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Trump expects to see declining coronavirus totals in 'two weeks'

If the pandemic weren't so serious, Trump's latest "two weeks" assurance would be a lot funnier.
Image: U.S. President Donald Trump holds a campaign rally at Capital Region International Airport in Lansing, Michigan
President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Lansing, Mich., on Oct. 27, 2020.Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

Though Donald Trump usually insists that the coronavirus pandemic is magically "going away," yesterday the president seemed to concede there are some parts of the country facing outbreaks. That said, as Bloomberg News noted, Trump characterized the trends in a decidedly Trumpian way.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday night acknowledged that coronavirus cases are rising in "certain areas" of the Midwest, a rare admission during the final week of the presidential campaign. "Certain areas that are heated up right now," Trump said at a rally in Omaha, Nebraska. "They'll go down. They'll go down very quickly. They'll be down within two weeks, they're figuring."

The Republican incumbent didn't say who "they" are, though his "two week" time frame was awfully familiar.

It was in June 2017 when Bloomberg News made a terrific observation: Team Trump had an unnerving habit of responding to every difficult question by saying the answer was "two weeks" away. Unfortunately, that habit never really went away.

In July, for example, Trump promised Fox News he'd "sign" a "full and complete" health care plan "within two weeks." That never happened.

Around the same time, the president vowed to unveil a plan related to the minimum wage "over the next two weeks."

Vice News put together a video over the summer, highlighting the many instances in which Trump assured those around him that on a whole range of issues -- tax policy, infrastructure, immigration, et al. -- dramatic developments were just "two weeks" away.

But they weren't. The president was just throwing the time frame around as a convenient dodge.

As we've discussed, it's an inherently lazy political strategy: Trump has spent four years repeatedly making assurances about elusive answers and solutions, in each case hoping that people, over the course of 14 days, would simply forget what he'd promised.

Yesterday, he began applying it to coronavirus cases, too.