Miller Center Director talks Trump, COVID-19 in UVA Clubs: On-Air

On Wednesday, UVA Clubs and the Miller Center of Public Affairs hosted Bill Antholis, director of the Miller Center, on a conference call to discuss President Trump’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and what may happen in the November election.

Antholis began the talk by explaining how Trump’s response to the ongoing crisis has affected his popularity and election prospects.

“The public is rating governors, health officials, and even the media higher than they are rating the president on handling of the coronavirus,” he said, going on to note that Trump’s approval rating has remained stable despite the pandemic.

Antholis also made predictions on how Trump is likely to shift focus of the pandemic moving forward in order to help his chances at reelection in November.

“What he will really do is push the economy,” he said. “He is going to largely shift management of the crisis going forward to the states and localities and blame any unsuccessful efforts for resurgence on the states for not acting properly and responsively enough.”

Antholis spent the second half of the talk taking questions from various members of the University community, discussing topics such as faithless electors and the role party conventions will play in the election.

He also gave an explanation of the ongoing debate over mail-in voting for the general election in November, of which President Trump has been critical.

“There is a theory here that the reason the President is trying to challenge vote-by-mail is not to actually challenge vote-by-mail, Antholis answered. “It’s to try to undermine, in the public’s eye, vote-by-mail, so if there are challenges come election day, he can point to that.”

Antholis closed the talk by giving a quick recap on his work at the Miller Center so far and their plans to work with President Ryan on UVA’s forthcoming Institute of Democracy.


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