CLAIM: “Joe knows about pandemics” and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo provided “clear direction” on coronavirus.
VERDICT: FALSE. Biden has mismanaged past pandemics, and Cuomo’s coronavirus policies were largely a disaster.
Host Eva Longoria Bastón claimed that former Vice President Joe Biden is an expert in stopping pandemics.
“In 2014 he stopped the spread of Ebola,” she claimed.
The Obama-Biden administration’s response to Ebola was, in fact, a debacle. Obama refused to ban travel from West Africa, or to monitor people who had been exposed to the disease once they came to the U.S. The administration’s mishandling of the Ebola outbreak was a reason Democrats lost the Senate in 2014.
Moreover, Bastón omitted another disease in which Biden played a role — a profoundly incompetent one: the H1N1 swine flu of 2009.
Not only was the Obama-Biden administration woefully underprepared, but Biden caused panic when he told Americans to avoid airplanes and subways. An embarrassed White House had to walk back Biden’s irresponsible claims.
Bastón went on to claim that Biden left behind a pandemic “playbook,” which she said would “make sure America was prepared and protected.”
But the “playbook” was just a summary of other documents, and left little real guidance. (One thing it did advise was not to use travel bans during a pandemic — advice the Trump administration wisely disobeyed.)
She added that the Trump administration “disbanded the pandemic response team that was given to them.” This, too, is misleading.
As former National Security Council official Tim Morrison recalled, the pandemic team was not disbanded, but reorganized and integrated into other parts of the National Security Council — arguably in ways that made it stronger.
Then Bastón turned to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, calling him a “responsible leader,” and claiming that he had provided “clear direction” — ignoring the fact that Cuomo likely caused additional deaths by sending coronavirus-infected patients to nursing homes and preventing those facilities from turning them away or even testing them for the disease.
Cuomo was also slow to clean the New York City subways — where people were forced to travel in crowded carriages, made more crowded by a decision to reduce the number of trains. Subways were a likely vector of virus transmission.
Though Cuomo claimed that President Donald Trump had done a poor job, he sang a different tune when the pandemic was at its worst, praising Trump, saying he was doing the “right thing”: “He is ready, willing, and able to help. … His team is on it, they’ve been responsive, late at night, early in the morning, and they’ve thus far been doing everything that they can do, and I want to say thank you,” Cuomo said in May.
Apparently the election gave him reason to change his mind.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.