Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden released a five-minute ad on Monday, which claims to lay out what he would have done differently from President Donald Trump to stop the spread of coronavirus. This seems like a good idea, but the problem is that in the critical period of January to June, the list of things he would have done differently consists of only three specific things, none of which would have stopped the tens of thousands of deaths.
The hard truth is this pandemic didn’t have to be this bad. Ron Klain, former White House Ebola Response Coordinator, breaks down what a Biden administration would have done differently and what we would do now to get this virus under control: pic.twitter.com/cw8mBOfujj
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) July 27, 2020
The first issue mentioned is personal protective equipment (PPE) shortage. The ad claims Biden would have required companies to produce more PPE in March. There are a couple problems with this. First, there were not widespread situations in which hospitals did not have PPE. In fact Gov. Andrew Cuomo regularly told the media that in New York State, then the epicenter, hospital administrators told him they had what they needed.
Another problem with this “solution” that all the PPE in the world would not have stopped the spread of the virus. Outside of hospitals, at that time the guidance from experts was that people should not wear masks, not just because of shortages but because the science at the time didn’t call for it and we all know we have to trust the science.
The second thing the ad says Biden would have done differently is increased testing. The narrator doesn’t exactly say how he would have done this beyond “appointing a board,” but let’s assume he could have. Testing would have been good to have to get a snapshot of how the virus was spreading, but it would not have stopped the spread. That would have required enormous contact tracing efforts along with the testing, something the ad doesn’t mention.
And again, this isn’t some new policy idea or thing he would have reversed, he just says he would have done it faster somehow. Meanwhile, we now do more testing than any country in the world and the virus is still spreading. That’s because testing in and of itself does not stop the virus.
Next, the ad moves to May and says that Biden would have worn a mask to set a good example for the American people unlike Trump who was more reticent to wear a mask. First of all, Trump never told people not to wear masks. He said it was their own decision, but they should follow the expert’s guidelines which calls for sometimes wearing masks.
The ad doesn’t say that Biden would have made masks mandatory on a federal level, or that he would have urged governors to make it mandatory, simply that he would have set a better example. That is pretty thin gruel and once again does not differ significantly from the actual policy.
The last difference of approach mentioned is that in June, Biden would have offered a detailed plan to reopen the economy. But again, not a single specific policy is mentioned. Trump is simply criticized for complimenting officials working to open their economies.
And that’s it. That’s all of it over the six-month period of January through July. But notice something else. January and February are not even mentioned. Those months don’t even appear on the graphic in ad. We have been told for months by the media and Democrats that January and February were wasted months when much more should have done. So what would Biden of have done then? What was he advising then? The answer to the last question is nothing.
Biden isn’t the only one who struggles to say what the Trump Administration did wrong or should have done differently. The media yammers on and on about the failures of the Administration, but also can point to few policy decision that were mistakes. That is in large part because as Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has pointed out Trump has never refused the advice of his team of medical experts.
It is frankly amazing that given how aggressively the Democrats are attacking Trump’s handling of the pandemic, they really can’t point to anything substantive that they would have done differently.