Hoo boy: 60% of Dems say Trump is more to blame for the crisis than China is

There’s partisanship, there’s hyperpartisanship, and then there’s “worse than China.”

This is emphatically not correct, Democrats. And I say that as an old-school Never Trumper.

It’s even worse than my headline makes it out to be. Rasmussen asked people if they agreed with Dem Sen. Chris Murphy when he said a few days ago, “The reason that we’re in the crisis that we are today is not because of anything that China did, is not because of anything the WHO did. It’s because of what this president did.” Murphy wasn’t just maximizing Trump’s blame, he was minimizing China’s.

Which a lot of Democrats like, it seems.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 42% of all Likely U.S. Voters agree with U.S. Senator Chris Murphy’s recent statement: “The reason that we’re in the crisis that we are today is not because of anything that China did, is not because of anything the [World Health Organization] did. It’s because of what [President Trump] did.” Forty-seven percent (47%) disagree with the Connecticut Democrat. Eleven percent (11%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Once again, though, there’s a clear partisan difference of opinion. Sixty percent (60%) of Democrats agree with Murphy that Trump is more to blame than China and the WHO. Seventy-one percent (71%) of Republicans and unaffiliated voters by a 46% to 39% margin disagree…

Thirty-two percent (32%) of all voters think the U.S. government’s response to the coronavirus has been better than government actions in most other countries. Forty-two percent (42%) say it’s worse than others, while 24% view it as about the same.

Trump has been terrible but I wouldn’t even place him second in line behind China among the key players in this national catastrophe who deserve the most blame. That distinction belongs to the CDC, which accidentally contaminated its own tests at a fateful early moment when wider testing might have helped identify and isolate the sick.

The problem with blaming the president for America’s special failure in containing the virus is that it’s debatable whether our failure is all that special. We have the largest number of confirmed cases in the world by a country mile, with nearly 800,000. Spain is second with just a quarter of that number. (China’s true numbers are known but to God, and to Xi Jinping.) We have the largest number of deaths, nearly double that of Italy. (Again, only if you take China’s numbers — and Iran’s numbers — at face value.) But when you adjust for population, our singular catastrophe is less singular. Measuring by total cases per million people, the U.S. is fourth behind Spain, Belgium, and Italy and nearly identical to France. Measuring by deaths per million, we’re 10th among major western countries. Spain and Italy have more than three times our number and the UK nearly twice as much.

That’s not an excuse for the president, who was embarrassingly sanguine about the threat early on, runs a chaotic shop involving multiple task forces without clear lines of authority, continues to try to shift responsibility for testing and everything else to other people, especially governors, and last week called for “liberating” states that won’t reopen until it’s safer to do so. But many of America’s European allies have been hit just as hit as us, if not more so. Even our prime failure, our inability to ramp up testing, isn’t quite singular. We’ve done a bad job in tests per million people but Britain and France are both worse. Would we have been better off with Boris Johnson as president?

Probably, yeah. (That’s my old-school Never Trump side showing.) But maybe not wildly better. It turns out it’s pretty hard for western countries to get a handle on this particular disease, much more so than it is for Far East nations like South Korea and Taiwan that have had experience containing deadly respiratory illnesses in the recent past.

This plague is Chinese totalitarianism’s curse on the world and I resent any effort to obscure that, Trump’s many faults notwithstanding. In lieu of an exit question, here’s Dan Crenshaw making the case that Trump Is Not To Blame. He’s overstating his case, but earning the president’s favor is a smart move for an ambitious young politician.

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