President Donald Trump is being slammed for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, from lack of preparation to downplaying the severity, public health experts and lawmakers agree- he has been a disaster.
Now his Republican allies want us to believe that he was too distracted by the impeachment to do his job and focus on the looming global crisis.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “It came up while we were tied down in the impeachment trial. And I think it diverted the attention of the government because everything every day was all about impeachment.”
So the idea is that Trump couldn’t focus on the virus, but COULD go golfing, hold rallies, and falsely tell Americans everything was under control? That isn’t flying with many Americans.
While the impeachment trial reached a peak and while the novel coronavirus had already reached the US and was less than a month from being declared a pandemic, the president was golfing and tweeting about it.
Getting a little exercise this morning! pic.twitter.com/fyAAcbhbgk— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 1, 2020
The novel coronavirus first presented in Wuhan, China in late December but was not identified until January.
The first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus was on January 21, a week after Trump’s impeachment trial officially began on January 16. The first confirmed case of coronavirus in the US came on January 21.
Meanwhile, every time Trump spoke about the threat, he downplayed it.
On January 22, Trump said, “We have it totally under control… It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”
President Trump spent time today golfing at Trump International Golf Club in Florida. He wore a Keep America Great hat. pic.twitter.com/3Rs7vt0aiA— The Hill (@thehill) February 3, 2020
Trump was also hot on the campaign trail during that time. He held several rallies from December 18 (impeachment date) to February 5 (end of trial). Below is a list of those rally dates and locations:
- December 18, 2019 — Battle Creek, MI
- January 3, 2020 — Miami, FL
- January 9, 2020 — Toledo, OH
- January 14, 2020 — Milwaukee, WI
- January 28, 2020 — Wildwood, NJ
- January 30, 2020 — Des Moines, IA
It was Trump who criticized Obama for golfing and said if HE was elected he would not take vacations. Yet it was also Trump who held a Super Bowl party at Mar-a-Lago in February as the virus continued to spread and as his trial was still ongoing.
By February 5th, when his trial concluded and the virus was rampant overseas, even as he put limitations on travel to the US from China he continued to tell Americans that it would be “fine”:
“I think the virus is going to be — it’s going to be fine.”Trump, on February 10, 2020
Many Americans were shocked as Trump said in a February 26 press briefing that we could expect the number of coronavirus cases in the US to be “close to zero” in a “couple of days.” BUT at the same press conference, a CDC top official warned the opposite, saying US cases would rise.
Americans should understand- while their President golfed and acted nonchalant about a threat that experts continuously warned him about- a virus was spreading like wildfire. A virus that has now killed more people in the US than the 9/11 terror attacks.
Throughout March, the virus spread and Trump golfed. He held a party at Mar-a-Lago why hosted multiple Brazilian officials who went on to test positive for the virus.
McConnell and other allies blame Trump’s poor response to the virus on the impeachment. Sen. Marsha Blackburn tweeted that the “sham impeachment” had been a waste of time.
Speaking to Politico, Sen. Tom Cotton said, “It’s unfortunate that during the early days of a global pandemic, the Senate was paralyzed by a partisan impeachment trial.”
Rep. Doug Collins told his Twitter followers, “Think about this → the first #coronavirus case in the U.S. was confirmed on January 15. The same day, @SpeakerPelosi delivered the articles of impeachment to the Senate. Maybe if she stopped playing political games, our country could focus on what really matters.”
In a tweet earlier this month, Trump said: “I was criticized by the Democrats when I closed the Country down to China many weeks ahead of what almost everyone recommended. Saved many lives. Dems were working the Impeachment Hoax. They didn’t have a clue! Now they are fear mongering. Be calm & vigilant!”
GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a tweet that was retweeted by the president: “In January, Democrats were all-consumed with a bogus impeachment. What was @realDonaldTrump doing? Taking aggressive action to confront coronavirus including China travel restrictions & declaring a public health emergency.”
But the nation’s top expert on infectious disease and a lead official in the White House coronavirus task force has expressed his disdain with some crucial aspects of the Trump administration’s handling of the virus response. Fauci said that the US should admit it’s failing in the testing shortage and debacle after Trump announced that anyone who wanted a test could get one.
One thing that makes this whole situation even more unbearable is that Trump had previously been warned about the possibility of a devastating pandemic that could hit during his presidency. He did nothing. As experts implored im to take action and brace for impact, he did nothing.
Even as the virus spread, Trump and his cronies touted it as a “new hoax.” He compared it to the flu and continued to downplay. As the borders were closed and the death toll rose, Trump held a rally in Charlotte, NC, where thousands of people gathered.