President Donald Trump has been talking himself up as the right person for the job to lead on addressing and diminishing the spread of coronavirus, or COVID-19, across the country.
Problem is, most Americans don’t trust him to do so.
A new poll published on Tuesday from NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist found that the citizenry is split on whether the federal government is doing enough or not to address the crisis. Forty-six percent say enough is being done, while 44 percent believe more needs to happen.
A majority of Americans see coronavirus as a real threat, with 56 percent saying so. Only 38 percent say it’s “blown out of proportion,” the poll found.
Among Republican respondents, however, those numbers are flipped: 40 percent say it’s serious, while 54 percent say it’s overblown.
Americans are split on whether they can trust the media during this crisis, with 50 percent saying they can and 47 percent saying they cannot. But when it comes to Trump, an overwhelming majority say his words are not trustworthy.
60% of Americans now say they don't have very much trust — or have no trust at all — in what President Trump says about COVID-19, a new poll finds.https://t.co/UNCqjbHNBj
— NPR (@NPR) March 17, 2020
Three-in-five Americans (60 percent) say they do not trust what Trump has to say about coronavirus, while only 37 percent say they do trust him.
Much of the distrust in Trump likely has to do with the fact that he consistently contradicted healthcare experts for several weeks on the direction things were going. When experts warned that things were going to get worse before they got better, for example, Trump said late in February that cases would soon “going to be down to close to zero.”
There were only a few cases of coronavirus identified in the country at that time. Now, there are thousands.
Trump’s frequent contradicting of health experts likely did him no good, politically speaking: the American public trust what they have announced or recommended so far, with 84 percent saying as much, and only 13 percent saying they don’t put much trust in what they have to say.
Distrust in Trump may also have to do with the fact that testing for COVID-19 has been limited, as there’s not enough tests available to address concerns of Americans who believe they may have the disease.
Chris Walker is a freelance journalist based in Madison, Wisconsin, who focuses on news, politics, and analysis of world events. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, since 2005 Chris has reported on workers’ rights protests in Wisconsin, opined on four separate presidential elections and written on a number of other political subjects for a variety of national online publications.