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Trump and The Covid-19 Pandemic

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The essential underlying theme of the COVID era, apparently, is that President Trump does not take the risk seriously. The president having recently contracted the virus has for many, played into this particular view’s favor, and how cavalier he may be concerning his own health is a fair subject for debate.

Nevertheless, evidence that the president’s opponents have had an approach to the virus of equal and opposite competence is — at best — in much shorter supply than is claimed. In fact, the evidence seems to show that they themselves may not be taking the virus as “seriously” as their slogans and media acolytes suggest.

The best example is the most recent one. During the vice presidential debate on October 7, candidate Kamala Harris made a truly shocking claim: namely, that “you have Donald Trump, who has reigned over a recession that is being compared to the Great Depression.”

The current economic climate is indeed bleak. Laying the blame directly at President Trump’s feet, however, requires evidence. Except Harris provided none.  And worse than that, this is far more than a falsehood, as it proves the left’s chief argument at the moment is quite problematic to say the least.

President Trump is not a dictator; therefore COVID-19 measures are, in keeping with the Constitution, in the control of America’s 50 governors. And it has been the governors’ choice to order or not order lockdowns. Some of those governors, mostly in blue states, have enforced extraordinarily severe lockdown measures.  Even CNN admits — it is in fact, these lockdowns which have caused much of this country’s traumatic economic downturn, particularly unemployment.

While it cannot be known for sure if George Floyd’s death in May ignited riots which would have been less intense had rioters not endured months of lockdown, these governors’ and mayors’ decision to not enforce lockdown restrictions against the rioters very likely did damage these major cities’ economies further. And there is legitimate research that the physical and economic damage urban riots cause may take decades to heal. In the first quarter of 2020, prior to lockdown, the American economy was humming away at 5% growth. Though fear of the virus certainly contributed significantly to the March stock market crash, the lockdown massively intensified it by crushing a very large portion of the country’s commerce, and fears of a second lockdown are possibly poised to put an end to the spring and summer’s gains. In fact, The New York Times — while dressing down the president for “minimizing the danger of the virus” — actually stated directly that, “The market collapse isn’t Mr. Trump’s fault.”

Furthermore, many of the worst death tolls are located in blue states with the strictest lockdowns. A great deal of the deaths are the precise result of several governors’ policy of housing COVID-positive patients in nursing homes — a choice which has cost thousands of seniors citizens their lives. While the media have attacked the president’s response to the nursing home scandal, the president bears no responsibility for it having happened, and the media should instead go after the governors who actually proposed and enforced this lethal policy in the first place.

Then there is what truly, finally undermines President Trump’s critics’ credibility. As encapsulated in the thesis of Bob Woodward’s recent book (Rage), the left’s gravest accusation against the president is that he knowingly deceived the American public as to the virus’s lethality in February and March. Still, what the left actually seems to be attacking is that the president did not assume dictatorial powers, imposing a nationwide lockdown, of a far more austere character than implemented, in violation of the Tenth Amendment.

To spell it out, this appears to be the left’s case: President Trump “has reigned over” a recession “that is being compared to the Great Depression” largely due to and made worse by a specific list of governors’ and mayors’ incompetent policies. And those very same politicians are supposedly livid at Trump for not ordering an even more Draconian, coast-to-coast lockdown, which would have resulted in a far more severe recession, if not a depression.

This circular logic is so plain that it seems President Trump’s adversaries are not really interested in making coherent, persuasive arguments against his leadership. After all, during the H1N1 pandemic of 2009 — involving a similar yet less deadly virus of Chinese origin, which infected more than 60 million Americans — the Obama administration did not order a lockdown, and, more or less, let life go on. Exactly 11 years later, President Trump did pretty much the same thing, only he, as the Constitution mandates, delegated COVID-related decisions to the states. And, let us also not forget that Joe Biden condemned the president’s decision to ban travel to and from communist China as an example of “hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering.”

This could indeed be a far-fetched conclusion, but, even if President Trump does not win this election, the shoddy quality of the left’s hardest-hitting condemnation of him could be a sign that, perhaps their magic touch may be tarnishing. To accuse the president of culpability for the consequences of their own policies — policies enacted this year, right in front of our eyes, not generations ago — just might be a sign that the left has reached peak persuasiveness. And they may be looking at a long, steep downward slope from here.

By Barry Nussbaum, Son of Auschwitz survivors, Founder American Truth Project, Foreign and Domestic Policy Commentator

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