Trump’s scorched earth style overshadows campaign’s message in final weeks

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

Donald Trump continues bizarre appeals to suburban women as he campaigns in Covid hotspots

If President Donald Trump loses his reelection bid in November, it will be in part because of his fundamental misunderstanding of the beliefs of “suburban women,” whom he has tried to win back with a series of bizarre and racist appeals that seem more targeted to a stereotype from the 1950s and 1960s than the American women who actually live in those areas today.

a man wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, in Janesville, Wis. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

© Alex Brandon/AP
President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, in Janesville, Wis. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Many of the female voters who have abandoned Trump recoil from his divisive language and disapprove of both his handling of race relations and the pandemic. But he has tried to convince them to support him through a campaign of fear and xenophobia, with claims about the Democratic agenda that plunge deep into the realm of the ridiculous and would be believed only by the most naïve, low-information voters.

His speech Saturday night in Michigan exemplified those political miscalculations when it comes to women he has referred to as the “suburban housewives of America” as he tried to create fear about crime from immigrants and argued that Joe Biden will upend life in the suburbs by putting public housing projects in the middle of leafy neighborhoods — a reference to an Obama-era housing regulation aimed at ending segregation.

“Would you like a nice low-income housing project next to your suburban beautiful ranch style house? Generally speaking, no,” Trump said in Muskegon. “I saved your suburbs — women — suburban women, you’re supposed to love Trump,” he said.

The President went on to make the ludicrous claim that Biden and Democrats want to overwhelm Michigan neighborhoods with refugees from Syria, Somalia and Yemen, and “poorly vetted migrants from jihadist regions.”

Continuing his long-standing pattern of mocking women he perceives as opponents in sexist or misogynistic language — a tactic that does not go over well with women in either party — Trump attacked Democratic Gov. Michigan Gretchen Whitmer during the same rally, along with his 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton, and NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, who moderated his Thursday night town hall.

Trump accused Whitmer, whom he has previously called “a dictator,” of unnecessarily locking down her state as she fought the pandemic. That led his crowd to break into a chant of “Lock her up!” a little more than a week after federal authorities revealed a plot by extremists to kidnap Whitmer and overthrow the government.

Rather than condemning the derailed plot — which led to terrorism, conspiracy and weapons charges against more than a dozen men — or discouraging that kind of divisive language, Trump essentially endorsed the cheer with his authoritarian rhetoric about jailing his political opponents by adding Clinton and the Biden family into the mix.

“Lock them all up,” Trump replied to the crowd.

He complained that Whitmer said publicly that his refusal to denounce White supremacists, extremists and hate groups has emboldened activists like those who