Washington -- I see from my private incarceration at home, where I have languished for weeks, that The New York Times is accusing President Donald Trump of wasting as much as six weeks before taking action against the coronavirus. For weeks, I have been dutifully washing my hands and even taken the extra care to wash my feet while Trump and most of the White House staff were dawdling. What were they doing wasting time?
Did the White House's dilatory behavior have something to do with impeachment? Was that somewhat of a distraction to those in the West Wing? There was, in the Times' report, only one mention of impeachment, and it was a fleeting mention. Otherwise, it was just business as usual in Washington, with the White House ducking subpoenas and Congress thinking up ever more fanciful charges against the president. Is the House of Representatives still consumed with Russian collusion? How about the big fat American professor at Cambridge, Stefan Halper, or poor Carter Page? Is Rep. Adam Schiff still coming up with whistleblowers of impeccable integrity, and is he engaging in his usual heavy-handed tactics with the Republican opposition?
On Dec. 18, 2019, the House of Representatives drafted a bill of impeachment. On Jan. 16, the House submitted the articles of impeachment to the Senate. Weeks passed. Sen. Chuck Schumer had things to add. Schiff pounced on offbeat rumors. Finally, on Feb. 5 the Senate acquitted the president. Did all this hurly-burly distract the president and his aides in any way? I should think it did.
If anyone dawdled, it was Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. She allowed the likes of Schiff to conjure up conspiracies that were so far-fetched his constituents should vote him out of office this Nov. 3 or secede from the union. Then, when the House settled on its bill of impeachment, Nancy sat on the bill for four weeks, refusing to send it on until Jan. 16. And even then, Democrats in the Senate still were not convinced there should be an impeachment vote. Only when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ended this nonsensical travesty and put it to a vote was some sort of order restored.
In the meantime, what was happening? Well, the coronavirus, we now know, was spreading throughout the world in early 2020 with little action being taken by anyone. Did any of the aforementioned misbehavior by the Democrats have anything to do with the president's action or inaction? I think it did. He now claims to have taken action on Jan. 31 to end flights into America from China. Had he not taken action, it seems likely that thousands more Chinese would have arrived here and brought the infection with them.
Yet still, the Democrats are going to hold Trump accountable for taking no action. The Times has found a memo from Peter Navarro of the White House staff and, in its prolix style sprawled across three pages, says Trump should have read it. The Times story is filled with information about the impending debacle. It mentions dozens of people. Yet, as I have said, it mentions the impeachment only once in its three pages. It charges the president with denying he read Navarro. The president says he is innocent. Just as he said he was innocent of colluding with the Russians, the Ukrainians and all the other fanciful figures he was charged with colluding with these last three years.
Trump has now passed former President Richard Nixon as the most maligned American president in modern times. His enemies have been calling him names since about the time he came down the escalator at Trump Tower. They have called him a racist. They have called him Hitler. Interestingly, they have not called him Stalin. That is probably because so many of his enemies are conflicted by Stalin. What do they say? How about: He made the kulaks run on time? No, no, that would be confusing Stalin with Mussolini. When the president stopped the inbound flights from China, Joe Biden called him a racist and a xenophobe. Joe did not know what that last word meant, but he called the president a xenophobe anyway.
Of course, Trump is the duly elected president of the United States. He is not only the most slandered man to enter the White House but also the only man ever to have both the CIA and the FBI plotting against him. On Nov. 3, it will all be over.
R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator. He is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and the author, most recently, of "The Death of Liberalism," published by Thomas Nelson, Inc. To find out more about R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.