President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus crisis and widespread protests over racial injustice have landed him “in big trouble” ahead of November’s election, according to one politics expert.
Speaking to CNBC’s “Street Signs Europe” on Friday, Inderjeet Parmar, professor of International Politics at City University, said Trump had been given two political gifts — but had squandered both.
“The pandemic, deadly as it has turned out to be, was a chance for him to unite the country, to rise above the political factionalism, and effectively act as the president of the United States in a period of emergency,” Parmar said.
“He didn’t do it, and he’s in big trouble because of that … President Trump has made his bed, and I think in the end he’s going to pay a terrible price, and that price is already being paid by a very large number of American people, both in terms of their health, and also in terms of the economy.”
A spokesperson for the White House was not immediately available to comment when contacted by CNBC.
There have been more than 2.7 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 128,740 fatalities from the virus in the U.S., according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has recorded the highest number of infections and the most deaths due to the coronavirus in the world.
The nationwide protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd had also seen Trump fail to offer “anything in regard to any kind of significant sympathy,” Parmar added.
“I think what he’s shown is when it comes to real emergencies, when you need real leadership, he actually doesn’t have any of that kind of quality,” he said. “He talks about the people but he doesn’t appear to know the people’s interests lie in their economic wellbeing and their physical and personal safety.”
Parmar claimed that Trump’s response to both crises would weigh heavily on his chances of reelection in November.
“Trump has done a great deal for candidate Biden, so Biden can almost sit in his armchair in his basement and reap the rewards of President Trump’s total indifference to such a large set of problems in the United States,” he said.
Meanwhile, Parmar noted that Biden had been reaching out across the Democratic party and to opponents he had in the primaries.
“He is actually building bridges or moving a bit further to the left, and he’s opened a space for the likes of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and Cortez and others, and I think their voices are going to be stronger in that administration,” he predicted.
Because of this, however, Parmar acknowledged that financial markets could well have something to worry about, as a Biden presidency was likely to lead to a greater focus on social programs.
“The broad neo-liberal market-oriented consensus has been shaken by the responses of government to the pandemic,” he told CNBC. “But I think the underlying philosophy of the market, I don’t think that’s been defeated, I think it’s going to carry on. So I suspect a lot of people are still going to be very unhappy.”
CNBC’s latest Change Research survey showed that Trump had slumped against Biden in polls, with support for Biden surging in several key battleground states.
Analysts at the Economist Intelligence Unit said in a report last month that while the presidential election would be closely fought, “the odds have now shifted firmly in Mr. Biden’s favour.” The EIU cited several reasons for the shift in support, but researchers emphasized the importance of how Trump had handled the Covid-19 outbreak and Black Lives Matter protests.
In June, Eurasia Group’s Jonathan Lieber told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” that Trump was “on the wrong side” of public opinion polls when it came to the Black Lives Matter movement, which was starting to seriously hurt the president’s approval ratings in the run up to the elections.