Where Trump went wrong in campaign
As he was running down the clock in the final breakneck days of his campaign, Donald Trump added a new act to his partially scripted rally speeches.
"COVID, COVID, COVID," he whined in a voice that sounded quite like middle daughter Jan in The Brady Bunch when she complained about "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia".
Back in late January everything was looking rosy for a second Trump term.
Finally clear of the "witch hunt" impeachment that had dogged him from the first days of his presidency, he was riding high on record low unemployment, a booming stockmarket, favourable new trade deals and an energy self-sufficient United States.
There was growing concern about the novel coronavirus out of Wuhan and Trump acted aggressively on January 31 and shut down incoming travel from China for non-US citizens.
This decisive "China travel ban" was slammed by Democrats as just another racist move by the xenophobe-in-chief and weeks later Nancy Pelosi strolled through San Francisco's Chinatown with a media pack, saying there's nothing to see here.
Trump repeatedly cites his early response as proof he took the pandemic seriously.
But no matter how many times he's recently claimed the US is "rounding the curve" and touted his own "miracle cure", there is no escaping the numbers.
More than 230,000 dead Americans.
It's hard to explain how difficult the COVID crisis has been to manage in America. Fifty states, 50 different governors with 50 different agendas, states' rights and a nation full of people who think it's their right to do whatever the hell they want.
People happily said it was their right to contract the virus and die.
But Trump could have done more to set a national tone. All he had to do was say to his followers, there's nothing submissive or un-American about wearing a mask. Put it on and let's look after each other. He could have told the nation that it was a critical issue much earlier than he did.
It is actually not fair for the Democrats to blame Trump for the all of the 230,000 deaths in the US. He didn't introduce the virus and he didn't make some of the disastrous decisions that killed tens of thousands of elderly people in Democrat-run states like New York.
But he should have set the tone.
In January, Trump claimed the virus was under control, saying: "It's one person coming in from China. We have it under control. It's going to be just fine", while just a month later declaring: "It's going to disappear".
In April he made international headlines when he suggested injecting bleach could kill the virus and throughout the pandemic had been openly critical of Dr Anthony Fauci, his chief infectious disease expert, even suggested just this week he would fire him after the election.
Many Trump supporters around the nation told News Corp Australia that while they loved Trump, they wished he'd keep his mouth shut sometimes.
"He could beat anyone in the world if he kept his mouth shut," one supporter said.
"But he just can't help himself. He's just a good old boy who says what's on his mind."