Once COVID-19 is behind us, the blame game begins. Keep hard facts front of mind.
Expect critics – especially in the media – to tell us they knew better. If we had only listened, all would have been well. Of course, most were trying to trip Trump, forget China, listen to W.H.O., get airtime, hoard toilet paper and ice cream. Never mind.
If a second wave comes, despite rising test availability, immunities, treatments and inoculations, these wonderchildren will pile on. They will say our economy should stay shut, imply preventing the last COVID-19 death warrants jumps in domestic abuse, drug overdoses, cancers, heart attacks, suicides, small business bankruptcies, amputated educations, and runaway federal debt. Most of these wonderchildren are not economists.
To borrow from Ronald Reagan, “facts are stubborn things.” Here are a few.
Hard fact One: Communist China bears responsibility for this crisis, not Trump. China saw the first case November 17, 2019, and hid it. They initiated a military-style denial and deception campaign, complete with suppression of medical voices, destruction of evidence, dissemination of global propaganda.
Timelines matter. In December 2019, Chinese doctors, including Li Wenliang of Wuhan, tried to alert the world about the virus. They were silenced. Li Wenliang died on February 6th. Also in December, Communist leaders learned from samples that the virus was deadly, replicating, transmissible and resembled the 2002 SARS virus. They issued a “gag order” and destroyed the samples.
The samples would have identified strain and origins – namely, bat-to-human and almost certainly Wuhan’s Virology Institute. China propagated the idea that it came from Wuhan’s “wet market,” for dead produce – only bats are not sold there, nor eaten in that region of China. The institute is known for research on bat-to-human coronavirus transmission.
Late January, China stopped domestic travel from Wuhan, but encouraged international. China’s leaders knew the potential impact on world health and economies, but did nothing. Worse, China enlisted the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros (a non-physician), to deny danger. Tedros, previously accused of covering up a 2017 cholera epidemic, ignored Taiwan data and defended China.
In what was described as a “bizarre” statement, he demanded “gratitude and respect” for Communist China, minimizing risk of transmission, lethality and China’s role in covering-up truth. These statements proved false, calls for resignation followed, and Trump demanded an investigation. Tedros in April said “please don’t politicize the virus.”
The timeline is damning. China – caught lying – suddenly threatened to withhold life-saving drugs from the United States on March 13. They delayed shipments of protective equipment and sent defective equipment to Europe. They promulgated wild-eyed stories putting blame on the United States.
Sadly, Western media bought into the Chinese propaganda, contriving ways to blame President Trump for not arresting spread of the novel coronavirus. The New York Times only reported a death in China on January 10, AP News later, other Western media only confirmed China as virus source mid-March. Media – including the Washington Post – threw cold water on links to the Chinese Virology Institute, defended WHO’s statements. Only when the US and allied intelligence confirmed China’s coverup, did anti-Trump media start to pivot.
Missed in all this is a nimble president’s instincts. Despite critics, Trump closed entry from China in late January, then took heat for closing off Europe. He was hit for attributing the virus to China, mentioning the research institute, demanding investigation of WHO, and calling China deceptive. Turns out, he was right on all counts, able to look around corners.
Hard fact Two: Media – and anti-Trump governors – continue to use total death numbers, but that is the wrong metric. As the Wall Street Journal reported May 1, the best metric of success is per capita deaths, not overall deaths. By that metric, Spain has suffered more than 50 deaths per 100,000 citizens, Italy 45, Britain and France just under 40. The United States? Less than 20. Let’s go apples to apples, not apples to oranges.
Hard fact Three: As President Trump began encouraging social distancing, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) contested him, instead flouting social distancing on February 24, encouraging large gatherings in Chinatown to celebrate China’s Lunar New Year and stir business. She has since taken down that clip.
While blaming the president for not pushing social distancing, she pushed anti-social distancing – or large gatherings. She showed up no mask, no matter – downtown San Francisco. In ordinary America, we want to be back at work– but ordinary Americans would say, that is “the pot calling the kettle black.”
Hard fact Four: After President Trump assumed office, he was condemned by Democrats and media for calling out Communist China – for lying. Democrats accused him of starting an unjust trade war, endangering US interdependence with China, and diplomatic naivete. Remember that?
What did Trump do? Like Reagan, he called a spade a spade. He accused China of lying about creating and militarizing artificial islands in the South China Sea, fielding space weapons, busting UN sanctions for North Korea, manipulating currency, abusing World Trade Organization membership, violating human rights of religious minorities and in Hong Kong.
Was Trump wrong? No, he was right. China’s denial and deception on coronavirus – what allied intelligence now calls a “cover-up” – proves Trump’s instincts were right. China ignores truth.
Other hard facts. Let’s be frank, the entire world was ill-prepared for this Chinese origin virus, without adequate testing kits, protective equipment, stockpiles, ventilators, hospital space, inoculations, vaccine trials, or proven protocols. The US was not alone.
Bottom line: President Trump did what good presidents do. He used judgment. He shut off the source of damage, from China and Europe. He established a process for integrating medical expertise and policy. He accelerated medical innovation, production of protective equipment. He refused to federalize the effort, respecting our Constitution. He informed the public daily – and wants us rolling again.
The blame game is about to start. As the trouble retreats, critics pop. Be prepared. Hard facts matter.