Over the past couple of months, Trump’s critics have gone from accusing him of overreacting to the coronavirus outbreak to underreacting and not taking it seriously.
Now, with the help of the media, they are trying to rewrite history. A new hit piece from the Washington Post claims that intelligence agencies issued warnings about a possible pandemic back in January and February, “while President Trump and lawmakers played down the threat and failed to take action that might have slowed the spread of the pathogen.”
This allegation is easily refuted by the facts. China reported the discovery of the coronavirus to the World Health Organization (WHO) on December 31, 2019, and the CDC mobilized immediately. They issued a travel notice for Wuhan, China, and established a coronavirus incident management system within the first week. By the end of the month, the CDC had already:
- Implemented public health entry screening at the most at-risk airports
- Activated its emergency operations center to provide ongoing support for the coronavirus response
- Sought a “special emergency authorization” from the FDA to allow states to use its newly developed coronavirus test
- The National Institutes of Health was already working on the development of a vaccine
- A Coronavirus Task Force was set up by the White House
- The coronavirus was declared a public health emergency
- Foreign nationals posing a risk of transmitting the coronavirus were barred from entering the United States
The Washington Post nevertheless claims “Trump’s advisers struggled to get him to take the virus seriously.”
On January 31, nearly a month and a half before WHO had declared coronavirus a pandemic, Trump imposed a travel ban with China.
Does that sound like the Trump administration failing to take action? All this happened while congressional Democrats were busy trying to oust President Trump from office with their bogus impeachment.
At the time of Trump’s travel ban with China, the Washington Post ran stories criticizing Trump’s move, because the World Health Organization officially opposes travel bans. Trump’s travel ban was controversial and sparked accusations of racism and xenophobia, even by the Washington Post.
Holy crap—flashback to @wapo quoting the Chinese FM slamming the Trump administration's 1/31 travel ban AND noting that WHO (still operating under Chinese disinformation about #COVID19) was against Trump's move to stop entry into the US from China. pic.twitter.com/kkHfgwrv4Y
— Lyndsey Fifield (@lyndseyfifield) March 19, 2020
Joe Biden also spoke out against the travel ban, and accused Trump of “fearmongering” and “xenophobia” for it. “This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysteria and xenophobia — hysterical xenophobia — and fearmongering,” Biden said the day after the travel ban was implemented.
Trump’s critics were proven wrong when WHO experts admitted that Trump’s travel ban with China saved lives. It’s also quite clear that it was Trump’s critics who were downplaying the threat of the coronavirus outbreak, not Trump. Even now, the Washington Post is suggesting the travel ban wasn’t enough.
“President Trump has taken historic, aggressive measures to protect the health, wealth and safety of the American people — and did so, while the media and Democrats chose to only focus on the stupid politics of a sham illegitimate impeachment,” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement to the Washington Post. “It’s more than disgusting, despicable and disgraceful for cowardly unnamed sources to attempt to rewrite history — it’s a clear threat to this great country.”
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis