Rod Blagojevich served as the 40th governor of Illinois from 2003-09, and co-authored this article.
America and the world are at war, but not in the traditional sense.
Unlike wars fought on battle fields, we’re engaged with an enemy we can’t see.
An invisible one. And contrary to previous wars where we fought our enemies far away from home, we’re waging this new kind of battle right here in our own cities and local communities. But thanks to the leadership of President Donald J. Trump, the world is seeing in real time how a divided country can unite in a time of need.
Like Franklin D. Roosevelt who successfully led our nation through the Great Depression, President Trump is leading our nation through this public health crisis.
During his March 4, 1933 Inaugural address, Roosevelt famously urged the American people to put aside their fears — that we had "nothing to fear but fear itself."
Roosevelt also worked constructively with the governors of different states — Republicans and Democrats alike — to slow the depression and at the same time begin the process of economic recovery.
President Trump is doing the same.
He's been praised by Democratic governors like Andrew Cuomo of New York and Gavin Newsom of California. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic both had been very critical of the president. But now these governors have been effusive in their praise of the president, for the help he has provided to their states.
"He [President Trump] is fully engaged on trying to help . . . he’s being very creative and very energetic and I thank him for his partnership," said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
When California Governor Gavin Newsom was asked during a press conference about the president’s handling of the coronavirus and the passengers aboard a cruise ship off the coast of California, Gov. Newsom had this to say:
"His [President Trump] administration . . . has been consistent with the expectation that we repatriate these passengers . . . he [President Trump] said everything that I could have hoped for . . . and everything he said, they followed through on."
Wartime presidents have historically enjoyed good working relations with governors from the opposition party. When our nation’s very survival was threatened, and the safety of our people was in danger, partisan politics have always been set aside. This was the case with President Bush after 9/11. This was also the case with President Kennedy during the Cuban Missile crisis. And this was most certainly the case with President Roosevelt following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7,1941.
With our nation and the world fighting a global pandemic, our political leaders must put partisan politics aside.
The interests of the people must come before politics.
While Democratic governors like Andrew Cuomo and Gavin Newsom have been working closely and constructively with President Trump to protect the public health of citizens of their respective states, sadly there have been some other governors, who have opted instead to elevate their political profiles by launching unfair and unhelpful attacks against the president.
The governor of our state is a case in point.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has become the biggest mouthpiece for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and a partisan attack dog. Unlike his fellow Democratic governors — Cuomo and Newsom — Gov. Pritzker has chosen to put politics over people. He has somehow found the time during this public health emergency to appear on the national morning talk shows to launch political attacks against the president.
Last Sunday, in between his national television appearances, Gov. Pritzker ordered the closing of all restaurants and bars in the state of Illinois.
Five days later the governor deemed the crisis so serious that he issued an emergency order requiring all the citizens of Illinois to shelter in place. Yet, oddly, despite the rapid spread of the virus, Pritzker stubbornly refused calls to postpone the primary election, even though that election was held in between his two shutdown orders.
This refusal to postpone the primary was undoubtedly the result of the governor doing the bidding of the DNC to aid the presidential campaign of Joe Biden, who he endorsed the day before, and bring an early end to the insurgent candidacy of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
While the governor of our state has been a huge disappointment, it's heartening to see governors like Andrew Cuomo in New York and Gavin Newsom in California putting the public health of their citizens above the partisan political interests of the Democratic Party establishment, and doing so by working alongside President Trump to defeat this new enemy.
COVID-19 not only threatens our way of life and seeks to dismantle our strong economy, but it’s generating a widespread fear that’s traveling almost as fast as the virus itself. That’s why states must follow the lead of Gov. Cuomo and others and pass emergency legislation to help everyday workers in their respective states who have suddenly found themselves without a paycheck due to the economic dislocation caused by the coronavirus.
Time is of the essence.
Thanks to the leadership of President Trump, Democrats, and Republicans of goodwill have been working together, to protect the public and defeat this deadly virus.
E pluribus unum is the traditional motto of the United States; and in Latin, it means "Out of many, one." These are times that call for unity. In the past, Americans have always come together to defeat a common enemy. And today, because of the bipartisan cooperation of Democratic governors like Cuomo and Newsom, and the leadership of President Trump, we will win this war.
There is real hope that victory will come sooner rather than later.
Mark Vargas is a trusted adviser and close confidante to some of the highest profile political and business leaders in America. From 2007 to 2010, Mr. Vargas served as a civilian within the Office of the Secretary of Defense on a special Iraq task force. In 2009 he was awarded the Secretary of Defense Global War on Terrorism Civilian Service Medal. His civilian service included 14 trips to Baghdad. Follow Mark on Twitter: @markavargas. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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