But if months of the coronavirus and civil unrest have conditioned a majority to decide the country needs more stable leadership than the “very stable genius” they see on Twitter provides, there is no recovery that can save Trump. He is who he is, and scarcely anyone thinks he can change now.
When Trump talks tough (see “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”) he is seen as dark and divisive in times that require unity. When Trump tries to project positivity, he is seen as Pollyannaish and out of touch. Consider his Rose Garden comments about the opportunity for racial equality created by the Floyd protests, which were largely misreported as him saying a dead black man was happy about the newly released jobs numbers.
Aside from the early phases of the federal coronavirus response, it is not clear that Trump’s specific actions coping with these problems are especially unpopular. Some polling has found majority support for a military role in riot suppression in the country, even if it is a radical position inside the New York Times newsroom. Trump has not attempted to defend the Minneapolis police officers’ treatment of Floyd while also declining to attribute it to systemic racism in law enforcement. The public is more cautious than Trump about economic reopening, but bluster aside the president has largely followed medical advice and done little to interfere with the states that are proceeding more gradually.