In the recent edition of POLITICO’s Playbook newsletter, journalists Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman predicted that the next two days will determine whether Donald Trump‘s presidency will sink or swim amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The pair noted the concerning stock market levels that are reminiscent of 2017 and the necessity of Trump working with Congress to deliver a legislative package as one-third of the country remains in their homes. According to the report, Trump’s relationship with Congress is already “rocky. However, it notes that the stimulus package will ultimately fall into the hands of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
“The fates of Trump’s presidency — and the American economy — is in the hands of a Congress and federal bureaucracy he has spent years berating,” the newsletter reads.
As reported by POLITICO, the $2 trillion package is currently in the Senate, where lawmakers have reportedly reached an “impasse.” Although the report notes that both Democrats and Republicans hope to pass a deal either today or tomorrow, it claims that “hard bargaining” will be required to achieve this. Unresolved issues allegedly include financial assistance to hospitals and health-care providers, increased unemployment insurance payments, and a fund to address “looming revenue shortfalls” in state governments.
In a recent article for The Atlantic, Peter Nicholas echoed Palmer and Sherman and claimed that Trump’s handling of COVID-19 would define his presidency.
“It could sink the economy and, under certain horrid scenarios, kill as many as 2 million Americans. It’s already made the country Trump leads in some ways unrecognizable.”
Dr. Fauci responds to question about differences between U.S. and Italy, says @realDonaldTrump stopping travel very early from China "has gone a long way" in fight against coronavirus
"Unfortunately, Italy did not do that. They had an open border."
— Elizabeth Harrington (@LizRNC) March 20, 2020
Steve Bannon, the former Trump White House chief strategist, spoke to Nicholas for his piece and agreed with his sentiments.
“This is Trump’s Churchill moment,” Bannon said.
“This time will define his presidency.”
A Morning Consult poll released Friday showed that the public’s approval of Trump’s handling of the pandemic has been rising, Breitbart reported. The survey, which was taken from March 17 to 20, found that of the approximately 2,000 voters surveyed, 53 percent approved of Trump’s approach to COVID-19, and 39 percent disapproved. The approval is reportedly a 10 percent increase in net support of the president’s coronavirus response since the last poll that covered March 13 to 16.
Others, including former President Barack Obama‘s Ebola czar, Ron Klain, have criticized Trump’s handling of the crisis. Klain pointed to the United State’s low testing rate relative to countries like South Korea and the early failures he believes will continue to fuel the crisis as time goes on.