Tim Steller’s opinion: In Tucson, Trump sends erroneous signal the pandemic is over. Actually, Trump blared self-agrandizing bullsh!t. The pandemic is not over. Here are some observations from Steller.
A recent Centers for Disease Control study on Arizona showed how the state’s COVID–19 cases spiked after emergency measures were lifted in mid-May, then dropped sharply after cities and counties started imposing mask requirements in mid-late June.
Before that improvement, we had scary weeks of June and July, when cases surged and our hospitals overflowed. Then after the mask mandates took effect, the positivity rate for diagnostic tests dropped sharply.
We had a manageably low positivity rate of about 4% for five consecutive weeks, from late August to early October. But then the rate rose to 6% the second week of October and 8% the third week.
The “Rt,” a measure of effective spread that the governor’s office frequently cited in July and August when it was low, has risen in Arizona to about 1.10, meaning the spread is accelerating here now.
And that means more deaths.
Sen. Martha McSally was another target of Trump’s invective.
In Prescott, introducing Arizona GOP chair Kelli Ward, Trump also said something intriguing about Ward: “She would have been, if she didn’t have three, four people running at the same time, she would have been your senator. I hate to say it. She would have been your senator.”
The comment was a slight to McSally, who defeated Ward in 2018 to win the Republican nomination. McSally went on to lose the general election to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema. He was also probably wrong — it’s unlikely Ward would have done better than McSally against Sinema. (After McSally’s loss, Ducey appointed her to Arizona’s other Senate seat after John McCain died.)
Perhaps Trump is seeing the polls that show McSally losing to Kelly and preemptively distancing himself. Or maybe he didn’t like it when McSally wouldn’t answer directly a question about whether she was proud of her support for Trump during a senatorial debate.
Paul Ingram at the the Tucson Sentinel covers Trump’s sexist denigration of McSally, Trump blasts Biden and praises border wall at Tucson rally.
Trump pauses to praise Arizona politicians
During his speech, Trump praised Gov. Doug Ducey, and Sen. Martha McSally, who he said is “saving your Second Amendment.”
“She’s been a great, great senator,” he said. And, then he pointed to her, “Martha, come here, honey.” McSally briefly took the stage as Trump continued, “She has been a great, great senator and just go out and vote for Martha McSally. Save your Second Amendment, save your Second Amendment.”
“Thank you, darling,” he said, and McSally left the stage.
“She’s done a great job, she’s a worker, and a great fighter pilot,” he said. “They told me all about her, the other pilots, they said she was a great fighter pilot.”
What might explain his insulting, sexist barbs at a senator from his own party (McSally) and from a state he needs to win (Arizona)? Try this. Trump is on record insulting another GOP senator (McCain) saying he does not respect “losers.” As of today, October 21, McSally is losing to Democratic challenger Mark Kelly.