President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis complicates his push for a second term, according to Alan Abramowitz, a political scientist at Emory University.
Early Friday morning, Trump confirmed on Twitter that he had tested positive for the disease that has killed more than 210,000 Americans so far. By the weekend, he had been admitted as a patient to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. The president returned to the White House on Monday.
Throughout the pandemic, Trump has questioned the use of masks and, at one point, mocked his political opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, about wearing the protective gear that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says is vital to curbing the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
In an interview Friday after the president’s diagnosis, Abramowitz told WABE’s “All Things Considered” host Jim Burress that Trump’s behavior is a move that may hurt him in states like Georgia, where polling shows a close race.
“His problem is really that he’s trailing in this election,” said Abramowitz. “The support he already has from his base is not going to be enough, at least based on recent polling, to pull him through to victory.”
Trump tweeted that he will be back on the campaign trail soon.
“He needs to somehow expand his support beyond his base, and that’s where I think this hurts him,” said Abramowitz.
Meanwhile, Trump tweeted that the “Fake News only shows the Fake Polls.”
Lily Oppenheimer contributed to this report.