President Donald Trump has worked harder at trying to defend himself against blame for his careless response to the coronavirus than he did to protect people at the beginning of the threat.
In his Sunday Washington Post column, conservative columnist Max Boot recalled that the Spanish Flu of 1918 actually began in Kansas when soldiers contracted it and brought it to the front lines of the World War I battlefield. Spain was the first country to admit that they had a problem, which is why it was named "Spanish Flu." In reality, it should have been named the "American Flu."
Given the attacks on China and the logic of the China hawks, Boot argued that the U.S. should probably have been punished for its role in spreading the most destructive disease in history.
Trump officials are already looking into ways that they can punish China for some kind of "compensation" for the handling of the pandemic. If that's the next step, what justice will Americans get from Trump for his lethargic response to the virus?
"He is eager to scapegoat China for a pandemic that has infected more than 1.1 million Americans, killed more than 68,000 and left more than 30 million jobless," wrote Boot. "More tariffs are likely, because Trump still doesn't realize the costs are paid by U.S. consumers. '[The Chinese] have a lot to answer for, they're going to be held accountable,' White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Friday."
China has indeed had a problematic response to the virus, but even when they and the rest of the world were sounding the alarm in January, Trump didn't announce any social distancing guidelines until March 16. Even if he had done it two weeks early, Boot said he could have stopped 90 percent of COVID deaths.
"China did a lot wrong, but it's not China's fault that Trump didn't listen to the warnings of the U.S. intelligence community starting in early January," said Boot.
"China has been working very hard to contain the coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!" Trump tweeted Jan. 24.
Now, of course, Trump is looking for someone else to blame as he desperately works to save his presidency from collapse.
"The Chinese regime is no angel — it is a brutal dictatorship that censors information, jails dissidents, commits atrocities against the Uighurs and bullies its neighbors. The United States would be better advised to focus on those genuine abuses rather than playing the pandemic blame game — lest other nations start demanding reparations for the 1918 flu," Boot closed.