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COVID mandates at heart of GOP primary contest

The Republican Presidential primary contest has turned squarely against COVID vaccines and mandates as both sides disavow them.

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COVID related mandates – about masks and vaccines – are now at the heart of the contest between Donald J. Trump and Ron DeSantis for the Republican Presidential nomination. Each side accuses the other of favoring such mandates at a time they now say they didn’t. But neither side will say anything positive about such mandates, or defend them.This goes to show that the entire COVID regime has fallen out of favor.

The COVID saga – what we can remember

The virus known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus No. 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the putative causative agent of Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19, or COVID), came to the United States probably on airline flights from mainland China. Where it came from, people cannot seem to agree. Government organs, including the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, claimed at the time that the virus came from a “wet market” in the Chinese city of Wuhan. A hapless Chinese citizen bought a live bat, took it home, made soup out of it – and sickened and died. This “Bat Soup Theory” became the only theory anyone was allowed to have.

Today, no one outside of fanatical “Deep State apologist” circles believes that any longer. Instead they believe that Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, funded “gain of function” research on coronaviruses during the Obama administration. At some point in that process, Barack Obama ordered the project suspended – or rather, moved. According to this theory, Fauci had the project, including all sample, moved – to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

After the Russian Federation began its Special Military Operation in Ukraine, another theory emerged. According to this one, the real origin of SARS-CoV-2 are biological development laboratories in Ukraine, which the Soviet Union established. These laboratories – with American funding, American direction, and American staffs – became the Russians’ first targets. Except that by then, the virus was already in other laboratories.

Of masks and vaccines

In March of 2020, President Trump announced the COVID “pandemic” in the United States. Mask, social-distance, and other mandates swiftly followed. The United States economy literally shut down, and in many States stayed shut down for more than a year. Schools abruptly cut the 2019-2020 academic year short and did not even have in-person instruction in 2021-2022. Instead they set up remote instrruction – leading to parental insights into the lessons many teachers were giving, lessons the divulging of which those same teachers came to live to regret. Homeschooling grew exponentially as a direct result.


At the same time, President Trump announced “Operation Warp Speed” for the development of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2. Those vaccines now have a reputation for bringing nothing but harm to those who took them. The world remembers Lisa Shaw, “presenter” for the BBC, who took a vaccine preparation, died a month later, and – to the mortifying embarrassment of the medical establishment – came to autopsy. Final Anatomical Diagnosis: multiple strokelets, due to Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation, as a direct consequence of the vaccine she took. Nevertheless, vaccine mandates came to America – mandates for what evidence now suggests are weapons of mass murder.

Worse than that, the mask and social-distance mandates changed our elections to the least secure they could be. The election of President Biden is likely a direct result. In point of fact, the practices that handed him the election, would not have been allowed but for COVID.

Trump and DeSantis – the real record

So that now Donald J. Trump, seeking to return to the White House, and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), are now each accusing the other of initiating and/or promoting mask or vaccine mandates, or allowing it to happen on his watch.

Gov. DeSantis today is maintaining, consistently, that he kept his State open. He has a history of ordering a criminal investigation into “any and all wrongdoing” relating to the COVID vaccines. But he did not keep Florida open in the earliest stages of the COVID period. Only one State governor kept her State open: Gov. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.). In August of 2020, the South Dakota House of Representatives voted against authorizing their governor to close schools or businesses. So she announced that, absent any specific grant of authority, she would not arrogate such authority to herself. Result: South Dakota stayed open – to great praise by Contributor Bradlee Dean, who singled her out for following the law. Robert W. Peck, head of the U.S. Constitution Party, offered similar praise, echoing this article in The American Spectator.

That same Spectator article tells us that Gov. DeSantis did push to reopen schools in the fall of 2020. The Los Angeles Times called the DeSantis strategy a failure, though even on “containment” terms their evidence was debatable. But admitted that DeSantis actually had it right. They also remembered the names the legacy media called him: “Death-Santis!” “Duh-Santis!” Why? For “locking down later and opening up earlier.”


Current COVID recriminations – or faulty memories

And so, for the record: yes, Donald Trump took bad advice and supported a vaccine development program. Yes, he allowed governors to do as they saw fit. One governor followed the law and never locked her State down, and that governor was not Ron DeSantis. But DeSantis seems to have realized his error early, and corrected it. As for Trump – well, Anthony S. Fauci was not the only adviser to give him bad advice. (Though he was, by all odds, the worst.)

Bear all the above in mind when judging the back-and-forth screaming between the two campaigns. First, we have Jeremy Redfern, DeSantis’ press secretary, and the even numbers in a thread he dropped late yesterday afternoon:

In contrast, we have this tweet suggesting that DeSantis might not have opened everything up fully. Why did a mask mandate remain in Florida in 2022?

Here’s an interesting criticism of Christina Pushaw, DeSantis’ “rapid response coordinator,” who criticized Trump for allegedly starting “COVID hysteria.”

Note the affiliation: New Leaders Initiative, an environmentalist group.


In fact, Christina Pushaw and Laura Loomer (a consistent Trump supporter) got into a full-on war of words:

She posted this next tweet after noticing an interesting timestamp:


Again, we see apologists for Trump and DeSantis trying to outdo one another on rejection of the COVID mandates. As usual, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. CNAV’s own archives should, we hope, set the record straight.

Indeed, the worst mistake Trump made in his first term was to trust people because they had risen high. And that mistake actually becomes fairly common when one evaluates members of the medical profession. The American educational system has promoted many cults that one can associate, directly or indirectly, with modern medicine. Our teachers have taught us to remember fondly – indeed venerate – Saints Edward (Jenner), Jonas (Salk), Albert (Sabin), and Louis (Pasteur). Not to mention Sir Gunnar Kasson, Knight of the Most Excellent Order of the Iditarod. (For the Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race commemorates his famous race to Nome, Alaska, to deliver diphtheria antitoxin.) And, of course, The Right Honorable Abraham, Lord Flexner, promulgator of the current academic model for instruction in medicine. Against the worship of such cult figures as these, Donald Trump, layman that he is, suffered a failure of imagination.

Today Trump would serve himself best of all by owning his mistake and pledging not to repeat it. Only his monumental ego stops him. But this cannot excuse Gov. DeSantis’ supporters for obscuring his record. For though he corrected his error, it ill befits him now to deny having made it. Indeed, one governor only did not make that same error.


No solace!

But let us also remember what the postures of these two opposing camps says of the COVID narrative and mandates. Those who invented the one and promoted the other, get no solace today. That gives the best hope that America will get new leaders who can re-imagine “pandemic response” in a manner that respects human liberty – and also, ironically, avoids the casualty count so much of the world saw.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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