Americans See Through Trump’s ‘New Tone,’ Overwhelmingly Disapprove of His Coronavirus Response

As his poll numbers reached record lows due to his handling of the coronavirus, Trump and his allies touted a “new tone,” but new polling makes it clear that Trump’s failures speak louder than his empty words. Americans know that Trump’s failed leadership caused the coronavirus to get out of hand, and he’s only making things worse.

Trump returned to holding coronavirus briefings as a way to improve his poll numbers, but a new poll shows the American people disapprove of how he’s handled the coronavirus crisis in the country. 

ABC News: “Nearly two-thirds of Americans disapprove of President Donald Trump’s handling of three major challenges facing the country — the coronavirus pandemic, nationwide unrest over racial inequality and relations with Russia — in a new ABC News/Ipsos poll, a sign of the obstacles that his reelection bid faces just three months before Election Day.”

Trump’s failure to successfully put together a strategy let the coronavirus get out of control. Now, as work on a vaccine progresses, officials fear a lack of strategy from the administration may hinder its rollout.

Reuters: “As scientists and pharmaceutical companies work at breakneck speed to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, public health officials and senior U.S. lawmakers are sounding alarms about the Trump administration’s lack of planning for its nationwide distribution.”

Reuters: “‘We have not heard anything from the federal government since April 23,’ Danielle Koenig, health promotion supervisor for the Washington State Department of Health, said in an email. … ‘We urgently await federal, state and local collaborative discussions to identify challenges and plan solutions. A vaccination campaign of this magnitude is unprecedented and it’s going to take more than an army,’ Hannan said on Tuesday, referring to Trump’s repeated statements that the U.S. military stands ready to deliver vaccines.”

The White House sought to implement a new hospital data system, but after the administration bungled the rollout, hospitals are now scrambling to treat the influx of new patients while also dealing with delayed and inconsistent data. 

NPR: “Earlier this month, when the Trump administration told hospitals to send crucial data about coronavirus cases and intensive care capacity to a new online system, it promised the change would be worth it. The data would be more complete, transparent, and an improvement over the old platform run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, administration officials said. Instead, the public data hub created under the new system is updated erratically and is rife with inconsistencies and errors, data analysts say.”

NPR: “‘If the information is not accurate, it could cost time — and lives,’ says Lisa M. Lee, formerly the chief science officer for public health surveillance at CDC, now at Virginia Tech. For instance, knowing which hospitals have the capacity to take on new patients is critical, she explains. ‘If all the ICU beds are taken up, emergency medical personnel need to take [new patients] to the next town over or to the next county.’”

Trump often touts his administration’s ability to acquire a large supply of ventilators in order to deal with the rise of coronavirus, but new evidence suggests he overspent by as much as $500 million for tens of thousands of them. 

NBC News: “But internal emails and documents obtained by Democrats on the House Oversight Committee suggest that the Trump administration failed to enforce an existing contract with a major medical manufacturer, delayed negotiations for more than a month and subsequently overpaid as much as $500 million for tens of thousands of the devices — a costly error at a time when officials from some of the biggest states were warning of shortages.”

NBC News: “White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, who recently criticized the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as having ‘been wrong about everything,’ negotiated the new contract at almost five times the price the Obama administration paid. The devices Navarro purchased were ‘functionally identical’ to the previous ones, according to Food and Drug Administration approvals in the report.”

As Americans struggle to get tested for the coronavirus, a new report found that the Trump administration decided not to implement a national testing strategy for political reasons.  

Vanity Fair: “Most troubling of all, perhaps, was a sentiment the expert said a member of Kushner’s team expressed: that because the virus had hit blue states hardest, a national plan was unnecessary and would not make sense politically. ‘The political folks believed that because it was going to be relegated to Democratic states, that they could blame those governors, and that would be an effective political strategy,’ said the expert.”

Contact tracing is a key way to slow down the spread of the coronavirus, but because the Trump administration failed to make testing easily available with quick results, tracers have been unable to reach many of those infected.

New York Times: “Contact tracing, a cornerstone of the public health arsenal to tamp down the coronavirus across the world, has largely failed in the United States; the virus’s pervasiveness and major lags in testing have rendered the system almost pointless.”

New York Times: “‘I think it’s easy to say contact tracing is broken,’ said Carolyn Cannuscio, an expert on the method and an associate professor of family medicine and community health at the University of Pennsylvania. ‘It is broken because so many parts of our prevention system are broken.’”