Shortly before the summer kicked off, Donald Trump was hopeful. The president, his campaign, and his top lieutenants in his administration were busy branding Trump the face of an upcoming American rebirth. He and his White House staff made a big push to position him as the frontman for economic revival, as summertime employment upticks seemed on the horizon and as experts and politicians kept their fingers crossed that the season’s heat would help spur a respite from the global pandemic.
Trump and his 2020 team kept promising that they were doing everything they could to get him back on the campaign trail as soon as possible, where attendance at his signature mega-rallies would surely humiliate Joe Biden and the former VP’s paltry turnouts. The president was relentless in telling the American public that it was time to get back to work, and that he was right about it being time to triumphantly and speedily “open” the country and show the coronavirus who’s boss.
The planned rebirth would build upon a message crafted in the early months of this year, when Trump was gearing up to campaign on issues such as a strong economy and even criminal-justice reform. That effort was aimed at peeling away as many Black voters as he could from Biden’s column, with his campaign knowing full well that even a marginal depression of enthusiasm for a Democratic presidential nominee among that demographic can help ensure Republicans keep the White House.