White House Treads a Fine Guideline
May 14, 2020
The CDC's opinion matters. But it isn't the only one that does. There are a lot more factors to consider when it comes to getting America back on its feet than public health. When the president decided to not go with the CDC's re-opening guidelines as they presented, he wasn't ignoring the experts' advice. He was just looking for something workable. If the White House had accepted the agency's recommendations, no one would be eligible for re-opening. And in a country struggling to keep its head above water, that's not just flawed -- it's fatal.
"The key word is... 'guidelines,'" Dr. Greg Murphy (R-N.C.) argued. "We get those in medicine all the time. They're general recommendations that are to be [adapted] to certain circumstances. And that's what the president's done." Physicians have the luxury of narrowly focusing on the medical problem. "That's what the CDC is doing. They're honing in on an infectious disease. But the president and his administration have a responsibility -- not only to the health of the country in a medical aspect, but to the welfare of the entire country. And that means getting back to work... You can have one narrow focus and that's fine, but you have to be able to look at the big picture. And that's what the president and his administration are doing."
Obviously, we want the CDC to make those laser-focused narrow prescriptions, because that's their role. Just like it's the president's role to consider every aspect of the pandemic -- medical and otherwise. My beef isn't with the CDC. They're trying to do the best they can in their lane of expertise. The real issue is with the media, who insists that the administration needs to do whatever the CDC or Dr. Anthony Fauci says. As we talked about on Wednesday, that's only one side of the coin.
Even Rep. Murphy, who's seen the numbers, believes "we're being much more restrictive than what the data indicates. I believe we have an avenue that today we could open up a lot more than we could in a safe and efficient manner. I support the efforts... [to] move forward a little bit." And it's not like he's removed from the pandemic.
"I've been seeing a lot of patients in the last couple weeks when we're not [in session] to just try to help with the backlog. You know, I wear a mask. They wear a mask. What's the difference between a hair salon stylist or a barber doing the exact same thing? There's no difference whatsoever. So I believe, you know, people are selectively looking at pieces of data and using them to push their political agenda at this point, which I believe is contrary to what we really should be doing in this nation, rather than uniting. I believe it's tearing our nation apart."
Dr. Fauci and other members of the CDC were hired to care about one thing: infectious disease. That's an important job, to be sure, but there's more to leading a country than that. He wasn't elected to consider the other threats -- to the economy or to the moral, social, and mental well-being of communities. Donald Trump was.
Do I think we need to take the necessary precautions? Absolutely. We need to follow the guidelines that are already out there. But I also think it's time to give small businesses and churches the freedom to address these issues and use what we know to re-open sensibly. But if we wait much longer, there won't be much of an economy to come back to.
Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.