During the second presidential debate last fall, then-candidate Joe Biden pledged to “end” the pandemic. It was an easy promise to make while standing next to President Donald Trump, who had mishandled the crisis. But reality is much more complicated than campaign pledges.
More than likely, the pandemic will end sometime within the next four years. This was going to happen no matter who sits in the Oval Office. Mitigation efforts rest largely on the shoulders of citizens who socially distance, wear masks when appropriate, and get inoculated. The president can only do so much to aid in these efforts. Individual responsibility still plays a major role.
Although initial vaccine development was completed and distribution began under the previous administration, serious tackling of the pandemic didn’t begin until Jan. 20 — if you listen to Democrats. Some have even claimed, albeit falsely, that the Biden administration had to “build everything from scratch” when it comes to distribution plans. The Left and its media cheerleaders also seem to argue that the tide is turning in the economy and even education, thanks to Biden alone.
This is a partisan narrative meant to diminish every pandemic-related effort from the Trump administration. It’s also a departure from reality. It’s one thing to criticize the times when a president is inappropriate or wrong in discussing the health crisis, as Trump was — more than once. It is another thing to create an illusion of Biden’s instant success just because a desired transfer of power occurred.
Only days after the inauguration, California, Washington, D.C., and other areas across the U.S. loosened their lockdown orders and dining bans. This created the subtle impression that the new president is responsible for the positive economic outlook. And recently, discussions of school safety and getting children back in the traditional classroom setting have come from some corners that weren’t too keen on the idea only a few months ago. This is despite the fact that young children have never been known to be major carriers or victims of the virus.
The obvious turn toward reopening and a semblance of normalcy coincide rather neatly with the start of Biden’s presidency. Trump was saddled with the kind of crisis that would push the nation into turmoil no matter who was in office. Given the nature and effects of the virus, an economic cost and physical toll were always going to be high. (This isn’t to say that words and actions couldn’t have been improved.)
In Biden’s America, the crisis continues even as vaccinations are distributed, and businesses and schools slowly reopen. There will be more pandemic-related infections and deaths before this chapter ends. But just as Trump isn’t responsible for the virus spreading, Biden isn’t to be given sole credit for the recovery. The wheels have been turning since before he took his oath of office, which is true no matter what you think of Trump.
The nation is still reeling from a pandemic that has infected nearly 27 million people and caused more than 447,000 deaths. As more people get vaccinated, there is hope that the crisis will end soon. But even though Biden may have better messaging and far fewer Twitter rants, he was never going to bring back normalcy simply by virtue of not being Trump. It may feel good to blame all the problems of 2020 on the previous president and credit any resolutions to the current one, but doing so doesn’t line up with the complexities of a global health crisis. It just fits a partisan narrative.
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