After another tumultuous week marked by nationwide protest and biting criticism from former military officials, President Donald Trump saw his odds to win the November election slip to as low as -11% against former Vice President Joe Biden, according to the Election Odds Tracker at Bonus.com.
Though Biden’s lead has settled to hover around 10% at the time of this writing, it continues a pronounced reversal that kicked off in the last week of May, when the protests against racially motivated police violence first took root following the death of George Floyd. Trump’s response to the early days of the protests and riots, which included threatening to deploy armed U.S. soldiers on American streets to quell the violence, was widely criticized.
Trump and Attorney General William Barr also took heavy criticism for their role in ordering the U.S. Secret Service to clear protestors assembled near the White House using tear gas and flash grenades so Trump could pose for a photo-op with a bible near the St. John’s Episcopal Church across the street. The stunt was widely criticized including by religious leaders.
Trump faced even more stinging criticism from former top military officials who had served in his administration. Just a sample of the torrent of criticism leveled at the president in the last week:
- General James Mattis, former Secretary of Defense under President Trump, issued a statement last week in which he said:
“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us.”
- General John Kelly, former Chief of Staff to President Trump and U.S. Southern Command head under President Barack Obama, said in an interview with CNN after agreeing with Mattis’ criticism:
“I think we need to look harder at who we elect…I think we should look at people that are running for office and put them through the filter: What is their character like? What are their ethics?”
- Admiral Mike Mullen, former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, wrote in a June 2 op-ed in The Atlantic:
“Whatever Trump’s goal in conducting his visit, he laid bare his disdain for the rights of peaceful protest in this country, gave succor to the leaders of other countries who take comfort in our domestic strife, and risked further politicizing the men and women of our armed forces. There was little good in the stunt.”
Trump may have something new to worry about if this week’s odds are to be believed. The U.S. stock market has come roaring back from late-March lows, as the economy added a totally unexpected 2.5 million jobs in May. Traditionally Trump’s popularity was at least casually related to the stock market’s ups and downs. An up market was good for his numbers, a down market not so much.
It should be noted that Trump encouraged this connection by taking credit for every jump in the stock market but deferring blame on every dip since taking office.
That said, the economy has always been a cornerstone issue for the president. Yet despite the markets’ V-shaped recovery past the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, Trump finds himself down 10 points to Biden, who has endeavored to project a calming, uniter-in-chief image as a counter to Trump’s often divisive and chaotic style of governing.
The U.S. presidential election is less than 5 months away, and the race is shaping up to be Biden’s to lose.