Democrats: The Test Is Yet to Come
May 19, 2020
When the dust settles from the coronavirus -- months, maybe even years from now -- there will be a lot of storylines from the crisis that were never told. One of the biggest, history will show, is about this president. Like most leaders in his position, he'd never faced a tragedy of this magnitude. But unlike so many others, Donald Trump turned to America -- not government -- for answers.
It worked, not that most of the country will hear about it. He solved the supply problem, the equipment problem, the ventilator problem. But it didn't matter. The haters in the media and Democratic Party would simply turn and harp on something else. "There is a new cardinal rule in journalism," NRO editor Rich Lowry warns, "never write anything favorable about the Trump administration's coronavirus response, even about its successes." Obviously, he points out, no one's response has been perfect. "But to read the press, there is basically nothing good that the Trump administration has done over the last three months."
And yet, the numbers tell a different story. Rich's exhaustive column traces the "Massive Trump Coronavirus Supply Effort that the Media Loves to Hate," explaining the unprecedented ways Trump's partnership the private sector has paid off. Mask, face shield, gown, and glove production now number in the hundreds of millions. Then, of course, there's the incredible ventilator success story. According to FEMA, America was manufacturing about 30 million N95 respirators a month before the virus. Now? We're up to 180 million a month.
"None of this happened by accident," Lowry insists. "At a time of unprecedented stress on the supply chain and a yawning gap between supply and demand in the market, it required considerable clever improvisation and determined hustle. This was not your average bureaucratic response. It was a partnership between the public and private sector to get supplies to the United States on an urgent basis and ship them to the places that needed them most, and then begin to ramp up manufacturing here at home."
But, despite these extraordinary breakthroughs, Democrats are still arguing that the federal government knows better. Now that the president's overcome almost every obstacle in his way, the Left has latched on to something else: testing. Of course, they can't stand the idea that the administration's solution doesn't run right down Independence Avenue. Instead of relying on a slow, wasteful, and unwieldy Fed, the president is turning testing over to the competitive environment where he's had so much success: the free market. States have $11 billion dollars to get the ball rolling, and in "the laboratory of diverse states," as Senator Mike Braun (R-Ind.) called it, that ought to be more than enough to chart a path forward.
Already, Adm. Brett Giroir testified in the Senate, America's progress is nothing to sneeze at. As of last week, the U.S. had conducted nine million coronavirus tests -- with expectations to ramp up to a whopping 40-50 million a month by September. Even at that astounding pace, liberals aren't satisfied. They want a national testing plan that raises costs and creates even more dependence on government. A government, Republicans fired back, that isn't innovative enough or nimble enough to handle its own challenges -- let alone this one.
Frankly, it's a lesson we all should have learned from Hurricane Katrina, when America first started feeling this paradigm shift in the way government approaches problem solving. When the media fiercely criticized the White House's response, George Bush followed their lead and started throwing federal money at the problem. It didn't work. It never does. For years, I drove by rows of hastily purchased trailers in Louisiana that Washington had bought for temporary housing -- but had to be abandoned because high levels of formaldehyde reportedly made them toxic.
Now, Democrats want to federalize our response and create billions of tests that would be just as pointless. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), for one, wants every American to be tested, which -- Dr. Andy Harris (R-Md.) points out -- is "ridiculous." "There are plenty of tests out there [for] everyone who is symptomatic," which is what the CDC recommends. "And then test people who work in high-risk places like nursing homes. So there are plenty of tests out there... Maybe at some point, we do what's called an antibody test..." But testing everyone "makes no sense whatsoever... [It] doesn't solve the issue. And we've seen that in South Korea, which, of course, the Democrats have held up for a long time. But they're having problems now, even though they do a lot of tests."
The bottom line is the president's approach is working. It "would seem an interesting story," Lowry pointed out, "if the press weren't too vehemently opposed to Trump [to tell it]."
Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.