'I'm frightened there's not a sense of urgency': Most Americans don't approve of Trump's handling of coronavirus

But nearly 40 per cent said the president's actions won't change the way they intend to vote

John T. Bennett
Washington
@BennettJohnT
Monday 09 March 2020 21:50
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Donald Trump shakes hands with virus-exposed Cpac chairman

A slight majority of Americans disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling the coronavirus outbreak, and just under 40 per cent say his response would make them less likely to vote for his re-election.

The survey, conducted last week by Public Policy Polling, found 51 per cent of Americans disapprove of the president's response to the virus, with 42 per cent saying they approve.

What's more, the poll found 39 per cent of those surveyed said Mr Trump's handling of the matter would make them less likely to vote for him in November. Only 19 per cent said it would make them more likely to do so.

Notably, however, another 39 per cent said it would not change how they intend to vote in eight months.

Mr Trump spent much of the morning dismissing the threat to average Americans in a series of grievance-laden tweets.

"So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on," Mr Trump wrote from Florida, where he spent the weekend golfing ahead of a Monday fundraiser in Orlando. "At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!"

Democrats, meantime, continue to criticise Mr Trump and his public health team.

Washington's Patty Murray, ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labour and Pensions Committee, described herself as "frustrated" and "sad for the people who are being impacted."

"I am frightened that there's not a sense of urgency from this administration to deal with the very real issue," she told MSNBC. "Not creating panic, but an urgency to deal with what I'm seeing happened in my home state and soon to be more.

Videos and photographs show Mr Trump shaking hands during and since a conservative political conference outside Washington. GOP Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Congressman Doug Collins of Georgia are both in voluntary self-quarintine after interacting with a conference goer who has tested positive.

The White House insists the president is feeling fine. Several officials have yet to reply to an email seeking comment on a photograph of Mr Trump shaking hands with Mr Collins last week in Atlanta. The president did not stop to respond to shouted questions Monday afternoon as he returned to the White House.

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