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Assault on America, Day 435: Coronavirus will neither help nor hinder Trump’s reelection drive

Economic fallout Coronavirus Pelosi
They’ve even got me doing it.

The other morning as I perused the news and noted the sheer volume of coronavirus stories, it dawned on me that eventually, this too shall pass. For planet earth has voluntarily thrown itself into a tizzy over a virus, so much so that stock markets have fallen -- if not practically crashed -- and political leaders the world over are wrestling with how to react to the public’s pandemic of fear. Some countries have imposed travel bans. Schools have shut down. People are self-quarantining. Sporting events are being held without fans attending or simply being canceled. It’s bad, folks.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo ordered a “containment zone” in a New York suburb (a high percentage of the state’s known cases are in the small city of New Rochelle, hence the bold move) the other day and roused the National Guard to collect samples and enforce the restrictions. Such an action would’ve been unthinkable just a couple months ago… how far are we to take it?

Closer to home we’re told not to shake hands anymore and to avoid touching our noses and eyes. For how long? Must we wait until someone somewhere declares the crisis “over” or “contained” and we can return to normal cultural customs? Who would it be? Would we believe him or her? A guy came to the door the other day to perform a service as requested and I consciously refused to extend my hand in greeting. He didn’t either. This is the way it’s going to be, at least for a while.

A disclaimer before we go any further: The coronavirus should be taken seriously by everyone, but particularly people who would be at special risk in any given viral circumstance -- the elderly and those with special health conditions. What we shouldn’t do is stop living life because of a virus that, according to many doctors, somewhat mimics the common cold. Everywhere we go there’s a risk of contracting someone else’s sickness. The chances are especially acute for people who live and dwell in “germ factories” of everyday life.

If you don’t believe it, ask a teacher.

Political leaders are worried the collective coronavirus freak-out could alter the course of history by sidetracking the otherwise effective efforts of elected officials to deal with not only this problem -- but every level of daily administration. Rob Crilly reported at The Washington Examiner, “While President Trump plays down the threat from a novel coronavirus that has killed 26 people in the United States, fears are mounting among key allies that this could turn out to be the sort of unanticipated black swan event that derails his reelection...

“Administration officials have privately expressed irritation that Trump’s attempts to play down the risk have distracted from the work done by Vice President Mike Pence and his coronavirus task force in encouraging people to self-isolate if sick. On Monday, for example, the White House said it was ‘business as usual’ just after the 73-year-old president plunged his arm into a waiting crowd at Orlando's airport to shake well-wishers by the hand in Florida...

“[T]he outbreak is a major test for a president who has in the past governed largely for his base. And therein lies a message for his campaign.”

It's interesting how Crilly wrote that Trump has “largely governed for his base,” because this isn’t close to being accurate. From day one -- even before entering office -- Trump promised to put all Americans’ interests first, including before his own or his companies’ welfare. Using immigration as an example, illegal crossings impact everyone -- the high cost of services illegal immigrants consume, public health risks (yes, they bring a multitude of diseases with them, too, though none appear to be receiving as much hyperbolic mania as the mysterious coronavirus on the liberal establishment media’s evening news), criminal activity, housing for convicted illegal felons, schools, etc.

So cracking down on illegal immigration isn’t “governing for his base,” even if Speaker Nancy Pelosi, “Chucky” Schumer and Joe Biden insist that it is. Trump’s inaugural address three years ago drew confused looks and thinly-veiled snarls of contempt from both parties’ Washington elite class (George W. Bush allegedly said to Hillary Clinton, “That was some weird sh-t.”), because he spoke of altering the balance of power and revisiting decades-old agreements that didn’t have the concerns of all Americans at heart.

But this is beside the point. Critics of President Trump come from all circles -- everyone has an opinion, but how exactly do they expect Trump to act in response to the coronavirus? On the one hand the president receives the most round-the-clock medical attention of probably anyone in the world (except for maybe the queen?) and therefore is in, pardon the expression, close contact with experts who provide him direction on everything from diet to sleep habits to whether it’s safe for him to shake someone’s hand in Orlando’s airport.

Trump’s admitted that he’s been told not to touch his face, which is extremely hard. So therefore, what’s the problem with shaking a few hands and then washing thoroughly afterwards? There’s a limit to how much anyone can alter their own personal habits. Would Speaker Pelosi be satisfied with Trump’s coronavirus response if he self-quarantined himself behind plated glass like the famous “Popemobile” and/or opted to wear a surgical mask for all public appearances?

Needless to say, the president’s reaction to the coronavirus or any matter of public health is scrutinized like nothing else. What would happen if Trump, who at 73 is in one of the higher risk categories, proposed self-detaining himself and the first lady within the walls of the White House? What kind of message would it send to the citizenry? Or what if the Trumps refused to allow 13-year-old son Barron to attend school or take part in any other “normal” activities of a teenage boy?

Liberals and his #NeverTrump enemies constantly assault Trump for his supposed lack of self-restraint and untethered non-traditional decorum, so why wouldn’t they be praising the way he’s handled this budding health crisis now? By maintaining as normal a daily schedule as he can, Trump is leading in the most important category of all -- by example.

And in all of the uproar over the coronavirus, have other public health concerns been completely eliminated? There’s still an opioid issue in many parts of the country and the people tasked with caring for and trying to help addicts haven’t put their efforts on hold because they’re terrified of being afflicted with the strange Chinese-originated virus. Or what about all the detox centers or mental health facilities that must continue on in the midst of the media’s over-dramatized world pandemic scare?

Statistically speaking, the coronavirus is most dangerous to the elderly. There are no doubt lots of children carrying the virus (or at least logic would indicate there was) yet to my knowledge no kids have died from it. All the while, the common cold remains a threat to them as well as your run-of-the-mill influenza outbreaks which bring fever and other severe and debilitating symptoms. Meanwhile, school nurses are still seeing kids being hit in the head by soccer balls or getting their fingers caught in doors in addition to the regular highly contagious maladies like pinkeye, lice and sore throats.

Then there are the economic consequences from overreaction. Suppose, as a “precautionary” measure, that Disney announced it was shutting down its theme park operations until further notice. Or an airline did something similar. Or here in my sphere of the country, Colonial Williamsburg ceased offering public programs to visitors out of prudence and a directive from federal authorities.

What if Trump only considered the potential political fallout from coronavirus and ordered martial law (like Governor Cuomo essentially did above) and declared a nationwide state of emergency, confining everyone to their homes until further notice? Would that satisfy his critics?

“Be careful what you wish for, because you might get it.” Perhaps Pelosi, Schumer, Biden, Bernie and the rest of Trump’s political opposition should think twice before being too hard on the president’s -- and the CDC’s -- reaction to coronavirus. Besides indicating that they would’ve thrown more money at the problem and nitpicking on details, none of them have articulated how they would’ve/could’ve done things differently/better or how they would magically increase preparedness for something like a Chinese virus that no one could ever foresee?

Democrats sure made political hay over people’s fears; it’s what they do. As I noted a couple weeks ago, they devote minutes and hours to the issue of “climate change” which supposedly will kill us all eventually if we don’t allow the government to step in, take over a lot of stuff, trample on Americans’ rights (property and otherwise) and set the limits on human and business behavior and decision-making.

What should Trump do? Precisely what he’s been doing. Treat the coronavirus seriously, devote public resources to containing its spread and treating its victims and then let time and medical professionals deal with the outcomes. Here’s thinking a few weeks or a month or two will be more than sufficient to tamp down the alarm. Markets will recover and given the opportunity, people will go on living their lives, realizing the world isn’t going to end tomorrow because of something the government did or did not do.

Trump is following his instincts here. And if Democrats overplay their hands, they’ll surely suffer at the ballot box in November.

David Catron touched on the subject at The American Spectator, “Knowing how vulnerable they already are pursuant to their impeachment perfidy, it cannot be comforting to these endangered ‘Trump district’ Democrats to hear their leadership demagogue coronavirus. House Speaker Pelosi has already placed a target on their backs by forcing them to vote for impeachment after encouraging them to run for Congress as moderates. Her irresponsible rhetoric on coronavirus will have the effect of reminding already angry voters that the Democrats just can’t be trusted to play it straight on any issue, even something as important as public health...

“President Trump is right when he accuses the Democrats of working ‘to inflame the coronavirus situation.’ They regard the outbreak as an opportunity for scoring political points. Moreover, they have behaved so irresponsibly during the past three years that what little credibility they enjoyed has evaporated. Gallup finds that Congress has a 23 percent approval rating. The reality is that the president, the CDC, and the NIH are doing as well as most reasonable voters would expect with the coronavirus outbreak. When it becomes obvious that the Democrats have cynically exploited this serious public health risk in one last attempt to damage Trump, the voters will react with revulsion.”

Yes indeed. As Catron points out in his excellently reasoned piece, the CDC and NIH are non-partisan and its leaders have served presidents from both parties. If there’s anything that’s supposed to be above politics, it’s public health. Yet here the Democrats can’t contain themselves either.

Coronavirus is a serious matter and President Trump is giving it its due consideration. Life must go on and Trump’s reaction to the fears of normal people is in line with what any leader should do. If the president went around acting scared, it would only make things worse. Be thankful for competent political leadership at times like these.

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