For example, Trump closed off most travel to and from China on Jan. 31, overruling objections from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and other economic advisers and despite trade negotiations with Beijing he considered very important. The reduction in visitors from China plausibly bought the U.S. some time to prepare for the pandemic.

So far, Trump has been admirably willing to step back when others were better suited to take the lead. He has delegated responsibility — wisely to Vice President Mike Pence and his medical advisers, less wisely to son-in-law Jared Kushner, whose hubristic attempt to reinvent the wheel will likely be viewed darkly by history. He sent Mnuchin to negotiate coronavirus rescue packages with Senate and House Democrats, the result being huge amounts of money being pushed out in a remarkably short time, probably boosting both the economy and Trump’s re-election hopes.

Also, many of the governors Trump has left to their own devices have risen to the occasion, instituting aggressive COVID-19 mitigation measures that have saved lives and appear to have slowed the spread of the coronavirus to at least a manageable level.