At the end of 2019, the world was shocked by the emergence of an epidemic of disease originating from the COVID-19 virus in Wuhan, China. The COVID-19 pandemic is a very serious threat to the health of world citizens and not only that, the existence of this pandemic has made a country experience a crisis due to the inability of community activities in that country so that the country’s economy is hampered and even died.
Covid-19 Pandemic Hit Trump Administration
With a very high level of spread, the COVID-19 virus is rapidly spreading in various parts of the world, counting that to date more than thirty five million people have contracted COVID-19 in the world (WHO, 2020).
The United States (US) is one of the countries that has not escaped the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. Even though it is known as a super power country with a very large economy, in fact, because of this virus outbreak, the US economy has become chaotic. In the US alone, this virus outbreak has claimed more than 50,000 lives and eliminated about 26 million jobs since mid-March 2020.
This is because the closure of various shops, offices and restaurants has caused personal consumption which accounts for 67% of the economy to fall to 7 , 6% throughout the first quarter of 2020.
In addition, export and import activities in the US also decreased due to the reduced number of travels due to this outbreak. According to a report from the International Air Transportation Association (IATA), world traffic decreased sharply by 52.9% compared to the previous year.
Many analysts argue that the US economic conditions will worsen given the development of this virus outbreak. The US Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracted by 4.8% in the first quarter of 2020. This GDP contraction is predicted to increase to double digits in the second quarter due to the impact of the cessation of economic activity due to the outbreak.
Various efforts have been made by the United States government in dealing with the problems caused by the COVID-19 virus outbreak, especially in the economic sector. One of them is implementing impactful fiscal stimulus and economic compensation.
Then the government also provides outreach to investors that the government can handle the spread of COVID-19 responsively and effectively so that these investors do not withdraw their investment in the US.
In addition, the government is also working to encourage the industrial and retail sectors to maintain price stability and guarantee the availability of basic commodities, medicines and medical equipment such as PPE and masks.
The government has also provided assistance to the community in the form of direct funding worth 301 billion US dollars for all households affected by this virus outbreak with details for households with an income below 75,000 US dollars will get 1200 US dollars and 500 US dollars for each child.
Insurance assistance is also provided by the government for 250 billion US dollars by extending the period from 13 weeks to 39 weeks. Assistance for small businesses with employees under 500 people was also provided by the government for 10 million US dollars. In addition, the government also cut taxes for businesses of US $ 221 billion and provided US $ 130 billion for hospitals and health services.
Trump Government Policies In The Covid-19 Crisis
In contrast, US President Donald Trump’s policy regarding the handling of COVD-19 in the United States is considered very bad. Trump is still imposing import tariffs and also closing routes that complicate the handling of the virus outbreak and also threaten the recovery of the US economy.
In 2019, the organization Trump forced new 25 percent taxes on clinical imports that incorporate hand sanitizers, thermometers and oxygen concentrators.
The Trump organization has likewise forced a 15 percent tax on numerous individual defensive gear (PPE) which is presently hard to come by, for example, covers and clinical outfits, despite the fact that it was brought in mid 2020 down to 7.5 percent as a feature of a stage one economic accord with China.
For several days in mid-March 2020, the Trump administration finally suspended some of those tariffs for a year. However, by that time, China had shifted sales of these products to other markets. The EU and other potential suppliers restrict exports, making supplies increasingly difficult and expensive to find.
In order to understand why Trump issued this policy, I used the Rational Actor Model (RAM) approach. The Rational Actor Model (RAM) itself is an approach to analyzing foreign policy with individuals as the level. According to Allison Graham (1971, 30) RAM is defined as “consistent, value-maximizing choice within specified constraints.”
The state does not act, makes decisions, and has goals, but it is the individuals in the country who act, make decisions, have goals, and evaluate options, choose among alternatives and possibly carry out their decisions. This approach is very close to the realist approach where the RAM approach takes the principle of the realist theory in HI, namely that the state acts rationally, calculating the costs and benefits of actions, especially from economic theory.
If using this approach, it can be seen that Trump still insists on applying his import tariffs on an economic basis seeing Trump also has a background as a businessman, so he clearly will continue to prioritize the tariff policy because it is considered beneficial for the US, especially from an economic aspect.
But again, Trump’s decision was considered wrong because he did not see the conditions in which the world was being shocked by the COVID-19 virus outbreak, where the world should work hand in hand with each other to overcome the effects of the virus.