It's Time To Put Politics Aside and Respect Trump's Leadership on Coronavirus
Viruses don’t care about politics. When it comes to coronavirus, though, political rivalries and biased reporting can combine to make a new and serious disease threat even more difficult to conquer.
As a physician who’s served in Congress, I’d like to help clear up the lies promoted by opponents who care more about vilifying President Trump than about our nation’s success in confronting coronavirus.
Let’s start with the novel virus’ menacing emergence on the international scene in late December. The president acted quickly, by the end of January, to impose restrictions on travel from China, together with targeted screening and quarantines. He was immediately assailed by many Democrats for — in the words of former vice president and current presidential candidate Joe Biden — “hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering.”
They were wrong.
In fact, President Trump’s foresight was affirmed a month later by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the highly respected head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who asserted that “we would have had many, many more cases” of coronavirus had the president not limited Americans’ exposure as he did.
Anti-Trump naysayers accused the administration of having “muzzled” Dr. Fauci.
They were wrong.
Dr. Fauci retorted that he would never be prevented from speaking his mind, nor had anyone tried to silence him.
One of America’s most distinguished scientists, Dr. Fauci joins a team of experts gathered under the leadership of Vice President Pence in a coordinated whole-of-government drive to manage the battle against coronavirus.
Democrats have rushed to claim that President Trump slashed funding for the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health — the agency responsible for following the spread of the virus and, with the Food and Drug Administration, ensuring development and dissemination of diagnostics, vaccines and medications to fight it.
They’re wrong, refuted definitively by The Associated Press: The CDC and NIH haven’t seen cuts.
Similarly, congressional Democrats have derided President Trump for the amount of additional funding he’s requested for federal efforts against coronavirus — but, as he has correctly noted, they shouldn’t be seeking political advantage by “saying, ‘this is terrible, President Trump isn’t asking for enough money.’” Instead, “we should all be working together.”
President Trump is right.
Disgracefully, his antagonists have ignored his invitation to productive cooperation and now say he’s called coronavirus a “hoax.”
They’re wrong again!
It’s clear that President Trump regards coronavirus with the utmost seriousness. In contrast, he regards the Democrats’ campaign of distortions and disinformation about the administration’s approach to the virus as their latest “Russia”-style hoax, and he’s never afraid to call things as he sees them.
President Trump is right.
And while it’s easy for Democrats such as former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg to play second-guessing armchair quarterback when they’re campaigning and observing rather than governing, objective observers like Dr. David Nabarro, a World Health Organization special envoy for COVID-19, have praised the president and his team.
The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security has rated the United States as the nation most prepared to deal with a pandemic. We’ve spent decades gathering data, doing research, establishing protocols and putting resources in place.
We also have one of the strictest regulatory regimes governing evaluation and use of everything involved in health care to ensure that the public will be protected and benefited, not harmed.
Faced with the urgency of coronavirus, one of the most important challenges for the president and his team is to expedite the development and distribution of clinical tests, therapeutic interventions and equipment — while still honoring our high standards.
Admirably, President Trump and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar have worked steadily to anticipate and respond to emerging needs. They’ve facilitated state and local health authorities’ adaptation of testing procedures to more rapidly identify and track infections, and they’ve accelerated the regulatory process for biotechnology and pharmaceuticals to speed the arrival of vaccines and medications.
Most recently, Secretary Azar approved the immediate release from the national stockpile of millions of N-95 face masks to protect health-care workers on the front lines against COVID-19.
The coronavirus is a pathogen indifferent to politics — and, indeed, politics must be put aside to conquer the threat it presents. President Trump and his team have acted wisely and effectively, despite their critics’ efforts to obstruct at every turn of this rapidly evolving challenge.
It’s time for everyone in politics and media to act responsibly, recognize and respect the president’s leadership on behalf of all Americans and work with him for the good of our nation and the world.
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