NYC Mayor Calls for Life as Usual, Blames Trump for Disastrous Results
The hypocrisy is galling even for Democrats like Bill de Blasio.
Watching New York City’s response to the coronavirus pandemic provides an enlightening display of leftist hypocrisy, as well as the brilliance of the Founders’ federalist system of government.
While no one is to blame for the existence of the virus itself, we can certainly assess various leaders’ responses to the outbreak. The media and the Democrats hold President Donald Trump to a very high standard — a standard to which they exempt themselves.
On January 14, the World Health Organization (WHO) rubber-stamped the Communist Chinese government’s claim that the Wuhan virus doesn’t spread through human-to-human contact. Despite that, on January 31, President Trump instituted a travel ban to and from China, helping slow the spread. Democrats accused him of racism and xenophobia.
On March 11, the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. The next day President Trump banned travel from most of Europe.
At every turn, leftists accused President Trump of doing things wrong, or doing the right things too late. They attack him now for changing his rhetoric and strategy in light of new information. Yet isn’t that exactly what we want a leader to do?
Among President Trump’s most vocal critics has been New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. At 8.6 million residents, the Big Apple is America’s largest city — more than twice the population of Los Angeles. And at more than 28,000 people per square mile, its residents are like sheep crammed in a pen, which has facilitated the rapid spread of the virus.
De Blasio’s words and actions have been the epitome of progressive arrogance and bureaucratic incompetence, and the people of NYC — and all of America — are paying the price. NYC is home to nearly half of all U.S. coronavirus cases, with infection rates far higher than the rest of the country.
As New Yorkers realized the magnitude of the pandemic, and the ineptitude of the mayor’s response, many fled the state, carrying the virus to other parts of the country.
Yet just two weeks ago, de Blasio was publicly contradicting his own health officials and resisting his aides’ recommendation to shut down the city’s schools and businesses. Many threatened to resign over his refusal, with one aid calling his actions “inexcusable and reckless.”
On January 24, de Blasio told New Yorkers to “pursue their everyday activities and routines, but to remain aware of the facts about coronavirus.” On January 28, de Blasio said, “What we now know is this virus was underestimated by the Chinese government. … It’s probably here already.”
On February 13, he told the city, “[COVID-19] should not stop you from going about your life. It should not stop you from going to Chinatown and going out to eat.” On March 2, he again told New Yorkers to “go on with your lives [and] get out on the town despite Coronavirus,” even making movie recommendations.
On March 11, he said, “This disease, even if you were to get it, basically acts like a common cold or flu.” That same day, after accusing President Trump of “minimizing … a global pandemic,” de Blasio advised people “to not avoid restaurants,” adding, “If you’re not sick, you should be going about your life.”
Unbelievably, it took five more days before de Blasio announced the indefinite closing of all schools and nonessential businesses. Yet he still found time to go to his gym hours before it closed, a decision that infuriated his staffers. Meanwhile, he’s released 650 inmates from Rikers Island prison to avoid spreading coronavirus among them.
By March 27, with refrigerated trailers being converted into makeshift morgues, an emergency field hospital constructed in Central Park, and NYC doctors complaining that “the system is overwhelmed” and describing the situation as “hell” and “worse than 9/11,” de Blasio finally acquired some humility.
On Sunday, CNN’s Jake Tapper pointed out de Blasio’s harsh criticism of President Trump before asking if he accepts any blame for NYC’s disastrous response, including his failure to order any protective gear for medical personnel until March 6. Naturally, de Blasio deflected, saying, “We should not be focusing … on anything looking back on any level of government right now.” Of course.
Moments later he admitted that President Trump and his team have been incredibly responsive to the mayor’s pleas for help. This was just days after he went on TV claiming President Trump would not “lift a finger” to help NYC, an obvious lie meant to distract from his repeated statements and actions (or failures to act) leading directly to the rapid spread of the coronavirus.
De Blasio was right when he said COVID-19 “moves very, very fast, in a way none of us have ever experienced in our lives.” Yet that reality has not stopped him and other Democrats from blasting President Trump at every turn. The hypocrisy is as galling as it is blatant.
Again, however, this situation does highlight the brilliance of the Founders in creating our federalist system of government. As bad as the current situation is, not everywhere will be New York. Imagine how much worse it would be if the response was completely dictated by the federal government. Now imagine that government response dictated by a Bill de Blasio, or lifetime politicians like Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders, rather than a problem-solving businessman like Trump.
Across the nation, governors and mayors have taken action on their own, dictating social-distancing protocols, school and business closures, and other policies based on their unique needs and situations.
That alone will save millions of lives and jobs.