WASHINGTON — Larry Kudlow, the top economic adviser to President Trump, used his remarks during the second night of 2020 Republican convention to give a master class in misdirection and revisionist history. It’s hard to know which portion of Kudlow’s speech to single out first for fact-checking, but perhaps the most egregious moment came when he referred to the Covid-19 pandemic in the past tense, as if it were over.
“It was awful,” Kudlow said. “Health and economic impacts were tragic. Hardship and heartbreak were everywhere. But presidential leadership came swiftly and effectively with an extraordinary rescue for health and safety to successfully fight the Covid virus.”
Was awful. Were tragic. Hardship and heartbreak were everywhere.
It’s unfathomable that this needs to be said, but here it is: The Covid-19 pandemic is very much not over. Nearly 1,200 people died from the virus in the past day, according to the Covid Tracking Project. Nearly 295,000 Americans were infected by the virus in the past seven days, according to the Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention. In all, there have been more than 5.7 million cases in this U.S. and nearly 179,000 deaths.
The U.S. workforce is still in a dangerously deep hole, with the country having shed a net 12.9 million jobs since February. The unemployment rate remains about 10 percent.
These are just a few of the indicators that make painfully, glaringly obvious that the Covid-19 pandemic is far from a past-tense event.
As for Kudlow’s claim that “presidential leadership came swiftly and effectively,” well, President Trump’s own remarks stand in direct contrast to that assertion. This is, after all, a president who told CNBC on January 22 that he was “not at all” worried about the novel coronavirus that “we have it totally under control,” and that it’s “going to be just fine”; who said on January 24 that “It will all work out well”; who said on February 19 that “I think the numbers are going to get progressively better as we go along”; who vowed on February 27 that the novel coronavirus was “going to disappear. One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear”; and the list goes on.
Kudlow’s remarks and Monday night’s reality-defying video montage touting Trump’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic further illustrate this administration’s strategy for dealing with the deadliest pandemic in a century: Pretend like it’s not happening, talk like it’s already over, and move on.