Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Trump, DeSantis, COVID, And 2024

Over at The Hayride, I had a post this morning about the Biden administration backing down from its public health emergency on COVID-19, something the White House has carried on from the Trump administration for more than two years now.

And in that post I talked a little about the electoral implications of COVID-19 on the 2024 elections. I don’t think those will be decisive, as there will likely be more current horrors up for debate by the time the 2024 cycle – and particularly the general election – gets rolling.

Nevertheless, the COVID base is going to have to be covered. And the GOP – regardless of who the nominee is – will need to have a smart strategy on COVID, if for no other reason than it’ll demonstrate the political competence necessary for it to quit losing elections.

And pinning Biden’s Branch COVIDian lunacy on his party is going to be important, for two reasons. First, as a matter of protecting civil rights and individual liberty from anything like the COVID lockdowns EVER happening again, the 2024 election has got to become a reckoning for the mask-and-vaccine-mandate crowd.

Second, if Donald Trump is the GOP nominee, a lot of work will need to be done to frame the public’s understanding of the COVID issue. Because, as this new spat between Trump and Florida governor Ron DeSantis shows, Trump is problematic where COVID is concerned. Trump is criticizing DeSantis’ virus response, but the fact is once DeSantis had evidence to work with he was spot on in dealing with COVID and Florida flourished as a result.

Meanwhile, Trump threw untold billions of dollars at COVID, including fast-tracking vaccines which don’t work all that well and have nasty side effects for far too many people who now can’t recover damages from their injuries thanks to the legal immunity his “emergency use authorization” confers on Big Pharma. And Trump employed lunatics like Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx who promoted the lockdowns in the first place.

If you’re going to run Trump as your nominee in 2024, you’ll have to build a COVID narrative that skewers Biden and protects Trump.

How do you do that?

This cessation of the public health emergency has something to do with that. Biden said COVID was “over” in September and yet he won’t relinquish the emergency until the next May? What kind of unresponsive inertia is that? Then there are the other stupid policies – student loan payment forgiveness, eviction bans and so forth – which have interfered with the normal workings of the economy. Asking, loudly, when all of this is going to stop is a good way to build public understanding of Biden’s culpability.

And then there are the vaccine and mask mandates. After all, Trump was the guy who produced the vaccines, which is something of an incomplete triumph, but it was Biden who demanded the whole country take them. Trump made them available, which is not the same thing as forcing the jab into everybody’s arms.

And when the FAA has to change the acceptable EKG readings of airline pilots because we otherwise wouldn’t have enough of them to fly planes thanks to what the jab has done to them, well.

Let’s just say there is a good argument to be had that the Democrats are the Branch COVIDians, that they’ve done too damn much damage, and that they’ve got to be swept out of office in favor of people who actually understand and respect freedom.

This stuff does matter, because Donald Trump is now beating on Ron DeSantis over the latter’s COVID response.

Former President Donald Trump trashed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday for being too liberal on COVID and vaccine policies as their Republican presidential rivalry starts to heat up.

Taking the gloves off, Trump slammed DeSantis for imposing COVID-19 restrictions in the frightening early days of the pandemic and reminded supporters that he once supported ending most pandemic mitigation efforts by Easter 2020.

“Remember this?” he posted on his social media site. “Some Republican states got it right, Florida got it wrong!”

Deriding the Florida governor as “Ron DeSanctimonious,” Trump accused his leading potential GOP presidential rival of trying to “rewrite history” on COVID.

It’s not surprising that Trump is unloading on DeSantis. Polls show a potentially close race between the two men, and DeSantis has steadfastly refused to rule out a challenge to Trump.

Trump spent a big chunk of his first campaign swing over the weekend trashing DeSantis as “disloyal” and taking credit for his ascent to power in the Sunshine State.

“For me, it’s always about loyalty,” Trump said Sunday during a trip to first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire.

DeSantis isn’t even running for president yet, so the back-and-forth here is pretty unproductive to say the least.

And the factual basis for the attack is…suspect. DeSantis did some lockdowns in Florida, including attempting to roadblock people from heavily COVID-infected states coming in, at the outset of the pandemic. But that didn’t last, and when he had real information on the virus he had Florida as the most open state in America. Not only that, DeSantis did it right – he worked his tail off to make vaccines available for the COVID-vulnerable, and then he left everybody else alone to make their own decisions. He didn’t do stupid mask mandates. And he set up facilities for infected people to get monoclonal antibody treatments to knock out the virus.

You can’t argue those were bad decisions. The mainstream media tried to, and it fell flat.

So this was DeSantis’ response to Trump, and it was pretty devastating.

Trump is still the odds-on favorite to get the nomination. After all, DeSantis is not in the race. In fact, current Florida law holds that if he were to enter the 2024 presidential race he would have to resign as governor of Florida, and he isn’t going to do that.

So the thing to watch for is whether a bill moves in the Florida legislature changing that law. Then you’ll know whether DeSantis is serious about running.

Which is why these Trump attacks are so premature and unwise. DeSantis will win the COVID argument against Trump. And undisciplined messaging attempting to attack DeSantis and keep him out of the race is going to bite Trump later, because stances he takes now will undermine valid attacks on Joe Biden and his insane COVID policies (or those of the Democrat nominee if it’s somebody other than Biden; Gavin Newsom, for example) later.