Donald Trump on Monday gave a brief statement to the press at the White House, announcing his latest proposal to respond to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which has now claimed 26 lives in the United States — a payroll tax cut. But a Yale University psychiatrist who has co-authored a book on Trump's mental health said on Sunday that he may actually have something more drastic in mind.
Trump will "use the crisis possibly to cancel elections or to impose martial law," wrote Dr. Bandy X. Lee on her Twitter account. The viral outbreak could cause "widespread deaths," Lee wrote, saying that Trump "will blame them on Barack Obama, and people will believe him."
Trump has already attempted to blame Obama, his predecessor in the presidency, for the slow response to the outbreak, despite the fact that Obama has been out of office for more than three years. In addition, the strain of coronavirus causing the current outbreak did not appear in humans until late in 2019.
Nonetheless, Trump claimed last week that Obama "made a decision on testing that turned out to be very detrimental to what we're doing."
If Trump is able to successfully pin widespread coronavirus deaths on Obama in the public mind, according to Lee, he would set the stage for draconian measures on the pretext of combatting the disease — measures that would be designed to keep him in office.
As the coronavirus continues to spread and financial markets respond by crashing, potentially a precursor to a new recession, Trump has seen the danger that could lose the 2020 presidential election to likely Democratic nominee Joe Biden increase. According to the political data site Real Clear Politics, two polls released on Monday show that Trump now trails Biden in a head-to-head matchup by double digits.
Perhaps more importantly, Biden scores over 50 percent of the vote in each poll. In one poll, sponsored by CNN, Biden leads Trump by 10 points, 53-43. In the second poll, conducted by Quinnipiac University, Biden enjoys an 11-point lead over Trump, 52-41.
In addition, according to the CNN poll, Biden holds a considerable advantage over Trump in personal favorability rating. In the poll, 48 percent of respondents said that they had a favorable opinion of the former U.S. Vice President, while 44 percent rated him unfavorably — for a "net" favorability rating of +4.
Trump, on the other hand, scored a dismal -11 net rating, with 54 percent saying that they held an unfavorable opinion of him, compared to just 43 percent who rated him favorably. Biden's remaining opponent for the Democratic nomination, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, was also viewed unfavorably by respondents to the CNN poll, at 52 unfavorable, 42 favorable — a net favorability rating of -10.