Tamara Keith

Updated at 2:45 p.m. ET

President Trump once again questioned the expertise of his top public health officials Monday morning, retweeting a conspiracy theory from former game show host Chuck Woolery, who suggested that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the "Media, Democrats [and] our Doctors" are lying about COVID-19 in an effort to hurt Trump in November's general election.

Presidents seeking a second term generally campaign on a unifying message, highlighting the work they've done and what they hope to accomplish for the American people in the years ahead.

President Trump is choosing instead to reprise the most divisive and racialized themes of his 2016 campaign. But he's doing it at a very different time for the nation, in the midst of a pandemic, recession and racial reckoning.

"You would think that he was a challenger running against an incumbent who had done a terrible job," said Cornell Belcher, a Democratic pollster.

President Trump, in a speech Friday at Mount Rushmore that lasted more than 40 minutes, focused on statues and "cancel culture" and accused his political opponents of fascism. But he spared just a few words for the pandemic that has killed 130,000 Americans, thanking "the doctors, nurses and scientists working tirelessly to kill the virus." And that was it.

A day after defending his right to hold campaign events in the midst of spikes in coronavirus cases, Vice President Pence and the Trump campaign are postponing two events he was to headline next week in Florida and Arizona.

The states are two of the hardest hit in recent days, and health officials have encouraged people to avoid large in-person gatherings. The events have been postponed "out of an abundance of caution," two campaign officials told NPR.

It's a remarkable reversal for Pence, who on Friday forcefully defended his plan to move forward with the campaign events.

If you're a supporter of President Trump, longing for the excitement and MAGA-kinship of a big rally, Trump's campaign has built the next best thing. It's a massive digital operation that creates an interactive world where Trump is flawless and Republicans are saviors, while Democrats and Joe Biden are wrong and dangerous.

They encourage supporters to "forget the mainstream media" and get their "facts straight from the source," an insular information ecosystem featuring prime time programming, accessed in its most pure form through the new Trump 2020 app.

Updated at 7:00 p.m. ET

As President Trump attempts to project an image of America rising out of quarantine and beginning to reopen, he traveled on Tuesday to an Arizona factory that's expanded into production of N95 face masks to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

And while the trip was in part meant to tell a positive story about the Trump administration's response, it also highlights the challenges of the moment.

At a time when jigsaw puzzles may be harder to come by than toilet paper, the hot new item in the Trump campaign online store is a 200-piece puzzle, featuring a faintly smiling President Trump standing in front of an American flag, giving two thumbs up.

The $35 puzzle is just the latest example of the campaign capitalizing on in-the-moment merchandise.

When President Trump tapped Vice President Mike Pence to lead the coronavirus task force in late February, it was a moment of growing pressure. Stocks were tanking, and Trump needed to show he was elevating the federal response to the pandemic.

A former Trump White House aide says Pence was the obvious choice, one of the few people left in the administration that Trump trusts, and someone with the stature to coordinate across agencies.

Updated Sept. 10

Editor's Note: This timeline has been updated to include comments President Trump made in newly released interviews with journalist Bob Woodward.

President Trump has delivered an ever-evolving message to the American public about the coronavirus pandemic.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with an entry for Jan. 14 with statements from WHO about human-to-human transmission.

On Tuesday, President Trump said he's suspending U.S. funding for the World Health Organization. He said the agency has "mismanaged" the pandemic, has been slow to respond to the crisis and is "China-centric."

We looked at the public record to see what Trump and the WHO had to say over the past 15 weeks about the coronavirus pandemic. Here's a timeline highlighting key quotes.

Jan. 5

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