By Tom Kingsbury
In times of crisis, heads of state tend to see a public unifying of support.
In the aftermath of 9/11, George W. Bush’s approval ratings soared from 51% just before to 90%. But while this has
been the case for most world leaders, it has not for US President Donald Trump.
In the UK, Boris Johnson’s approval rating more than doubled between March and April,
according to a YouGov poll.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel saw her approval rating rise by 11 points between March
and April, reaching 79%, Forschungsgruppe Wahlen’s polling found.
A French poll by Le Journal du Dimanche saw Emmanuel Macron’s approval rating rise by 14
points between February and April.
Even in countries hit hardest by Coronavirus, leaders have seen their popularity rise. Italian
Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte’s approval rating has surged to 71%.
Yet the same response has not been seen in the US, where President Trump’s approval rating
has stayed about the same throughout most of the pandemic, and has been decreasing since
the end of March, when Trump signed a $2.2 trillion Stimulus bill.
Political commentators suggest the reason for this fall in approval rating has been due to President Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis.
On 1st of May Mr Trump reaffirmed his suggestion that the virus came from a Chinese
laboratory, despite the National Intelligence Director’s Office findings determining that COVID-19
“was not manmade or genetically modified”.
Towards the end of April, President Trump made the now infamous remarks suggesting the US look into use
of disinfectant or light to treat the virus.
Mr Trump has also made other remarks widely discredited by experts, telling Fox News, “I think
we’re going to have a vaccine by the end of the year. The doctors would say ‘well you shouldn’t
say that’. I’ll say what I think”.
Time will tell how this will affect the upcoming US elections, though Senate Republicans are
already praising Mr Trump’s handling of the pandemic, as the Democrat party seeks to seize the
Senate in November after being the minority party for six years.