Market plunge over coronavirus fears underscores political risk to Trump

For a president who has governed “by tweet and circus,” a potential global health crisis that blunts economic growth could expose one of Trump’s main weaknesses as he prepares to face voters in November, said Russell Riley, a presidential historian at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center.

“Having hollowed out the senior leadership of so many departments of the government — especially in the scientific community — he is now in desperate need of professional guidance among people he has abused for three years,” Riley said. “If the markets continue to drop and the medical news gets very bad, then this president is singularly ill-prepared to deal with it in a rational manner.”

Behind the scenes, the Trump administration rushed to expand its response to the coronavirus and rebound from missteps that had drawn the president’s ire and raised questions about the government’s readiness to address the outbreak…

National security adviser Robert C. O’Brien has discussed possible options for global coalitions and outreach with other senior White House officials in recent days, according to a White House official and a veteran Republican who have been briefed on the deliberations. One option includes having Trump call for a U.N. Security Council meeting to force China to share more information about the outbreak, which began in December in Wuhan and quickly spread from the world’s most populous nation.

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