What happened in 2020 in particular dealing with pandemic and who did what? In April, my friend Dr. Larry Fedewa observed when Donald Trump went along with the lockdown, he was gambling away his election chances. Fedewa was proven right as Trump ceded not just the overall pandemic response to Anthony Fauci and Debbie Birx, but he ceded to them the control of the economy to them.
The lockdown was a complete failure but none of those who presided over it and supported it have yet to pay a political price for their failures. Trump, who decided to make this a talking point against DeSantis, has his own record to defend.
Here is what Trump got right, he allowed federalism to proceed and not interfere with governors decisions and that nearly bailed him out. States like Georgia and Florida opening up their economy led to significant growth over the last six months of the year. Unemployment went from 14.4 percent to 6.7 percent with 1.5 million jobs a month being returned to the workforce from May 2020 to December 2020. Nearly 55 percent of those jobs were returned at the end of 2020. Joe Biden inherited a growing economy. As I have mention in previous posts, Republican states created more jobs and returned more jobs than their Democratic counterpart. Without these states reducing their lockdown mandates, the economy would have been in dire straits.
Trump biggest failures however was that he never had the back of his Republican governors who was doing what they could to bail out the economy and Trump re-election chances. When Brian Kemp at the end of April begin to reopen, Trump joined Fauci in criticizing him and never did he have DeSantis back when he begin to reopen Florida. Fauci even praised Cuomo for his disastrous response and recently so did Trump as a move to attack DeSantis.
Scott Atlas in his book, “A Plague on Our House”, details the inner struggle dealing with Covid from his own perch within the administration. Atlas details the failure of the lockdowns including missed cancer screenings, missed surgeries, nearly two years of educational losses, bankrupted small business, depression and drug overdoses, overall citizen demoralization, violations of religious freedom, this while public health officials ignored those at-risk population in nursing homes and the elderly plus immunocompromised. Scott Atlas observed, Yes, the president initially had gone along with the lockdowns proposed by Fauci and Birx, the “fifteen days to slow the spread,” even though he had serious misgivings. But I still believe the reason that he kept repeating his one question— “Do you agree with the initial shutdown?”—whenever he asked questions about the pandemic was precisely because he still had misgivings about it…to disregard his own common sense and allow grossly incorrect policy advice to prevail…. This president, widely known for his signature “You’re fired!” declaration, was misled by his closest political intimates. All for fear of what was inevitable anyway—skewering from an already hostile media. And on top of that tragic misjudgment, the election was lost anyway. So much for political strategists.
Altas view was that Trump had his doubts about the policies, but Trump also did nothing about those doubts and thus his biggest failures. DeSantis decided to ignore conventional wisdom and seek outside experts to explain what was really happening. In the winter of 2020, many states continued their lockdown or reinstated lockdown, but Florida and ten other states refuse to do so and as we now know, these governors prove to be correct.
If Atlas is correct and Trump had doubts, he refused to act on them. Kemp and DeSantis did act on their doubts and proved to be correct. Trump efforts to criticize DeSantis on this only expose Trump own failures on this as he may have allowed governors to do their thing, he refused to move those around him to discard obviously failing policies and instead allowed Fauci and others to promote these policies to governor, many of whom were perfectly willing to take advantage of the pandemic to use their newly found powers to restrict their citizens freedom.
What voters need to ask is the progress that Trump made on the economic front going into 2020 and his foreign policies successes make up for the complete failure of the Pandemic governing. Trump ceded his power to the DC health care insiders and if he is not willing to admit his failures here, then voters need to ask can he be trusted again in a similar crisis?
Much of the solutions that was used to shut down the economy for Covid is now being considered for climate emergency and the next Republican President has to put complete stop to this stupidity. On this issue, Trump has been solid on climate policies and removing us from the Paris accord showed that what he will do but his failure to rein in the bureaucracy during the pandemic has to be consider as well.
DeSantis was right and when you look at the full picture of the economy, education and even deaths based on variables including age showed that Florida performance was superior to Cuomo’s New York that Trump recently praised.
Red State writer Bonchie noted, “Yet, the biggest issue with Trump backing Cuomo at the expense of DeSantis is that it shows he doesn’t take the suffering that happened throughout 2020 and 2021 seriously. If he’s willing to praise a guy who instituted lockdowns for two years just for a cheap, false political attack, what other basic principle is he willing to throw aside? Why wouldn’t he recommend another regime of lockdowns if he thinks it will benefit him? Trump may end up the nominee, and I’d like to be able to vote for him with confidence that he’s going to do the right thing on policy. To be honest, I don’t have that confidence anymore. What happened with the nation’s COVID response was not a game. It was horrible, and it can never be repeated. Trump’s fluidity on the issue is not good enough.” Is he right?