Trump sees electoral turnaround in 'probably two weeks'

Donald Trump expects to see his electoral fortunes turn around in "probably two weeks." It's a parody-defying coda to his presidency.
Image: President Trump Holds A Press Conference At The White House
President Donald Trump arrives to speak to the press in the Rose Garden at the White House on July 14, 2020.Drew Angerer / Getty Images file

Donald Trump hasn't spoken much to the media this week, but he apparently called the Washington Examiner yesterday to make a series of exceedingly odd claims -- and to tout one amazing time frame.

Much of the outgoing president's rhetoric was predictably pitiful, including his insistence that he's "going to win" states like Wisconsin and Georgia -- states he's lost -- and his ridiculously untrue claim that Republican poll-watchers and observers were blocked in key locations.

But this was the line that stood out for me:

Whatever the case, Trump is forging ahead. When I asked him how quickly he might turn things around, he said, "I don't know. It's probably two weeks, three weeks."

Oh, c'mon. "Two weeks"? Again?

In late October, the Republican incumbent acknowledged rising coronavirus cases in "certain areas," but at a campaign rally, he quickly added, "They'll go down. They'll go down very quickly. They'll be down within two weeks, they're figuring."

Obviously, they're not going down, and Trump's two-week time frame was tragically wrong.

But it's the familiarity of the "two weeks" line that amazes. Circling back to our earlier coverage, 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.

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.

Now that his presidency is ending, the fact that he believes his electoral fortunes will turn around in "probably two weeks" is a fitting coda to his failed term.