Analysis by John Harwood
Updated 7:51 AM ET, Sun June 28, 2020
(CNN)President Donald Trump, ever impulsive, often acts against his own interests. But nothing tops his self-defeating resistance to mask wearing during the coronavirus pandemic.
His dogged stance, mimicked by supporters, undercuts efforts by public health officials to stop the summer resurgence of coronavirus. That in turn impedes efforts to revive the US economy, now staggering under the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression.
Failures on both fronts has left Trump in a deep hole on his pre-eminent priority of winning reelection. And they leave public health experts mystified.
“It’s hard to explain,” says Mark McClellan, a former health adviser to President George W. Bush who’s now at Duke University.
Sometimes the President hurts himself out of unwillingness to rebuke supporters (“very fine people on both sides” in Charlottesville) or inability to resist gratuitous attacks (on the late GOP Sen. John McCain, among others). His disastrous June 1 church photo-op sprang from embarrassment over disclosure that racial justice protests sent him retreating into an underground White House bunker.