“A year ago, we were hit with a virus that was met with silence and spread unchecked. Denials for days, weeks, then months, that led to more deaths,” President Biden said in his first address to the nation Thursday night.
On Jan. 6, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), under the guidance of then-President Trump, issued a travel notice for Wuhan, China, due to the spreading coronavirus. On Jan. 20, the day the Chinese finally admitted the virus could be transmitted through the air, the U.S. announced they were already working on developing a vaccination.
On Jan. 29, Mr. Trump formed a coronavirus task force at the White House and two days later declared a public health emergency and restricted travel to and from China.
Perhaps Mr. Biden wasn’t paying attention at the time – Democrats after all were obsessed with impeaching Mr. Trump.
When the coronavirus did catch the Democrats’ attention — after Mr. Trump‘s acquittal — they went on the attack, with Mr. Biden himself calling the president’s actions of banning travel to and from China xenophobic.
“This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysteria and xenophobia — hysterical xenophobia — and fearmongering to lead the wa,y instead of science,” Mr. Biden said at the time.
Ron Klain, now the White House chief of staff, applauded China. “I think what you’d have to say about China is, it’s been more transparent and more candid than it has been during past outbreaks,” he said.
Mr. Biden and Mr. Klain couldn’t have been more wrong. Mr. Trump took the public relations beating, and in doing so saved thousands of U.S. lives.
In February, as Mr. Trump vowed in his State of the Union address to “take all necessary steps” to protect Americans from the coronavirus and worked with the FDA and expanded a partnerships’ with the private sector to “expedite the development” of a coronavirus vaccine, Mr. Klain downplayed the seriousness of the coronavirus.
“A serious epidemic — now, the coronavirus may be that, it may not be that. The evidence suggests it’s probably not that,” Mr. Klain said.
Dr. Zeke Emanuel, who was advising the Biden campaign, said “many of the experts are saying, ‘well, the warm weather is going to come and, just like with the flu, the coronavirus is going to go down and may move into the Southern Hemisphere.’”
He added, “at the moment, most people are thinking that there may be a bit of an overreaction by many, maybe even our own country. If you look at the numbers dispassionately, there are just over 1,000 cases outside of China.”
Wrong and wrong.
On Feb. 24, the Trump Administration sent a letter to Congress requesting at least $2.5 billion to help combat the spread of the coronavirus. During the same timeframe, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was strolling through San Francisco’s Chinatown “easing people’s fears” of the virus.
In March, when many in the media were still downplaying the virus and criticizing the president’s “xenophobic” response to it, Mr. Trump donated his fourth-quarter salary to fight the coronavirus and his administration announced the purchase of approximately 500 million N95 respirators over 18 months to respond to the outbreak.
On March 4, the day CNN finally admitted the coronavirus maybe more deadly than the flu, then Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced HHS was transferring $35 million to the CDC to help state and local communities most hurt by the coronavirus. Four days later, Mr. Trump signed a $8.3 billion bill to fight the coronavirus outbreak, with the majority of the money going to federal, state and local agencies.
On March 9, Mr. Biden held an indoor rally in Michigan, seemingly uninterested in the spreading virus. On March 12, Mr. Biden tweeted: “A wall will not stop the coronavirus. Banning all travel from Europe — or any other part of the world — will not stop it.”
While most of the mainstream media and the Biden campaign were preoccupied with the origin of the virus and why it was wrong for the White House to dub it “the China virus” or “Wuhan virus,” the Trump administration was working on ramping up testing, fast-tracking potential vaccines and developing a distribution plan, getting personal-protective equipment (PPE) out to states in need and was preparing use of the Defense Production Act.
Yes, there were hiccups along with way. Yes, there were some false flags of hope with some therapeutics. Yes, Mr. Trump focused more on the positive in his public remarks than the negative. Still, his administration was working tirelessly and aggressively to stem the virus, and to develop a vaccination in record time.
And they did. Operation Warp Speed has been a stunning success – one that now-President Biden is building on. Though you can’t say there weren’t naysayers at the time.
“Coronavirus vaccine could come this year, Trump says. Experts say he needs a ‘miracle’ to be correct,” NBC News reported May 15.
Good thing the miracle came.
Instead of blaming the Trump administration in his first address to the nation, Mr. Biden should have said “thank you.” But I guess that would’ve required actually wanting to unite the country – not taking the opportunity to demonize his political enemy.