- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 3, 2020

CNN’s Jake Tapper was taken aback on Tuesday as Election Day exit polling confirmed that nearly half of voters are OK with President Trump’s handling of coronavirus.

The host of “The Lead” and his panel of guests were dumbfounded over the 48% of voters who said the administration is doing “well” in its response to the global pandemic.

“Uh, 48% of the country, Dana, saying that the handling of the pandemic is going well,” he told colleague Dana Bash. “Uh, that’s a very high number considering that empirically, uh, it is not going well! I mean, there is no health official who says it’s going well at all.”

Ms. Bash concurred with being blindsided by the numbers.

“It is a different number than what we’ve been seeing in the polls up until now,” she replied. “But this is a poll, uh, the exit poll is of those who have voted. And, you know, if I am in the Trump campaign I am looking at that and saying, ‘Well, that’s better than we thought it would be.’”

The panel expressed unanimous agreement before she continued.

“As bullish as the president and his aides have been in public about the coronavirus, that’s not how they feel in private,” Ms. Bash insisted. “They understand that this is a referendum on the president, and in large part because of the coronavirus. So, in that sense, maybe it is surprising!”

The conversation follows a Monday monologue by Mr. Tapper in which he castigated the president for holding numerous large rallies with supporters.

“President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden are making their final pitches to voters in key states, Biden right now campaigning in Ohio and Pennsylvania, while President Trump is holding five rallies in North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania,” Mr. Tapper said. “These events that the President is throwing are reckless and large events, with no distancing or masks required, as health officials suggest, or in some states even mandate.”

Mr. Trump has maintained that his administration acted quickly to mitigate the virus’ damage while crafting policies that do not send the nation into an economic tailspin.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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