Somehow, a national health crisis was turned into a political game by Donald Trump. He saw it as an opportunity to push his reelection campaign rather than actually taking care of the public. On Monday, conservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin said that if it wasn’t for governors across the country, we would be in an even deeper hole due to Trump’s lack of initiative action to the virus.
“There is no guidebook,” wrote Rubin on Monday. She noted that the Trump administration had a guidebook from the previous administration, but threw it out. The president has appeared a stark contrast to governors, as “narcissistic, ignorant, devoid of empathy, resistant to reason and never, ever willing to admit error.”
Rubin noted that governors who have been the most successful are the ones who listened to the warnings about the crisis and did something about it.
These are the same governors that are being berated by anti-lockdown protestors.
“[T]he fact of the matter is, we have to listen to the epidemiologists and our public health experts … [By following their advice] we have seen our curve get pushed down. We have saved lives in the process. And we have to keep listening to the epidemiologists and experts, and not listen to the partisan rhetoric or these political rallies, or tweets, for that matter,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI).
While Trump is continuing to try and control the virus, governors, by contrast, recognize the virus controls the future, not politicians.
“This isn’t something we just negotiate ourselves out of and it’s a political matter. This is a public health crisis that has taken the lives of over — of almost 70,000 Americans, has put 30 million people into unemployment,” Whitmer told CNN. “We have lost in the last 24 hours almost the same number of Americans that were killed on 9/11. And that’s just in the last 24 hours. Whether you agree with me or not, I’m working to protect your life if you live in the state of Michigan. I’m going to continue to do my job, regardless of what tweets come out or what polls come out or what people think that is — makes sense.”
If Trump had acted quicker, a lot of lives could have been saved. According to an op-ed from epidemiologists in the New York Times, the administration’s late response cost 90 percent of the lives that have been lost. If Trump had issued a stay-at-home order just two weeks earlier, on March 2, the overwhelming majority of the nearly 70,000 lives could have been saved. If he’d called for the shut down one week earlier, 60 percent of lives would have been saved.
“We’re going to watch numbers every single day. And we’re going to communicate those numbers to the people of Ohio,” said Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R). “So if we’re starting to see those numbers, the people of the state are going to see those numbers and, you know, we’ll have to take action.”
The third thing that governors have been able to do that the president has not is asking for help when needed. Gov. Larry Hogan (R-MD) managed to score test kits from South Korea when the federal government couldn’t deliver.
“New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) has been begging the federal government to take control of the supply chain,” said Rubin. “It’s a job properly performed by the federal government, which should not force 50 states to compete against one another for scarce supplies. When it did not seem to be happening, Cuomo and other governors acted.”
Cuomo was able to get northern states to work together on Sunday when they decided to bid on supplies as a collective, instead of bidding against each other.
“When you put all those hospitals together, all that public health capacity together, which will make us more competitive in the international marketplace,” he said. “I believe it will save taxpayers money.”
In the end, Rubin explained, that the successful guide has been “follow the science, ignore the mobs and fend for yourself.” Those who have managed to make it through are the ones who have managed to flatten their curve and are well prepared for a second wave of the virus while states like Texas, Florida, Oklahoma and others have reopened.
“It’s the next best thing to having a functional federal government,” she said.