Parscale, speaking from his Arlington, Va. apartment, had just told the president how good his internal poll numbers looked. But now he had an urgent message: The coronavirus was a big problem – and it could cost him reelection.

Trump was perplexed. The economy was strong. The president had built an enormous political infrastructure and was raking in hundreds of millions of dollars. That month, Trump’s campaign conducted a $1.1 million polling project showing him leading prospective Democratic challengers even in blue states such as Colorado, New Mexico, and New Hampshire.

“Sir, regardless, this is coming. It’s the only thing that could take down your presidency,” Parscale told the president.

Trump snapped.

“This fucking virus,” Trump asked dismissively, according to a person with direct knowledge of the exchange, “what does it have to do with me getting reelected?”