I don’t know whether the Trump administration has done the world’s best job in responding to the coronavirus. Who in the world knows? Shall we assume that everyone in the governments of South Korea, Italy, and other civilized free countries that have been impacted is a fool? Maybe so. Maybe not.
Lots of people from all over, including China, travel to Italy to see its historic sites. Others go for Catholic pilgrimages to the Vatican. Some pass through as part of a European holiday. So Italy got hit hard.
We watch other countries respond. It is tough to make the perfect call. Do you close your country’s borders — no one in and no one out? Maybe. But that means closing down your national airline industry and your hotel and tourist commerce. In Israel, for example, they are confronting that restricted travel in and out may be threatening the solvency of El Al, Israel’s national airline. Just this past week, El Al started firing one thousand workers. Hotels are letting go of staff as tourism dries up. It is like that in other countries.
This thing is not simple. Does a country ban public gatherings? St. Patrick’s Day parades this March 17? Sports events? In Israel, which has been very proactive from day one, they learned that some kid at a major league soccer game there tested positive for the thing, so they ordered all 5,000 people who had been at the stadium into quarantine. That set off a tumultuous response that persuaded the Health Ministry to change its order a few hours later, the very same day, and to reduce the quarantine order to the 79 people who apparently sat closest to the kid.
I don’t know. Is that what we want? Maybe. If there is a baseball game when the season starts in a month, say at Yankee Stadium or Dodger Stadium, and they find a kid in Section 17, Row 8, Seat 4 with the coronavirus, should they quarantine all 55,000 in attendance? Maybe. Probably not. Should they cancel the baseball season, at least until all the badly injured Yankees (Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, James Paxton, Luis Severino, etc.) get healthy? Maybe.
The one thing I do know is that, no matter what happens on the face of this earth, if it is bad then the Washington Post, New York Times, NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, MSNBC, and CNN will blame Donald Trump. It’s all his fault. And if it is good, then they will search with a microscope for the one black lining in the white cloud and blame it all on him. As best as they can tell, Trump is responsible for asbestos. Trump is responsible for mesothelioma, pneumoconiosis, and every other disease ever mentioned in a late-night cable-TV law-firm commercial or on the old, wonderful TV show House.
They blame Trump for everything. And it always is so shabby and wrong. If there is one thing Trump hates more than illegal immigration, it is germs. We probably have never in all our history had a president who hates germs so much. Seriously, is he going to find an outbreak of an uncharted disease irrelevant? He’s not going to care? For people who now are flocking to be led by Joe Biden, Trump is too inattentive? Huh?
Beyond that, COVID-19 threatens the economic story that the president tells with such well-earned pride. He took the American economy out of the doldrums caused by the Wasted Obama Decade, and he boomed it to outer space. It got so good that, after hoping that Trump’s economic policies would lead us into a depression, Obama himself and his Democrat acolytes finally changed course and predictably started taking credit themselves for it. The Dow Jones index has shot up by thousands of points. As Trump often notes, people are beholding glorious growth in their retirement plans and 401(k) accounts. Unemployment has shot down almost as low as it can go; there simply are some people who will not or cannot go to work. But the historic records are there: lowest Black unemployment ever, lowest Hispanic, lowest Asian, lowest female unemployment.
Coronavirus threatens that economic achievement, at least for the short term, and Trump does not want that — especially not in an election year. Coronavirus not only interferes with travel, tourism, and those associated fields of economic endeavor, but also gums up the supply chains. China produces tons of stuff that we consume. Some of that is junk, and — like the slogan at the Schwab’s store in Memphis: “If you can’t find it at Schwab’s, you’re better off without it.” But other stuff from China matters; a substantial amount of our prescription medicines are made there, for example.
Yet every cynical critic on the Democrat side, every member of the Corrupt Journalist Corps, gleefully recounts each new COVID-19 case in America as another ringing indictment of Trump. So it behooves us to pause a moment and note three things that Trump has been advocating and advancing from day one, issues utterly unrelated to the coronavirus — and yet strangely among the most important.
If the United States manages to figure out effective strategies that place us ahead of other nations in disease control and mass-infection avoidance, a porous border on the south effectively sabotages the effort. Either we control our borders and ports of entry or we don’t. If we do not, we cannot prevent outsiders from bringing in infection. To the degree that the Trump administration regularly finds itself in Obama courts and before Obama judges who want to impose national injunctions against Trump efforts to secure the borders, the coronavirus concern now empowers the administration to add a compelling new legal argument that porous borders represent a threat of immediate and irreparable damage to the nation’s health and, thus, to America’s national security.
Daniel Greenberg, an underappreciated national treasure, posted a wonderful article on his “Sultan Knish” blog: “The Causal Link Between Getting Gonorrhea and Voting for Hillary Clinton May Be Incidental.”
It is not denied on either side of the political aisle that the great majority of homeless people find themselves in that life station not as much because they cannot afford housing (though that factor does define a small sector of the group) but because they suffer from severe mental problems and addictions. If and when coronavirus hits the homeless of San Francisco, for example, that is going to turn a mess and national disgrace into an even worse mess and possible catastrophe. They urinate on the sidewalk, defecate there, leave their drug needles replete with blood there. An epidemic awaits eruption. They live in the open, congested near each other, walk into stores, hang around public places, and are not mentally situated to adhere to government requests for voluntary quarantine.
Homelessness is a national tragedy and gets worse in Democrat polities because those governments foment policies that exacerbate the situation. Instead of getting people off the streets, they and their Clinton–Obama judges protect “civil liberties” to micturate publicly and congregate along the streets. The cities — virtually all of which self-describe as “sanctuary cities” — that boast that they are throwing more and more money at “solving” the “Homeless Problem” essentially are advertising that herein lies a cash-profligate metropolis that invites you to come in and be homeless, too, because we have a budget for you. The proof is in the pudding: look where the homeless situations get worse, and look at what happens every time a state or city announces that it now will direct even more money to The Homeless.
By standing firmly and publicly against California’s and other Democrat states’ mishandling of homelessness, President Trump has begun a great and critical crusade that also will help, in some degree, to impede the spread of the coronavirus if he ever gets his efforts implemented in the face of obstructive Obama courts.
Until President Trump stood up and told China that the free lunch is over, the Chinese have blatantly violated international trade norms, stolen our intellectual property, imposed outrageous requirements on American companies trying to do business there, and manipulated their currency illegally to advantage their exports and reduce their imports — always at our expense. President Trump became the first sonovagun to call them on it. He imposed tariffs, threatened a massive trade war, actually implemented the first steps towards that threatened trade war, and shook up China–American trade. The usual voices from the Democrats and their Corrupt Journalist Corps mocked Trump as a rube, out of his league. “Tariffs never work. Never. Free trade is what best helps markets and American workers. Trump will destroy the farmers. We are only hurting ourselves. If we impose tariffs, they will impose tariffs. Blah. Blah. Blah.” And of course Biden chimed in: “China’s going to eat our lunch [economically]? C’mon, man!”
Through all the free trade agreements America has been making over the years with countries that do not engage reciprocally in pure free trade but do in fact impose their own restrictions and tariffs on us anyway, we have seen manufacturing jobs lost overseas, factories closed, and critical industries diminished to the point of nearly disappearing. We all hope and pray that we always will be at peace, but if war comes can one imagine an America that no longer manufactures ample steel and aluminum? Where will we get it — from the United Kingdom, from France, from Japan, from South Korea? They themselves will need all they can produce to manufacture their own fighter planes, tanks, naval vessels, armaments, and munitions. Will we get it from China, from Russia? C’mon, man — especially if they are the countries against whom we are fighting. Among many things we learned from World War II, it became clear that our massive industrial base gave us a leg up on the enemy as we converted automobile factories and so much more overnight to wartime steel and aluminum manufacturing and weapons production. But if our automobile plants shut down and we rely on Germany, Japan, and South Korea to make all our cars there, and on Britain and China for our aluminum and steel, and on the Arab Muslim Sheikdoms and Iran and Iraq for our oil and other energy, what happens in the event of war? On that day, America better not find itself waiting for Obama to wave that famous magic wand of his, and for Biden to say: “Uh-oh. We are on the brink of World War Five. C’mon, man.”
As Trump tightened the screws on China, he not only helped save our domestic steel and aluminum industries, but he also prompted American companies to reconsider profoundly whether or not they have become too invested in China in their urgent flight to avoid American labor unions and instead to reap the benefits of cheap Chinese labor by the millions. Thus Trump has prodded a diversifying in the corporate sector, as American corporations move factories they had in China to alternative nations less inclined to confront America in trade wars.
As it happens, the coronavirus hit the world long after these Trump initiatives that were unrelated to China trade. No one foresaw any of it, but America’s economy indeed had become too tightly dependent on China. It was President Trump who laid the groundwork for taking a step back, rethinking, and becoming less reliant on China to fulfill our commercial, pharmaceutical, and industrial needs.
In these three areas unrelated to combating the coronavirus, the President’s “America First” focus, augmented by his campaign to make America great again, saw him fighting to secure our borders, combat homelessness in California and in other Democrat strongholds, and tighten the screws on trade with China. Although the president did not launch any of these initiatives in anticipation of a COVID-19 outbreak, those initiatives have left America that much better positioned to confront and deal with this enigmatic pandemic that threatens so much.