FILE – In this Oct. 19, 2016 file photo, moderator Chris Wallace guides the discussion between Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during the third presidential debate at UNLV in Las Vegas. Wallace, who just turned 70, signed a contract extension to continue as “Fox News Sunday” host. (Joe Raedle/Pool via AP, File)
As we entered this Sunday morning, one of the things that’s happened throughout the past week is a rash of misleading hindsight regarding how the White House responded to the Wuhan virus crisis. We’ve seen outlets which not only downplayed the risks, but chastised the President for taking early actions, now pretending they were making the right calls all along. The Times tried this tack a few days ago, claiming that Trump was “warned” of a possible pandemic in January and presenting it as if he ignored those warnings.
Enter Fox News’ Chris Wallace, who I guess wanted to get in on the action.
Chris Wallace on Fox News, hours before Trump attacked him: "This really stunning report in the NYT…that top health officials within the administration were warning POTUS from mid-January on about the real threat of this pandemic, & it took more than a month for him to respond" pic.twitter.com/YOF1sVPqA3
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 12, 2020
To be kind, this is nonsense and Wallace knows better.
Trump did not take “more than a month” to respond to the information he received in January. In fact, he formed a task force the day he received the memo from Navarro laying out the possible ramifications of the virus’ spread. What was the media doing at that time? Well, they were obsessed with impeachment, calling Trump racist for banning travel from China, and gnashing their teeth over the demographics of the task force.
— Allan (@AllanRicharz) April 12, 2020
But perhaps Wallace was talking about lockdowns? If he was, he’s still being deeply dishonest. As late as February 29th, Dr. Fauci was telling the public and the President that the risks were low. Virtually no one, including almost all the nation’s governors, would have supported the President attempting to shut down the country and economy in February. How do I know? Because as late as early March, the media and Gov. Cuomo were freaking out at the suggestion of possibly quarantining New York City. But Trump was going to get support for a lockdown of everyone in early February? On what planet, exactly?
This kind of ridiculous re-writing of history needs to stop. I don’t care who’s in charge, you can always go back in time and say “Well, if we’d done this earlier, this would have happened.” Fluid situations with limited data don’t allow for that in real-time. Just because there was a report in late January that things could get bad, that does not mean the President had enough information to make rash calls, especially ones that would have gotten him accused of operating as a dictator.
Again, Wallace knows better but is choosing to peddle this stuff anyway. The reality is that everyone missed this early on. That includes Chris Wallace and essentially every other media outlet. No one should be gaslighting by acting as if they knew all along how this would go down. They didn’t. Period.