All American presidents must find it hard walking into office from the previous administration. Some are obviously worse than others, though few were as bad as the Trump administration. Instead of recognizing President Biden for what he has accomplished in an uphill climb, people want to blame him. Even though they know better, Republicans try to blame him for the number of lives lost to Covid-19. Covid came long before President Biden, and he has had to deal with the Delta variant and now, the Omicron variant, both of which spread more aggressively. Those blaming President Biden are ignoring his repeated pleas that Americans get vaccinated while also banning and/or blocking mandates. So, where should blame rest?
Thanks to the House Select Committee’s investigation of the January 6, 2021, insurrection, we now know just how badly “president” Donald Trump botched the Covid-19 response. Slate magazine published the committee’s report, which reveals that Trump “deliberately sabotaged” the response. He cannot claim that he was not properly informed. Indeed, he personally put a stop to CDC public briefings and threatened to fire Nancy Messonier, who oversaw respiratory illnesses for the CDC. Instead of supporting the CDC’s determination that masks could save lives, Trump called a briefing at which he said: “You don’t have to do it. I’m choosing not to do it.” He now wonders why he was recently “booed” when he told a crowd that he had received his booster shot. That would have been a prime opportunity for him to say that he had been wrong, and that people should listen to the science. That would make too much sense. Besides, he is a narcissist who thinks his mere word will change people’s minds. He does not get that he created the misinformation problem, and only he can fix it with his people. Looking back, it is incredulous how much damage Trump did in failing to adequately respond to Covid.
He publicly bragged that he requested a slow-down of testing, which would have merely covered up the true nature of the infection. This would have, in fact, been even more dangerous, as people would have falsely believed Covid was improving. Exacerbating the problem, he chose to ignore his own task force personnel, and his political appointees tried to get the FDA to authorize hydroxychloroquine and other unproven drugs as treatments. Steven Hatfill, a White House advisor, also refused opportunities to get masks, even as we faced a shortfall, if they “were not U.S. based.” Perhaps that was part of Trump’s “America first” nonsense but think of the lives that could have been saved had we had enough supplies early on. These people were not acting on their own. The committee found that Trump was directly involved in virtually everything his administration did. All these blatant actions started the death toll and are part and parcel of the reason President Biden is facing such resistance to trying to get the virus under control. Because of the actions of the Trump administration, we must now learn to live with Covid. Getting it under control after all this will be virtually impossible.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years