Democrats and their friends in the media have falsely accused President Trump of grossly mishandling the coronavirus epidemic. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, for example, has regularly pummeled the president. “As the president fiddles, people are dying,” she declared in perhaps her most outrageous comment. The Trump-hating media has given Pelosi a pass as she gorged on her fancy ice cream and delayed critical legislation to save peoples’ livelihoods. Meanwhile, the left continues to exploit the pandemic crisis to push for its socialist Medicare-for-All solution.
How conveniently Trump’s critics distort history and forget their own cavalier attitude towards the coronavirus as it began to take hold in the United States. On February 24th, Pelosi was still encouraging people to visit San Francisco’s Chinatown despite fears of the coronavirus. Unlike Pelosi, President Trump was not advising Americans to go out of their way to risk becoming infected. More than three weeks earlier, he had made the bold, forward-looking decision to impose entry restrictions on travelers from China into the U.S., which likely saved thousands of American lives. The carpers variously condemned the decision as racist, xenophobic, unjust and ineffective.
Some of the same critics who have accused President Trump of downplaying the coronavirus did precisely the same thing themselves. As late as March 4th, for example, CNN’s Anderson Cooper said that “the flu is far deadlier” than the coronavirus. He recommended that “if you’re freaked out at all about coronavirus, you should be more concerned about the flu and actually do something about it, which is get a flu shot.” CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta agreed. Neither said anything about social distancing, let alone testing, at the time. Whatever President Trump himself may have initially thought about the dangers of the flu versus the coronavirus, he didn’t rely on Cooper or Dr. Gupta for medical advice. He listened instead to his own medical advisers. They had concluded by March that the coronavirus was too dangerous for business as usual and were beginning to consider social distancing measures. On March 8th, Dr. Fauci raised some alarm bells when he broached the subject of social distancing and said, “We’re getting a better sense as the days go by. Unfortunately, that better sense is not encouraging, because we’re seeing community spread.” On March 13th, President Trump declared the coronavirus pandemic to be a national emergency. Three days later the president issued the strict social distancing guidelines recommended by his medical advisers, including Dr. Fauci. President Trump said at a news conference on March 16th, “We’d much rather be ahead of the curve than behind it.” Immediately thereafter, the president invoked the Defense Production Act. He used the federal government’s emergency powers to mobilize public and private industry resources to produce and distribute enormous volumes of personal protective equipment, ventilators and tests for the virus.
Leftists blame not only President Trump personally for the deadly spread of the coronavirus in the United States. They blame America’s decentralized, mostly private healthcare system itself, and are using the crisis to push their radical agenda. Writing for the socialist magazine Jacobin, for example, Luke Savage claimed that “the coronavirus is making the case for Medicare for All better than any policy paper ever could.” He added, “Only a universal system, free at point of use and extricated once and for all from the Wild West of employer-based insurance can ever provide the certainty and security people need, inside or outside the ongoing pandemic.”
On December 3, 2019, Democrat-Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) tweeted: “To our friends in the UK: please cherish, protect, & continue investing in your healthcare system!” She added, “Millions of people in the US are fighting to have a system half as good as the NHS.” In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic crisis, AOC said that “Our public health system should be free at the point of service for every single person in this country.” If AOC had her way, “it shouldn’t just be for COVID-19 cases.” It should become the new normal.
The facts, however, demonstrate how well the United States has handled the coronavirus pandemic under President Trump’s leadership versus the United Kingdom, which has embraced universal, government-paid health care.
A key study was issued on March 16, 2020, recommending strict social distancing while noting “the enormous social and economic costs” it would entail. “We show that in the UK and US context, suppression will minimally require a combination of social distancing of the entire population, home isolation of cases and household quarantine of their family members. This may need to be supplemented by school and university closures,” the study said. President Trump announced his administration’s strict social distancing guidelines on the same day as this study was issued. By comparison, the United Kingdom waited until March 23rd to introduce its own strict social distancing policies.
The White House has made available its medical experts and scientists to the press for questioning on a regular basis. By contrast, the UK government has been very secretive regarding its advisory body, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies. “Its list of members is secret, its meetings are closed, its recommendations are private and the minutes of its deliberations are published much later, if at all,” the New York Times reported on April 24th. “That lack of transparency has become a point of contention, as officials struggle to explain why they waited until late March to shift from a laissez-faire approach to the virus to the stricter measures adopted by other European countries.”
As of April 26th, the United Kingdom had 305.6 deaths per million people attributed to the coronavirus. The United States had 164.58 deaths per million people attributed to the coronavirus. The number of tests in the United Kingdom as of the same date was 9,016 tests /1 million people. The number of tests in the United States was 15,219 tests /1 million people.
No government in the world was ready to address the most serious pandemic in many generations. Instead of sounding an early warning when the disease could have been effectively contained, the World Health Organization parroted Chinese government propaganda that covered up early evidence of human-to-human transmission. As the pandemic spread in the United Kingdom, its government-run health care system failed its citizens. It was stymied by bureaucratic sluggishness and secrecy, hallmarks of centralized, top down government control. By comparison, the dynamic U.S. healthcare system is rising to the occasion, with President Trump and his administration mobilizing the vast resources of government and industry in support of our heroic health workers on the front line.