-strike for Donald Trump.

Ahead was the Tuesday debate, the first of three with Joe Biden, and the long-awaited opportunity to expose Sleepy Joe’s visible loss of mental and verbal acuity in the four years since he was vice president.

Sunday, however, The New York Times detonated a bomb directly beneath the Trump campaign. Declaring that it had Trump’s tax returns, the Times story blared:

“Donald J. Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes the year he won the presidency. In his first year in the White House, he paid another $750. He had paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years — largely because he reported losing much more money than he made.”

Far from being a billionaire, the Times said, Trump was mired in debt with hundreds off millions of dollars in loans coming due in 2021.

Suddenly, Trump was on the defensive. And in the Cleveland debate, he began a series of accusations and insults that lasted 90 minutes. The debate was widely declared the worst in U.S. presidential history.

Moderator Chris Wallace and the media agreed that the descent into chaos was caused by the endless interruptions of Trump.

Believing he accomplished what he had come to do, Trump headed out for the friendly country of Minnesota’s Iron Range. On the return trip on Air Force One, Hope Hicks, feeling unwell, was quarantined.

She later tested positive for COVID-19.

At 1 a.m. Friday, came word came that both the president and first lady had tested positive. By evening, Marine One was transporting Trump from the White House to Walter Reed hospital in Bethesda.

Saturday came the doctors’ report that the president was doing well, followed by chief of staff Mark Meadows’ backgrounder suggesting that Trump’s situation had been more serious than the country knew.

Came then news that some of Trump’s guests at the Rose Garden ceremony had tested positive: campaign manager Bill Stepien, Governor Chris Christie of his debate prep team, Kellyanne Conway, and Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, both of the Senate Judiciary Committee that will vote on Judge Barrett.

Sunday, with a crowd in front of Walter Reed loudly cheering for him, Trump commandeered an SUV and ordered it to drive by his followers so he could wave to them. In the front seat of the SUV, in masks and protective gear, were Trump’s Secret Service agents.

The cumulative impact of these 10 days has been distracting at best and dreadful at worst. And the pressure from Trump, to get back to the White House and the campaign, suggests this is his take as well.


The coronavirus and how he has handled it, the contraction of COVID-19 and how Trump got infected, his prior mockery of masks and ridicule of many who wear them, the specter of thousands of maskless Trumpsters at MAGA rallies — all are now the stuff of front-page news and back-page commentary.

The nation tends to respond sympathetically when the president faces a life-threatening situation. It did so to Ike’s heart attack in 1955, and to Reagan after he was shot at the Washington Hilton by John Hinckley and then had colon cancer surgery early in his second term.

But Trump may have forfeited some of that sympathy by his mocking the wearing of masks.

On the weekend after the Trump-Biden debate, a Wall Street Journal poll found that Trump had fallen 14 points behind Biden, and, in an average of national polls, Biden now led him by 8 points.

Trump has four weeks to turn it around. And his task, while easy to describe, is not so easy to accomplish. He needs to persuade undecided and soft Biden voters that Joe is simply not up to the job of president.

Assuming he is well enough to campaign as he used to, Trump has to convince the country that Joe Biden is too big a risk to take. He has two more debates to do what he failed to do in the first debate.

Wednesday will be Mike Pence’s opportunity, in his debate with Kamala Harris, to show that Trump made the right call in choosing him.

He can pay back the favor by exposing the radicalism of the people and policies Joe Biden would bring with him into the White House.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

Copyright 2020

• Category: Ideology • Tags: 2020 Election, Coronavirus, Donald Trump, Joe Biden 
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  1. While Trump is going along with the hoax, it seems he is partially against it. He knows it is a hoax for sure. Masks are harmful, not helpful. Any readers who doubt it is a hoax, look up Koch’s Postulates. No one has proven the existence of any C virus per Koch’s Postulates. Trump killed the cheating Biden in the first debate, (Biden had an earpiece, coaching him). The live feed on the ear mike proves they had the questions before hand. And he still lost the debate. A 14 day quarantine would put debate #2 in jeopardy, so Trump ends the Covid act early. He is looking forward to beating Joe up again in the 2nd debate. The election is going to be a landslide. Dementia Joe and Communist Harris are a weak team, indicating the Dems are TRYING to LOSE.

    • Replies: @Curmudgeon
    , @anon
  2. Trump would have easily won the first debate if he had allowed Biden two minutes of uninterrupted time in which to self-destruct, which has happened many times before. Since Trump’s poll numbers after the debate went down instead of up, doesn’t that ipso facto mean that he lost?

    Sure, Chris Wallace was biased toward Biden, but Trump knew that going in, thus cannot blame him for the debacle. Did Trump go against the advice of the debate team that tried to prep him? Trump’s bullying let Biden off the hook. He snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Dana Perino said it best when she opined that Trump fumbled on the one yard line.

    • Replies: @KenH
  3. Jimmy1969 says:

    Pat: Trump is who he is, warts and all good or bad. He is not super articulate, and has no formal debating skills. Biden is a trained lawyer and has 47 years of experience in the dirty trenches of Congress. Trump’s only option is to keep trying to trip up Biden and expose his senility. Normal old fashioned Oxford Gentlemans tactics will not work as Trump does not have them.

    • Replies: @Realist
    , @anon
  4. Realist says:

    Trump is who he is, warts and all good or bad. He is not super articulate, and has no formal debating skills.

    Your point is Biden does?

    Biden is a trained lawyer and has 47 years of experience in the dirty trenches of Congress.

    Biden came in last in his law school. He has never worked as a lawyer…he has never worked outside of government. Biden was born an idiot and has been regressing ever since.

    • Replies: @Curmudgeon
    , @Currahee
  5. When did Trump mock masks? He correctly pointed out the political ends to which they were being used, but he never mocked them in the way the MSM suggests.

    • Replies: @Nancy O'Brien Simpson
  6. TGD says:

    Meanwhile in the wilds of PA, cable TV is being saturated with ads touting what a Biden presidency will do for the average citizen: $15,000 grant for 1st time home buyers; $7,000 per year grant for child care expenses; free college tuition; $100 more per month for social security recipients and preservation of health insurance for people with preexisting conditions. This is powerful stuff.

    Trumps campaign team hasn’t countered these claims. Touting tax cuts will not “cut it” for the average working stiff. I hate to say it, but Trump deserves to loose.

    • Replies: @nsa
  7. If you have a chance, check out Dan Bongino on Hannity’s post-debate show, posted below. President Trump did not lose a single vote from the debate, whereas Joe Biden was goaded into disavowing many major policy platforms that he has had to compromise and support with the far-left of the democrat party. Bongino rightly defines this election and the president’s strategy towards it and Biden in the debate(s).

  8. ariadna says:

    A lucid and fair assessment

  9. nsa says:

    Poor widdle Covid Donnie. Everyone is so mean and hurtful to him. Where oh where is his safe space? This stuff is hilarious. Covid Donnie trails around 8 quacks and a portable hospital at taxpayer expense while trying to strip working lower income folks of their ACA medical coverage. Poor widdle Covid Donnie.

    • Troll: botazefa
  10. KenH says:

    But Trump may have forfeited some of that sympathy by his mocking the wearing of masks.

    A lot of states and localities with mask mandates are still seeing increases in COVID-19, so they aren’t all they’re cracked up to be and provide psychological comfort more than anything.

    Wednesday will be Mike Pence’s opportunity, in his debate with Kamala Harris, to show that Trump made the right call in choosing him.

    I expect Pence’s debate strategy to be to condemn white supremacy every five minutes.

    • Replies: @Currahee
  11. KenH says:

    Since Trump’s poll numbers after the debate went down instead of up, doesn’t that ipso facto mean that he lost?

    One could argue that Trump lost on style more than substance. Biden refused to directly answer several questions and Wallace allowed that. An example would be when Biden refused to answer whether he would end the Senate filibuster and pack the federal courts. It was Trump who rightfully pressed and roasted Biden on this while Wallace just sat there like an idiot.

    • Replies: @anon
  12. Currahee says:

    Trump’s strength: super-aggressive, bombastic alpha male.
    Trump’s weakness: super-aggressive, bombastic alpha male.

    • Agree: John Johnson
  13. @Dennis Gannon

    The hilarity of the masks is all of the people wearing cloth masks, which are less than useless for stopping transmission.

    • Replies: @anon
  14. @Realist

    Biden was born an idiot and has been regressing ever since.

    Dammit! The truth hurts.

    • Replies: @Wyatt
  15. @Currahee

    That’s 100% true and why many voted for him and why many hate him. Our enemies will do anything to undermine our strength as embodied by President Trump. Look at how his statement “don’t let the coronavirus dominate your life” is being used to manipulate fools that believe the lying media.

  16. Currahee says:

    He kicked Paul Ryan’s ass.

  17. Currahee says:

    And to remind us that Dems are the party of Jim Crow and segregation. Because that is why blacks vote overwhelmingly Republican.

    • Replies: @KenH
  18. KenH says:

    Yes, and don’t forget looooooow black unemployment.

    I think if Trump and Pence just talk more about low black unemployment, moving the embassy to Jerusalem and the Platinum Plan reparations for blacks the white working class will come out in record numbers.

  19. anon[454] • Disclaimer says:
    @Dennis Gannon

    And what debate did you watch or did you fall asleep,it wasen’t a debate it was just a slug fest with no winners,showing just how far the political system has been flushed down the sewer leaving just the turds to debate,there were no mention on health care,wages,jobs you know the things that really mean anything to the working class, or the bailout of the financial system for the 1% to the tune of trillions of dollars which the working class gets to repay.Now pucker up I’m sure Trump is headed your way and you can get to kiss his big ass in public if you wish and I’m sure you do.!!!!!

  20. anon[454] • Disclaimer says:

    Oh come now if you rate the debate as a Trump win then God help us all for we have become a nation of blooming idiots.SNL had a very good impression of the debate and I;m sure you would have enjoyed that much more,!!!

  21. I thought the debate was a stalemate but Biden got a boost in the polls. Is what it is.

    Trump was jumping around too much and came across as defensive. He wasn’t able to rattle Biden which is what we were expecting. Trump needs to pick an attack and stick with it. If he brings up Hunter and corruption then he needs to cite sources so it doesn’t just sound like a wild accusation.

    The lack of prep on the part of Trump was also apparent. I think he believed that Biden would just choke his way through it. Though in all fairness I expected Biden would crack.

    Wallace was a pretty lousy moderator. A good moderator is neutral while Wallace seemed vested in pinning Trump on certain issues.

    I don’t think another debate will change anything. The last one was pretty hard to watch.

    Trump better have a PAC trick up his sleeve.

  22. Wyatt says:

    Biden’s Irish. There isn’t anything else he could have been born as under that condition.

  23. anon[137] • Disclaimer says:

    What good will being a trained lawyer and having 47 years in Congress do for Biden when he forgets to put socks on in the morning and thinks Kamala Harris is his wife?

  24. anon[137] • Disclaimer says:

    For orientals, it’s a fashion, for white women, it’s all about virtue signalling.

  25. anon[327] • Disclaimer says:

    Someone actually deciding for whom to vote, Trump or Biden,
    on the results of debates has been asleep for 50 years.

    We know Biden is a creep, crook, con, neocon war monger.

    Trump is honest, decent, actually trying, but in a fight
    against DC/NYC sewer snakes.

    Trump all the way.

    • Replies: @anon
  26. anonymous[393] • Disclaimer says:

    We know Biden is a creep, crook, con, neocon war monger.

    What do you think Trump is?

    • Replies: @anon
  27. Kamala Harris lost to the Fly !!

  28. @The Alarmist

    When Trump tweeted that if you wear a mask you must not support me or something like that his supporters stopped wearing masks. My friends who support Trump used his tweet as a justification for their not wearing a mask.
    Federal prosecutors are discussing Trump’s indictment for this and other lies about COVID 19 with debates as to whether he should be charged with manslaughter in the first degree or second-degree murder.
    I think his obfuscating and lies and 200,000 dead from COVID 19 would qualify as genocide against the aged.

    • Replies: @anon
    , @The Alarmist
  29. anon[327] • Disclaimer says:
    @Nancy O'Brien Simpson

    Are your real initials CNN?

  30. @Nancy O'Brien Simpson

    Your allegations would be findings of fact for a jury to decide, and I doubt they could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt for many reasons, not the least of which was a lack of evidence of causation, let alone an actus reus, requisite mens rea, or evidence of gross negligence.

    200k is bandied about by many, but how many of those were actual death by COVID, how many were death coincident with COVID, and how many were deaths coded as COVID in absence of actual COVID infection for whatever reasons, e.g. medical claims fraud?

    There would be a stronger case to put several Demonrat governors, e.g. Cuomo, in the slammer for knowingly sending recovering COVID patients to care homes, thereby consigning thousands of seniors to an early death. Much easier to show causation there.

  31. anonymous[194] • Disclaimer says:

    So, this is who the Whitrash Alpha males are? Rofl!

    It all figures now.

  32. anon[454] • Disclaimer says:

    Lol you must be an idiot ten will get you a hundred that if Trump (which he won’t) gets re-elected that a war is certain with Iran, which will drag in the big players that we don’t stand a chance in hell of beating.With the financial system in the shape its in only two things will happen, a war to try and pull us out of the mess congress and the oval office has got us into or a global depression as other countries followed us into the fiscal mess,!!!

    • Replies: @anon
  33. anon[327] • Disclaimer says:

    War? Yes. A war against the swamp.

    Iran? No.

    Trump wins 48 – 50 states with 82% popular votes.

    Idiot? Could be.
    Did take 9 attempts to get through 3rd grade.
    First in graduating class.
    So, maybe, not an idiot.

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