President Donald Trump told reporters on Monday that impeachment did not affect his ability to respond to the coronavirus, but it had distracted Democrats.
As Breitbart News noted Mar. 13, the timeline of events shows that President Trump took actions against the coronavirus throughout his impeachment trial — but Democrats in Congress did nothing until impeachment ended.
The trial began Jan. 16, the day after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) signed the articles of impeachment — with over a dozen commemorative pens — and sent them to the Senate. The trial ended Feb. 5, twenty days later, with Trump’s acquittal.
The first coronavirus patient arrived in the U.S. from China on Jan. 15.
Subsequently, the White House formed a coronavirus task force on Jan. 27. President Trump chaired a meeting of the task force on Jan. 29. On Jan. 31, he imposed a travel ban on China to slow the spread of the virus to the U.S. On Feb. 4, he spoke about coronavirus in his State of the Union address — which Pelosi infamously tore in half.
It was not until Feb. 5 — the day the impeachment trial ended — that Democrats did anything about coronavirus, holding a hearing in a regional subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — who had to manage the Senate during the impeachment trial — said earlier Tuesday that the “government” had been diverted from coronavirus — which was correct, as far as most of Congress was concerned, though it did not apply to the president, who had been concerned with it throughout.
McConnell’s statement prompted questions during the White House press briefing on coronavirus Tuesday evening (emphasis added):
Reporter: Mr. President, Mitch McConnell said impeachment — said impeachment diverted the direction of the government. Did it divert your attention, or your team’s attention?
Trump: Well, I don’t like to think I did. I think I handled it very well. But I guess it probably did. I mean, I got impeached. I think, you know, I certainly devoted a little time to thinking about it, right? So — but think of it: it was a hoax. It was a total hoax. And when you think I got impeached only because they had a majority in the House, they didn’t get one Republican vote, 196-0, not one Republican. I don’t think it’s ever happened. The Republicans stuck together, and they stuck together in the Senate, 52 to a half, a half. So, you know, when you say that, yeah, I see them saying about speed. They probably illegally impeached me, in the sense that if you look at the FBI today, with what happened, the horrible things — nobody cares about that now because all they are thinking about is the virus, and that’s ok with me. But you look at the report that came out, from IG Horowitz, it’s disgraceful what went on. It’s disgraceful, a total disgrace. They got caught in the act. But you know what? We won’t talk about that now. Did it divert my attention? I think I’m getting A-pluses for the way I handled myself during the phony impeachment, OK? It was a hoax. But certainly I guess I thought of it. And I think I probably acted — I don’t think I would have done any better had I not been impeached, ok? I think that’s a tribute to something. Maybe it’s a tribute to me. But I don’t think I would have acted any differently, or I don’t think I would have acted any faster. But the Democrats, their whole life, whole being, their whole existence was to try and get me out of office any way they can, even if it was a phony deal — and it was a phony deal. And it turned out, and all you have to do today is look at the FBI reports. Take a look at what the FBI did. Take a look at the people, take a look at Comey’s report, 78 pages of total kill. Take a look at that. Take a look at the report on McCabe. Just read it, and you’ll see how horrible it was. And you know what? I don’t think this country’s going to take it, if you want to know the truth.
Dr. Debbie Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci both suggested to reporters at the briefing Tuesday that the president had, in fact, acted as fast as he could against the coronavirus threat, given the little that was known about it at the time.
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). He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.