Linda Feldmann in The Christian Science Monitor:
The election is 25 days away, and President Donald Trump’s political prognosis is not good. He’s losing altitude in major national polls – and more crucially, is sinking in key battleground states that will decide the winner in the Electoral College. It would be a tough time for any incumbent running for reelection. But for President Trump, whose brand is all about winning, the pressure seems especially intense. Mr. Trump says he’s eager to return to the campaign trail, following his COVID-19 diagnosis Oct. 1. On Friday, he called in to the Rush Limbaugh radio show for a two-hour “virtual MAGA rally,” and was scheduled to do an on-camera interview with a physician on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” On Saturday, he plans to host hundreds of people on the White House lawn, addressing a group of “peaceful protesters for law and order” from the balcony, according to multiple media outlets. Monday, he is scheduled to travel to Florida for a campaign rally.
White House physician Sean Conley announced Thursday that Mr. Trump had completed his therapy and should be able to safely “return to public engagements” on Saturday. Medical experts who have not been treating the president question whether clearing him for public events this soon is wise. The president’s spokespeople still won’t say when he last tested negative for the virus. The political universe is not taking the news frenzy quietly.
“The past week was bizarre, berserk, almost biblical,” writes former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan in a Wall Street Journal column. The most delicate question is whether Mr. Trump’s medical treatment – some of it experimental – has affected him in ways beyond his physical condition. His abrupt announcement Monday that he was calling off talks with congressional Democrats over a new stimulus package until after Election Day raised eyebrows among members of his own party, even as Republicans blamed Democrats for holding up a deal. The president soon reversed himself, tweeting on Friday: “Covid Relief Negotiations are moving along. Go Big!” But the damage caused by Mr. Trump’s statement Monday seems to be lingering. Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas warned on CNBC that the election “could be a bloodbath of Watergate proportions” for the GOP if things don’t turn around. Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a most loyal soldier for Mr. Trump on Capitol Hill, said pointedly that he has not been to the White House since Aug. 6, citing its lax approach to virus safety measures.