One Reason For Trump’s Turnaround On Coronavirus? He Noticed Joe Biden’s Tone

President Donald Trump has spent most of his time during the past few weeks describing coronavirus as a mild concern, defying his medical experts’ opinions (sometimes in the same press conference) and saying it was something that was set to be done in a matter of days.

Both images, via Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Trump has seemingly been more preoccupied with the optics of the disease, concerned more with his “numbers” (e.g. the count of people infected in the United States) than anything else. It’s one of the reasons why, according to Politico reporter Dan Diamond, testing wasn’t rolled out in a faster fashion.

“[Trump] did not push to do aggressive additional testing in recent weeks, and that’s partly because more testing might have led to more cases being discovered of coronavirus outbreak, and the president had made clear: The lower the numbers on coronavirus, the better for the president, the better for his potential reelection this fall,” Diamond said in an NPR interview.

Over the past few days, however, Trump’s tone has taken a different direction — one that is more somber and dedicated toward addressing the realities of the situation on the ground, the Associated Press noted.

Although one might hope that scientific consensus on the issue and his medical experts’ advice to him changed his views, what appears to have pushed Trump the other way from how he treated coronavirus before is his political chances in 2020.

According to the AP report cited above, Trump took note of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s tenor during his debate with Bernie Sanders on Sunday. Biden described the situation as an “all hands on deck” situation that deserved immediate action, The Guardian noted in its coverage of the debate.

That, in turn, prompted Trump to decide he needed to appear more leader-like when it came to the crisis.

Trump did notice other things that were happening around him, too — including the isolation procedures that some of his own White House staff were taking.

A combination of factors, then, led to his changing his ways: the reality of what was actually happening (versus his rosy interpretation of things), his own staff’s reaction to the crisis, and Joe Biden’s statements on coronavirus that made him seem more presidential.

That last part shouldn’t play a role at all — the commander-in-chief ought to take action based on what’s necessary for the American people, not how his actions affect his re-election chances.

Featured image credit: images of Biden, Trump, both via Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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