Alan Zendell, December 31, 2021
A year ago, most of us were saying, “Good riddance” to 2020. Some may say that about 2021, but the two years could hardly have been more different. It’s time to set the record straight.
In 2020, we had a president who denied COVID, because he feared that shutting down our economy pre-emptively would hurt his chances of re-election. He withheld critical information that could have saved hundreds of thousands of lives if he hadn’t let his self-interest take precedence over his responsibility as president. Someone I trust who spoke with the Moderna development team leader told me the Trump administration authorized the company to begin work on a vaccine three weeks before Trump admitted COVID was a problem. Friends at the Defense Department told me they had been warned that a very dangerous pandemic would be coming and directed to stock up on necessities while they could – two weeks before Christmas in 2019, while Trump was publicly denying the virus existed.
The contractors tasked with finding and testing a vaccine did incredible work, but the Trump administration had no plan for its distribution, leaving states on their own. Contrast that with President Biden’s handling of the pandemic. We had a distribution plan funded by the federal government within weeks of Biden being inaugurated. We had vaccine distribution centers all over the country, in pharmacies, health care facilities and public health offices. But for anti-vax opposition fostered by Trump and his people, which persists a year after he left office, our country would have achieved herd immunity by now. The virus would have been unable to find new hosts and mutate, possibly avoiding the delta and omicron strains entirely.
Trump’s lies and self-serving behavior put us all at risk for years to come. Biden sacrificed enormous political capital to reverse that threat. Trump would not permit health care experts at NIH and the CDC to speak freely, that is, to tell the truth. Biden has given free rein to Drs. Anthony Fauci and Rochelle Walensky to keep the public informed. A consensus of public health experts have said that of the 823,000 COVID deaths in the United States, at least a half million could have been prevented if Trump not been derelict in his duty.
The economic chaos that resulted from not having a coordinated nationwide response to the virus left our economy in a shambles at the end of 2020. The Biden administration turned that around spectacularly, passing the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan in March of 2021. Almost every dollar spent went straight into the pockets of Americans who needed it to pay their bills and keep their homes. But ARP was not a welfare program. All the money spent went directly back into the consumer economy, stimulating an unprecedented recovery that was further energized by the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passed in July. Both laws were passed without the support of a single Republican, at the direction of Donald Trump.
Last week, Matthew Winkler of Bloomberg News tweeted: “U.S. financial markets outperformed world by biggest margin in 21st century as American economy improved more in Biden’s first year than any president during the past 50, notwithstanding contrary media narrative contributing to dour public opinion.” Winkler was reacting to 7% growth, nationally in the current quarter, and more than 6% for all of 2021. He was also reacting to a reduction in unemployment from 6.2% to 4.2%, and the highest average corporate profits since the second world war.
Trump spent four years tearing down international agreements and alliances. Biden has re-engaged with the world, rejoining the Paris Climate Accords, repairing our relationships with NATO and the EU, and calling for a united front against aggressive behavior from Russia and China. He ended the war in Afghanistan, keeping the commitment made by his predecessor, who had unfortunately removed all of our military intelligence assets in Afghanistan before leaving office. Without them, our military leaders could not know that the Taliban had co-opted the Afghan military we trained and paid for. Thus, the Afghan army dissolved during the final evacuation, resulting in confusion and the deaths of thirteen American troops. Despite all of that, the withdrawal was an unprecedented success.
Trump spent the second half of 2020, knowing he would likely lose to Biden in November, plotting to undermine confidence in the election and subvert the Constitution. He continued this effort throughout 2021, starting by engineering the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol. With all the real problems his administration faced, Biden has had to fight total obstruction by a Republican Party dominated by Trump, whose goal is to seize power for a minority that can control the country for at least a decade.
President Biden, recognizing that partisan gridlock could destroy the viability of Congress, made a commitment in 2021 to reach out for bipartisan solutions, but the vast majority of Republicans, taking their marching orders from Trump, have made that impossible. Biden now faces a daunting challenge on which the future of the country as we know it depends. Republicans have left him no alternative but to break the filibuster to pass a federal voting rights bill.
Joe Biden has done a marvelous job in his first year as President despite being undermined at every turn by his sociopathic predecessor, who would rather destroy the country than admit defeat. I can sum up 2021 in three words – THANK YOU, JOE!
Biden has done an excellent job under difficult circumstances, not to mention outright sabotage from Republicans, a sincere thank you to Joe Biden.