Since the first cases of COVID-19 — a respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus — were reported in the United States in January, American life has been turned upside down by an event few will ever forget.
The coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China at the end of 2019, has spread to every continent except Antarctica and has claimed over 42,000 lives worldwide, with European countries like Italy and Spain being hit especially hard. After spreading to all 50 states and infecting over 200,000 nationwide, the American economy has come to a screeching halt. Schools like the University of Michigan have moved classes online, non-essential businesses have closed and stay-at-home orders have been issued for more than half of the states as well as Washington, D.C.
As the fallout from the COVID-19 crisis continues to deepen, a dark feeling of anxiety has taken hold across the country, with some saying the pandemic’s impact is worse than the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Beyond the medical and economic implications of this crisis for the nation, the coronavirus also has broad political implications for leaders who will be judged by their response to the illness, which the World Health Organization has declared a global pandemic. In particular, President Donald Trump is under incessant pressure to respond to the coronavirus as his re-election bid — which is being increasingly complicated by the crisis — looms this November.
Many Americans — especially those who are opposed to the president’s policy agenda — may see this pandemic, which coincides with a presidential election year, as an insurmountable obstacle for Trump. But I would disagree. While many think that the infection will kill off Trump’s political career once and for all, the crisis is actually an opportunity for the president to showcase himself as a strong, capable leader for the American public. And he’s already doing just that.
Since the crisis first began to rattle American society, Trump has used his executive power to protect Americans every step of the way. In the direction of qualified experts, the president first banned travel into the U.S. from China, which medical professionals like Dr. Anthony Fauci credit as a major step toward slowing the spread of COVID-19 into our borders. Later, as the pandemic ramped up outside China, the president moved to prohibit travel from Europe as well, another critical step that likely spared America from the worst the coronavirus had to offer.
Beside cutting off travel from some of the worst-off areas across the globe, Trump has delivered the information and resources the American people need to overcome this illness. In a coordinated, bipartisan effort, the president helped organize a historic two trillion dollar economic stimulus bill that passed the Senate unanimously. The economic aid package promises to give individuals and married couples, along with small businesses and hospitals, the funds they need in order to survive these trying times.
In addition, with many experts fearing that America may become the next epicenter of the pandemic, Trump has taken dramatic steps to fully utilize the resources of the federal government to combat the coronavirus. Along with working to increase the availability of testing for COVID-19, Trump took the responsible step of invoking the Defense Production Act to increase the supply of key medical products and secure the help of hospital ships to combat the virus. Moreover, the president implemented “Coronavirus Guidelines for America,” an effort that has made Americans aware of important steps they can take to “flatten the curve.” Finally, the president assembled the White House Coronavirus Task Force, a group of experts, including Vice President Mike Pence, who work around the clock to contain COVID-19 and offer key information to the press and public.
As the coronavirus continues to challenge American life every day, Trump has declared himself a wartime president. There isn’t a better term to describe how the president is handling this difficult, ever-changing situation. Whether the enemy is Nazi Germany during World War II, terrorists who sought to kill thousands of Americans in 2001 or the coronavirus in 2020, the facts remain the same. When American lives are at risk, regardless of the source, our nation needs steadfast leadership motivated by facts and the truth. And Trump has proven to everybody, Republicans and Democrats alike, that he can be that leader, the leader that can guide the fight against any type of enemy, whether it be a microscopic virus or a ruthless dictatorship.
In the middle of the COVID-19 crisis, key poll numbers reflect that a majority of Americans are confident with Trump’s handling of the pandemic. In a recent poll, Gallup reported that an overwhelming 60 percent of Americans approve of the president’s response to the coronavirus. Broken down, 94 percent of Republicans, 60 percent of independents, and 27 percent of Democrats view Trump’s response to this crisis favorably.
With some medical professionals predicting that the COVID-19 pandemic won’t subside until as late as June, the future is full of unknowns. But one thing remains certain. With the president’s inspiring leadership, there is no doubt the man who entered this battle as a controversial, impeached president will leave it a popular and unwavering advocate for the American people.
Evan Stern can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.