Reassessing Trump and Covid

But now something interesting is happening. In the last few days, among some commentators following the COVID crisis, we’re seeing the beginning of a sense of perspective about the way the Trump administration battled the virus. The bottom line is: Of course the crisis was awful, but on balance, overall, the United States handled it as well or better than many of the world’s most advanced countries.

“With some exceptions (Germany, though even they have a slow vaccine rollout), the EU’s pandemic handling has been worse than the US’s on balance,” tweeted FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver on Saturday. One could quibble with Silver’s wording — it would be more accurate to call Germany’s vaccine rollout a complete mess — but the big point is true…

The point is not that Donald Trump and the United States led the world in handling the pandemic crisis. The point is that, all things considered, the U.S. slogged through an extraordinarily difficult period in a way that was roughly similar to many other advanced nations. And realizing that, it’s important to remember the frenzied, hysterical, and hostile media coverage of the Trump administration during the virus’s worst days. It was just that — frenzied and hysterical and hostile. It gave Americans an unbalanced picture of what was happening. Now, perhaps, with the perspective of some time and a new president, people will be able to see that.