Conventional political wisdom says Americans are reluctant to change horses in mid-stream. Twice in the 20th century, voters re-elected increasingly incapacitated commanders-in-chief when the country was engaged in World Wars. This axiom certainly applies to global conflicts which depend on continuity, particularly in terms of relationships with foreign allies. Additionally, potential challengers have been hampered by the unwritten rule it is unpatriotic to criticize the president when military personnel is in harm’s way.
In 2020, we face a truly different situation. Yes, we are at war, a war for the health and safety of every citizen, a war to protect the rule of law and a war against hate and bias that divides the nation. It is, for the most part, being fought within our own borders. Even when it comes to global issues such as the pandemic, our historically reliable allies are not looking to the United States for leadership or assistance. As we know, they prefer we stay as far away as possible. Americans are not welcome in Europe, Canada, Mexico and even the Bahamas.
If the polls are close to accurate, voters are indicating they want a change. If so, we do not have the luxury of waiting 100 days until the election, much less another two and half months until the inauguration. Therefore, if I were Joe Biden, my message to the American people would be the following.
Leadership abhors a vacuum and, if Donald Trump isn’t going to fill it, I will. Not on January 20th. Not even on November 3rd. TODAY! And, in that spirit, I am suspending my campaign in favor of governing.
I am pleased to announce, Dr. Anthony Fauci, after resigning from his current position, has agreed to chair my coronavirus task force. CDC has graciously offered to continue giving Dr. Fauci and his team access to whatever data resources they need to monitor the situation.
I have informed WHO director general Tedros Adhanom we will re-establish reciprocal relations with them and health experts around the world to share data and best practices.
Dr. Fauci will hold regular public briefings and, if asked, appear before congressional committees. And while I realize I do not yet have executive powers under the Defense Production Act, I have created a national pandemic supply chain council comprised of business and medical experts. The council will be charged with insuring adequate supplies of personal protective and testing equipment and their distribution to wherever and whenever they are needed.
Maybe you are wondering how we are going to pay for this. Today, we filed incorporation papers for the National Pandemic Response Trust (NPRT), a charitable 501(c)(3) which will handle all receipts and expenditures. I also instructed my campaign staff to transfer all campaign funds for advertising and travel to the NPRT. And I asked every PAC that supports our campaign, including anti-Trump coalitions such as The Lincoln Project and Republican Voters Against Trump, to do the same.
Finally, I have asked the National Governors Association to partner with NPRT to recruit and train contact tracers in every state in anticipation of the need for a containment strategy in the event of continuing outbreaks.
Following the e-bola pandemic in 2012, the Obama administration created a playbook in anticipation of just this kind of situation. We know what we need to do: we just need the will and commitment to follow through.
I know what some of you may be thinking. This is pretty risky. Could it result in Donald Trump’s re-election? Maybe. But I always believed good governance is the best politics. Now is the time to prove it.
There will be time to debate policies and programs. But first we must make America whole again. That means defeating this pandemic, the only guaranteed path to an economic revival. Today, I dedicate all my time and energy toward that end.
Instead of asking voters to imagine what a Biden presidency might look like, show them. Who knows? It might even resonate with voters in Missouri.
For what it’s worth.