Trump’s outlandish claims increasingly met with a collective shrug

While Trump has repeatedly expressed his desire that all students return in person to school this fall, a growing number of school districts are openly defying his requests. Even St. Andrew’s Episcopal School — the private school in the Maryland suburbs attended by Trump’s youngest son, Barron — plans to begin the school year with virtual classes only.

The president’s own top public health officials, meanwhile, are increasingly contradicting him in public. Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union” last Sunday — just one day before Trump claimed the coronavirus was “receding” — White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx warned that the virus was “extraordinarily widespread” in “both rural and urban” areas.

And on Wednesday, as Trump was repeatedly claiming at a news conference that the virus will “go away,” infectious-disease expert Anthony S. Fauci told CNN’s Sanjay Gupta that the United States is faring poorly compared with the rest of the world. “The numbers don’t lie,” Fauci said.

Similarly, Trump has played only an ancillary role in the ongoing discussions for a pandemic relief package on Capitol Hill. Senate Republicans almost immediately rejected his desire for another payroll tax cut, never seriously entertaining the idea. And in a seeming acknowledgment of his inability to directly shape the congressional negotiations, Trump held a news conference Saturday at his private club in Bedminster, N.J., to sign one executive order and several memoranda intended to provide economic relief to millions of Americans by providing temporary unemployment benefits and deferring taxes.