Americans’ attitudes on President Donald Trump, including how he has handled the coronavirus crisis so far, may be shifting, but one conservative “Never Trumper” isn’t convinced.
A new poll out from ABC News finds that a majority of Americans now approve of Trump’s handling of the disease’s spread across the country, with 55 percent saying he’s doing a good job and only 43 percent disapproving. Those numbers are nearly flipped from where he stood last week, when a majority disapproved of his handling of the crisis.
There are a couple of reasons why the numbers may have changed. Journalist Aaron Rupar believes, for example, that the new poll is a misnomer, as other recent data show Trump’s numbers haven’t changed from last week.
The uptick could also be because Democrats are giving him better numbers, while independents and Republicans have largely been unchanged in their attitudes, as this graph from an Economist/YouGov poll shows:
President Donald Trump's coronavirus approval rating is much better than it was two weeks ago, when 56% disapproved of how he was handling it.
Approve – 45%
Disapprove – 46%
— YouGovUS (@YouGovUS) March 19, 2020
Another possibility is that Americans are responding well to Trump’s change in tone overall. But whether Trump’s tone is changing or not, one prominent anti-Trump conservative says we shouldn’t be fooled by it.
“If you think you’ve been hearing a different President Trump this week — more accepting of the reality of the coronavirus pandemic — don’t be fooled. The new Trump is the same as the old Trump,” George Conway, husband to White House counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed.
“What caused the switch in tone? Who knows?” Conway asked rhetorically in his column. He noted it could be any number of factors — huge stock market drops, a dire White House study showing millions could die, or even the fact that his Mar-a-Lago estate requires a deep-cleaning.
“But the sudden shift can’t conceal the fact that Trump has shown himself to be wholly inept at dealing with the pandemic,” Conway said. “It doesn’t change the fact that he puts himself first, always…It doesn’t dissolve Trump’s compulsion to lie, even when truth would serve him best.”
“It doesn’t diminish his incompetence, ignorance or propensity for administrative chaos. And it doesn’t change his inability to accept responsibility,” Conway added.
The Republican lawyer observed how Trump gave himself a 10-out-of-10 score for his handling of the situation on Monday, while at the same time he lashed out “at Democratic governors who bemoan his failing federal leadership.”
I wrote about @realDonaldTrump’s abject failure of leadership in the 🦠 crisis, and how the best thing he could do to save American lives would be to resign—which he won’t do, because he cares only about himself, and not the country. https://t.co/FN9gOg9bOx
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) March 19, 2020
Trump will always take positive accolades, Conway said. “But responsibility? Never. Ever the blameless narcissist, Trump always insists that the buck stops wherever convenient — for him, personally.”
Conway concluded by saying Trump is “incapable of leading the country” through the current COVID-19 crisis.
“The nation needs a credible, competent president, now more than ever. The surest and best thing Trump could do to come to the aid of his country — to save lives — would be to go, as the hapless Chamberlain did,” Conway said.
“But that won’t happen. Because that would be taking responsibility, something Trump has never done and will never know how to do,” Conway added.
Featured image credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr