Turns out, it’s not just non-Trump-y Americans who are disappointed in how their country has responded to the coronavirus—the rest of the world is even more appalled. A new, 13-nation survey by the Pew Research Center out this week found that belief in the U.S. and its leadership—which nosedived after the election of Donald Trump—has essentially fallen off a cliff as Trump has overseen America’s cataclysmic response to the pandemic. Pew found that traditional American allies now held a lower opinion of the U.S. than at any point over the past two decades.
Canada, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Spain? These aren’t exactly modern day hotbeds of anti-American sentiment. Trump and his nihilist politics of selfishness have, of course, played a significant role in that erosion of support, but, even more practically, the rest of the world simply has a more accurate understanding of the disastrous U.S. coronavirus response in absolute and comparative terms. A median of a measly 15 percent of respondents in the countries surveyed said the U.S. had done a “good job” in dealing with the outbreak.
Nearly 1,300 people died yesterday in the U.S. from COVID-19. That’s almost as many that have died, in total, in Japan since the outbreak began. There were also 40,000—and perhaps even 50,000—new cases yesterday in the U.S. The number of U.S. cases is trending down at the moment, which might feel like a relief, but it’s only a relief relatively speaking; it’s certainly not success. That’s a distinction that is apparently pretty clear if you’re not in the Fox News bubble.
The pandemic has, in essence, proved what the rest of the world suspected all along of Trump—that he can’t be trusted to “do the right thing,” even notionally. The elevated plateau of public trust in the era from 2008 until, oh, say, Nov. 8, 2016, we’ll call the Obama plateau.
As a point of reference, it’s not just that the rest of the world doesn’t trust Trump in absolute terms; they trust him less to do the right thing than freaking Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Correction, Sept. 17, 2020: This post originally misstated that the number of daily coronavirus deaths in the U.S. was similar to the total number of coronavirus deaths in Germany.
For more of Slate’s news coverage, subscribe to What Next on Apple Podcasts or listen below.