Gates is off the mark here
The job of the the President in crisis is to reassure the public, and that means being unfailingly optimistic. The last thing you are going to hear Trump say is “things are worse than expected,” at least not in public. If he comes across as frenzied or overburdened, the public will read into it that the virus is worse than expected and lead to more panic than there already is. Given how important the stock market and economy are to Trump as evidenced by how much he tweets about those things, he is probably doing everything he can behind the scenes to rectify the situation, but in public his role is to downplay it and be as optimistic as possible.
Neither side is benefiting politically from this. Despite the market crash and all the fear and panic, Trump’s approval rating according to 538 is in the same 5-point range it has been for the past 2 years, at 42.8% approval. Those who support Trump think he is doing a good job; those who oppose him will find any reason he isn’t. The left so badly wants a soundbite that they can pin on Trump, similar to Bush’s ‘Heck of a job Brownie’ gaffe, yet Trump has deftly avoided such foot-in-mouth moments, not just in regard to the virus but his presidency in general. Using Twitter helps by not having to talk to the press as often. If this were Bush, he would have probably made a dozen major verbal gaffes by now.
Ramz is right that the economy and market tanking puts Trump’s reelection at risk, but only if he is perceived as incompetent. Ramz is selling Trump supporters short, underestimating their intelligence and ability to discern context. They know that the market crash and possible recession is not Trump’s fault, and thus will not hold it against him come election. It’s not like Trump had any forewarning about the virus. In the eyes of voters, it [the virus] came unexpectedly and he is trying to fix it to the best of his ability. To give an idea of the disconnect between the stock market and Trump’s approval rating, in late 2018 to Jan 2019 the S&P 500 crashed 20% yet Trump’s approval rating only fell about 2% to 40.8. But right now the market is off 18% and he’s at 42.8% approval.