Trump and his team realized weeks ago that he was losing to Joe Biden, badly. They began casting China as an enemy and, preposterously, Biden as a Communist sympathizer. They intensified their slanders of the presumptive Democratic nominee as doddering and (because he is following public health guidance) cowardly. They invented “Obamagate.”
They will certainly continue these lines of attack. But they also realize there’s a good chance none of them will be sufficient if the economy continues to tank. So, against all common sense, Trump began agitating for the country to get back to work.
The strategy, at its most basic level, is to keep fingers crossed: hope businesses reopen but that a second wave does not materialize, at least until after the election.
If the wave does appear too soon — well, Trump was going to lose anyway, so no harm done, except to those who die needlessly and, more painfully for him, the margin of his defeat.
But he is also buying an insurance policy, laying the groundwork to blame anyone but himself if things do get worse in the fall.