Joe Biden spent months last year criticizing Trump for his pandemic response, blaming him for the deaths caused by the virus. Biden pushed the narrative that Trump botched the pandemic and that once he was in charge, things would get better. In October, just weeks before the election, Biden declared, “I’m not going to shut down the economy, I’m not going to shut down the country, but I am going to shut down the virus.”
Well, we’re now eight months into Joe Biden’s presidency. Cases were on the decline when he took office, we have three vaccines, and we’ve made advances in therapeutics. Yet, Biden hasn’t ended the pandemic. Things haven’t gotten better. Biden’s “plan,” whatever it was, didn’t work.
But according to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, it’s Trump’s fault.
Psaki had been asked to address Title 42, a Trump-era policy that allowed Border Patrol to send illegal immigrants back because of the pandemic.
“Title 42 is a public health requirement,” Psaki responded. “Because we are in the middle of a pandemic, which by the way, we would have made progress on had the former president actually addressed the pandemic and not suggested people inject bleach.”
She continued, “So, I think we’re in a bit of a different place. I’m happy to discuss more examples. I think it’s — people would be pretty hard-pressed to argue that the president has taken any aspect of the former president’s playbook and used it as a model of his own.”
So, according to Psaki, Biden would have made more progress with COVID if not for Trump. Well, let’s look at the evidence. When Biden took office, two vaccines were approved for emergency use by the FDA, thanks to Trump’s Operation Warp Speed. By June, cases were at their lowest level since the start of the pandemic. The pandemic seemed to be over then. The economy was poised to reopen, and normalcy was on the verge of coming back. But, instead, the virus came back, and cases surged. More than 40 percent of COVID deaths have occurred on Biden’s watch—despite having three vaccines, advances in therapeutics, and Andrew Cuomo’s resignation.
"I'm not going to shut down the economy, I'm not going to shut down the country, but I am going to shut down the virus." —Joe Biden, October 29, 2020 pic.twitter.com/4XhWl3gNap
— Matt Margolis (@mattmargolis) October 1, 2021
So, what happened? Was it something Trump did? Nope. The delta variant happened, as did Biden’s disastrous pause of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which caused a surge in vaccine hesitancy.
Sorry, Psaki, you can’t blame Trump for what’s happened on Biden’s watch. By any measure, Biden took office when things were improving drastically, and then things got worse again. The truth is that the virus is going to do what the virus is going to do, and it doesn’t matter who’s at the helm. We know this because the trajectory of the virus doesn’t seem to change whether there are lockdowns or mask mandates.
As for the remark that Trump suggested people inject themselves with bleach, that never happened. The false claim originated an exchange during the White House Coronavirus Task Force Briefing in April of last year, when possible COVID-19 treatments were discussed, including UV light treatments. And Trump said, “And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that. So, that you’re going to have to use medical doctors with. But it sounds — it sounds interesting to me.”
But it wasn’t Trump who suggested injected bleach, it was a reporter. Later in the same briefing, a reporter asked the acting undersecretary of science and technology for the Department of Homeland Security, Bill Bryan, “The president mentioned the idea of cleaners, like bleach and isopropyl alcohol you mentioned. There’s no scenario that could be injected into a person, is there?”
It was Trump who replied, “It wouldn’t be through injection. We’re talking about through almost a cleaning, sterilization of an area. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t work. But it certainly has a big effect if it’s on a stationary object.”
It’s time to stop blaming Trump and stop repeated debunked lies about his COVID response.