WASHINGTON — In North Carolina last week, President Trump told voters at a campaign rally not to fear Covid-19 because they’d soon have access to a coronavirus “cure.” The experimental treatment, he told supporters the next day in Iowa, made him feel “like Superman.” In Florida, he told seniors they’d soon have access, for free, to the antibody therapy he’d received during his own bout with the virus two weeks before.
It’s a significant shift. Trump campaigned for months on the dubious pledge that a vaccine would be available “before a very special date,” an open nod to Election Day. But as it’s become clear drug companies won’t help Trump deliver on a key campaign promise by Nov. 3, he’s largely dropped the aggressive vaccine rhetoric. Instead, he’s begun to campaign on equally lofty boasts of a Covid-19 cure-all — even though the treatments remain unproven and unavailable to the general public.
“We have to get ‘em approved, and I want to get ‘em to the hospitals where people are feeling badly,” Trump said in a recent video. “That’s much more important to me than the vaccine.”
Trump’s pivot to touting therapeutics underscores his desperation to claim that his government is making significant progress in combating the pandemic. And it is an attempt, too, to turn his own Covid-19 diagnosis from a weakness into a strength, bolstering the dangerous arguments that Americans shouldn’t fear the virus or let it “dominate” their lives.
“Clearly, there’s been a shift in what