Yet another indication that Team Trump is nervous about next Tuesday’s elections: Melania Trump emerged for a rare campaign event—her first solo event of 2020—on Tuesday and took a much more partisan tone than usual. In her remarks in Pennsylvania, Melania directly attacked Joe Biden (using official campaign talking points, nothing new to see) and attacked Democrats for … being divisive and not leading on COVID-19. She even tried to link her husband’s disastrous coronavirus response to impeachment.
“No one should be promoting fear of real solutions for purely political ends,” Melania said. Which, fair in a vacuum, but context matters. “The Democrats have chosen to put their own agendas over the American people's well-being. Instead, they attempt to create a divide. A divide in something that should be non-partisan and non-controversial. A divide that causes confusion and fear instead of hope and security. That is not the leadership,” she said, in as pure an example of Republican projection as you can probably find.
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Oh, my. Putting a partisan agenda above the American people’s well-being and instead trying to divide and govern through confusion and fear … gosh, how dare those dastardly Democrats do such a thing!
"Let us also not forget what the Democrats chose to focus on when COVID-19 first came into our country,” Melania offered. “While the President was taking decisive action to keep the American people safe, the Democrats were wasting American taxpayer dollars in a sham impeachment.”
Um. Let’s turn to the timeline, shall we?
The Senate’s vote on Trump’s impeachment trial was on February 5, three days after Trump restricted travel from China, a restriction that came later than other nations and was incomplete, rather than “decisive action.” At the time, Trump said, “Well, we pretty much shut it down coming in from China. … We can’t have thousands of people coming in who may have this problem, the coronavirus. So we’re going to see what happens, but we did shut it down, yes.”
Trump continued downplaying the threat of the virus—intentionally, as it turned out, with full knowledge that it was a serious danger—for more than a month. For example, February 12, a week after Senate Republicans acquitted him: “We have a very small number of people in the country, right now, with it. It’s like around 12. Many of them are getting better. Some are fully recovered already. So we’re in very good shape.”
February 25: “I think that’s a problem that’s going to go away.”
February 27: “It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”
February 28: “Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. … And this is their new hoax.”
March 5, one month after the Senate vote: “With approximately 100,000 CoronaVirus cases worldwide, and 3,280 deaths, the United States, because of quick action on closing our borders, has, as of now, only 129 cases (40 Americans brought in) and 11 deaths.”
March 7: “We’re doing very well and we’ve done a fantastic job.”
By contrast, Joe Biden warned, “We are not prepared for a pandemic. Trump has rolled back progress President Obama and I made to strengthen global health security. We need leadership that builds public trust, focuses on real threats, and mobilizes the world to stop outbreaks before they reach our shores”—before the coronavirus emerged in China.
On January 27, he responded to the news of the emerging outbreak, writing “The outbreak of a new coronavirus, which has already infected more than 2,700 people and killed over 80 in China, will get worse before it gets better. Cases have been confirmed in a dozen countries, with at least five in the United States. There will likely be more,” and detailing preparedness measures that should have been taken.
Democrats were responding early—yes, even during the impeachment process, walking and chewing gum at the same time—while Trump continued downplaying the threat for weeks and bragging that his too-little-too-late China travel restrictions had done all that needed to be done. That’s what Melania continues to brag about, despite the facts. Because otherwise, they have to admit they have nothing.