Biden, Trump, the pandemic and the need for answers

Updated: Jun 1

The president gives a 90 day deadline to get to the truth

Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jeanne-Pierre became only the second woman of color to host a press briefing in the Brady briefing room and the first one to do so in 30 years - last week.


OPINION


By Brian J. Karem


The stain of Donald Trump will take a long time to wash out of the fabric of our nation.


Members of the GOP don’t want to investigate the January 6 insurrection that could’ve cost them their own lives - out of fear, complicity, ignorance and arrogance - not to mention fealty to Donald Trump who continues to try and usurp our democracy from the sidelines.


His latest effort came last week as President Joe Biden issued a statement demanding the U.S. government redouble its efforts to find the cause of the Coronavirus pandemic and to give him a report on the matter in 90 days.


This resulted in a more lively than usual press briefing last Wednesday with several reporters following each other trying to press the administration for details of what would be expected in the report and how the information will be obtained. Does Biden want a definitive answer in 90 days? Are we going after new facts? Just re-examining what we already have? Why is he doing this now?


It wasn’t a baptism of fire for deputy press secretary Karine Jeanne-Pierre who Wednesday became only the second woman of color in history to host a press briefing, and the first one in more than 30 years. But, with NBC’s Peter Alexander and others drilling down on the issue, it was the best press effort in the briefing room in a while.


Meanwhile, Donald Trump lurks in the darkest recesses of the American psyche claiming

he warned us and protected us as president and knew how the coronavirus started. Even now he preys on your fear. He was the only one who knew how to pull the levers of government successfully. He’s the only one who can save us.




A quick look at the facts shows the question regarding the roots of the coronavirus has been with us since the beginning, but more attention has been paid on treating, testing and developing a vaccine for the American citizenry.


Trump of course was a major consumer of oxygen during the time of the outbreak - by his own incredibly inept management skills in containing the pandemic. He and few around him ever concerned themselves with pulling the levers of government to solve our problems. According to former top aide Steve Bannon, the Trump administration was set on leveling government. How Trump bungled the pandemic is a very clear indication of this.


During his tenure Trump called the pandemic a great many things including a hoax, telling us it was under control, claiming there would be no or few deaths. Later he also told us to take controversial medications and of course hit rock bottom telling us to ingest disinfectant - which some people did. When I asked Trump about this in a press briefing he denied any responsibility for those who followed his suggestion.


Ultimately, after trying everything else, Trump wanted to leave everyone with the impression the coronavirus is an act of war - a Chinese bio-weapon released to do us in. His disparaging comments, calling it the China virus only served to alert the faithful: “China is the enemy.” Trump always needs an enemy.


This is of course the reason why Donald Trump lost the 2020 election. Had he named the virus as an enemy and urged all Americans to go war with him against the coronavirus - much as Biden has done - then Biden simply wouldn’t be president today. He is though; and that’s because Trump is always his own worst enemy.


And as usual Trump’s muddying the waters with his own drama takes away from the real issue. While no cogent investigator says they believe the coronavirus was a bioweapon, as recently as last week even Dr. Fauci said we must redouble our efforts to determine the cause of the pandemic. Two weeks ago, 18 scientists wrote a letter to the journal Science calling for a new investigation into the coronavirus cause.



While on the campaign trail, Democratic candidate Joe Biden warned that we should “not be taking China’s word” for how the outbreak started. Two Chinese researchers wrote a paper concluding the virus “probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan” nearly 15 months ago.


In the end how we deal with the pandemic is paramount. Getting people treated, tested and vaccinated is the priority. It is something Trump never grasped. Now with the worst presumably behind us, Biden can focus on the root causes of the pandemic - pushing for answers in the next 90 days. What will the investigation reveal, “If I knew that I wouldn’t ask for a 90-day review. I don’t know,” The president told reporters Thursday.


Meanwhile he’s also focused on an infrastructure bill, actively negotiating in full public view with the GOP to get a bill everyone can agree upon.


On the Republican counter proposal, press secretary Jen Psaki released a statement Thursday saying, “we are grateful for the work of Senator Capito and her colleagues on this proposal,” and praises the Republican counter proposal before stating its latest counter. Apparently Biden is still waiting for the Republicans to make a “substantial” offer on the issue before he will consider it further and how the Republicans will pay for their proposal. “We are worried that major cuts in COVID relief funds could imperil pending aid to small businesses, restaurants and rural hospitals using this money to get back on their feet after the crush of the pandemic.”


Pointed, and yet it appears at this point the two sides are at least making strides toward working together. Both political parties and the American public would benefit greatly if our legislators did so more often. As we emerge from the pandemic, it appears Biden is redoubling his effort to work with his opposition.


Trump cannot. He never could.

He remains a demon of the dark ages. Condemned by his own actions, destined to pass his days howling at the moon wishing he were a werewolf instead of a neutered mutt.


The rest of us have to remember we’re still living in the backwash of his administration. As the country rebounds from the pandemic, we must rebound from the division caused by the vitriol in our national politics.


Trying to find out the cause of the pandemic would’ve been so much easier if Trump had been honest for even one day. But he couldn’t and we should never forget that we’ll be paying for this QAnon, ant-science, anti-democratic claptrap for as long as we turn our head from it and hope for the best.


Biden’s insistence on finding the cause of the pandemic, even if ultimately unsuccessful, is symbolic for what we all must do. We have to move forward and confront our problems. Trumpism isn’t going away and we have to face it squarely. The GOP learned appeasement didn’t work. It is the party now controlled by the crazy minority who uses our Democratic Freedom to try and rid the country of democracy.


We cannot allow that to happen.