The May 1 HDR had an article from the Associated Press citing a NORC poll on trust of information sources covering the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control garners the trust of 68% of people. Doctors and health care providers 66%, state and local governments 52%.
People are less trusting of family members and the media. Only 23% polled said they trusted the information provided by Trump. The article went on to detail conversations with several people about trust.
One Trump supporter from Atlanta feels “the media has unfairly piled on Trump, overplaying things like the president’s musings that injecting disinfectant could be a cure for the virus." He said that he trusts Trump quite a bit. “Sometimes, he may grandstand too much, but you have to understand who he is and just suck it up.”
If we assume that Trump’s base of support is still in the low-mid 40s and this poll is reasonably accurate, we can conclude that half of his base doesn’t trust his information about the virus. Without trust will they too, just suck it up? Musings on disinfectants and hydroxychloroquine before that and misinformation are a lot to suck up.
When it comes to leadership during a crisis, nothing is more critical than truth and credibility. Not to understand that is a disqualifying flaw of leadership.
People can deal with uncertainty or with failure of good faith efforts or reasonable people disagreeing on whether to err on the side of the economy versus on the side of saving lives if they believe you are shooting straight with them.
I will never believe that Trump supporters do not understand who he is. It is one thing to turn a blind eye to incompetence, lying, and scapegoating when the economy is humming and his rhetoric strikes a pleasing chord in your ear, it is another when you find yourself without a job or having lost a loved one to this virus.
Americans will suck up a lot to get through this pandemic. We are in no mood to suck up the sideshow of a president fretting more about his reelection than leading us through this crisis.
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