This story was published in partnership with The 19th, a nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom reporting on gender, politics and policy.
This reporting was supported by the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists.
For months, women across the country have been navigating careers, caregiving and the coronavirus crisis, taking precautions and figuring out a new normal for themselves and their families. During that same time, President Donald Trump was downplaying the seriousness of the illness, flouting guidance from medical experts and urging the reopening of the country as he has returned to the campaign trail and his rallies with unmasked attendees numbering in the thousands.
Then, Trump announced that he is among the more than 7.4 million Americans who have contracted COVID-19. After spending the weekend at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Trump returned to the White House, tweeting: “Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”
You can buy a $100 coin commemorating President Trump surviving COVID-19 are available for preorder on the White House Gift Shop website. (Photo: Getty)
Interviews with women voters reveal frustration, anger and resentment at what they see as the president’s irresponsibility that has led to a completely avoidable outcome for himself and the nation. They say the president’s actions stand in sharp contrast to the sacrifices they continue to make in their daily lives.
“I was angry at how reckless he had been with not wearing a mask, not social distancing, traveling knowing he had been exposed and endangering his whole family,” said Sara Kerai, a psychotherapist based in Washington. Kerai is a married mother of a second-grader who is learning virtually due to the pandemic.
“I’ve had to turn away clients and income because I have to manage my daughter’s education,” Kerai said. “It’s been a strain. He’s making it worse.”
In an already consequential election year, the pandemic has become increasingly political for women, who make up the majority of the electorate, the U.S. workforce and are being disproportionately impacted by and responding to COVID-19.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 865,000 women dropped out of the workforce in September, compared to 216,000 men — many unable to juggle jobs and care for children unable to return to the classroom. Research has shown that the already disparate mental health picture for women has grown during the pandemic, especially for working and career mothers. And women are the majority of essential workers in health care, and domestic and service roles.
Among women voters, the gender gap in the presidential election favors Vice President Joe Biden — and in polls, most voters respond that they disapprove of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus. A recent NBC News/WSJ poll found that women prefer Biden to Trump by 27 percentage points.
In the ongoing absence of a national plan to address the