Donald Trump rated himself a '10.' Voters didn't.
Fabrizio examined exit polling data from five states that Biden flipped after Trump won them in 2016 (Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) and five competitive states Trump held in 2020 (Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas). He determined that the coronavirus pandemic "was the top issue in both state groups — more so in 'Flipped' states — and Biden carried those voters nearly 3 to 1." In both groups, about 75% of voters backed public mask mandates to curb the virus' spread, something Trump refused to institute.
The report also noted other factors that contributed to the loss, including the widespread belief that Trump was not "honest & trustworthy."
Trump did little to address the COVID-19 crisis. He frequently lied about what he'd done, claiming his partial ban on travel from China had saved "tens of thousands," "hundreds of thousands," or even "millions" of lives.
Rather than encourage safety measures or modeling smart behavior, refused to wear a mask in public and dismissed doing so as "politically correct." He knowingly lied to the public when he downplayed the dangers of the virus. He held events on the campaign trail and at the White House that were followed by outbreaks of the coronavirus among those who had attended them.
After months of briefings during which he provided dangerous misinformation, he mostly stopped talking about the pandemic or doing anything to combat it. Instead, he pushed states to quickly reopen their economies, tweeting, "WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF."
Trump took no responsibility for the results of his failures.
Asked about his administration's response to the pandemic in March 2020, he responded, "I'd rate it a 10." He said, "I don't take responsibility at all" for the problems with virus testing in the country.
And observers noted that Trump appeared to have no empathy for those who'd suffered losses, or none that he showed to the American public.
In December, Trump's former campaign manager blamed Trump's defeat on this lack of empathy. "I think if he had been publicly empathetic, he would have won," Brad Parscale told Fox News. "We lost suburban families. I think that goes to one thing: the decision on COVID to go for opening the economy versus public empathy."
Trump notably made repeated claims that the coronavirus would magically "go away."
More than 26 million Americans have contracted the virus so far, and more than 439,000 have died. The end of the pandemic is nowhere near in sight.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.