But last week, something shifted as the full scale of the challenge the virus presents sunk in, together with the recognition that significant loss of life is not out of the question and economic wreckage is now certain. And, now, the newly scared Trump is prepared to do what he does best: Spend gobs and gobs of money.
As most recognize, Trump was never an ideological Republican; he was an opportunistic one. He embraced the core of the Republican Party as a path to power, and the GOP slowly embraced back, especially as he created a conduit to deregulation and the appointment of Federalist Society-vetted judges. The distractions of Russia-gate and the impeachment turned him into a boogeyman for the left and a hero-by-default for the right. But at core, Trump remained in it for himself.
One thing that Trump has always been able and willing to do is spend other people’s money for his own personal gain. Some of that gain has been financial; much of it has been reputational. And if there is one thing the United States now needs more than ever at a rate barely contemplated ever before is for the federal government to spend and spend and then spend some more. Cancel everything. Bail out everyone. And Trump will lead the charge, or at least take credit for not standing in its way.