- The Washington Times
Wednesday, March 18, 2020


Forget that President Trump brought us record-low unemployment and a growing economy.

It’s over. Gone.

The Donald’s re-election now depends completely on earning an “A” for Wuhan-virus leadership.

He says our great economy will be back in a flash, and the virus emergency may be over by August. But the 1918 Spanish flu roared across the U.S. for 20-plus months, from April 1918 into 1920, and killed 675,000 Americans. Its economic devastation ranks second only to that of the Great Depression.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last year projected 89,000 to 207,000 deaths in the U.S. plus 314,000 to 734,000 hospitalizations here if another flu pandemic strikes.

Well, it has struck.

So will our economy come roaring back this September?

The president’s suggesting the economy will bounce back quickly is the kind of reassurance we need from a leader. It stiffens the spines, brightens expectations for the future for the 327 million people the president was elected to lead.

But behind that curtain of optimism lurks a reality that threatens to be the worst in our history.

Already, a $22 trillion economy is suddenly flat-lining. It will be that way though August or later — maybe much later. Even a miraculously quick turnaround is likely to come too late to register with voters — too late to let Mr. Trump run on a rollicking comeback for the economy.

We’re beginning to see several months’ worth of the total value of our goods and services start to go up in smoke. We’re talking $3 trillion or $4 trillion or more, much more. Poof. Vaporized.

Mr. Trump on Wednesday called himself a wartime president. Now he has to put America on a World War II-like footing. It’s the only way he can wrestle this disaster to the ground before it consumes us — and his presidency.

The Donald will have to emerge as the mighty mitigator.

Use powers — whatever powers it takes — to have the private-sector do a turn-on-a-dime wartime conversion of plants, production lines, design studios and laboratories. Mr. Trump praised the private sector for volunteering to make more of what’s needed. That’s a start.

But now, Mr. President, tell Boeing to switch some production to hazardous-materials suits and equipment — by the millions. Without Hazmat protection, people can’t run drive-through coronavirus testing sites without practically guaranteeing they’ll get the virus.

Tell GM and Ford to quit with the Camaros and the Mustangs. Start churning out ventilators like there’s no tomorrow.

If this Wuhan emergency gets anywhere near as bad as that 1918 Spanish flu — again, all the makings for that are present — we’d need at least four or five times as many ventilating machines as we now have.

There is no substitute. All the king’s doctors and all the king’s meds can’t save a patient gasping for oxygen. No ventilator — kaput.

The military has come up with some to donate to the civilian cause. Good. But God help us if we have to go to war and our armed forces don’t have enough ventilators for war injuries.

Mr. President, how about naming Apple to make virus test kits — by the millions. The government has told people over and over help is on the way — we’ll have an abundance of tests available tomorrow, or next week.

It still hasn’t happened.

People won’t forget. Give them something overwhelmingly positive to remember.

Mr. President, tell private-sector companies and the military to do a D-Day style instant construction of hospitals for the huge number of new regular and intensive-care beds we need now.

Other countries have already done it.

Mr. President, your prescription medicine and mine is made in the People’s Republic of China, which has growled a threat to hold America hostage to that monopoly. The few meds not made in the godawful Beijing dictatorship are made in India or some other so-called developing country.

Bless you, Mr. Trump, for having no trouble telling the dogmatists to stuff their strict free-market, free-trade dogmas for the sake of common sense and self-preservation.

So bring the meds home now.

One more thing. It’s time to say enough talk about the wall. Of course we need the wall.

Corrupt, incompetent Mexico isn’t taking the virus seriously. President Manuel Lopez Obrador is telling his people to congregate and party because the virus thing is B.S. Untold thousands of virus-ridden Mexicans will pour over our southern border, desperately seeking the medical care that’s in short supply for us.

Time for you to close the southern border, Mr. President.

Use emergency powers or whatever it takes to summon U.S. citizens in Mexico back to the U.S. within 48 hours to be tested and quarantined.

Lots needs saving. Our lives. Your presidency. Our country.

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