Politicizing Coronavirus Is Wrong

Written by Bill Thomas on March 11, 2020

The H1N1 influenza virus was discovered in the United States in the spring of 2009 and spread around the world. It was originally called "swine flu" because many genes in the virus were similar to influenza viruses that normally occur in pigs in North America.

There were almost 61 million cases of swine flu in the United States from April 12, 2009, to April 10, 2010. At that time there were 274,304 hospitalizations and 12,469 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Obama administration declared H1N1 a public emergency in April of 2009 and in October of 2009, President Obama declared in a “National emergency.” The Obama administration sought and received $7.65 billion to combat the virus.

In 2014, the Ebola virus broke out in West Africa. The Obama administration acted on that, too. Obama pledged to send thousands of American military personnel to the region to build hospitals, train health care workers and deliver relief supplies. The Obama administration asked Congress to approve $6.18 billion in funding to fight Ebola.

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I was around and aware of what was going on in 2009 and 2014. I was not then, nor am I now, a fan of President Obama and his administration. However, not one time did I ever think that the H1N1 virus was the “Obama virus.” I never thought that Ebola was a referendum on Obama. Never once did I think President Obama, or his administration were doing anything other than the best they could to help.

While there were disagreements about policy, including allowing infected people back into the United States, not once was either of the two viruses called an “Obama virus.” It seemed Americans were more united against the virus.

Now, though, that’s not the case. New York Times reporters Gail Collins and Paul Krugman both referenced the Coronavirus as the “Trump virus.

Democrat front-runner, former Vice President Joe Biden has lied about the Trump administration cutting funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The lie was so egregious that even the Associated Press had to call out Biden for his deception.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted about the Trump administration’s response, “ At this critical moment for coronavirus, we need an administration that acts with persistent and unrelenting transparency and decisiveness. But this administration, unfortunately, has spent years hollowing out the domestic and global health security teams in the executive branch.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said in a Feb. 27 news conference: “The Trump budget called for slashing almost $700 million from the Center for Disease Control, and this was the budget which came out after we knew about the coronavirus threat.” FactCheck.org called this statement, “misleading at best.” The fact is Trump signed a budget that had an increase in spending for the CDC of 3.7%.

While many Democrats and media elites want to interject politics into this health situation, Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) seems to have taken the non-partisan approach. I suspect that Governor Newsom and President Trump have very little in common politically. However, Newsom has a mess on his hands as California is being hit by the coronavirus. Newsom’s response has been refreshingly direct. Of his talk with President Trump, Newsom made some interesting remarks.

"We had a private conversation, but he said, 'We're gonna do the right thing' and 'You have my support, all of our support, logistically and otherwise. He said everything I could have hoped for. And we had a very long conversation and every single thing he said, they followed through on."

He added, "Every single thing… has been consistent with expectation we'd repatriate these passengers and do it in a way that does justice to the spirit that defines the best of our country.” Newsom concluded that he has received "consistent" support from Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who is leading the administration's response to the coronavirus outbreak.

I’m no fan of Governor Newsom and have even written critically of him on this platform, but I applaud his stance on this. Wouldn’t it be something if the U.S. could come together on fighting a virus that doesn’t know the difference between Republican and Democrat? Wouldn’t it be something if not everything that happened was a reason for many Democrats and their media allies to attack the president?

Bill Thomas
Bill Thomas lives in Washington, Missouri and is a professor at St. Louis Christian College. He's also on staff at First Christian Church in Washington, Missouri. He's authored two novellas, From the Ashes and The Sixty-First Minute published by White Feather Press of MI and three Bible studies, Surrounded by Grace, The Critical Questions and More and The Road to Victory published by CSS Publishing of OH.