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Trump fixated on his own political fate as virus kills record number of Americans

 A day after the United States' coronavirus daily death toll nearly surpassed the number killed in the Sept. 11 attacks, President Donald Trump remained out of sight -- fixated not on the raging pandemic but rather on his own political fate.

The president made no public appearances Friday, a day after the United States recorded 2,879 American deaths caused by COVID-19, 217,664 confirmed cases of the virus and over 100,000 hospitalizations -- all records.

Trump has spent his waning days in office not focused on leading the United States through a historic, deadly crisis but rather fundraising for his future political endeavors and sowing doubt in the country's democratic foundations.

Regurgitating debunked conspiracy theories about electoral fraud that courts across the country have rejected, the president and the Republican Party have collected hundreds of millions of dollars as Trump mulls another run for the presidency four years down the line.

“The reality is, December and January and February are going to be rough times,” the CDC's director, Robert Redfield, said Wednesday. “I actually believe they’re going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation, largely because of the stress that it's going to put on our health care system.”

Trump has held few public events since the election ended on Nov. 3, with just one devoted to the virus -- a Nov. 13 Rose Garden gathering at which he touted what he characterized as the United States' unprecedented pace at producing vaccines.

Asked Thursday what, if anything, the president was doing that day to address the pandemic, the White House did not offer any specifics. Asked about what he was doing Friday related to the pandemic, the White House did not respond.

As millions of Americans experience economic hardship, Trump on Thursday expressed general support for coronavirus-related relief from Congress. But he has shown little interest in engaging with Capitol Hill during negotiations over what form that support would take.

In pre-taped, scripted remarks that aired during the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony Thursday, Trump did briefly mention the "once-in-a-century pandemic," noting "the goodness of our fellow citizens" and workers producing "life-saving supplies and critical aid."

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