If nothing else, the coronavirus outbreak is giving us an amazing glimpse into the mindset of city and state Democratic politicians and how they view their jobs at the local level. From New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, the impulse appears to be to blame President Trump for the nightmare unfolding in their communities.
Keep in mind: These are the same local Democrats who have done everything but secede from the United States under the Trump administration, refusing to lift a finger to cooperate with Trump on illegal immigration. But now that their awful leadership has been exposed, oh, now it’s time to point the finger at the White House and blame Trump.
It seems like New Orleans is going to look like an absolute disaster zone in a week or so. They have a coronavirus infection rate that is currently growing more quickly than it did even in the Lombardy region of Italy. And more than a few observers have noted that the city’s annual Mardi Gras festivities may have played an outsized role in spreading the coronavirus wide and far throughout the city. Naturally, this means that local officials are being asked some uncomfortable questions, such as: Do you think it was wise to go through with the parade?
“Experts say, Mayor, that the Mardi Gras celebrations at the end of February in New Orleans may have actually played a role in accelerating the spread of this virus,” CNN’s Wolf Blitzer said in an interview with Cantrell on Thursday. “More than a million people came to your beautiful city at the time. We are showing some video of that right now. At the time, Mayor, did you have any guidance from health experts on the potential risk of coronavirus?”
“Well, you know that the city of New Orleans as it relates to Mardi Gras, we plan Mardi Gras as a year-long effort. Around a part of our unified command is the federal government. Homeland Security, as well as the FBI. So in reaching out, meaning my health directors and public safety officials, every step of the way consulted with federal partners as well as the CDC in reference to COVID-19,” she replied.
“The federal government did not issue any red flags and, therefore, we moved forward with federal agents being a part of our unified command on the ground,” she continued. “And with the first time the city of New Orleans for Mardi Gras, we’re at a rating that was an improvement given to us by the federal government. So every step of the way, the federal government has been partners with us with Mardi Gras. No red flags were given. So absolutely, we moved forward.”
Look, we’re not necessarily coming down on Cantrell or New Orleans city officials for failing to cancel the event. No one was thinking in those terms at the end of February. Hell, Disney World was still open for business on March 15.
But for her and Wolf Blitzer to start passing the buck up the chain to President Trump and the federal government is a joke. We’re seeing this happen in New York City, California, and elsewhere. If there are elected officials to blame for this outbreak – and we’re not convinced, really, that there are – then why don’t we start with the ones on the ground?