House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says President Donald Trump has killed people by the way he has conducted himself during the coronavirus crisis, and, look, I am not going to say in reply that she has killed anybody.
But I will say this. She has consistently helped thwart the American good over the past several years, and she is doing it right now, not just by her divisiveness, but by having held up a $2 trillion rescue bill and trying to make parts of it obstacles to success.
It was in a CNN interview that she said Trump’s “denial (of the virus threat) at the beginning was deadly,” that he has more recently cost lives by making things seem better than they are and by fiddling around.
Clearly, Trump was too casual early on, but understand that states and the Centers for Disease Control can act without his authority and that the bumbling of the administrative state has more than a little to answer for. Congress was laggard, too. When Sen. Lamar Alexander held an early Senate session on the virus, attention was lacking because of a constitutionally suspect, politically driven impeachment quest.
Trump finally got serious. He managed in an excellent if widely berated speech to set things right. Yes, he did make factual errors that were promptly corrected, but he put Vice President Mike Pence in charge of a special panel, and here is a three-c kind of guy, calm, cool and collected. Trump also selected Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx to sit at the top of the panel, two brilliant, articulate, self-possessed experts.
Through daily televised press conferences plus other appearances, they have helped explain what is going on, the dangers involved and what the most reliable estimates of the moment tell us the future might hold. Trump is there, too, and his approval numbers have gone up as the sessions get high ratings.
The announcements and explanations are serving a highly needed purpose, but Trump himself keeps getting things wrong. That’s not good, but ending TV coverage, as some want, wouldn’t be, either. Also, understand that his hoping to end social distancing guidelines by Easter was not voiced as some kind of absolute that, by the way, states would be free to ignore. Still, less of Trump’s wagging tongue could end hurricane reactions.
The last thing Trump has been is the main thing the left insists he is: authoritarian. At the urging of some of the same leftists and others, he did assume war powers to get General Motors to make more ventilators. But if you want a real authoritarian, look at Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City telling synagogues that, if they keep having services, he will shut them down not just for a while, but permanently.
Given all kinds of entanglements, including regulations imposed by predecessors, Trump has helped edge us ever closer to what is needed. I do think it was a mistake to end the auto emissions rules, but remember this high point: Trump helped win Democratic cooperation on a $2 trillion bill to help those whose health and pocketbooks have been most afflicted.
Well, not cooperation from Pelosi. This lady, who majors in delays and ripping things apart, held the bill up for days as people were suffering and the economy was worsening. She longed for irrelevancies, such as mandating labor union representation on corporate boards and addressing climate change in ways interfering with fixing things now.
Some horrible virus predictions are out there right now even as our health workers are some of the most incredible heroes America has ever seen. I don’t think Pelosi will ever be a hero, but she might want to focus on defeating coronavirus instead of using it to satisfy her long-term policy druthers and defeating Trump.
Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may email him at email@example.com.