KEY POINTS

  • Now, 51% of Americans say Trump is handling the pandemic well
  • 58%, however, say the president's response came too slow
  • Americans' support boosted following progress on stimulus bill

As the coronavirus crisis continues across the nation, an increasing number of Americans support the actions President Donald Trump has taken. Although most approve of Trump’s response, more said that they believed he acted too slowly in tackling the pandemic in its early days.

A recent poll conducted by ABC News/Washington Post found that 45% of Americans said they disapproved of the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, while 51% approve.

Only 38% said they believed Trump had responded swiftly enough, with 58 percent believing he’d been too slow to act.

President Trump had faced fierce criticism over his messaging in the early days of the coronavirus outbreak, frequently disputing health experts’ projections and hesitating to issue guidelines for Americans to practice “social distancing” and avoid going to places of work. At the time, this clashed with statements being made by disease experts who had been making public statements warning of the potential impact the pandemic would have on the country.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who will likely face off with Trump in November, has repeatedly blasted the president this week over his handling of the disease. In a statement made from his home Thursday, Biden said Trump should hold “full responsibility for the slow and uncoordinated response” to the coronavirus outbreak in the United States.

Trump’s position shifted on March 16, when he relented, publicly advising Americans to take steps to limit their social contact to curb the spread of the coronavirus. This came with a new promise from the White House to strike a deal with Congress to send economic stimulus checks to American households and businesses. It’s likely both steps have helped boost Americans’ approval of Trump’s pandemic response, especially in the face of unprecedented unemployment numbers.

Trump, however, has begun floating the notion of ending social distancing by Easter.

After more than a week of negotiations, the $2.2 trillion relief bill was passed in the Senate on Thursday and in the House on Friday. The bill now goes to the president's desk and is expected to be signed soon.

US President Donald Trump, pictured at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on March 6, 2020, has been rebuked for his messaging on the outbreak US President Donald Trump, pictured at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on March 6, 2020, has been rebuked for his messaging on the outbreak Photo: AFP / JIM WATSON