This week’s White House Report Card finds President Trump in a stronger position as he leads his coronavirus task force to take tougher measures to slow the spread of infections and death.
John Zogby, our co-grader and pollster, said that after a bad period last week, the president this week took charge like a wartime president. He compared him to President Franklin Roosevelt, who led the United States out of the Great Depression with the New Deal and also through World War II.
“When FDR was elected president, he pledged a New Deal to the U.S., and he admitted that he was not exactly sure what he was going to do, but he realized that he had to ‘try something.’ Trump has risen to that occasion too. He has gone from James Buchanan to FDR,” said Zogby in giving an A- for the week.
Conservative analyst Jed Babbin, grading a C+, wasn’t as positive about Trump, noting his struggle to get virus drugs approved and the stock market sell-off.
Last week, you will recall that in giving Trump an ‘F,’ I said he was channeling his inner James Buchanan — by all accounts, the worst president in American history. What a difference a week can make.
The president late last week dreadfully delivered a talk to the American people emphasizing his understanding of the crisis presented to all of us by the COVID-19 virus. He was followed by a solid and measured presentation by the chairman of his task force to deal with the crisis, Vice President Mike Pence.
— Paul Bedard (@SecretsBedard) March 20, 2020
Since and every day the president has met with the press, Trump has moved vigorously to battle the health and financial problems wrought by this plague, and he opened the floor to Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, as well as others who know what they are talking about.
Two packages of emergency aid have passed Congress, with a third in the pipeline. While Democrats are criticizing specific measures contained in both the health-related and economic stimulus policies in these bills, for the most part, there is a much better spirit of cooperation where it needs to be.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 21, 2020
The president has made mistakes, to be sure. Renaming the virus the “Chinese virus” is indeed racist and plays to the worst elements of the American public. And name-calling specific journalists is simply antagonistic and petty at a time when statesmanship is needed. But for the most part, he is doing the right thing in his response to this unprecedented war.
When FDR was elected president, he pledged a New Deal to the U.S., and he admitted that he was not exactly sure what he was going to do, but he realized that he had to ‘try something.’ Trump has risen to that occasion too. He has gone from James Buchanan to FDR (and perhaps somewhat Andrew Yang!) in just one week.
Trump had a very rocky week because of the coronavirus pandemic caused mostly by matters over which he has no authority. The number of diagnosed U.S. cases of coronavirus infection multiplied greatly, the stock market continued its nosedive, the Federal Reserve began dumping money into the supply, and hope rose when the president cleared two drugs for use in severe cases despite FDA foot-dragging.
The availability of test kits to diagnose coronavirus infections continued to increase though still uneven. Cases in cities such as New York multiplied enormously. Several governors, including California’s Gavin Newsom, took severe measures, Newsom’s is, so far, the most severe. He ordered 40 million citizens to stay home unless they were working in essential industries. (Marijuana dispensaries are included among the essentials, of course. It IS California). Trump has properly left those decisions to the states.
The stock market seemed to rebound (slightly) on the news of the Fed’s actions, but the markets have a long way to go to recover, having lost about 5,000 points. Trump and Congress are planning a stimulus package that will pay individuals about $1,200 (and possibly the ability to make withdrawals from 401(k) plans without tax penalties) and give businesses either bailouts or tax relief. There’s no agreement on the stimulus yet, but may be before Monday.
The best news is that Trump ordered the FDA to authorize two drugs — one, hydroxychloroquine, has been used to treat malaria — to be rushed to be used to treat severe cases of the coronavirus. The bad news is that FDA is reportedly insisting that extensive testing will delay the release of the drugs for several more months. Trump may not be able to force the FDA to obey his order.
The media is, as usual, making fools of themselves this time by insisting that Trump’s use of the term “China virus” to describe the coronavirus is racist and xenophobic. Several people have suggested a better term: “Kung flu.”
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