At yesterday's White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing in the Rose Garden, President Trump ceded the podium to a string of CEOs and industry leaders who described how their respective businesses are contributing to the national effort to combat the deadly pandemic. Some critics predictably scoffed at and heaped scorn upon this portion of the presser, minimizing it as a political rally. They're wrong. It was, in some ways, a pep rally for the American people, in that it promoted a sense of all-in unity in the face of a common challenge. My morale was buoyed as I watched, and I'm confident I'm not alone in expressing this sentiment:
I actually love that the WH briefing included CEO’s, each of whom explained how their business is joining America’s all-hands-on-deck effort to fight Coronavirus — in which the private sector has been & will be absolutely vital.— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) March 30, 2020
The administration has repeatedly referred to a "whole of government" approach to defeating coronavirus, but it's also made clear that it will take enormous efforts and sacrifices on behalf of individuals, families and businesses of all sizes. Showcasing how some prominent companies are chipping in across multiple recovery fronts is smart on multiple levels: It rewards good behavior and encourages more of it, it enhances goodwill among the American people by underscoring that we're all rowing in the same direction, and it demonstrates how the government can never be the exclusive answer to a large-scale problem. Here's the founder of My Pillow explaining the ways in which his company is being leveraged and repurposed to help the country during this time of need:
Concrete, constructive action, for the greater good. Bravo. The other business leaders who spoke (full video is available here, with the relevant portion starting around the 17-minute mark) also outlined their own plans of attack against the virus. It's worth your time. I'll also note that for all the political demagoguery 'big pharma' endures, each of us should be rooting for drug companies and the medical device industry to produce successful outcomes for the American people -- on vaccine development, and the emergence of effective therapies and rapid testing. Significant strides are already being made toward these goals:
CNN Health: Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson announced on Monday that it plans to initiate human clinical trials of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate by September, and anticipates the first batches of the vaccine could be available for emergency use by early next year.— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) March 30, 2020
I'll leave you with another good idea from Monday's briefing:
Dr. Birx says tomorrow’s briefing will include the data she and Dr. Fauci presented to POTUS ahead of his decision to extend distancing guidance through the end of April. I will be very interested to see that. Good, transparent idea.— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) March 30, 2020
Trump made the tough but correct call in deferring to the experts and the data by extending the current federal distancing guidelines through the end of April. Being open and transparent with that data -- indeed, directly sharing it with the public -- will help people understand how and why hugely consequential decisions that will directly and disruptively impact their lives were made.