Reminiscent of Ike before D-Day, President Donald Trump stood in the White House Rose Garden Friday afternoon flanked by his top lieutenants in the war against the coronavirus, as he announced the declaration of a national emergency to assault the disease.
Representatives from government, science, business, and his own administration have been called together to form a “dream team” in the fight. Even before the president spoke the team had been working on projects for days and delivering results.
The big one? The availability of a 500, 000 test kits for the virus to be generally ready to go within days, 1.4 million by next week, and a system of quick and easy distribution. The time frame from proposal to approval, which usually takes months, was cut down to a week. The work of major labs and pharmaceutical firms brought this to a reality.
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This puts the U.S. far ahead of the international curve in combating this insidious threat to public health.
Other measures include a waiver on interest charged on federal student loans, $50 billion in increased funding to fight the virus, and the inclusion on his team, in an incredible public-private sector partnership, of the leaders of Google, CVS, Target, Walmart, and Walgreens.
In related news, the president announced a large purchase of oil, now at discounted prices due to the Saudi-Russian oil controversy, to fill the U.S. Strategic National Reserve supply. He also said the administration, as it has noted the increased cases there, may put the U.K. on the travel ban list. Trump also said he himself will likely be tested for the virus.
The president’s full hands on team approach, especially his private sector emphasis, is heads and shoulders above the way the Obama administration handled the H1N1 pandemic. In that outbreak, 14,000 people died.
However, the vital takeaway from the conference was the ultracompetent demeanor and plans of the team Trump has assembled and of the president himself. No hysterics, no Chicken Little act, no political posturing.
What the nation saw in the Rose Garden were professionals and patriots from many walks of life coming together to serve America, led by a president who has answered the call of duty above and beyond his rivals and critics. We all can be thankful he is at the helm of the ship of state.