Joe Biden will say anything that scrolls across his teleprompter. How else to explain his reckless charge that Donald Trump is not only responsible for every American life lost to COVID-19 but that “the president failed to do his job on purpose.”
Instead of accusing his opponent of murder, Biden should be demonstrating humility since no one knows better than he the difficulty of responding to a global pandemic. In 2009, Biden and President Obama were confronted with the H1N1 virus, which ultimately took at least 18,449 lives, according to the CDC.
The administration failed to deliver a vaccine as promised. It distributed but never replenished the nation’s stockpile of protective gear, putting us behind the eight ball when COVID-19 erupted. Former Biden chief of staff Ron Klain summed up the response last year: “We did every possible thing wrong. Sixty million Americans got H1N1 in that period of time and it is just purely a fortuity that this isn’t one of the great mass-casualty events in American history. [It] had nothing to do with us doing anything right; just had to do with luck [that the virus wasn’t as deadly as feared].”
In fairness, government is many things, but nimble is not one of them – especially when it is suddenly forced to respond to a global crisis riddled with mysteries wrapped in enigmas. The Obama/Biden administration made mistakes, but every human endeavor has an error rate.
Nevertheless, Biden and his stenographers in the mainstream media insistently claim that Trump has blood on hands because he did not pursue some mythical perfect response to COVID-19. If we want to play that game, then yes, our death rate would be much lower if Trump had coupled a complete shutdown of the border in January with a massive program of contact tracing and testing. That might be the way to go when the next pandemic strikes.
But no public figure, including Biden, proposed such a measure. Instead, Democrats attacked Trump’s efforts to contain the virus. The day after Trump’s Jan. 31 announcement of travel restrictions on flights from China, Biden said: “This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysteria and xenophobia – hysterical xenophobia – and fearmongering to lead the way instead of science.”
Obamacare architect Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel had told CNBC on Jan. 30 that we should “take a very big breath, slow down, and stop panicking and being hysterical.” The virus, he promised, “will go down as spring comes up.”
Throughout February and into early March, leading Democrats such House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio were encouraging people to gather in large groups. On Feb. 29, Dr. Emanuel told CNN that “running out and getting a mask is not going to help.” Biden himself held rallies until March 9.
Despite all that, Democrats and the media have seized on the wholly unsurprising “revelations” in Bob Woodward’s new book to argue that Trump alone was downplaying the severity of the threat. In fact, they all were.
More problematic is their related suggestion that the president’s rose-colored comments and refusal to wear a mask inspired Americans to take reckless risks that resulted in death. This claim might make a smidgen of sense if most of the COVID hot spots weren’t in deep blue areas. Even today, the four hardest hit states are the Democrat strongholds of New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Twelve of the top 15 states have Democrat governors – two are led by Republicans, the other is the almost monolithically Democrat District of Columbia.
Although the Washington Post gleefully reported on Sept. 3 that this blue state dominance appeared to be ending as “seven in 10 new coronavirus cases are emerging in red states,” the article also reported that half of the cases were appearing in counties that voted for Hillary Clinton. To accept the Democrats’ narrative, one must believe that the party’s voters were more likely to follow Trump’s lead than the people who voted for him.
Finally, let’s note that despite all the bloody smears lodged against the president, Biden’s plans almost completely echo Trumps actions. When one of our grandchildren writes the definitive history of this pandemic in, say, 2063, it will catalog a series of missteps and blunders, as well as tales of heroism and resilience.
Maybe by then we will know if lockdowns are an effective means to slow the virus – two recent studies suggest they are not – and whether wearing a mask in public is the best way to slow a virus that is mainly spread by close indoor contact.
While those questions remain unanswered, we do know that the efforts to politicize the virus bring us no closer to a cure while exacerbating the cancer of rancor and division that is eating away at our body politic.