US President Donald Trump had predicted that he would lose the November election and pre-emptively blamed his senior White House advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner for trying to promote more coronavirus testing, according to a report.
Trump was broadly opposed to Kushner’s strategy on fighting the pandemic and did not want the information on how many people were infected to become public, The New York Times revealed on Thursday.
At one point, Trump had suggested that the US should “do what Mexico does” and not administer tests to anyone who was not gravely ill with the virus.
“Mr. Trump never came around to the idea that he had a responsibility to be a role model, much less that his leadership role might require him to publicly acknowledge hard truths about the virus — or even to stop insisting that the issue was not a rampaging pandemic but too much testing,” said the report.
Trump had also dismissed a Japanese study, presented to him by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar in the fall, that had documented the effectiveness of wearing facial masks.
During a meeting of senior aides in the White House on August 19, Trump grew angry with increased COVID-19 testing which he blamed for higher cases. “You're killing me! This whole thing is! We've got all the damn cases," Trump reportedly yelled at Kushner.
“I'm going to lose. And it's going to be your fault, because of the testing,” he complained to his son-in-law.
Trump was also furious with America’s doctors and scientists, accusing them of conspiring with Democrats to undermine him during the election campaign.
Throughout the late summer and fall and in the heat of his reelection campaign, the president was frequently criticized over his erratic and unsteady handling of the pandemic and in the face of mounting evidence of a surge in infections and deaths far worse than in the spring.
Trump eventually lost to his Democratic challenger Joe Biden, with opinion polls naming the coronavirus and the economy as being two of the major factors weighing on the voters’ minds.
Trump has refused to concede the election to Biden and has explored multiple options to overturn the results.