The Democrats' COVID-19 committee is a political gamble
Andrew Korybko

Editor's note: Andrew Korybko is a Moscow-based American political analyst. The article reflects the author's opinion, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on April 2 that she's seeking for form a special committee to oversee the Trump administration's handling of the COVID-19 crisis, as well as to review the implementation of the newly passed two-trillion-U.S.-dollar stimulus package. On the surface, all of this seems reasonable enough, since Americans deserve answers and transparency, but it's very likely that this move will be abused for political purposes.

The Democrats have done their utmost to undermine Trump even before he won the presidency. But in their role as the opposition after the elections, they intensified their efforts by seeking his impeachment on the grounds that he "colluded" with Russia during the 2016 campaign and then was illegally trying to dig up dirt on former vice president Joe Biden, Democratic Party's current front-runner in the 2020 presidential election, last summer by supposedly withholding aid to Ukraine in exchange for political favors. Both accusations were never proven and Trump was vindicated.

Nevertheless, the Democrats won't let a good crisis go to waste. Their investigation into his handling of the COVID-19 crisis is built on the nascent narrative that Trump didn't take this global pandemic seriously enough, and that his allegedly belated response has been poorly managed, highly partisan, and ultimately put American lives at risk. Furthermore, they're suspicious of how he'll implement the two trillion dollar stimulus package and fear that he wants to bail out corporations more than help average Americans.

This special committee could very likely set up new clashes between President Donald Trump and the Democrats. /AP

This special committee could very likely set up new clashes between President Donald Trump and the Democrats. /AP

Trump and his supporters, meanwhile, point to his decision early on to ban flights from China as proof that he was ahead of the curve this entire time. In addition, they point to the fact that the U.S. is a federal system whereby states have the direct responsibility for handling crises within their borders, with the federal government providing assistance as needed, but being unable to lead each and every effort on the ground in this respect.

Some observers, however, are skeptical of the Trump administration's counter-narrative. They're reminded of the president's earlier public statements downplaying the severity of this global viral outbreak. And new information has come to light from The Nation that the Trump Administration didn't do anything to help the military reverse their shortage of ventilators, masks, and hospital beds that the armed forces allegedly made the authorities aware of in 2017 as part of a scenario planning report.

There are certainly many questions that will eventually have to be answered about why the American government proverbially dropped the ball when responding to this pandemic, despite having roughly a quarter of a year's worth of time to prepare for it after China's public disclosed information about a new virus outbreak.

It's arguably the case that the Democrats have a political interest in pursuing this investigation, since they've been trying to undermine Trump for years already and fear that Biden won't be able to unseat him in November if he becomes the party's nominee, as many observers expect. Since the Ukraine scandal failed to impeach him, the Democrat's next best hope is to pin the blame for the country's inadequate response to the COVID-19 crisis squarely on Trump's shoulders, hoping that Americans won't vote for him.

The stock market has been falling and unemployment is at an historic high, with many fearing that America is approaching its worst economic crisis in history that might even overshadow the infamous Great Depression. The Trump administration has a lot of questions to answer, but the Democrats' exploitation of this crisis is self-interested and could backfire on them in November.

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