One of the odder things about American politics this year is the missed opportunity: Trump could be cruising to an easy re-election if he had operated early and not acted crazy. I mean, this is not really an ideological issue. When Richard Nixon upset conservatives by, say, going to China, or installing price controls, he did so because he knew he could steamroller the right and extend his power. Trump resembles Nixon in his attitudes, but he is a very limited man, basically a stupid man, and so doesn't have Nixon's artfulness.
If you look at how the governor's have dealt with the plague, the striking thing is that certain Democratic governors, like Cuomo, were criminally late to do anything, whereas certain Republican governors, like the one in Maryland and whatshisname in Ohio, were on the spot, as much as they could be. In other words, the choice of shutting everything down everything early, masking, social distancing, etc. could easily have been taken by Trump without contradicting anything in his politics. But, like other Western leaders - Macron, Gonzalez, [Oops - kind reader in comments corrects me - Sanchez. Gonzalez was prime minister ages ago!] Johnson, etc., - he did nothing because for him, Asia is way over there and how about that there swine flu scare in the seventies? Rightwing governments like Hungary and Slovakia did the lockdown and tailored it into their racist ideologies - but having made his initial, disastrous mistake, Trump did not know how to tack. He did not see that his Dem opponents, having been mostly as ignorant and arrogant, gave him a great opening. So he went down the chute, from pointless hectoring press conferences to lies about chlorox and hydroxychloroquine.
Now, 96,000 deaths and counting later, he has waded too thick in blood to turn back.