After President Trump canceled all flights into the United States from China and Iran due to the Coronavirus pandemic on January 31, 2020, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi tweeted this out on the same day: “The Trump Admin’s expansion of its un-American travel ban is a threat to our security, our values and the rule of law. Barring more than 350 million people from predominantly African countries from traveling to the U.S., the rule is discrimination disguised as policy.” Presidential candidate Joe Biden tweeted this out the following day: “We are in the midst of a crisis with the Coronavirus. We need to lead the way with science – not Donald Trump’s record of hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering. He is the worst possible person to lead our country toward a global health emergency.”
In hindsight, their comments are rather egregious, equivalent to saying we should let the Coronavirus breed! Let them eat cake!
During President Trump’s “State of the Union” speech on February 6th, Nancy Pelosi stood behind him and tore up his speech while on camera. This move was quickly lambasted by those in the media who support him and appreciated by those who do not. This was a visible demonstration of the hostility between Democrats and Republicans in the White House.
Over the next few weeks, Republicans asked the Democrats to pull the “No Ban Act” bill, which would have rescinded President Trump’s travel ban. “The No Ban Act aims to rein in Trump’s ability to ‘suspend or restrict aliens from entering the United States’ and limit the administration from putting in place similar bans in the future. It also includes language that would prevent ‘religious discrimination in various immigration-related decisions, such as whether to issue an immigrant or non-immigrant visa, with certain exceptions.’”
On February 28th, President Trump tweeted this: “The Do Nothing Democrats were busy wasting time on the Immigration Hoax, & anything else they could do to make the Republican Party look bad, while I was busy calling early BORDER & FLIGHT closings, putting us way ahead in our battle with Coronavirus. Dems called it VERY wrong!”
On March 11 and 14th, President Trump stopped flights from 28 European countries, which roiled markets and added to severe economic disruptions. The Coronavirus was labeled a pandemic.
On March 12th, the No Ban Act bill was finally pulled.
“’Democrats could not have picked a worse week to try to undermine American travel restrictions,’” Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said on the House floor Wednesday. ‘President Trump’s quick decision to restrict travel to countries like Iran and China was a smart response and it is helping keep America safe.’”
On March 26, Speaker Nancy Pelosi lamented President Trump’s “slow response” in a tweet: “Trump’s chaotic response coupled with misinformation and obstruction fails to address Americans’ real concerns. He continues to be out of touch with the people.”
Probably the best thing President Trump did was to issue a travel ban from China and Iran in late January when the Coronavirus was primarily in those two countries. This move likely prevented millions from catching the disease and thousands from dying. Yet rather than thanking him, his political opposition has demonized him. Here is a president who endures daily beatings only to be ridiculed for making a decision that saved many. And I’m stating this as a registered Democrat.
The Coronavirus pandemic has crippled the world economy and stoked fears about our health and economic security. If the Democrats and the Republicans keep engaging in bipartisanship, the U.S. will go the way of the Roman Empire.
Evangelical Christians and the Coronavirus
President Trump coined the term “fake news,” referring to story lines from the New York Times, the Washington Post or CNN. For the past couple of years, I’ve been skeptical of his assertions, but when I noticed an op ed piece on March 27th of 2020 by Katherine Stewart in the New York Times entitled “The Road to Coronavirus Hell Was Paved by Evangelicals,” I now see his point. Rather than properly sourcing the Coronavirus in the Wuhan city of China, Stewart squarely laid the blame for this pandemic on Evangelical Christians. Why? She asserted that Trump’s “response to the pandemic has been haunted by the science denialism of his ultraconservative religious allies.” She then cited two religious leaders who refused to shutter their church doors, claiming God would protect them, and asserted that President Trump is “perfectly in tune with the religious nationalists who form the core of his base.” If that is not evidence of fake news, the end of her diatribe is, demonstrating the most telling indicator of her hatred for Christians, Christianity, and Christian holidays. She may not realize Trump speaks within a country of mostly Christian believers who are well aware of the Easter holiday.
“Yet none of the benign uses of religion in this time of crisis have anything to do with Mr. Trump’s expressed hope that the country would be “opened up and just raring to go by Easter.” He could, of course, have said, “by mid-April.” But Mr. Trump did not invoke Easter by accident, and many of his evangelical allies were pleased by his vision of “packed churches all over our country.”
President Trump expressed a hope and a vision of an ideal, which of course would only be achieved if the Coronavirus is halted. Trump made that clear, but rather than consider his words and what he intended, Stewart erected a straw man to demonize him and Evangelical Christians. One must wonder what drives people like her to such hostility?
 Stewart, K. (2020). The religious right’s hostility to science is crippling our Coronavirus response. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/27/opinion/coronavirus-trump-evangelicals.html
 Brufke, J. (2020). GOP leaders call on Pelosi to pull travel ban bill over Coronavirus. The Hill. https://thehill.com/homenews/house/486825-gop-leaders-call-on-pelosi-to-pull-travel-ban-bill-over-Coronavirus
 Stimson, B. and Schultz, M. (2020). House pulls bill that would rescind prior Trump travel ban amid Coronavirus outbreak. Fox News. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/house-pulls-bill-that-would-rescind-travel-ban-amid-Coronavirus-outbreak