WASHINGTON (AP) — Amid a political crisis of his own making, President Donald Trump headed for the support of a rally in battleground Michigan on Thursday, trying to move past revelations that he had been determined to play down the danger of the coronavirus last winter despite describing it in private as “deadly stuff.”
But the virus controversy followed him. Trump faced renewed pushback from officials worried that his rallies are growing in size and flouting public health guidelines intended to halt the COVID-19 spread.
This week, the state of Nevada became the first to scuttle his plans for rallies initially set for Las Vegas and Reno. Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has also raised alarms about Thursday’s event.
Before departing the White House Trump denied he had lied to the nation and highlighted a surge in virus cases in Europe to contend that the United States is faring well. “I really do believe we’re rounding the corner,” he asserted.
Trump is grappling with fallout from a new book by Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward.
In a series of interviews with Woodward, the president spoke frankly about the dangers posed by the virus — even as he downplayed them publicly — and admitted he had tried to mislead the public. The book, based on recorded phone interviews, has refocused attention on Trump’s handling of the virus, a subject he has tried to shift away from less than two months before Election Day.