Trump led month of distractions and grievancesWASHINGTON - As the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus pandemic climbed toward the bleak milestone of 100,000 and nearly one-sixth of the nation's workers were unemployed, President Donald Trump's mind on May 18 was elsewhere. He welcomed two of his 2016 political soldiers, Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie, to the White House for a nostalgia tour reminiscing about how he had vanquished Hillary Clinton. When Trump did address public health issues that day, he alarmed officials by saying he had been taking the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic - despite his own administration's warning that doing so could cause severe heart problems. A day later, when Trump journeyed to the Capitol for the first time during the pandemic, he again allowed his personal concerns to eclipse the crisis engulfing the nation. Over lunch with Republican senators, Trump complained about "criminal" Democrats who had "unmasked my children." He accused his political opponents of "treason." He implored his party to "stick together" and "be tough." And he turned the floor over to his new White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, to deliver a campaign polling presentation aimed at persuading the lawmakers that the president was more popular than public surveys had indicated. To some of the senators, Trump seemed obsessed not with saving lives but with appearing politically strong. Several privately concluded he was incapable of meeting the moment. But resigned to their belief that his conduct could not be changed, they did not share their unease with Trump or with the public. The following week, the number of dead passed 100,000 and the number of Americans filing for jobless claims went past 40 million. Those two days in May encapsulate how Trump spent the fifth month of the coronavirus crisis: increasingly shaken by a...
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