Trump is afraid of losing his base

It is interesting to watch Trump’s authoritarian instincts clash with some strongly held views of his most ardent supporters. Many people have wondered why Trump refuses to mount a vigorous federal response to COVID-19. My hypothesis is that the Trump team knows that, if they were to enact a nation-wide stay-at-home order, his far-right base would freak out and direct their anger at the federal government, including maybe Trump himself. Instead, Trump demurred and let governors issues such orders, thus deflecting any potential anger to them (and, in particular, states governed by Democrats). This prevents the far right from turning on Trump while simultaneously creating grief for democratic governors. We can see this playing out now. This is a sound political strategy if one ignores the loss of life that’s the logical result.

See:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-foments-resistance-to-democratic-imposed-shutdowns-but-some-republican-governors-are-also-wary-of-moving-too-fast/2020/04/17/5595e5fa-80c2-11ea-9040-68981f488eed_story.html

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/17/trump-states-stay-at-home-orders-192386