Well, that didn’t take long. The anti-Trumpers are at it again.
The same purveyors of fake news that peddled disingenuous stories of voter fraud in the 2016 presidential election, Russian election interference on behalf of Mr. Trump, the fake Russian dossier, unsubstantiated evidence to fraudulently obtain the FISA warrants, phony accusations of Mr. Trump’s alleged racism and xenophobia, phony accusations of sexual assault against Justice Kavanaugh, and many other similar journalistic assassinations, are at it again. Even during a pandemic that represents an existential threat they can’t resist.
In my opinion, the media has been biased against President Trump since before he was elected. I think most objective observers of the political landscape would concur. I have blogged about this bias, in detail, several times over the last 3+ years. There is no need to rehash it all now.
The latest example is the media’s attempt to rewrite the history of Mr. Trump’s reaction to the CV. Over the weekend the NYT published a piece full of exaggerations, half=truths, misconceptions and outright lies with respect to Mr. Trump’s record of combatting the virus. Basically, the Times claimed he repeatedly ignored the advice of his advisors and delayed taking action necessary to protect American lives, and as a result he caused thousands of fatalities.
The story was featured by both Chris Wallace on his Sunday news show, “Fox News Sunday” and on “60 Minutes” on Sunday evening. Both programs presented a biased story designed to make Mr. Trump look bad. In my blogs on the CV I have made it a point to try to be as neutral as possible. As I have said many times, this is not the time for politicking. But, the unfairness of this blatant attempt to reconstruct history has angered me no end as it should you as well.
Apparently, a refresher course is in order to set the record straight. Below please find a timeline of the significant developments beginning in December, 2019. If you doubt the accuracy of any of the following you may follow the advice of the late Casey Stengel and “look it up.” Evidently, the fake news media and Trump haters have not done so or they think the American voters can be fooled.
12/19 – The first case and first death reported in China.
1/6/20 – The CDC issued a travel advisory regarding Wuhan Province.
1/1120 – The CDC issued a Level 1 travel ban regarding the province. At this point, there were no CV cases in the US.
1/14/20 – WHO tweeted there was “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission” of CV.
1/1720 – The CDC authorized screening of travelers from Wuhon at airports.
1/20/20 – CNN quoted Dr. Fauci- “It is unclear how easily [the] spread [from person to person] can happen.”
1/21/20 – The first case in the US was reported.
1/27/20 – CV had still not spread “widely” within the US.
1/30/20 – The first human-to-human transmission in US was reported.
1/31/20 – Mr Trump issued a travel ban of anyone from China. At this point, according to the CDC, there were still no US fatalities. Later, he issued bans on travelers from Europe. It is important to recall that following these actions he was castigated as a racist and xenophobic by several leading Dems, including Pelosi, Schumer and Biden, as well as most of the media, including the usual suspects (CNN, MSNBC and the networks). So, let’s all fully understand; when Mr. Trump imposed these travel bans he was criticized for doing so. Then, a few days ago he was criticized for delaying action. His critics want it both ways.
1/31/20 -Dr. Fauci characterized CV as “low risk” to the American people.
2/1/20 – Biden dismissed Mr. Trump’s travel ban as “fearmongering.”
2/5/20 – NYT headlines -“Who says it’s not safe to travel to China? and “The CV travel ban is unjust and doesn’t work anyway.”
2/17/20 – Dr. Fauci in USA Today – The risk of CV in US is “miniscule.”
Late Feb – The same people and media outlets were downplaying the danger of the virus. They repeatedly opined it was “not a big issue in the US” and “not as bad as the flu.” They were encouraging people to attend celebrations of the Chinese New Year in various cities’ Chinatowns. NYS Gov Cuomo and NYC Mayor DeBlasio were encouraging people to “take the subway,” which we have since ascertained is the absolute worst thing to do. I said before, and I’ll repeat it now that I am convinced that action was a major reason why NYC ended up with such a high concentration of CV cases.
3/1/20 – Second confirmed fatality in US reported.
3/9/20 – Dr. Fauci in “Forbes” – “Cruising is ok if you’re healthy.”
3/15/20 – CDC issued recommendation banning gatherings in excess of 50 persons.
3/16/20 – President Trump issued recommendation banning gatherings of more than ten persons. Eventually, this evolved into the situation we have been living under, namely, people working in “non-essential” jobs are either working from home or not at all.
It should be emphasized that President Trump, Drs. Fauci and Birx, and all the rest of our policymakers were relying on information received from the Chinese government, which, in retrospect, we know was inaccurate and perhaps intentionally understated and misleading. So, anyone who is now asserting that Mr. Trump did not act quickly enough is either very forgetful, lying, or blinded by bias. Most medical people, including Drs. Fauci and Birx, acknowledge that Mr. Trump’s early travel bans were extremely beneficial in moderating the number of CV cases and deaths in the US. Even reporter Maggie Haberman, no supporter of the President’s, wrote in the NYT that the bans were “effective.” Furthermore, some two weeks ago the Biden campaign released a statement acknowledging Mr. Trump was correct to issue the bans.
Does anyone seriously believe he should have closed down the economy any earlier, such as when there was only one reported death. Of course, not. Let’s be fair. He would have been crucified and vilified as an autocrat who wanted to throw working-class people out of work.
The anti-Trumpers have been blaming the president for the shortage of hospital beds, PPE, and other vital supplies. It is important to note that each state was responsible for its own preparedness. Some were prepared; most were not. The federal supplies were only intended as a backup. If anything, the blame, if any, should be shared by everyone, not Mr. Trump exclusively.
What is beyond dispute is that when the federal government became cognizant of the shortages it acted quickly and decisively to resolve the matter. It has been providing massive amounts of these items, and it even built several hospitals in hotspots from scratch. As it turns out, much of what it provided was not even used. Moreover, it has fully engaged the private sector, which has been providing PPE and is even working on developing therapeutic treatments and vaccines. Virtually all of the governors have praised the federal government for its support. At the present time, it appears that not one state is lacking the resources it needs to combat the CV.
The media has been constantly trying to stir up controversy between Mr. Trump and Drs. Fauci and Birx. This is absurd. At yesterday’s presser Dr. Fauci reiterated that there not have been and currently are not any problems among them. Whatever he and Dr. Birx have recommended Mr. Trump has agreed to right away. One reporter even had the audacity to ask Dr. Fauci if he was speaking “voluntarily” or under duress. He said, yes, everything he does or says is “voluntary,” but how ridiculous to even ask such a question!
It should also be recalled that during most of the above period the Dems were obsessed with pursuing their Don Quixote-like impeachment and trial of Mr. Trump. What a waste of time, money and effort, and one can see how it likely caused a distraction from the CV and other serious matters. Let’s be realistic. The blame for the scope and seriousness of the pandemic is China and China’s alone. They lied about everything related to it, and the rest of the world is paying the price. What, if anything can be done about it is a complicated issue for another blog.
Now, we are working on when and how to reopen the economy. Most people agree we should do so as soon as it is safe. The primary questions seem to be the methodology and who has the authority to do so, the president or the various state governors. Some governors have even banded together to challenge Mr. Trump’s authority in this endeavor. It appears to me that the constitution is ambiguous on the issue. The current wrangling is unseemly and counterproductive, although not exactly surprising.
In any event, I don’t see how the reopening of any particular state can be successful without the concurrence of both the president and each state’s governor. No astute politician would want to take sole responsibility for it in case something were to go wrong. The obvious solution would be to cease the “breast-beating” and reach a compromise solution. I hope and expect that they will do so. People want to go back to work.