The leftist national media incessantly reports that the spread of the coronavirus is, well, President Trump’s fault. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, always good for the most incendiary and least helpful comments in any difficult situation, said on Sunday, “[T]he president — his denial at the beginning was deadly.”
Then in Joe Biden’s latest effort to be relevant, his campaign has released an ad attacking President Trump for not being sufficiently responsive to the threats of the coronavirus from the “beginning.”
Here is a key fact: In the beginning, China lied. People died. Although the first case of the coronavirus was reported in Wuhan, China in early December 2019, the Chinese authorities continued through January 2020 to downplay the potential for the disease to spread.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reinforced China’s falsehoods, saying on Jan. 14 that “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in Wuhan, China.” This was five to six weeks after the opposite was confirmed to be the case in Wuhan.
Biden’s supposed chronicle of Trump administration failures derides the president’s statement on Jan. 22, saying, “We have it totally under control, it is one person, coming in from China…” What was actually happening in the United States on Jan. 22? It was one person coming in from China. And the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) had yet to confirm the human-to-human spread of the virus.
So, what did we know? When did we know it?
On Jan. 17, the CDC and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that American citizens returning from travel-restricted countries were being rerouted to specific airports, where they would be screened and isolated. CDC on that day also stated that, “based on current information, the risk from 2019-nCoV to the American public is currently deemed to be low.”
Japan, South Korea, and Thailand reported their first cases of novel coronavirus on Jan. 20.
On Jan. 21, the first case of coronavirus in the United States was reported, of a man who had traveled from Wuhan, China. That is the case President Trump referred to the next day
The Biden ad skips from Jan. 22 to Feb. 27, ignoring crucial developments during that time period.
Jan. 24: The CDC confirmed the second U.S. case of coronavirus, adding again that “based on what we know right now, the immediate risk to America remains low.”
Jan. 28: The WHO published another statement about the coronavirus, with a photograph and headline saying: “WHO, China leaders discuss next steps in battle against coronavirus outbreak.” Pictured are WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Beijing with Chinese President Xi Jinping. According to the release, “The WHO delegation highly appreciated the actions China has implemented in response to the outbreak, its speed in identifying the virus and openness to sharing information with WHO and other countries.”
Think about that: On Jan. 28, the WHO praised China for its “speed and openness” in dealing with the virus. The same day, President Trump expanded U.S. airport screenings to identify travelers showing symptoms and instituted mandatory quarantines.
On Jan. 30, the WHO declared a global health emergency of international concern.
On Jan. 30, the CDC confirmed publicly for the first time the person-to-person spread of Wuhan virus and applauded WHO’s decision. That day, the president created the White House Coronavirus Task Force to coordinate efforts regarding this new disease.
The next day, Jan. 31, the president declared coronavirus a U.S. public health emergency and issued the ban on travel between the United States and China. On that same day, the Senate voted on the production of additional documents in the impeachment trial of President Trump. Campaigning in Iowa that day, Biden criticized President Trump’s China travel ban, saying during an Iowa campaign event, “This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysteria and xenophobia.”
Feb. 4: The White House directed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to step up coronavirus diagnostic testing procedures.
Feb. 5: The CDC issued a public statement saying, “While we continue to believe the immediate risk of 2019nCoV exposure to the general public is low, CDC is undertaking measures to help keep that risk low.”
Feb. 18: The CDC reaffirmed that the “risk to Americans from coronavirus is low.”
Feb. 20: The administration raised travel warnings to their highest level for Japan and South Korea.
It was not until Feb. 26 that the first case of suspected local transmission in the United States was announced by the CDC. President Trump that day named Vice President Pence to lead the Coronavirus Task Force. The next day, Feb. 27, Pence named Dr. Deborah Birx to serve as the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator.
On Feb. 29, the first death from the coronavirus was recorded in the United States. On that date, President Trump halted travel with Iran.
On March 11, the WHO declared coronavirus a worldwide pandemic. The next day, on March 12, President Trump imposed travel restrictions on Europe and elsewhere. Biden criticized that decision also.
Then, on March 13, President Trump declared a national emergency.
If Pelosi believes the president should have done something at the beginning, when exactly does she think was the ‘beginning’? Was it during the impeachment proceedings that Pelosi instigated? Should Pelosi bear some responsibility for what she perceives as the president’s failure to focus on the coronavirus back in January?
The single most important step taken by President Trump was his closing of U.S. travel with China, which happened on Jan. 31, something the president reminds us at every briefing.
He’s right, but what he doesn’t say is he made that decision at a time the CDC was assuring us the risk to America was low, the WHO was covering for China, Democrats were trying to impeach the president, and Biden was attacking the decision as xenophobic.
It is impossible to overestimate the number of American lives saved by that momentous decision by President Trump on January 31. And no media or Pelosi false narratives or phony Biden campaign ad can change the truth about the real chronology of the coronavirus.