November 2, 2020
This was not the year 2020 that President Trump had envisioned.
The year began with a month-long impeachment trial against Trump that examined his pressure campaign against the President of Ukraine to investigate his political rivals at home. In hindsight, that was the easy part of the year.
Perhaps the most difficult opponent for him emerged from the Democratic primary race – Joseph R. Biden Jr., a centrist with moderate attraction. A pandemic killed more than 230,000 people in the United States and devastated economic gains that would serve as the main argument for re-election.
But Mr Trump held angry campaign rallies back in January, warning that Democratic efforts to remove him from office were aimed at "picking up the ballots of tens of millions of patriotic Americans."
Mr Trump was acquitted by the Republican Senate and used his State of Union address to stand up for a second term. The most memorable moment of the evening was spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi, who at the end demonstratively tore up her copy of the president's speech. And the Republican legislature cheers, "Four more years!" made it clear that both parties were interested in creating a partisan spectacle.
The Senate, which was divided almost entirely by party lines, acquitted Mr Trump of allegations that he had abused his power and obstructed Congress to support his own re-election. The president hailed it as a victory and called the entire impeachment "corrupt".
He returned to campaigning and frequently visited states where Democrats held major competitions.
Mr Trump downplayed the risks of the coronavirus when it hit in February. In a March address by the Oval Office, he sought to acknowledge the deepening crisis while further reducing the threat to the country's future. He threateningly described it as a "foreign virus" that blamed China and Europe.
In April, Mr. Trump tweeted "LIBERATE MICHIGAN!" and "LIBERATE MINNESOTA!" – Encouraging its supporters to protest the coronavirus restrictions imposed by Democratic governors. His appeal to his base boosted the partisan divisions in relation to the pandemic.
After George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed in the care of the Minneapolis Police Department, protests against racial injustices spread across the country. A chemical spray and rubber bullets were used to evacuate peaceful protesters from Lafayette Park in front of the White House so that Mr Trump could hold a photo op at a nearby church that had been destroyed days earlier.
The Trump campaign played up a rally in Tulsa, Okla., In June as the president's triumphant return to the snag. Although the campaign claimed that nearly a million people registered for tickets, Mr. Trump spoke in front of a mostly empty arena. It was a sign that even his own followers were scared of the coronavirus, despite his repeated attempts to fire it.
Just before July 4th, Mr Trump stood in front of Mount Rushmore and, with an official presidential address, waged a culture war against a straw man version of the left, which he portrayed as inciting chaos and moving the country towards totalitarianism.
Trying to position himself as a candidate for law and order, he claimed that "angry mobs" were trying to tear down statues of the nation's founders and "spark a wave of violent crime in our cities."
The first spring coronavirus outbreak hit north-eastern cities and towns on the west coast hard, but a second spike in summer spread over a larger part of the country. Hospitals fought to contain the wave.
After relocating the Republican National Convention site twice, Mr Trump finally decided to deliver his renomination speech from the south lawn of the White House in August.
His campaign alleged that holding the main political event of the presidential race on government grounds was not in violation of the Hatch Act. The event, however, symbolized a definitive demolition of the government-election line that the president had been undermining for years.
The day after Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away in September, Mr. Trump and Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, were already in contact with Judge Amy Coney Barrett to occupy the Supreme Court opening. Two days later, they offered her the nomination.
Nov. 2, 2020, 11:37 p.m. ET
Mr Trump received Judge Barrett, their family and Republican lawmakers at the White House for an announcement ceremony next weekend. There was no social distancing and few wore masks.
Less than 48 hours after the debate, Mr Trump announced on Twitter that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus. He was taken to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he stayed for three days. The White House Doctor, Dr. Sean P. Conley, created confusion and obfuscation with his updates on the state of the President.
Upon returning to the White House, Mr Trump was not remorseful about his efforts to downplay the virus. "Don't let it dominate your life," he urged Americans.
Mr. Trump roared back to the campaign after his recovery. In the final weeks of the race, as the number of coronavirus cases skyrocketed across the country, his main message to supporters was to trust him that the worst of the pandemic was over. He railed against the news media for continuing to cover the health crisis.
Eight days before the election, Mr Trump won his third Supreme Court's affirmation. He immediately put on a nightly ceremony on the White House lawn to swear to Mrs. Barrett. The outdoor meeting was a reflection of the potential Superspreader event he had held a month earlier to announce their nomination.
In the last days of the campaign, Mr Trump stormed the country as if the virus that defined much of his year did not exist. His sluggish position in the polls was evident in his grueling itinerary, which led him to prop up votes in states he won in 2016 with up to five stops per day.
Instead of focusing his final argument on the economy, he accused doctors of making up coronavirus cases to make money, complained about the bitter cold in states like Michigan, and suggested he wanted Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation's top infectious man, fires disease expert. His last stop before Election Day was Michigan, a repeat of his itinerary four years ago.