Poor handling of virus cost Trump his reelection, campaign autopsy finds

Josh Dawsey
The Washingtn Post

Former President Donald Trump lost the 2020 election largely due to his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a post-election autopsy completed by Trump campaign pollster Tony Fabrizio.

The 27-page document shows that voters in 10 key states rated the pandemic as their top voting issue, and President Biden won higher marks on the topic. The report also indicates that Trump lost ground among key demographic groups he needed.

The internal report cuts against Trump’s claims that the election was stolen from him and that Biden could not have fairly beaten him — and mirrors what many Trump campaign officials said privately for months.

The analysis by Fabrizio, a Florida pollster who has worked for Trump for years, was shared among campaign advisers late last year and was provided to The Washington Post on Monday night. Politico first reported on the existence of the document.

The states studied were Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas.

Voters in the states overwhelmingly supported a mask mandate — 75 percent — and Anthony S. Fauci, the country’s top infectious-disease specialist, secured an approval rating almost as high. Trump did not support a mask mandate — sometimes mocking the wearing of masks — and regularly criticized Fauci, threatening to fire him at times.

Advisers repeatedly encouraged Trump to wear a mask, stop attacking Fauci and signal to the public that he was taking the coronavirus more seriously, particularly after he was hospitalized and given an experimental drug. Trump was largely resistant and mocked the virus down the stretch, sarcastically saying “Covid, covid, covid” at his rallies and falsely predicting the virus would leave the news after the election. More than 400,000 people have died of covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.


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