Point/Counterpoint: Partisanship During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic Has Been a Partisan Issue

Point/Counterpoint: Partisanship During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Camilla O’Keefe, Senior, Features Editor

There were warnings. Trump ignored them. There were officials, begging the president to take action since late January and early February. According to Politifact, Trump went and played golf instead of responding to their concerns (yes, he really did). There was a case, and then a few more. Trump said it was all under control. There was evidence that this virus was dangerous, deadly, and its effects unknown. Trump called it a mere “flu” in a Fox News interview. Then more people started to get sick, and many started to die. Thousands became infected, and soon there were 798,742 cases and 42,604 deaths. Trump said in a briefing, “I don’t take responsibility at all.” Numerous states and their governors started to describe the trouble they were in. Governors started begging for help, and criticizing the lack of action taken by the federal government. Instead of help, all Trump had to say was, “It’s a two way street they have to treat us well too.” Ironic since he explicitly demonstrated that he couldn’t care less for the people in the nation by not helping earlier. 

Trump did not start this pandemic, but he did ignore the signs, the red flags, and the advice of trusted officials. And to make matters even worse, Trump disintegrated the U.S. Pandemic Team — a federal agency dedicated to global health security and biodefense to prepare for pandemics just like COVID-19 — and enacted nothing to replace it. He erased it out of the books, and now Americans are paying the price. But his role as president is to protect his people from attacks of any kind — biological, nuclear, etc. — and he fully dismissed the one federal agency that was set up to prevent the type of outbreak we currently are in now. And instead of truly taking more action, he said — , threatened — to adjourn Congress to fill his administration’s vacancies. 

Trump is withholding materials and supplies from those who criticize his poor lack of action, as he said in a Fox News brief on March 25, saying state governors have to be “nice” to him, AKA not criticize him and his administration’s actions. He is holding medical supplies from states in critical danger hostage because governors dare use their First Amendment rights to stand up for their citizens. He is holding medical supplies from the gravely ill and dying hostage. He is holding medical supplies hostage. If the fear mongering, racist remarks that come out of his mouth weren’t enough for you, starting all the way back in 2016 when he called Mexicans “rapists” and “criminals” up to the current day where he calls this virus, “the Chinese virus”, to show his true dictator-like qualities, then I hope his blatant refusal to help out critical governors do. 

I cannot help but break a little inside when I watch the news and hear the updated death and infected patients polls. Someone out there will not have a mother or a father to wish them a good night. Someone out there will not have a brother or sister they can tease any more. And worst of all is that this all could have been prevented, so much so that hundreds of thousands wouldn’t be sick. But Trump decided to golf. And Trump decided that maintaining and working for votes for re-election were more important than human lives.

This pandemic has affected us greatly. It has taught us to appreciate what we called our “daily lives” before quarantine, and new safety precautions. But most importantly, it has taught us to love and take care for one another. This virus has changed our lives, and I can only hope that it opens everyone’s eyes to see past the citrus-colored glass and really see Trump for the man he truly is: a president who is failing.