Speaking from his own backyard, the comedian pointed to how South Korea has been handling the crisis, arguing that the United States should have done the same. However, as Maher suggested, Trump “happy-talked and lied his a** off” instead of aggressively testing people and tracing their contacts to better contain the virus.
According to Maher, “South Korea put a strong testing program into place, tracing people, and today they have twenty-0ne times the cases and thirty times fewer deaths.”
Trump, who initially downplayed the coronavirus outbreak, has been calling himself a wartime president and comparing the measures his government has imposed to waging a war against the virus. According to Maher, however, even if Trump is actually waging a war against the coronavirus, he has already lost.
“If this is a war, Trump lost it in January. He’s not FDR or JFK, he’s LOL.”
“So it’s more than a little disturbing that he is getting a bump in the polls on this,” the comedian continued, referring to Trump’s approval ratings.
“A bump, that tells us we are once again entering into rally around the leader time. Around the guy who made it worse. I mean, come on, toilet paper is now more valuable than the dollar.”
Trump’s approval ratings shot up in late March. For instance, a Gallup poll released on March 24 showed that the president’s overall approval rating is the best of his presidency and that 60 percent of Americans approve of the way he is handling the response to the coronavirus pandemic. The bump was caused by an increase in support among Democrats and independents.
As Gallup noted, Americans tend to rally around a president when they feel the country is under threat. For instance, in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, then-President George W. Bush’s overall approval rating shot up 35 points, with Americans, regardless of party affiliation, rallying around him.
The polling bump appears to be gone. According to an ABC News/Ipsos poll released on Friday, a majority of Americans now disapprove of the way Trump has handled the response to the pandemic. Forty-seven percent of Americans approve of the job he is doing, and 52 percent disapprove.
The survey also suggests that Americans are growing increasingly concerned about the crisis, with 89 percent saying they are “somewhat or very concerned” they will contract the virus. The Trump administration has extended the social distancing guidelines until the end of April, but a majority of Americans — 56 percent — believe they won’t be able to resume their regular routine until after July 1, according to the poll.