- - Friday, April 17, 2020

The mainstream media just doesn’t get it.

Instead of praising the work done by FEMA, the Army Corps of Engineers and health workers on the frontlines of the pandemic across the nation, they criticize Donald Trump. Instead of reporting on how the American people’s compliance with distancing guidelines dramatically “flattened the curve” and saved lives, they play Monday morning quarterback without an actual playbook.

It’s really easy to be critical when you’re unaccountable, like a journalist.

The ability to make decisions in times of uncertainty is a skill very few people have. Great quarterbacks know it, fighter pilots live by it — but overall, it’s not something most normal people, particularly reporters, specialize in.

But for presidents, this is part of the job. The COVID-19 outbreak threw the United States into one of the greatest periods of uncertainty in the modern era. False certainty, actually, might be a better description, as we now know the World Health Organization was far too trusting of China’s lies. But for the sake of all who’ve mobilized in the fight against this “invisible enemy,” let’s look at the timeline to see who was treating this pandemic, in uncertain times, as a threat.

January 6: The CDC issued a travel notice for Wuhan, China — the center of the outbreak. 

January 29: The president formed the Coronavirus Task Force in response to just a handful of cases in the United States. This was less than one month after China first reported a new respiratory virus to the World Health Organization, which at this point, the United States had no reason to mistrust.

January 31: President Trump declared COVID-19 a public health emergency and announced travel restrictions on China. Joe Biden referred to the president’s actions in a slurred speech as “hysterical xenophobia.” 

February 6: The CDC began to ship test kits to U.S. and international laboratories.

February 24: The administration requested $2.5 billion to combat the virus’ spread. At the same time, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was wandering around San Francisco’s Chinatown, intentionally not social distancing and advising her constituents to “[c]ome [to Chinatown] because precautions have been taken.”

In all fairness, the opinion of America’s leading health experts was similiar. On February 29, Dr. Anthony Fauci told ABC News that “[t]here is no need to change anything you’re doing on a day by day basis. Right now, the risk is still low.”

Regardless, throughout March, the administration continued to take action.

March 6: The president signed an $8.3 billion bill to fight the outbreak.

March 10: The president and vice president met with top health insurance companies and secured a commitment to waive co-pays for COVID-19 testing. 

March 11: President Trump announced travel restrictions on foreigners who had visited Europe.

March 13: The president declared a national emergency to access more than $42 billion in existing funding to combat COVID-19.

March 16: The president announced the “15 Days to Slow the Spread” COVID-19 guidance. 

March 23: President Trump signed an executive order invoking the Defense Production Act to prohibit hoarding of vital medical supplies. 

March 27: President Trump signed the CARES Act into law; The USNS Mercy arrived in L.A.

March 31: President Trump officially announced “30 Days to Slow the Spread;” FDA approved a two-minute coronavirus antibody test.

The work continues through April — not only for public health, but also for the economic well-being of all Americans.

April 3: President Trump announced new voluntary guidelines that all Americans wear non-medical, fabric or cloth face masks; SBA launched the Paycheck Protection Program.

April 12: President Trump announced a deal he brokered between OPEC, Russia and the United States to stabilize the oil market.

April 13: President Trump announced that 80 million Americans will receive direct payments from the CARES Act within days; more than $200 billion in PPP loans were processed; United States had conducted nearly 3 million tests; 28 million doses of hydroxychloroquine were deployed across the country.

Every health recommendation made, the president took — and even when the general risk to the American public was seen as low, the Trump administration took action to prepare for what would become a major outbreak.

All of America is in this together — and together, all of America will defeat the virus. But when COVID-19 is over, we must not forget the lessons learned:

• Our trust of China, and support of global organizations who blindly trust the country, should be re-examined.

• America should have the domestic manufacturing capacity to produce medical equipment and medications independently of China.

• The press’ responsibility is not to tear down the institutions helping to repair the nation, but to inform the people of their rights and responsibilities.

In times of global crisis, American leadership still matters — but the only way to guarantee the strength of that leadership and lead the world to recovery is for our leaders to always put America First.

• Corey R. Lewandowski is President Trump’s former campaign manager and a senior adviser to the Trump-Pence 2020 campaign. He is a senior adviser the Great America Committee, Vice President Mike Pence’s political action committee. He is co-author with David Bossie of the new book, “Trump’s Enemies.” Follow him on Twitter @CLewandowski_.

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