While the mass demonstrations and violent clashes of the past month appear to be in the rear-view mirror, new headaches are emerging while old ones come back with a vengeance.
Even in a presidency that seems to bounce from crisis to crisis, some unexpected and others self-made, this week has been a particularly rough ride.
Covid-19 cases spiking
In an interview on Wednesday evening, Donald Trump said that the coronavirus was “fading away”, echoing comments he made earlier this year – before US deaths rose past 100,000 – that the pandemic would eventually disappear “like a miracle”.
The evidence indicates, however, that the virus is not only still a public health threat in the US, its rate of spread is increasing once again.
Ten states set record-high numbers of Covid-19 cases this week, while 23 are seeing some level of growth. Many of the states, including Texas, Florida and Arizona, were ones that had led the way on easing shelter-in-place and business-closure restrictions, prompting public-health officials to express concern that these moves were premature.
That these states are also battlegrounds in the coming national election just makes matters worse for the president.
In an opinion piece published in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, Vice-President Mike Pence – head of the White House’s coronavirus task force – dismissed the worries as “overblown” panic fed by media fear mongering.
However, some state and local officials are already calling for re-imposing mitigation measures before the US healthcare system is overwhelmed.
The uncertainty is starting again to take a toll on the US economy, with stocks whiplashing this week between big increases and sharp dips and new weekly unemployment claims continuing to top one million.
It’s hardly the news Trump wants to hear as he pushes for more re-openings, and prepares to resume his political rallies in packed sports arenas with little social distancing.
Supreme Court setbacks
One of Trump’s key campaign promises in 2016 was that he would appoint conservatives to the federal courts. In the ensuing three-and-a-half years, he’s followed through, seating nearly 200 new judges, including two justices to the nine-person US Supreme Court.
It was therefore more than a bit discouraging for a president who frequently touts his newly reformed conservative judiciary to watch as the Supreme Court this week ruled against the administration in two high-profile cases. For more info visit: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-53102021