With President Trump’s signing of a coronavirus relief package, we are reminded that bipartisanship is a powerful weapon — when our elected officials choose to wield it.
Because of that bipartisanship, Americans who are in quarantine will now have access to paid sick leave. The relief package also provides free testing for the coronavirus, while boosting unemployment insurance, food assistance and Medicaid funding.
President Trump is sending a clear message to the American people: The coronavirus is an American crisis, not a political one. Now is not the time to score political points, and those who are playing politics during a public health crisis should be ashamed of themselves. Now is the time to stick together and help those in need.
Of course, there will be outliers. Deborah Frank Feinen, the Democratic mayor of Champaign, Illinois, chose to exploit the coronavirus to ban the sale of guns and alcohol. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell went to similar lengths, banning the sale and transportation of firearms, in addition to targeting alcoholic beverages. This gets us nowhere.
Containing the pandemic’s spread should be our only concern now. We need to flatten the curve and care for those at most risk — namely, the elderly. This requires Democrats, Republicans and all Americans to work together.
And we are making progress. Even some of President Trump’s fiercest critics are now praising his response to the coronavirus, making it clear to Americans that the #Resistance agenda needs to be put on hold.
Governor Andrew Cuomo recently thanked the Trump administration, claiming “his team is on it.” Dana Bash, one of CNN’s many anti-Trumpers, described President Trump as “the kind of leader that people need.” In Bash’s words: “This [response] was remarkable from the president of the United States. This is a non-partisan — this is an important thing to note, and to applaud from an American standpoint — from a human standpoint.”
Even Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), one of the most partisan Democrats in Congress, described President Trump’s coronavirus response as “incredible.” That is no small feat.
Omar is right — because the coronavirus is an American crisis. It is a human one, affecting Democrats and Republicans alike.
The Trump administration is leading with that in mind. President Trump has now held multiple press conferences addressing the coronavirus, implementing travel bans and promoting medical guidelines. At the same time, he has reached an agreement with the other “Group of 7” leaders to pool medical resources and align their central banks, making coronavirus coordination a reality.
It was President Trump, acting as head of the “Group of 7,” who made that cooperation a reality — no one else.
And, every step of the way, the Trump administration is educating Americans about the pandemic and what to expect in the coming months. Just this week, President Trump issued guidelines for the general public to follow over the next 15 days — and there will be more to come.
But, even beyond President Trump, we need to commend each other for making the sacrifices that can contain the pandemic. We need to continue making them. Even if we are not personally affected by the coronavirus, the greater good is everything.
As President Trump says, avoid social gatherings involving groups of 10 or more. Stay inside unless it’s absolutely essential to leave the house. Take your personal hygiene seriously.
What we can’t do is play politics. What we don’t need is the same old partisanship. In good times and bad, we must never surrender our calm and resolve.
We will get through this crisis, as Americans united.
Allen West is a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and former Florida congressman. He serves as senior advisor to the Committee to Defend the President and pens a daily column at TheOldSchoolPatriot.com.