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For Biden, Trump Has Become 'He Who Must Not Be Named'

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

President Joe Biden delivered a speech marking the one-year anniversary of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and while he subtly attacked former President Donald Trump, the current president did not mention his predecessor’s name even once. Perhaps he knew that if he mentioned Trump’s name, he would have to acknowledge some of Trump’s accomplishments.

“A year ago, we were hit with a virus that was met with silence and spread unchecked. Denials for days, weeks, then months. That led to more deaths,” Biden said, accusing Trump of downplaying the pandemic. Trump had expressed more optimism in fighting the virus, in part in order to prevent panic, but he also acted quickly to ban travel from China.

Perhaps Biden did not explicitly attack Trump in these accusations of denial because it would have weakened members of his own party. While Trump cut off travel from China, Democrats fought against that restriction, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) publicly traveled to Chinatown in order to encourage people that the area was “safe” — on February 24, more than a month after the first COVID-19 case in the U.S. had been confirmed on January 20.

Biden also reiterated the importance of telling the public the truth and encouraging mask-wearing, in another apparent dig at Trump.

The current president also rightly denounced the harassment Chinese Americans have faced during the pandemic. Biden had previously accused Trump of “cruelly” scapegoating Chinese Americans, stoking “xenophobia every time he’s uttered the term ‘China virus.'”

Trump called COVID-19 the “China virus” because it originated in China and because the Chinese Communist Party had falsely attempted to blame Americans for the virus, spreading the conspiracy theory that the U.S. created COVID-19 in a lab.

Biden’s COVID-19 speech was not all doom and gloom, however. The president announced that he would direct states and territories to make all adults eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by May 1 and he noted that his administration was on track to provide 100 million shots by his sixtieth day in office, at a rate of 2 million shots per day. That will far overshoot his extremely modest goal of 100 million vaccines in his first 100 days.

Of course, Biden did not praise Trump for Operation Warp Speed, which produced COVID-19 vaccines in record time.

While Trump may have made a few missteps on his COVID-19 rhetoric, his policy accomplishments on the coronavirus were rather solid. Sadly, Democrats pushed the narrative that Trump had exacerbated the pandemic, even as they worked overtime to milk it. Biden himself called it an “opportunity” for “systemic” change.

Now that Biden owes a great deal to Trump, he refuses to mention his predecessor’s name. Instead, his administration pushes the heinous lie that they started from “scratch” on vaccine distribution.

Biden has built his administration on rejecting every Trump has done. He signed executive orders reversing Trump on immigration, climate, abortion, transgenderism, and on and on. Trump is the bogeyman of Joe Biden’s existence.

“Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself,” Albus Dumbledore warned Harry Potter. People in J.K. Rowling’s books referred to the ultimate villain, Voldemort, as “He Who Must Not Be Named,” out of fear. Harry Potter learned to say the name, and it steeled him with courage. It also provided clarity.

Biden refused to mention Trump’s name partially to avoid being held accountable for making a false claim about his predecessor’s record on COVID-19, or to avoid being held accountable for giving his own party a pass while condemning Trump’s record.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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