[EPA]The White House at sunset
[EPA]The White House at sunset

by Julia Pierrepont III, Heng Huang

Wracked by a devastating economic shutdown on top of a debilitating coronavirus public health crisis that is just beginning to gain momentum in the United States, Americans are looking for leadership to see them through the crisis.

Reactions on Trump’s policies related to the COVID-19 outbreak range from the passionately opposed to fanatical supporters who take blind faith in his policies.

The latest Gallup poll released Tuesday showed that Trump enjoyed a small rally in public support as the country faces the COVID-19 pandemic. Forty-nine percent of U.S. adults, up from 44 percent earlier this month, approve of the job Trump is doing as president.

Historically, a president’s job approval has increased when the nation is under threat. Every president from Franklin Roosevelt through George W. Bush saw their approval rating surge at least 10 points after a significant national event of this kind.

Gallup called it a presidential approval rally effect, which occurred when some independents and supporters of the opposing party show heightened support for the commander in chief of the county when in crisis.

For many, they are still looking for leadership from the White House.

“He’s failed to demonstrate even the most basic understanding of science and how to effectively combat a viral outbreak,” said Michael Tiberi, a scientist and optical engineer from Los Angeles, who believes Trump’s management style is dangerously inconsistent.

“Trump’s supposed to protect the American public, but first he lied and said the virus was a hoax, then he took the opposite extreme of banning all flights from Europe, and now he says he’s considering calling for a reversal of all state lockdowns in order to try to boost the economy,” Tiberi added.

“That’s a downright insane idea,” Tiberi said gravely.

Katie Peyree, a homemaker in Oregon in the U.S. Northwest and passionate Trump supporter, dismissed arguments against Trump’s policies and ideas. “That’s fake news! Anything to make him look bad or cast him in an evil light is being pushed by the major news outlets.”

In response to Trump’s idea to send everyone back to work in time for Easter to “boost the economy” — despite the Coronavirus — attorney Larry Roberts in Lake Forest, California, told Xinhua Wednesday that the idea is easier said than done.

“If you call off mandated lockdowns and self-quarantines and compel everyone to go back to work in cramped offices, then they’ll just get sick and go home anyway,” said Roberts. “It’s not like a microbe gives a damn about ‘presidential edicts’.”

“How’s that going to boost the economy?” he asked dryly.

A poll by Morning Consult, a global survey research company who analyses data by intelligent technology, suggested that Trump’s desire to end this period of quarantines and sheltering is out of step with the public’s wishes.

A plurality of Americans said they strongly support a “national quarantine,” and nearly three-quarters of Americans express at least some support for the idea, according to the poll taken March 20 to 22.

Xinhua asked a few California healthcare workers to weigh in on Trump’s handling of the crisis.

Things are challenging already,” said Sarah Hamil, a nursing student at Huntington Hospital who is alarmed at the rate her wards are filling up with new coronavirus patients. “And they are only going to get crazier.”

A UCLA medical student who gave her name as Katherine M told Xinhua that she appreciated the effective steps UCLA had taken to protect its students but expressed concern that Trump was dictating on matters outside his expertise.

“Trump doesn’t have the authority to reverse state lockdowns that health workers support. Only governors can do that. He should be quiet, shelter in place like the rest of us, and let the real medical and economic experts do what they’ve been trained to do without his interference.”

Pro-Trumper, Krys Stromsted, a fast-food worker in the northwestern state of Idaho, considered the outbreak of no consequence and chalked it all up to a left-wing media conspiracy.

“In 2009, the H1N1 was raging across the U.S…. and there was no mass fear or panic being pushed by our ‘non-biased’ media, no mass shutdown. Of course, today it’s different — just because Trump is President?” he said.

Some say they no longer pay attention to any health announcements from the president on the coronavirus, drawing inspiration instead by healthcare workers across the globe working to stem the tidal wave.

“What we are seeing is that doctors, medical institutions, people of every nationality, of every walk of life, are working together to combat this pandemic,” said film and television producer Jeff Most.

“I believe the hoped-for silver-lining in tragic situations like this is that we’re able to set aside human divisions and work together as human beings to settle the problems that confront us all. Maybe that way we will all come out of this stronger and more unified globally.” Enditem

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Xinhua News Agency, Xinhuanet is an important central news service-oriented website, an important information organ of the central government, and an important platform for building up China's online international communication capacity. Established on November 7, 1997, as an online news provider of the Xinhua News Agency, it was officially named Xinhuanet on March 10, 2000 and began around-the-clock news release with leading online public opinion at home and setting a good image of China abroad as its main task.


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