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President Trump at rally in Johnstown, PA

Screenshot from YouTube

Donald Trump warned Pennsylvania voters on Tuesday that if Democrats win in November, they will implement "draconian" lockdowns to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

Seconds later, he claimed that Democrats will lift all lockdowns the day after the election, as they are merely a ploy to make him look bad.

At a rally in Johnstown, Trump claimed that if Joe Biden wins the White House, he will "terminate our recovery, delay the vaccine, prolong the pandemic, and annihilate the economy with draconian unscientific lockdowns like you're having right now in Pennsylvania, with this governor who is killing you."

Biden has said that he would do "whatever it takes to save lives," but that he would only consider a shutdown if it was recommended by scientists.

Trump then accused Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and other Democratic governors who have not lifted COVID-19 safety restrictions of conspiring to end lockdowns as soon as the election is over.

"Come on, Tom. Open up Pennsylvania, Tom. Open it up! You know what's going to happen, Nov. 4 — they'll open it up," he said. "You know that, they're doing it. They want to keep the numbers as bad as possible. Here's the problem: The numbers are going to come out just before the election. So we have Nov. 3, the numbers are going to come out. And Pennsylvania is a late-voting state. You actually believe in going to a poll, 'cause you see all the shenanigans."



The two conspiracy theories would not seem to be compatible: Democrats cannot lift all of the restrictions the day after Trump loses and simultaneously "annihilate the economy" with new "draconian unscientific lockdowns."

Trump has been pushing for states to ignore spiking coronavirus cases and simply reopen everything.

Last week, in announcing that he would leave Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after his hospitalization with the coronavirus, Trump told Americans, "Don't be afraid of COVID. Don't let it dominate your life."

On Monday, he tweeted, "Lockdowns are killing countries all over the world. The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself. Open up your states, Democrat governors. Open up New York."

But the pandemic continues to get worse. This past week the nation has seen the highest new case rates since August. With Trump's botched response to the spread of the virus, more than 7.7 million Americans have contracted it.

Pennsylvania's average daily number of new cases per 100,000 residents (9.19 over the past two weeks) is lower than that of the United States as a whole (14.55).

Ironically, Trump claimed credit for shutdowns in response to the pandemic back in April — even though he actually refused to shut down anything and left it up to the governors to handle the response to the virus themselves.

"Despite reports to the contrary, Sweden is paying heavily for its decision not to lockdown," he tweeted on April 30. "As of today, 2462 people have died there, a much higher number than the neighboring countries of Norway (207), Finland (206) or Denmark (443). The United States made the correct decision!"

Trump's refusal to take the virus seriously has been a factor in 215,000 American deaths so far. It has also led to his own infection and hospitalization, as well as a cluster of cases among his own staff and allies thought to stem from the ceremony held in the Rose Garden in September to introduce his nominee to the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett.

Trump is trailing Biden in Pennsylvania, a swing state with 20 electoral votes, by an average of 7 points. Since the start of June, not a single major poll has shown Trump with a lead in the state.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.