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Trump refuses to lead as pandemic worsens and allies desert him on masks

July 1, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 26: U.S. President Donald Trump participates in a meeting of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board in the East??Room of the White House on June 26, 2020 in Washington, DC. Earlier in the day President Trump canceled his scheduled weekend trip to his private golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey which the state now has a mandatory 14-day quarantine for travelers coming from states with coronavirus spikes. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Most Presidents would try to stop the United States from barreling toward disaster. But Donald Trump has nothing to say and no answers to mitigate a calamity unfolding on his watch that he seems resolved to ignore.

On the day when the government's top infectious disease specialist Anthony Fauci said he would not be surprised to see the US record 100,000 new coronavirus cases per day, Trump refused to break his deafening silence.

And the day after his White House described record-breaking new infections that are sweeping the nation as "embers that need to be put out," Trump's campaign claimed credit for the "phenomenal" success of his botched pandemic leadership.

Trump is now pretty much the sole figure in authority in either party -- including his major Republican allies -- who refuse to wear or endorse face masks that are proven to slow the spread of coronavirus but that he has stigmatized as a liberal plot to harm him politically.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, whose current wide lead in most general election polls can be explained partly by Trump's performance during the pandemic, pounced on the latest grave developments to lambast the President.

In the vacuum left by resolute guidance that only the person in the Oval Office can provide, the coronavirus is quickening its deadly march across the country, with 36 states now seeing rising cases, and at least 16 slowing the reopening plans championed by the President while hospital emergency rooms see increasing admissions that suggest a fast rising death toll could be only days away.

Far from the four Presidents whose images he will survey in North Dakota, Trump's perverse failure to crank up a federal government effort to fight a worsening pandemic over which he has said the US has "prevailed" is beginning to resemble Herbert Hoover's indifference during the Great Depression in the 1930s.

As the rest of the Western world presses ahead with careful reopening plans after governments suppressed their curves -- and bans American tourists because of the skyrocketing US infection rates -- Trump appears to have made a political calculation that the best approach is to refuse to lead.

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