Don’t Blame Bleachgate

President Donald Trump addresses the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, April 23, 2020. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
The president already had hurt himself politically by flirting with opponents of social distancing.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T he narrative is too simple to resist. In rambling remarks, Trump seemed to suggest using light and disinfectants inside the body to kill the coronavirus. His more uncharitable critics said Trump had suggested that Americans drink bleach. Trump responded that he was being sarcastic. Bleachgate, because it is such a great hook, risks symbolizing and distorting the causes of Trump’s relatively weak coronavirus bounce and the timing of that bounce’s fade. It didn’t start with drinking bleach.

The timing just doesn’t work out. Crises tend to produce rally-round-the-flag effects in which a national leader’s popularity improves as the public, in desperation


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