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Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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The fact that Donald Trump has proven untrustworthy and unreliable at the head of the daily White House coronavirus briefings has resulted in only a very modest bump at best in public opinion polling during this crisis, according to a former US senator.
Since the coronavirus outbreak and COVID-19 pandemic began, Trump first began trying to downplay the importance of the illness. He also has been known to spout off falsehoods and inaccuracies. For instance, he has said with some certainty that the virus would pass in a “month,” contradicting expert advice from the CDC which says that the virus could be affecting some places into the summer.
In another instance, Trump falsely stated that no one could have predicted a need for so many ventilators. The truth is that experts have been warning of ventilator shortages for some time.
Historically, Americans tend to rally around the president in times of crisis, and that effect will be registered in the president’s public opinion polling.
There have been more than 950,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide. The virus has killed more than 48,000.
In the United States, there have been 213,144 cases reported, including 4,513 deaths, according to the most recent figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Although Trump has seen a bump in his polling, it’s been extremely modest in comparison to those seen by his predecessors in times of national crisis.
“Well, I think every time there’s a crisis in our country, the American people want to support the president. I mean, you could an look at your old boss,” former Democratic senator Clare McCaskill told MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace, who served in the White House with George W Bush in a recent segment. “I think his approval ratings got up to 82 percent at one point. You would probably remember. Maybe even higher after 9/11. So there is always, I believe, going to be some kind of bump.
“The fact that [Trump’s] bump is modest speaks to the fact that most Americans know that about half the time at least he’s not telling the truth, that he has not told the truth about this crisis in many important ways, and I think that it is really just a function of everyone wanting the president to do better and wanting to be supportive,” McCaskill added.
“… So there is a time when people set aside their partisanship and want to support everyone in this country,” she said. “Unfortunately, the president is not really rising to the occasion. He may have had a bump but he’s not enjoying the kind of approval that traditionally presidents would have when responding to any kind of crisis.”
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