President Trump’s 2020 – The New York Times

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This was not the 2020 that President Trump had envisioned for himself.

The year began with Mr. Trump embroiled in a monthslong impeachment proceeding, which scrutinized his pressure campaign on the president of Ukraine to investigate his political rivals at home. That was, in retrospect, the easy part of the year.

From the Democratic primary race emerged perhaps the trickiest opponent for him — Joseph R. Biden Jr., a centrist with moderate appeal. A pandemic killed more than 230,000 people in the United States and devastated the economic gains that were to serve as his main argument for re-election.

But Mr. Trump was already holding rage-filled campaign rallies in January, warning that Democrats’ efforts to remove him from office were designed to “nullify the ballots of tens of millions of patriotic Americans.”

Assured acquittal by the Republican-led Senate, Mr. Trump used his State of the Union address to make the case for a second term. The most memorable moment of the evening was delivered by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who ostentatiously ripped up her copy of the president’s speech at its conclusion. And Republican lawmakers’ cheers of “Four more years!” made it clear that both parties were interested in creating a partisan spectacle.

He returned to the campaign trail, often visiting states where Democrats were holding primary contests.

In April, Mr. Trump tweeted “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” and “LIBERATE MINNESOTA!” — encouraging his supporters to protest coronavirus restrictions imposed by Democratic governors. His appeal to his base furthered partisan divisions on the pandemic response.

After George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was killed in the custody of the Minneapolis police, protests against racial injustice spread throughout the country. A chemical spray and rubber bullets were used to clear peaceful protesters from Lafayette Park, in front of the White House, so that Mr. Trump could stage a photo op at a nearby church that had been vandalized days before.

Mr. Trump roared back to the campaign trail after his recovery. In the final weeks of the race, as the number of coronavirus cases skyrocketed nationwide, his leading message to supporters was to trust him that the worst of the pandemic was over. He railed against the news media for continuing to cover the health crisis.

In the closing days of the campaign, Mr. Trump barnstormed the country as if the virus that defined much of his year did not exist. His lagging position in the polls was evident in his grueling travel schedule, which had him seeking to shore up votes in states that he won in 2016, with up to five stops a day.

Instead of focusing his closing argument on the economy, he accused doctors of fabricating coronavirus cases in order to make money, complained about the bitter cold in states like Michigan, and hinted he wanted to fire Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert. His last stop before Election Day was Michigan, a repeat of his travel schedule four years ago.





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