Trump blew it not the WHO, Fauci or the Jews - The Washington Post


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By:   Dana Milbank (Washington Post)

Trump blew it  not the WHO, Fauci or the Jews - The Washington Post
Its painful for some to put the responsibility where it belongs.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

President Trump at a White House briefing on April 5. (ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images) By Dana Milbank closeDana Milbank Op-ed columnist covering national politics EmailEmailBioBioFollowFollow Columnist April 6, 2020 at 7:28 PM EDT

One of my few pleasures during the current misery is the Zoom religious service, a weekly chance in my home to greet the Sabbath and to pray for healing.

But some are so sick as to be beyond the reach of prayer and it has nothing to do with a virus.

Rabbi Jeremy Kridel, whose flock in the capital includes several members of my family, was leading a recent Shabbat service for Humanistic Jews. About 10 minutes into the service, one man unmuted himself and started shouting Jewish scum and Heil Hitler. Before he could be blocked from the call, he lifted up his shirt to reveal a large swastika tattooed on his chest.

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Other hooligans began interrupting, and while the rabbi shut down the virtual service, another man dropped his pants on camera. Remarked Kridel: This is just another indication of the fact that the current crisis isnt the only one we face.


Kridel was a victim in the new pandemic of hate. The Anti-Defamation League reports similar Zoombombing incidents around the country.

We see the best of America in the health-care workers and first-responders risking (and sometimes losing) their lives to help others. But we also see the pathologies that have surfaced (or recurred in new mutations) during Trumps presidency: the scapegoating of religious minorities, attacks on science and scientists, and promotion of globalist conspiracy theories (in this case, that the World Health Organization conspired with communist China to conceal the virus).

This countrys woeful response to the virus has an obvious cause: a president who refused to heed warnings and to prepare, instead offering false assurances while the nation snoozed. Even now, inexcusable delays limit tests, ventilators and respirators, and even now President Trump resists a nationwide stay-at-home order.


But its painful for some to put the responsibility where it belongs. Christian broadcaster Rick Wiles, therefore, took a different tack. He blamed the Jews. God is spreading it in your synagogues! Youre under judgment because you oppose his son, the Lord Jesus Christ, he proclaimed on his TruNews platform. This is the same Rick Wiles who in November called Trumps impeachment a Jew coup. And this is the same Rick Wiles whose TruNews outlet was granted press credentials by the Trump administration to cover the World Economic Forum in January; Wiles stayed in a room booked by the administration.

Others follow Trumps lead in blaming scientists for our woes. As The Post first reported, the government had to step up security for Anthony Fauci, the top infectious-disease expert at the National Institutes of Health and the most visible scientist responding to the crisis. Threats had been made against the 79-year-old doctor, who frequently contradicts Trumps uninformed happy talk. Fauci has been attacked by pro-Trump outlets such as Gateway Pundit and American Thinker, which labeled Fauci a Deep-State Hillary Clinton-loving Stooge. The dark-web conspiracy theorists from QAnon and the like do worse to Fauci, a loyal public servant under every president since Ronald Reagan.

Still others try to distract from the Trump administrations failures by blaming a globalist conspiracy. Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) demanded an investigation into the WHO for helping Communist China cover up a global pandemic. Former Trump national security adviser John Bolton, former Trump U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.), and Tom Cotton (Ark.), Fox Newss Tucker Carlson and pro-Trump outlets such as the Federalist and Breitbart have proclaimed similar sentiments.


Its fair to criticize WHOs hesitation to declare a pandemic, and its credulity in sharing Chinas claims and praising its efforts. But if the WHO had harshly attacked the Chinese response, we would have gotten even less cooperation and information out of China.

The WHO began working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Jan. 1 a day after China disclosed the virus and sent out advisories to worldwide public-health leaders beginning Jan. 5. Its scientists first got into Wuhan on Jan. 20, and on Jan. 23 it warned of a 4 percent death rate, human-to-human transmission and potential exporting of the virus to any country. The WHOs director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, visited Beijing and secured permission for a dozen scientists, including from the CDC, to tour the affected areas from Feb. 16 to Feb. 24.

The scientists issued a report warning that the virus is spreading with astonishing speed and called for governments to immediately activate the highest level of national response, including immediate and extensive testing and planning for closing schools and workplaces.


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And yet, Trump slept. One day, its like a miracle, it will disappear, he said on Feb. 28.

He blew it. Not the scientists, not the WHO, and not the Jews.

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Read more:

David Ignatius: How did covid-19 begin? Its initial origin story is shaky.

Jonathan Capehart: Trump is nasty in a crisis and terrible in his response to it

John Pomfret: The U.S.-China coronavirus blame game and conspiracies are getting dangerous

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