The Rose Garden event was designed to be a brazen rebuke of the president’s critics. It would be a high-profile victory lap to celebrate Trump’s third nomination of a third Supreme Court Justice. The event planners intentionally ignored any effort to social distance. They packed chairs into a tight space and the attendees shunned masks, hugged other guests and shook hands with no thought of the virus. It was an act of hubris, defying the warnings of whining liberals and a chastising media while ignoring the overblown threat of the virus.
And then it blew up in their faces. Instead of showing the American public that the GOP wouldn’t be cowed by COVID, the Rose Garden fiasco laid bare the Republicans’ reckless rejection of science and experts. It proved that the virus is extremely contagious and that nobody is safe. It showed that the GOP’s call to lift restrictions puts lives at risk. And it highlighted what everybody knows: they have no plan to contain the virus or help Americans in the midst of a global pandemic.
The story only got worse. Three days after the Rose Garden event, the president’s entourage defiantly refused to wear masks at the debate between Trump and Joe Biden. Then, word leaked out that Hope Hicks, the president’s assistant, had tested positive. Within hours, word of positive tests from Trump’s inner circles began to spill out of the West Wing, eventually leading to Trump being airlifted to Walter Reed hospital.
Clearly, the White House was a COVID hot spot and the Rose Garden ceremony was a super-spreader event. A White House that routinely claims, despite plenty evidence to the contrary, that it’s the most transparent in history refused to say when the president was last tested. Then, they declined to do contract tracing to contain the spread. Instead of trying to protect the public, they tried to obscure the impact.
While the event was meant to flaunt the rules governing society in the age of COVID, it backfired spectacularly, instead highlighting the arrogance and recklessness of the administration and Congressional Republicans. The bottom dropped out. By Sunday morning, an NBC-WSJ poll showed Trump trailing nationally by 14 points. Then Reuters released a poll showing him down by 10 the same day. By Tuesday, CNN showed Biden with a 16 point lead and yesterday, Fox had Biden up by 10 and even Rasmussen gave Biden a 12 point lead. Now, the polling average is bumping up against double digits.
State polls are showing similar results. Biden is up substantially in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, the three states that cost Clinton the election. According to 538 polling averages, Biden now leads in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Ohio, and North Carolina. He trails Texas by only one point. It’s the makings of an electoral tsunami as well as a popular vote landslide.
And the damage to Republicans is trickling down. The Cook Political Report called the South Carolina U.S. Senate contest a toss-up. The DSCC is playing in Kansas. Mississippi remains close. Democrats are on verge of picking up seats in Iowa, Arizona, Maine, and Colorado. They have a shot at Georgia and Alaska as well. North Carolina is the unknown as the Cunningham sex scandal continues to play out.
The Rose Garden event did for Democrats what they have been unable to for the past four years. It made the American people see that this administration recklessly ignores science and experts while working hard to hide the truth. If it’s not willing to take the steps necessary to protect the President of the United States, it certainly won’t take the steps to protect the American people. The administration misleads and distorts important information for political purposes and avoids the transparency it claims to promote. The GOP is not just unraveling, as the Washington Post said, it’s in free fall. The bottom has fallen out and they have less than four weeks to fix it.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >