Fact-checking Biden: Did Trump lie to the American people about COVID?
Tuesday's debate for the 2020 presidential election between President Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden was moderated by establishment Chris Wallace. Biden and Trump more or less ran over Wallace for 90 minutes. Biden appeared to be in his right mind, alert, and healthy but, as usual, lost in the world of left-wing talking points.
When Christine O'Donnell ran against Joe Biden for U.S. Senate in 2008, she often vividly explained that people were wearing bell-bottom jeans and dancing the hustle way back when Joe Biden was last in the private sector and was first elected to the U.S. Senate. The lowdown on Joe (having helped with Christine's 2008 campaign in Delaware) is that Biden has spent 47 years soaking in a left-wing marinade. Biden is baffled that the rest of the country doesn't applaud the ideas of his left-wing friends. Biden does not "get" people who aren't liberal.
Biden made the expected charge from Bob Woodward's book that President Donald Trump knew in late February that COVID-19 was already a serious threat. Trump did not warn the American people that COVID-19 presented a threat. Trump knew. Trump lied to the country. People died. In left-wing logic, QED.
Trump said on tape with Bob Woodward then that he wanted to downplay the virus so people would not panic. Biden joined the finger-pointing to the effect that Trump intentionally misled the American people by not letting them know.
But Biden fails the first fact-check: on January 31, 2020, Donald Trump declared a national public health emergency. January 31, 2020. Long before late February, Trump had already trumpeted to the entire nation and to the entire world that this was an emergency.
In a tweet on January 27, 2020, to his 81 million readers (including journalists and public officials around the world), President Donald Trump clearly raised a warning about COVID-19. Trump warned (correctly at that time) "Very few cases reported in USA, but strongly on watch."
On February 4, 2020, Trump warned the nation about COVID-19 in his State of the Union address before both houses of Congress assembled and to the entire nation and the world. Trump explained: "My administration will take all necessary steps to safeguard our citizens from this threat."
So apparently, Trump's hidden knowledge that the pandemic stirring in China could present a danger was one of the worst kept secrets in Washington, D.C.
After clearly sounding the alarm, Trump then tried to temper the panic with reassuring words, saying, in effect, "We will get through this." Like Franklin Delano Roosevelt, he wanted to convey that "we have nothing to fear but fear itself." True, Trump lacks the poetry of an FDR or Churchill.
On January 31, 2020, President Trump declared a Public Health Emergency through the secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar. "We are committed to protecting the health and safety of all Americans, and this public health emergency declaration is the latest in the series of steps the Trump Administration has taken to protect our country," Secretary Azar said.
The emergency declaration gave authority to assign government and public health personnel anywhere in the country to respond to the threat. Trump activated the complete public health and health care powers and systems of the U.S. government and the medical systems of the United States.
Your author normally embeds supporting citations as hyperlinks, but this gigantic oversight of an important event is so serious that I believe the citations should be powerfully and clearly highlighted:
See: David Jackson, "Trump administration declares coronavirus emergency, orders first quarantine in 50 years," USA Today, January 31, 2020, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/01/31/coronavirus-donald-trump-declares-public-health-emergency/4625299002/
See: "Secretary Azar Declares Public Health Emergency for United States for 2019 Novel Coronavirus," Press Office, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, January 31, 2020, https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2020/01/31/secretary-azar-declares-public-health-emergency-us-2019-novel-coronavirus.html
See: "US government declares the novel coronavirus a public health emergency and suspends entry for foreign nationals who visited China," CNN, January 31, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/31/health/us-coronavirus-friday/index.html
See: Eli Stokols, Hugo Martín, Colleen Shalby, "Trump administration declares health emergency over coronavirus; airlines cut service to China," Los Angeles Times, January 31, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-01-31/-health-emergency-over-coronavirus
See: Allison Aubrey, "Trump Declares Coronavirus A Public Health Emergency And Restricts Travel From China," National Public Radio, January 31, 2020, https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/01/31/801686524/trump-declares-coronavirus-a-public-health-emergency-and-restricts-travel-from-c
See: Jessie Hellmann, "US declares public health emergency over coronavirus," The Hill, January 31, 2020, https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/480938-us-declares-public-health-emergency-over-coronavirus
It was not until February 15, 2020, that the very first person died in Europe (France) who contracted the disease inside Europe – rather than being infected in China and then travelling to Europe. It was not until February 26, 2020, that the first case and second case reported of a person who was infected inside the country rather than returning home after being infected abroad. It was not until February 28, 2020, that the first person died in the U.S.A. (identified and reported on February 29). The third and fourth cases of people infected inside the country were not known until February 29, 2020.
Later, on March 13, 2020, Trump also declared a more standard national (disaster) emergency, such as for tornadoes, forest fires, hurricanes, etc. But the January 31 national public health emergency is the one that matters. That focused on activating the nation's public health and medical capabilities.
This controversy is why I wrote and published a book to set the record straight, COVID: Hindsight Is 2020 at www.TrumpCovidBook.com. The tornado of falsehoods about the coronavirus threat is especially severe. We must set the record straight and stop the distortion of the first draft of history. My growing work book of citations to shoot down the hordes of falsehoods ballooned over the summer into 228 pages with 222 footnotes to hard sources no one can argue with.
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