21 Mar 2020 Props for the President on COVID-19 Response
In this time of worldwide crisis, what’s the best thing President Donald Trump can do to help find a cure to the coronavirus, heal the sick, rebuild the economy and reassure a nervous nation?
How about “resign immediately”? That’s the silly suggestion of Robert Weissman, the president of the left-wing group Public Citizen. He writes that in a pro-con set of commentaries for InsideSources that also features Project 21 Co-Chairman Stacy Washington writing in support of President Trump’s advances in the containment of the coronavirus in the face of adversity.
“President Trump is making the most of the resources available to him in both the public and private sectors to the benefit of all Americans,” Stacy remarks, “and I for one am grateful for that.”
While Weissman looks for fault in presidential statements and complains about things such as border closings, Stacy notes that President Trump was presented with a full-blown problem. The Chinese government withheld vital information that could have made containment and the search for a cure much easier. As Stacy explains:
[T]he virus was allowed to spread unchecked for nearly two months, before the tightly controlled communist Chinese government would go on to share information with the World Health Organization.
This allowed it to spread unchecked for far longer than it should have. And while Weissman suggests the president didn’t get serious quickly enough, Stacy points out that quick action from the White House was likely the reason a real disaster was averted:
With the first case of novel coronavirus identified in Washington state on January 30, President Donald Trump took action, suspending all travel from China the next day. This action was met with howls of racism and xenophobia, but can now be credited with preventing the rapid spread of the virus from person-to-person by travelers.
Italy took no such measures and, just two short months later, experienced an outbreak that has overwhelmed their medical system and killed thousands of its citizens…
All of this was done before COVID-19 had severe effects on Americans. Contrast this with President Barack Obama waiting nine months into the H1N1 pandemic when 60.8 million Americans were infected and 12,469 people had already died before declaring an emergency.
Weissman complains that the Trump Administration “inexplicably has failed to deliver vitally needed coronavirus tests to health care providers.” The president did take the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to task for not being ready with a plan for rapid testing, and he did respond by acting to make it that “All Red Tape has been cut, ready to go!”
But bureaucracy never moves fast, and the CDC opted to create its own test kits instead of accepting those offered by South Korea. The administration enlisted the assistance of private-sector stakeholders to advise on best practices and worked to change Federal Drug Administration rules to permit state labs, university and private hospitals to perform their own testing.
And allegations that a key office for dealing with just this sort of pandemic situation had been disbanded are flat-out false, Stacy says:
It turns out the office still exists, is fully staffed and was not subject to any actions by Trump officials. This attack was obviously politically motivated.
To read all of Stacy’s commentary – “Trump Administration’s Reaction to Coronavirus has been Good for America” – in its entirety, click here. The commentary has appeared in newspapers including the Finger Lakes Times, Bryan Eagle and St. Joseph News-Press.
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