With only 15 days left to reverse his dismal standing in the polls, and amid a coronavirus resurgence that could sink his pursuit of a second term, Donald Trump embarked on a tour of battleground states.
New US daily cases of Covid-19 are averaging above 55,000, their highest level since July, according to government figures, and rising in more than 40 states, including many the Republican president must win on 3 November.
Yet despite trailing Democratic challenger Joe Biden by double digits in almost every national poll, all of which show a substantial deficit in approval over handling the pandemic, Trump is continuing to host large rallies that see few supporters wearing masks and little social distancing.
Trump was in Nevada on Sunday, attending church in Las Vegas before staging a rally in the afternoon. Thousands were expected at campaign events in other swing states on Monday (Arizona), Tuesday (Pennsylvania) and Wednesday (North Carolina). Trump is expected to continue to prioritise hopes for economic recovery above measures to counter the pandemic, including new lockdowns.
In a weekend interview on a Wisconsin radio station, Trump was asked if rallies at which mostly maskless supporters are packed tightly together sent the wrong message.
I’m not a big shutdown believer Donald Trump