Dallas Morning news Washington bureau chief Todd Gillman said he was not shocked by the president’s news.
“No, because we’ve all seen a fairly cavalier attitude among the White House staff and the president towards social distancing and mask wearing,” Gillman said. “I actually remember early on in March, I happened to be at a White House press briefing and I asked the president, who was standing next to the vice president, ‘Do you really think that’s such a great idea? What if one of you catches it? Have you thought about maybe staying away from each other?’ And they absolutely pooh poohed that that concern.”
Though Gillman said Trump and Pence are staying separate now, he said the behaviors he’s seen “would almost inevitably lead to an outbreak in the West Wing.”
Gillman said the implications on the political landscape are “only just beginning to come into focus.” Trump was scheduled in the coming days to attend rallies in Nevada, Arizona and California. An automated email that went out Friday morning also announced a rally in Houston.
“Without the president being able to do what he does best, which is rally the crowds and thrill his supporters and bring out many, many thousands of people to these airport rallies, it’s hard to imagine how he gets his enthusiasm up,” Gillman said.
He believes finding a new pattern of campaigning this close to Election Day will be an “enormous challenge” for Trump.
“I think we’re only just beginning to see how this impacts the race in Texas for congressional seats, for control of the state House and even for the White House, because it’s really ‘game over’ for Republicans if they can’t hold Texas in the presidential contest,” Gillman said.