The Trump campaign’s rapid response team has churned out hundreds of tweets in recent weeks — noting that Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York praised Trump, blasting congressional Democrats for holding up an economic rescue package, accusing the “liberal media” of spreading lies for reporting on Trump’s infamous “hoax“ comment at a rally less than a month ago — when the president called Democrats‘ criticism of his coronavirus response “their new hoax,” likening it to impeachment and the Russia investigation.
“They want to try to control that narrative as much as possible,” said a Republican who speaks to Trump. “It’s irresponsible to do anything else.”
The campaign also released a detailed list of nearly 80 actions by the Trump administration to fight the virus since Jan. 6, a week after China reported the discovery of the coronavirus to the World Health Organization.
“President Trump is fighting for Americans every day!” it wrote in a recent post. “His second coronavirus relief law provides free testing to all Americans, and makes sure families, workers, and businesses impacted by the Chinese virus are taken care of.”
Conservative groups, including America First Policies, which supports Trump’s policies, and Tea Party Patriots, are amplifying Trump’s message and actions and fact-checking the media through media appearances and social media, the groups said.
Jenny Beth Martin, a co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, said Americans can tell Trump took the coronavirus situation seriously because his administration announced restrictions on travel from China in late January. “That was a sign that President Trump was taking the potential threat the coronavirus posed to America very seriously,” she said. “At the time, many Americans kind of scoffed at that drastic action and yet now worldwide we’re seeing that same exact action happening in country after country worldwide.”
Trump supporters hope they can counter statements from the president himself during the same period dismissing the threat. A week before the travel restrictions, Trump said “we have it totally under control. … It’s going to be just fine.” Just a day before the travel move, Trump said the “very little problem” was under control and maintained “we think it’s going to have a very good ending for it.”
Several Trump allies said the president and his campaign must convey that the economy will rebound from coronavirus in part because it had a strong foundation due to the president‘s actions over the last three years.
“For our campaign, it will be key to convey to the people that America entered this crisis with enormous advantages and economic momentum,” one of the Republicans said.
The campaign is also attempting to drag Biden into coronavirus, though it doesn’t appear to have garnered much attention — accusing him of “plagiarizing” Trump‘s plan to combat the coronavirus, defending China (where the virus first emerged) and confusing this virus with Ebola, which the Obama administration fought while Biden was vice president.
“Joe Biden sows fear and division as President Trump conveys optimism and hope,” the campaign wrote in one email.
Michael Caputo, who served as a campaign adviser in 2016, said he worries Biden can blame Trump for his response to coronavirus while having to take no responsibility himself because he’s not in office. “They can criticize him for every move he makes,” he said of Biden’s team.
An outside adviser said he has urged the campaign to return to discussing other issues, including Joe and Hunter Biden, to take the attention off Trump’s response to coronavirus and the tanking economy. “I don’t think those issues will ever be gone,” the person said.