Wars Visible and Invisible

The virus and the coup.

[Editor’s note: This is Part 1 of a 3-Part Series. Read Part II: HERE, Part III: HERE.]

In mid-March, as America became the nation with the most cases of the coronavirus (if you trust the Chinese statistics), Trump declared himself “a wartime president,” fighting “an invisible enemy,” which he described as the most dangerous enemy of all.[1] But anyone paying attention to the political battlefield recently knows that there are actually two wars engulfing the country, posing dire threats to its future.

The second - visible - war was launched four years earlier by Democrats and their deep state allies to prevent Trump from being elected, then to sabotage his presidency through a vaunted “resistance,” and finally to remove him from office through several failed partisan impeachment attempts.

The first principal of psychological warfare is to attack the moral character and credibility of the adversary’s commander-in-chief. If their leader is convincingly portrayed as being driven by ulterior motives, which have nothing to do with the common good or winning the war, or worse as being a compulsive liar, he is effectively crippled in the task of mobilizing a united front in the war. Most people understand this, which is why there are so many calls for “unity” and working together in America’s current war with the invisible enemy.

Dealing with a viral epidemic is a complex matter for any leader. It requires a balancing act between reassurance and caution. Avoiding panic is one priority; sounding sufficient alarm so that potential targets will take precautions is another; and the two can obviously be in conflict. That’s why in wartime if the nation’s leader mis-speaks, or makes mistakes in assessing the battlefield, his countrymen who are dependent for their survival on his leadership normally rally around him, and hope he will do better. The last thing they do is exaggerate his errors, and do everything in their power to undermine his effectiveness as their leader.

Not so with Trump. The visible war to destroy his presidency by destroying the man has continued unabated throughout this crisis. Trump’s first action against the invisible enemy was his decision in January to ban all travel from China, the epicenter of the contagion. This life-saving move was immediately denounced by his chief political rival, former vice-president Joe Biden: “This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysteria and xenophobia, hysterical xenophobia,… and fearmongering.”[2]

Biden’s first presidential campaign ad followed in March, featuring this message: “Crisis comes to every presidency. We don't blame them for that. What matters is how they handle it. Donald Trump didn't create the coronavirus, but he is the one who called it a ‘hoax,’ who eliminated the pandemic response team, and who let the virus spread unchecked across America. He should stop talking and start listening to the medical experts.”[3] This was Biden’s response to the fact that Trump had shut down travel from China, declared a state of emergency  held daily hour-and-a-half briefings at the White House flanked by his scientific team to reassure, caution and guide the public in dealing with the virus and its spread. Every claim Biden made, moreover, was demonstrably false. Trump did not call the virus a “hoax”; he called the campaign to discredit him during the crisis a continuation of the “Russia hoax.” He did not eliminate the pandemic response team; and his chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci is on the record saying that whenever he and the president have disagreed on a matter affecting the virus, the president deferred to the doctor.[4]

When infections reached 100,000 making America the nation with the most cases in the world (assuming one could trust the numbers coming out of China), Trump’s political rival Hillary Clinton tweeted: “He did promise ‘America First.’”[5]

This was a reference to the slogan Trump used to defeat her in the 2016 election – it was, he had said, time to put America First. In using the phrase in this context, Hillary not only mocked the American victims of the virus but insinuated that Trump was responsible for the epidemic. She also denigrated Trump’s remarkably successful effort to revive America’s economy, restore its military, secure its borders, boost the nation’s confidence, and provide a leadership that put the safety and prosperity of Americans first.

In case anyone was uncertain of the priorities of Democrat leaders as to which war and which enemy was of primary importance, Nancy Pelosi was there to remind them. In a Sunday interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on March 29, she accused the president of being responsible for the crisis. “His denial at the beginning was deadly. His delaying of getting equipment to where it is needed is deadly….When did the president know about this, and what did he know?....That’s for an after-action review.”[6] Quoting the key question in the Nixon impeachment inquiry was a not so subtle warning of what a new impeachment inquiry would look like if Democrats retained control of the House the following November.

Like Biden’s, Pelosi’s slanders had no basis in fact. The lack of masks, for example, was the result of the Obama administration’s failure to replenish the nation’s stockpile, which he and Biden had used up t during the H1N1 epidemic and failed to replace. The claim that Trump was in denial at the beginning of the crisis is belied by his swift ban on travel to China and the distortion of his remark that the Democrats’ attacks on him – not the virus – were an updated version of the Russia hoax.

A more pertinent question was what were Pelosi and the Democrats focused on as the virus spread from China outward and then to America in December and January 2018. Answer: led by Pelosi, Democrats were entirely focused on impeaching Trump on a partisan basis, and causing the entire nation to focus on that objective as well.

Here’s the timeline:  

On December 18, the Democrats in the House impeached the president without a single Republican vote. During the process the House prosecutors defended the unprecedented speed with which they drove the process as a matter of “national security” alleging that Trump had tried to rig the elections once and would likely do so again. For the same reason, Rep. Adam Schiff who was running the prosecution said the 130 million voters scheduled to cast their ballots in the coming elections could not be trusted to decide the president’s fate, which was better kept in the hands of Schiff and the 232 Democrats in the House.[7]

Then, in an unexpected move, Pelosi refused to send the impeachment articles to the Senate for trial. A month later, she changed her mind, sending them on January 15. This was only four days after China’s state media reported the first death from the virus in Wuhan. Five days later the first U.S. case occurred in a man who had traveled to the infected city. On January 23, the Chinese government sealed off Wuhan to stop the virus’ spread, even as the House prosecutors opened their case for the removal of President Trump.

On January 30, the World Health Organization declared a “global health emergency” because of the dangers posed by the virus. The next day Trump declared a state of emergency and imposed a ban on travel from China, which Democrats opposed as “racist” and “anti-immigrant.”

Five days later, Trump delivered his State of the Union message to a joint session of Congress. In it he said, “Protecting Americans' health also means fighting infectious diseases. We are coordinating with the Chinese government and working closely together on the Coronavirus outbreak in China. My Administration will take all necessary steps to safeguard our citizens from this threat.” When Trump’s remarks were over, Speaker Pelosi, who was standing on the podium behind him, tore up the official copy of his speech in front the television cameras, as a gesture of protest and contempt.

The next day the Senate voted to acquit Trump. It was only then that Pelosi’s party finally took up the subject of the virus in the House Foreign Affairs sub-committee on Asia.

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of the war on Trump – a war that for most Democrats takes precedence over the war on the virus, is how it shapes the attitudes of the media elites who should know better and who in other circumstances would have been critics not allies of self-absorbed, ethics-free Machiavellians like Nancy Pelosi.

Andrew Sullivan is a talented and nuanced writer, who has written sharp and valuable critiques of the ideological left. But when it comes to Trump, Sullivan’s usually astute judgment succumbs to calamitous outbreaks of Trump Derangement Syndrome. In a recent cleverly titled article “Trapped in Trump’s Blind Spot,” Sullivan dismisses Trump’s attempt to find light at the end of the tunnel before the measures to contain the virus kill the economy and leave millions of Americans without jobs to go back to. There were reasons to question Trump’s timetable – he originally proposed Easter Sunday as the day the nation would come back to life. But he has already adjusted the deadline by a month, and it is hard to fault his intention in providing a stricken nation with a ray of hope.

But Sullivan will have none of this. To him, Trump is an egomaniacal menace with no interest in the public good or in anything but himself. The nation is trapped because the Democrats’ three-year seditious effort to overthrow him failed. Therefore, since he is still the president, “given the crisis, we have only one option. We need to listen to the experts, rely on governors, trust in Drs. Fauci and Birx, and do our bit. But we also have a more urgent patriotic task: to ignore this president until we can eventually rid ourselves of him. This is too grave a crisis to give him the respect he doesn’t deserve.” (Emphasis added).

In other words, no support for the nation’s leader in his fight against the invisible enemy that has laid the nation low. To Sullivan, Trump’s determination to defeat the virus and revive the economy is “explained entirely by Trump’s reliably rock-solid instinct to preserve himself and his own perceived interests over any kind of rational assessment of the public good, or any measure of internal consistency or coherence.”[8]

This is the typical giveaway that shows we are dealing with an irrational tic rather than a credible analysis. It’s a giveaway because it is refuted by facts so obvious that everyone not so deranged can see them. One would never know from this arrogant dismissal, for example, that while Obama and Clinton made themselves multi-millionaires by exploiting the high offices with which they were entrusted, Donald Trump is the only American president who has donated his entire $400,000 annual salary to the public good, or that he had just given $100,000 – his first quarter paycheck - to the federal government to fight the corona virus decimating his countrymen.

To reduce Trump to such a repulsive caricature one has to ignore how he has dedicated himself against all odds – and opposition across the spectrum - to reshaping America’s trade deals in order to end the fleecing of his fellow citizens to the tune of trillions of dollars over three presidencies. The fleecing was done by foreign powers who took advantage of the laziness of previous presidents both Democrat and Republican who didn’t care enough to make those deals fair for the citizens they were supposed to serve. Truth be told, as a politician dedicated to the public good, Trump has few if any modern presidential rivals.

Ana Navarro is a pundit for CNN, ABC and other anti-Trump channels. Shocked by the fact that one poll was reporting that 51% of Americans approved of Trump’s handling of the corona virus, while only 45% disapproved, Navarro wrote: “Who are these 51% of Americans who approve of the way this lying, narcissistic, science-denying, petty, partisan, infantile, intellectual wasteland, lame excuse for a President with the vocabulary of a 4 year-old (apologies to 4 year-olds), is mishandling this crisis?”[9]

This was far more typical of media anti-Trumpers. These attitudes led to widespread calls from Democrats like Joe Biden for the president to just “shut up” as a way of helping the fight against the virus. The consensus among the anti-Trump media was that the hour-and-a-half daily press conferences held by Trump and his scientific team were Trump substitutes for the political rallies he could no longer hold because of the nation’s lockdown, and should be terminated for that reason. On the other hand, when the Democrat governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo held similar hour-long pressers about the virus, the response of the CNN-MSNBC-NY Times-Washington Post anti-Trump media was that the virus had caused the unlikely rise of a new “political hero” and would be a contender to replace the inadequate Biden as the party’s 2020 nominee.[10]

Few things could be more telling in revealing the agenda that the anti-Trump Democrats considered more important, or the war that was closest to their hearts. As for the damage they inflicted on a stricken nation by their sabotage of its duly elected leader, that toll was still being counted.

 David Horowitz is the author of the forthcoming Humanix book, Blitz: Trump Will Smash the Left and Win.

[1] https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/18/trump-administration-self-swab-coronavirus-tests-135590

[2] https://thefederalist.com/2020/03/19/neither-biden-nor-sanders-would-have-saved-american-lives-with-travel-bans-like-trump-did/

[3] https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/25/politics/biden-trump-coronavirus/index.html

[4] https://www.dailysignal.com/2020/03/24/the-truth-about-the-charge-that-trump-eliminated-white-house-pandemic-office-before-coronavirus/; https://thehill.com/homenews/media/489191-fauci-media-should-stop-pitting-me-against-trump

[5] https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/489905-hillary-clinton-on-us-leading-coronavirus-cases-trump-did

[6] https://thehill.com/homenews/house/490043-pelosi-trumps-denial-delay-on-coronavirus-response-is-deadly

[7] https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2020/01/24/dems_cant_take_the_chance_of_voters_deciding_2020_election.html

[8] https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/andrew-sullivan-america-is-trapped-in-trumps-blind-spot.html

[9] https://twitter.com/ananavarro/status/1243668659299631110

[10] https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/28/politics/andrew-cuomo-polls/index.html



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