McConnell: Impeachment Distracted Government From Wuhan Virus

McConnell: Impeachment Distracted Government From Wuhan Virus

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky charged the Democrats’ recent impeachment coup that stretched into the beginning of February with distracting the administration from the Wuhan coronavirus threat as the outbreak worsened in China.

“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,” McConnell said Tuesday on “The Hugh Hewitt Show.”

While China was implementing large-scale lockdowns across the country at the start of the new year to contain the virus, the White House was focused on fending off a partisan impeachment effort to keep President Donald Trump in office. As January rolled around, Congress was in the midst of bitter battle over whether the Senate trial would include new witnesses who had not testified in the House prior to Democrats rubber-stamping the articles in a rushed process.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi withheld the articles from moving forward unless Senate Republicans offered concessions on how the trial would be conducted. After four weeks of keeping the nation’s legislature at a standstill, Pelosi gave in on the issue where she had no leverage and released the articles for a trial to begin  in the upper chamber, all while the Wuhan virus continued to spread across Asia.

Democrats have been quick to cast the Trump administration as radically unprepared to handle the current pandemic tanking the global economy and threatening to kill hundreds of thousands with it, including those who never even come in contact with the virus but who fall victim to suicide over circumstances presented through financial devastation and social isolation.

At the same time, Democrats sought to focus the nation on its grand impeachment efforts with a Senate trial that did nothing but further polarize an already divided nation and divert the administration’s attention away from real threats abroad. Had the White House been able to more closely monitor the ongoing crisis in China rather than fending off a sham impeachment, the federal government likely would have been more prepared to confront the virus with adequate testing made more readily available and a proper advance on replenishing the Strategic National Stockpile.

Instead, the United States was caught off-guard by the pandemic, with current medical supplies in storage found both expired and in short supply. According to ABC News, government officials say the national stockpile had not been restocked with fresh supplies since the H1N1 outbreak in 2009. Meanwhile, as Trump takes fire for failing to meet New York’s request for 30,000 ventilators from the federal government, less than 20,000 were available in the national stockpile. Of the 4,000 that were shipped up to New York this week, Business Insider reported that many were found to be damaged.

A closer examination of federal supplies in anticipation of the virus arriving on U.S. shores rather than a fixation on the Democrats’ latest impeachment attempt could have saved thousands of lives.

Instead, Democrats attacked the early effective measures that the Trump administration did take to stop the virus. In January, the White House implemented a travel ban on China that provoked condemnation from woke liberals as racist. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is now the likely Democratic nominee, condemned the move as “hysterical xenophobia.”

Despite U.S. failures, no nation abroad prepared much better. European leaders had not stockpiled critical supplies such as test kits and ventilators and nations across the continent were struck short on hospital beds.

The Democrats’ three-year failed impeachment effort is one of the nation’s greatest national security blunders in American history by keeping the administration focused more on staying in office than keeping a close watch on global challenges. Now the United States is confronted with a pandemic of epic proportions that has already claimed more American lives than the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

This year’s impeachment proceedings in January and February might not have prevented the Wuhan virus from spreading across the U.S., but they no doubt distracted the White House from getting a head start on adequate preparations.

Tristan Justice is a staff writer at The Federalist focusing on the 2020 presidential campaigns. Follow him on Twitter at @JusticeTristan or contact him at [email protected]
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