It’s become fashionable to attribute the negative effect of the pandemic to Donald Trump. While I’m not a fan of the president, I believe this criticism has been over-done.
The president is supposed to lead the country through dire moments, and the pandemic certainly qualifies as one. The best case would be that all Americans join hands and work together to defeat an existential threat to mankind. The battle against the virus has not been a great moment for our leaders, and even worse for the president.
In fairness, doctors and scientists have not done a sterling job battling pandemics historically. The Spanish flu, which I wrote about in an earlier blog, occurred 101 years ago. That pandemic took 50 million lives. The leaders at the time didn’t distinguish themselves, nor did their medical counterparts. Similarly, the Swine flu in 2009, under the watch of Barack Obama, killed 284 thousand people. Science has not kept up with viral diseases for some reason.
Trump employed prestigious experts to help him make decisions about closing borders, limiting travel, isolation, closing businesses and many other things. Some decisions were right, and some were wrong. Notwithstanding Trump’s attitude and propensity to make decisions based upon political cross currents, he’s done his best. Nobody in history has gotten honors for their efforts to fight pandemics.
Although it’s outrageous to say so, doctors deserve some criticism. They have trouble projecting the scale of the disease, determining when it and where it started, how to best combat it and recommending when to return to normalcy. As I pointed out in my Spanish flu essay, the medical people are asking the same questions about pandemics that they did 101 years ago. With all the advancements in technology since then, how is it we are experiencing thousands and thousands of cases and deaths?
The president has the power to take action on his own without Congress if our national security is at risk. There are many complicated aspects to this policy that politicians debate every day. For instance, George W. Bush took action against terrorists after 9/11, and received concurrence after the fact by Congress. Very few opponents of the president criticized him for acting quickly. But, when Trump took action against a different kind of attack on our country, Congress demanded to be involved. [I know. They don’t trust him.]
Lawmakers are trying desperately to protect their turf as delineated in the Constitution. Whenever a president takes action without congressional concurrence, Congress goes berserk. In the case of Trump, it’s been that much more expansive.
I hasten to point out that Obama was stymied when he lost a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. He was unable to enact any legislation, so he established the precedent of issuing executive orders to circumvent the prerogatives of Congress. Donald Trump has copied Obama’s strategy.
In a few months, Americans are going to vote for the next president. Unfortunately, liberals have designated a weak candidate to represent their party. Trump is extraordinarily vulnerable, but his success in the election really depends upon his performance fighting the disease and reinvigorating the economy, not Biden’s campaign acumen. Right now, it appears Trump is losing ground. But things can change quickly. In the meantime, Democrats are doing everything possible to denigrate Trump’s efforts, with the liberal press complicit in the effort.
It would be better if all Americans back the leadership and fight the best fight we can against the pandemic.