America is rallying as it always does during times of crisis. People are taking extraordinary measures to protect themselves and their communities.
They’re helping each other in ways big and small.
That’s what decent people and patriots do.
There are, however, those out there hoping the market continues to crash, hoping for a recession, and hoping for a failed response to the virus because of their hatred of one man, Donald Trump. Of course, they represent a very small minority that is unfortunately given outsized voice by the media and digital mobs polluting our discourse.
Those people are traitors to the nation at a time like this.
Joe Biden is about to stand and be counted among them.
The presumptive Democratic Party nominee for president has announced that this week his campaign will begin regular press conferences aimed at criticizing President Trump and the federal government’s response to the pandemic.
Americans need to have confidence in their government in times of crisis.
Creating this kind of counternarrative will clearly cut against that critical need.
Biden, who during his younger days, was viewed as a more reasonable and pragmatic politician, with this decision, now appears to be led by a swarm of consultants and political advisers, some of whom are far outside the mainstream.
His appointment to his shadow Coronavirus taskforce of Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel is a prime example. Dr. Emanuel wrote a terrifying article for The Atlantic in 2014 "Why I Hope I Die at 75."
In the piece he advocated against giving the elderly flu shots, cancer treatments, heart surgeries, antibiotics, and other medical care saying growing old, " . . . robs us of our creativity and ability to contribute to work, society, the world . . . We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic."
If Biden goes forward with this stunt, it will clearly telegraph that he either isn’t in control of his own campaign or he is willing to put himself ahead of the good of the country. It will inject partisan politics into a country-wide response that is generating rare bi-partisan cooperation.
Biden’s handlers are getting nervous as the campaign takes a back seat to the virus.
He’s now running against a war-time president, which is typically an exercise in futility for the opposition party. Americans are seeing President Trump and Vice President Pence take daily action to help Americans from both a healthcare and economic standpoint.
They are winning praise from governors from both parties.
By putting his campaign ahead of the vast intergovernmental response to the virus, Biden won’t just be attacking the president at these press conferences. He’ll be attacking the federal government’s top career professionals who are advising the administration.
He’ll be attacking the Public Health Service. He’ll be attacking the NIH, NIAID, and CDC experts that are driving the Trump administration’s coronavirus response, many of whom worked in government during the Obama administration.
Biden may have served in government for nearly half a century and be the consummate Washington insider, but he’s not a qualified spokesperson in this case.
From a practical standpoint, there is no way Biden and his team will know the full extent of the federal government and administration’s actions or deliberations, nor will he have all the relevant data.
The resulting confusion will be dangerous.
These press conferences will also expose that Biden’s own claims about his role in Ebola are overstated. During the last Presidential Debate, Biden repeatedly compared the COVID-19 pandemic to Ebola, though the crises bear virtually no resemblance.
Ebola wasn’t a pandemic. Only 11 Americans contracted the illness and it never spread to any great degree this country. Biden has already attempted to take credit for "saving millions of lives" but that claim as well has absolutely no basis in fact.
The Trump administration can rightly be accused of mixed messages early on while they were getting their footing on the crisis. Creating an environment that is now intentionally designed to send mixed messages, at the height of the crisis, for political purposes is simply reckless and unjustifiable.
If the former vice president wants to show leadership, he should support what is an unprecedented "whole of America" response to this deadly situation.
He should stop the political backbiting and Monday morning quarterbacking.
That’s not what the American people need.
Tom Basile has been part of the American political landscape from Presidential campaigns to local politics. He served in the Bush Administration from 2001-2004, as Executive Director of the NYS Republican Party and has held a range of senior-level communications roles in and out of government. His new book Let it Sink In: The Decade of Obama and Trump provides a look back at the 2010s to prepare us to defend freedom in the 2020s. His critically-acclaimed book, Tough Sell: Fighting the Media War in Iraq (Foreword by Amb. John R. Bolton), chronicles his time in Baghdad fighting media bias and driving coverage of the Iraq war. In 2011, he was featured in Time Magazine's Person of the Year spread about political activism around the world. Basile is an adjunct professor at Fordham University and runs a New York-based strategic communications firm. He is a member of the New York Bar and sits on a number of academic and philanthropic advisory boards. Learn more about him at TomBasile.com or follow him on Twitter @Tom_Basile. To read more of his reports, Click Here Now.
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