President TrumpDonald John TrumpPolice say man dangling off Trump Tower Chicago demanding to speak with Trump Fauci says he was ‘absolutely not’ surprised Trump got coronavirus after Rose Garden event Biden: Trump ‘continues to lie to us’ about coronavirus MORE‘s top campaign surrogates on Monday sought to project optimism about his chances for reelection next month.
But their message was overshadowed by the candidate himself, who took a more scorched earth approach.
“We feel better about our pathway to victory than we have at any point in the campaign this year,” campaign manager Bill StepienBill StepienRepublicans increasingly seek distance from Trump Trump shares manipulated image of Biden in wheelchair at nursing home The Memo: Trump travel plans reveal weakness in battlegrounds MORE told reporters.
“I’ve never seen energy like this. I’ve never seen momentum like this,” Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDanielRonna Romney McDanielSunday shows – Trump Michigan rally grabs the spotlight RNC chairwoman: Republicans should realize distancing themselves from Trump ‘is hurting themselves in the long run’ Sunday shows preview: Coronavirus cases surge in the Midwest; Trump hits campaign trail after COVID-19 MORE said.
The two cited increasing GOP voter registration in states like Florida and Pennsylvania and the enthusiasm at Trump’s rallies to argue that the president is locked in a close but eminently winnable race with Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden: Trump ‘continues to lie to us’ about coronavirus Rally crowd chants ‘lock him up’ as Trump calls Biden family ‘a criminal enterprise’ Undecided voters in Arizona wary of Trump, crave stability MORE.
Trump, on the other hand, had his attention elsewhere.
The president, in a call with thousands of campaign staffers, called the government’s top infectious diseases expert a “disaster,” ripped the media as “sick people,” suggested Biden “should be in jail,” and argued Americans are tired of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 215,000 people in the United States.
“We have never been in a stronger position than we are today,” Trump said. “Now, bad things will happen. Fake stories will be written.”
Before speaking at a pair of rallies in Arizona, Trump mocked Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFauci says he was ‘absolutely not’ surprised Trump got coronavirus after Rose Garden event Whatever happened to Deborah Birx? Infectious disease expert calls White House advisers herd immunity claims ‘pseudoscience’ MORE, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, for throwing out a wayward first pitch three months ago and called a journalist a “criminal” for not reporting more aggressively on unproven allegations of corruption against Biden.
“They’re getting tired of the pandemic, aren’t they,” Trump told a crowd of hundreds of unmasked supporters at a rally in Prescott. “You turn on CNN, that’s all they cover. COVID, COVID, pandemic, COVID, COVID, COVID … you know why? They’re trying to talk everybody out of voting. People aren’t buying it, CNN. You dumb bastards.”
The president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has proven to be