Election 2020

Dems Ready to Go 'All in' to Politicize COVID-19 Pandemic Response

President Donald Trump speaks during a press briefing with the coronavirus task force, at the White House, Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

A new NPR/Marist poll out today shows that just 37 percent of Americans trust what Donald Trump is saying about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just 37% of Americans now say they had a good amount or a great deal of trust in what they’re hearing from the president, while 60% say they had not very much or no trust at all in what he’s saying.

The president rates worst of all groups tested, be it public health officials, state and local leaders or the news media. And more Americans disapprove of the president’s handling of the pandemic than approve by a 49%-44% margin. But that does not differ greatly from his overall job approval rating, which stands at 43%.

Trump has mangled a lot of the messaging from his administration, so it’s not surprising the public is having trouble believing him. And the relentless, negative coverage of the testing issue no doubt contributed to the perception of how the president is handling the crisis.

But I’m amazed those numbers are as good as they are. The media pronounced the administration’s response a “failure” even before it took shape. And Democrats have been all over the president’s response from the moment he opened his mouth about the coronavirus.

So it’s not surprising at all that Democrats would seek to capitalize on that negative media coverage to further politicize the crisis in order to win the election.

Fox News:

A political action committee (PAC) tied to one of former President Barack Obama’s aides is planning to attack President Trump over his response to the coronavirus pandemic, offering a preview of how the outbreak might be used in the fall election.

According to The Washington Post, the group Pacronym is planning to spend $5 million on ads attacking Trump’s response to the pandemic. That political action committee is affiliated with Acronym, whose board includes former Obama adviser David Plouffe. The ads will target five swing states (Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Arizona) and run on major digital platforms like Facebook.

In addition to Plouffe’s group, the Democrat-aligned American Bridge is preparing an ad that attacks Trump’s handling of the crisis.

Plouffe suggested on Tuesday that Democrats shouldn’t be shy about their demands for a coronavirus response before the 2020 elections.

Mr. Plouffe tried to downplay the politicization of the crisis.

No doubt, Democrats will try to shoehorn in their social agenda into any bailout bill. But they’re not politicizing the crisis at all, right?

In response to the report, Trump’s campaign defended the administration’s response and suggested Pacronym’s attacks overlooked former Vice President Joe Biden’s response to the swine flu outbreak in 2009.

“It is laughable that his [Biden’s] allies would launch this attack when Americans can see for themselves through daily public briefings that President Trump and his team are on the case and have been so since before Joe Biden even woke up to the situation,” Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman with the campaign, said.

Ultimately, the distrust of the media and Democrats will work in Trump’s favor. More than 90 percent of Democrats don’t believe what Trump is saying about the pandemic while 75 percent of Republicans do. The partisan divide will cushion most of the negative reaction to the White House response so that politicizing the crisis won’t work the way Democrats intend.