A new Donald Trump “scandal” dropped on Friday, and it may be the most asinine yet.
I don’t say that lightly. If this doesn’t top the list, it’s at least in the top five. And don’t get me wrong, there have been a lot of really dumb accusations made against Trump, but the level of purposeful obfuscation of context in this latest example is something to behold.
The setup is a report from the House’s select subcommittee dealing with the coronavirus crisis. According to the Associated Press, Democrats have decided that the former president is a really bad orange man for…pushing to keep meat processing facilities open during the pandemic.
A new congressional report says that the meat processing industry worked closely with political appointees in the Trump administration at the height of the pandemic to stave off restrictions and keep slaughterhouses open even as COVID-19 spread rapidly. https://t.co/LEUqYDjJF8
— The Associated Press (@AP) May 12, 2022
During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the meat processing industry worked closely with political appointees in the Trump administration to stave off health restrictions and keep slaughterhouses open even as the virus spread rapidly among workers, according to a congressional report released Thursday.
The report by the House’s Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis said meat companies pushed to keep their plants open even though they knew workers were at high risk of catching the coronavirus. The lobbying led to health and labor officials watering down their recommendations for the industry and culminated in an executive order President Donald Trump issued in spring 2020 designating meat plants as critical infrastructure that needed to remain open.
Now, I’m no scientist, so far be it from me to step out of line here, but I’m pretty sure that if human beings don’t eat, they die. That’s especially true when talking about foods that provide protein. It’s called starving, and you’d think it’s something Democrats in the Congress would be familiar with given they are currently presiding over an unprecedented baby formula shortage.
Yet, instead of acknowledging that keeping those meat processing plants open was a vital aspect of keeping the country from fully collapsing during 2020, Rep. Jim Clyburn and others are calling it “shameful” that they stayed open.
“The shameful conduct of corporate executives pursuing profit at any cost during a crisis and government officials eager to do their bidding regardless of resulting harm to the public must never be repeated,” Clyburn said.
It’s hard to imagine living in a bubble that thick. I’m sure the Washington elites would have been the last people to go hungry, but the rest of the nation would not have been so lucky, had the supply chain for meat imploded in the middle of having everyone locked in their homes. The idea that these companies were “pursuing profit” by not just shutting down completely ignores that fact.
Of course, the Associated Press does as well. Nowhere do they concede that there was a trade-off in risking infections vs. keeping the American people fed. Yes, these companies were pushing back on the health authorities, but that was necessary. That the Trump administration decided to work with them and not against them was a net positive for a country that could not have afforded another crisis at the time. And running out of meat would have constituted that.
Besides, had those processing plants been shut down and the meat supply been severely interrupted, these same Democrats would have been screaming at Trump for not doing enough to keep food on the shelves. It didn’t matter what he did, they would attack him.
Of course, some people were infected with COVID-19 and died while working at these plants. But the risk of infection was high everywhere, and there’s no doubt keeping food in the mouths of Americans was a critical priority despite the risks. Trump did absolutely nothing wrong here.