Confronting a failed presidency after 100,000-plus COVID deaths and the protests that are still convulsing the nation this week, Donald Trump is venting to West Wing officials that Democratic governors are allowing civil unrest to rage in American cities to damage his reelection campaign. “He feels the blue-state governors are letting it burn because it hurts him. It’s a lot like how he sees coronavirus,” an outside White House adviser told me yesterday, shortly after audio leaked of Trump berating governors on a conference call about quelling the riots.
Trump’s sense of victimhood, and his view that the crisis ignited by George Floyd’s gruesome death is largely a political problem, have resulted in a shambolic White House response, veering from Trump’s retreat to the bunker as the protests neared the White House to the culmination of police using teargas on peaceful protestors so that he could walk through a park to stage a photo op in front of St. John’s Church. “He’s paralyzed,” a former West Wing official told me.
In private, Trump has told people the street violence would subside if the other three Minnesota police officers were charged with murder, a person who spoke with Trump told me.