In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. The 2020 race, the subject of our next book, is well underway. It unfolds as Coronavirus presents unprecedented challenges to public policy and the electoral process.
Pew finds that COVID had dragged down America's world standing:
Since Donald Trump took office as president, the image of the United States has suffered across many regions of the globe. As a new 13-nation Pew Research Center survey illustrates, America’s reputation has declined further over the past year among many key allies and partners. In several countries, the share of the public with a favorable view of the U.S. is as low as it has been at any point since the Center began polling on this topic nearly two decades ago.ABC Town Hall Meeting:
Part of the decline over the past year is linked to how the U.S. had handled the coronavirus pandemic. Across the 13 nations surveyed, a median of just 15% say the U.S. has done a good job of dealing with the outbreak. In contrast, most say the World Health Organization (WHO) and European Union have done a good job, and in nearly all nations people give their own country positive marks for dealing with the crisis (the U.S. and UK are notable exceptions). Relatively few think China has handled the pandemic well, although it still receives considerably better reviews than the U.S. response.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to move onto some other subjects. But we’re still – are dealing with 195,000 deaths in the United States right now. When you see that...when you think about that, does that give you any pause? Does it make you think, is there anything I could have done differently? Anything…
TRUMP: I think we could have had two million deaths if we didn’t close out the country...
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you regret nothing?
TRUMP: We did close it -- no, I think we did a great job. If we didn’t close the country...look, we created...I created, we all created together...you helped everybody. The fact is, we created the greatest economy in the history of the world, best employment numbers for African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic-America, women, everything.
The best employment, high school, no high school, college, we had the best economy we’ve ever had. One hundred and sixteen million people – almost just short of 160 million people – we were never close.
And then somebody comes in and then somebody else, doctors, and they start talking about the pandemic and about closing, they want to close up our country.
I said, wait a minute. We’re the greatest country, the greatest economy, and it was coming together even in terms of unity, because it was so successful that people that weren’t getting along were starting to get along, George. That’s the way we solved that problem.
But, we had the greatest economy ever, and we have to close it. If I didn’t close it, I think you’d have two million deaths instead of having the 185,000 – 190,000. It’s a terrible number – one is too many.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Earlier on there would have been fewer deaths.
TRUMP: George, I was so far ahead of my closing – and I’ll give you an example. When I closed at the end of January, Joe Biden was talking about, in March, about, it’s totally over exaggerated. Nancy Pelosi was standing in the streets of Chinatown in San Francisco late – a month – more than a month after that -- saying this thing’s totally exaggerated. Come, you know, to try and build up tourism.
And all of these people now they say…
STEPHANOPOULOS: You were saying it was going to disappear.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You were saying it was going to disappear.
TRUMP: It is going to disappear. It’s going to disappear, I still say it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But not if we don’t take action, correct?
TRUMP: No, I still say it. It’s going to disappear, George. We’re going to get back – we’re not going to have studios like this, where you have all of this empty space in between.
I want to see people, and you want to see people. I want to see football games. I’m pushing very hard for Big Ten, I want to see Big Ten open – let the football games – let them play sports.
But no, it’s going to disappear, George, and I say this –
STEPHANOPOULOS: But Dr. Fauci said we have to be prepared for – we have to hunker down. We have to be prepared for a possible second wave.
I understand that you don’t want to panic people, you said you want people to be calm. You’ve often talked about Winston Churchill and FDR, and they did reassure people, they were strong. They did keep people calm.
But they also were straight. They said this war is going to be tough, it’s going to be a real fight, we have to persevere.
TRUMP: When Churchill was on the top of a building, and he said everything’s going to be good, everything’s going to be – be calm. And you have the Nazis dropping bombs all over London, he was very brave because he was at the top of a building. It was very well known that he was standing on buildings, and they were bombing. And he says everyone's going to be safe.
I don't think that's being necessarily honest, and yet I think it's being a great leader. But he said, you're going to be safe. Be calm, don't panic. And you had bombers dropping bombs all over London.
So I guess you could say that's not so honest, but it's still a great leader.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So do you think it's OK to be dishonest?
TRUMP: I'm not looking to be dishonest. I don't want people to panic. And we are going to be OK. We're going to be OK, and it is going away. And it's probably going to go away now a lot faster because of the vaccines.
It would go away without the vaccine, George, but it's going to go away a lot faster with it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It would go away without the vaccine?
TRUMP: Sure, over a period of time. Sure, with time it goes away.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And many deaths.
TRUMP: And you'll develop -- you'll develop herd -- like a herd mentality. It's going to be -- it's going to be herd-developed, and that's going to happen. That will all happen.
But with a vaccine, I think it will go away very quickly.