During the Coronavirus Crisis, it is important that individuals have confidence in the federal government and the information which the leaders impart. Contradictory information or loss of faith in these public officials can cause panic. Other elected officials can suggest improvements in communication and policies, but it is critical that recommendations be given in the proper manner.
The leaders of the Democrat Party have violated this rule and criticized President Trump in an inappropriate and wholesale manner.
“If the President doesn’t act, people will die who could have lived otherwise”
- Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City and former Democrat Candidate for President, at his press conference, March 22, 2020
“The first thing we have got to do [regarding COVID-19], whether I’m President or not, is shut this President up right now.”
- Bernie Sanders, U.S. President and Democrat Candidate for President, at the Democrat Debate, March 15, 2020
“[President Trump] has an adversarial relationship with the truth.”
- Joe Biden, Former Vice-President and Democrat Candidate for President, March 12, 2020, at a speech
“[President Trump] needs to stop spreading mistruths on coronavirus and get to work to prioritize health and safety, widespread and free testing, paid sick days, and more.”
- Charles Schumer, Democrat Senator and Minority Leader in the U.S. Senate, March 10, 2020, via Twitter
“We would hope that [Trump] would be again joining with his health care professionals who are advising him and the rest of us in a well-coordinated government agenda.”
- Nancy Pelosi, Democrat Congresswoman and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, March 9, 2020, to reporters
Essentially, the leaders of the Democrat Party, along with many in the media (who are not the focus of this article), are stating that President Trump is not acting to protect the American people. Many people will believe the Democrats’ claims that President Trump is not doing enough to protect them. They will do so because they like the Democrat leaders making the comments, align ideologically with Democrats, dislike President Trump, have a natural distrust of the government, or a combination of these reasons. When these citizens hear the criticism, they will likely panic or, at the least, have an increased sense of fear.
It is unclear on what evidence the Democrat leaders above base their arguments. Do they have medical or public health degrees and experience on which they base their conclusions? Have they been meeting with doctors and experts, reviewing their findings, evaluating epidemiological trends, assessing the supply chains for medical supplies, and modeling future hospital capacity?
The Coronavirus Task Force (CTF) is composed of some of the best doctors and public health professionals in the world. They have been addressing the questions above. Moreover, they have been considering a myriad of other contingencies, speaking with leaders across industries, and interfacing with all 50 governors and local officials. The President and Vice-President have likely been to many meetings, are being informed on the findings, and are getting advice from these professionals.
It is incumbent that these Democrats share the evidence (or lack thereof) for their statements. First, if they have relevant and countervailing evidence, the President and CTF should be made aware of it so that they can factor it into government planning. If the Democrats do not release this information, they would certainly be putting lives in danger. Second, if they do not have evidence, they should inform the American people that their statements are opinions and not based on facts. The American people can then decide what to believe and if they have a reason to be concerned at the government’s response. Interestingly, on February 27, Republican Senator John Barasso (an orthopedic surgeon), stated that Senator Schumer had not attended any of the briefings on Coronavirus even though the country was several weeks into the crisis. It is important to know how many meetings Schumer has attended since then.
The United States has always been divided between Republicans and Democrats. Republicans and Democrats will differ on the amount of money needed to fight the virus and where that money should go. These differences between Republicans and Democrats should be decided amicably, but, if not, they should not lead to the conclusion that the government is not working to protect the country.
Politicians must be unanimous that the President is trying to protect the country. Anything less will lead to confusion in the least and panic at most. Differences in policy recommendations and communication are inevitable. These disagreements can be positive if they are addressed in the appropriate manner because working through differences can lead to improved plans and messaging. The best thing for the Democrats to do is approach the President and Coronavirus Task Force in private, raise objections (along with the underlying evidence), and develop an educated consensus and solution.