Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - BY ZEKE MILLER

WASHINGTON — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump warned on Tues­day that the “nasty hor­ri­ble’” coro­n­avirus will get worse in the U.S. be­fore it gets bet­ter, but he also tried to paint a rosy pic­ture of ef­forts to con­quer the disease that has claimed more than 140,000 Amer­i­can lives in just five months.

He also pro­fessed a new­found re­spect for the pro­tec­tive face masks he has sel­dom worn. He pulled one from his pocket in the White House brief­ing room but didn’t put it on.

Af­ter a three-month hia­tus from his free­wheel­ing daily virus brief­ings, Trump re­turned to the podium, keep­ing the stage to him­self with­out the pub­lic health ex­perts who were sta­ples of his pre­vi­ous events but keep­ing close to scripted re­marks pre­pared by aides.

Be­sides declar­ing sup­port for masks as a way to fight the pan­demic, he ad­mon­ished young peo­ple against crowd­ing bars and spread­ing the disease.

There were no guar­an­tees how long Trump’s more mea­sured tone, de­liv­ered with an eye to halt­ing a cam­paign-sea­son ero­sion of sup­port, would last. Along the way Tues­day, the pres­i­dent still worked in jabs at the news me­dia and Democrats for fo­cus­ing on disease-fight­ing short­com­ings in the U.S. as the rest of world also strug­gles with the virus.

“It will prob­a­bly un­for­tu­nately get worse be­fore it gets bet­ter,” Trump said from the White House. But he also touted a re­duc­tion in deaths and progress on vac­cines and treat­ments for COVID-19, which he re­ferred to re­peat­edly as a the “China virus.” He con­tin­ued his re­cent en­cour­age­ment of Amer­i­cans to wear masks when so­cial dis­tanc­ing is not pos­si­ble.

“Whether you like the mask or not, they have an im­pact,” he said. “I’m get­ting used to the mask,” he added, pulling one out.

Trump’s Demo­cratic ri­val, for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den, for his part Tues­day launched into scathing crit­i­cism of Trump as he out­lined the lat­est plank of his eco­nomic re­cov­ery plan, charg­ing that Trump “failed his most im­por­tant test as an Amer­i­can Pres­i­dent: the duty to care for you, for all of us.”

“He’s quit on you, he’s quit on this coun­try,” Bi­den said.

McCon­nell prom­ises more cash pay­ments to in­di­vid­u­als

The price tag for the next COVID-19 aid pack­age could quickly swell above $1 tril­lion as White House of­fi­cials ne­go­ti­ate with Congress over money to re­open schools, prop up small busi­nesses, boost virus test­ing and keep cash flow­ing to Amer­i­cans.

Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell on Tues­day promised a new round of di­rect pay­ments to earn­ers be­low a cer­tain in­come level, sim­i­lar to the $1,200 checks sent in the spring.

“Re­gret­fully, this is not over,” McCon­nell said af­ter a rau­cous pri­vate GOP lunch.


Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump ad­mon­ished young peo­ple against crowd­ing bars and spread­ing the coro­n­avirus.

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