President Donald Trump has been highlighting lots of really big numbers this week: New highs for the stock market. The 100-plus House members backing a lawsuit challenging his election loss. The nearly 75 million people who voted for him.
All the while, he's looked past other staggering and more consequential figures: The record numbers of coronavirus deaths, hospitalizations and new cases among the citizens of the nation he leads.
On Friday, Trump's team blasted out a text with this strong, high-minded presidential message: "We will not bend. We will not break. We will never give in. We will never give up." But it was not a rallying cry to help shore up Americans sagging under the toll of a pandemic that on Wednesday alone killed more Americans than on D-Day or 9/11. It was part of a fundraising pitch tied to Senate races in Georgia and to Trump's unsupported claims that Democrats are trying to "steal" the presidential election he lost.
Of Trump's tweets over the past week, 82 percent have been focused on the election and just 7 percent on the virus - almost all of those related to forthcoming vaccines - according to Factba.se, a data analytics company. Nearly a third of the president's tweets on the election were flagged by Twitter for misinformation.
As he talks and tweets at length about the election he is futilely trying to subvert, the president is leaving Americans without a central figure to help them deal with their grief over loved-ones' deaths and the day-to-day danger of the pandemic that still rages. His strategy is to focus totally on the shiny object coming soon - the prospect of a vaccine.