Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday charged Democrats’ impeachment trial with distracting Congress from the novel Wuhan coronavirus outbreak that has now bloomed into a global pandemic.
“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 on “The Hugh Hewitt Show.”
President Donald Trump offered credence to the argument, admitting his administration was “probably” distracted from the crisis building overseas with impeachment.
“I think I handled it very well, but I guess it probably did. I mean, I got impeached,” Trump said during a White House press conference Tuesday.
It’s a fair point. While China was implementing large-scale lockdowns, the White House was forced to focus on fending off a partisan impeachment. As the Wuhan virus continued its rapid spread across China at the start of the new year, Congress was locked in a bitter battle over whether the Senate trial would feature new witnesses who had not testified in the House during a rushed process.
The Trump administration, however, was far from the only government institution distracted by impeachment, and impeachment is far from the only nonsensical distraction that Americans have had to put up with since Trump’s election, leaving the nation woefully unprepared to combat the current public health pandemic.
Trump Derangement Syndrome has paralyzed our federal government. Rather than remaining vigilant in our preparedness to combat a common enemy, Democrats in Congress focused solely on removing the president from office, trying everything in their power to delegitimize Trump’s triumphant 2016 victory.
They’ve advocated for the destruction of the constitutionally created Electoral College. They’ve claimed Trump’s win was a result of “fake news.” They’ve claimed Russia “hacked” the election. And with the help of the media also suffering from “Orange Man Bad” disease, they came up with an elaborate conspiracy theory alleging that Trump colluded with the Russian government to defeat Hillary Clinton, because Americans couldn’t possibly have fairly rejected the favorite candidate of the nation’s coastal elite.
All of this was before Trump even took office. Just minutes after Trump was officially sworn in, the Washington Post declared “The campaign to impeach President Trump has begun.”
While in office, Democrats came up with 86 reasons to impeach the president. They charged that Trump should be impeached for implementing travel bans. They charged that Trump should be impeached over alleged violations of the Emoluments Clause. They charged that Trump should be impeached for firing former FBI Director James Comey.
And they charged that Trump should be impeached for supposedly working with the Russians to capture the White House even after a two-year special counsel investigation with unlimited resources found no one on the Trump campaign had colluded with the Russian government. After the spectacular failure of the grand Russian collusion conspiracy theory through the Robert Mueller report, Democrats charged that the president ought to be impeached anyway.
At the end of last summer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi finally decided to pursue impeachment over a phone call with the Ukrainian president where Democrats alleged Trump withheld nearly $400 million in military aid in exchange for politically motivated investigations into the Joe Biden family. The following weeks reinforced government gridlock and jeopardized the landmark trade deal to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Congress, the White House, and the media focused on little else other than Democrats’ impeachment proceedings from their beginning in September to their conclusion in February, after dedicating wall-to-wall coverage of every other impeachment attempt launched by Democrats in the preceding months.
For years, our government has been broken. Polarization has officially pushed the limits and now Democrats are complaining that the administration has been caught off-guard in dealing with the current crisis, which has already claimed more lives than the terrorist attacks on 9/11.
While New York requests 30,000 ventilators from the federal government, fewer than 20,000 were readily available in the national stockpile. Of the 4,000 that were shipped to the Empire State this week, Business Insider reported that many were damaged.
Further, much of the medical equipment sent to states from the stockpile such as masks and gowns were found expired on arrival. Government officials told ABC News that the stockpile had not been replenished since the H1N1 outbreak in 2009. Perhaps President Barack Obama should have refreshed the stockpile during his eight years in office, or perhaps a closer examination of the stockpile under the Trump administration could have prompted timely replenishment by the time the Wuhan virus made its way to U.S. shores. The Trump era however, has been defined by useless attempts to undermine Trump’s authority.
The White House cannot be a scapegoat to blame the failures of the federal government in its response to the virus. A distracted Congress and a complicit media are just as guilty of concentrating on partisan impeachment efforts launched by Democrats rather than productive government oversight that could have raised the alarm about the nation’s preparedness to fight a pandemic.