WASHINGTON - Sinking in the polls, strapped for cash and facing a potential tidal wave of Democratic early voting as coronavirus cases have soared, President Donald Trump has found new culprits to blame for his political woes - his own supporters, Cabinet members and even fellow Republicans.
In appearances this week, he has vented his frustrations with suburban women, a critical voting bloc that polls suggest he has lost to Democratic nominee Joe Biden, mixing an uncharacteristic personal plea with raw resentment and a curious claim of achievement.
"Suburban women, will you please like me? I saved your damn neighborhood, OK?" he said at a rally in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
In Des Moines, he jabbed at Iowa farmers, who were battered by his trade war with China, saying they apparently prefer government handouts to "working their asses off."
At a town hall in Miami, he refused to disavow a far-right conspiracy-mongering group that falsely alleges a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles is trying to take over the government. He also falsely claimed that America is "turning the corner" on the pandemic on a day when new infections and hospitalizations rose to their highest levels since April.
And on Friday, in a pitch to older voters at an indoor event in Fort Myers, Florida, Trump reiterated his ageist attacks on Biden, saying the 77-year-old former vice president is "gone," and warning Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, seated nearby, that any delay in developing a COVID-19 vaccine would be his fault.
"We're counting on you," he told Azar, then turning to the audience. "I'm going to blame him if this stuff doesn't happen fast."
Trump also attacked a Republican senator facing a difficult reelection fight and whose seat could determine if Republicans continue to control the Senate next year.
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine was "not worth the work," he tweeted, citing a "nasty rumor out there" that she would not vote to confirm conservative jurist Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. A Senate vote has been scheduled for Oct. 22.
It wasn't a rumor. Collins has said publicly that she would not vote to confirm a nominee this close to an election. Moreover, Republicans are desperate to hold her seat in the Senate, but with a 53-47 majority, do not need her vote to confirm Barrett to the high court.