The convicted fraudster Conrad Black is brazenly defending Donald Trump’s decision to order 3M to stop sending its N95 protective masks to Canada.
The order has mercifully been rescinded, but the fact that it was ever made in the first place beggars belief. And to rub salt into the wounds, we learn the raw materials for the masks, made in Minnesota, are imported from Canada.
Black tells his National Post readers today:
Has this toady, Lord Black of Crossharbour, no shame?
Of course it is warranted! The confrontation with 3M was set up by Trump to secure the kind of headlines he craves – portraying him as the decisive man of action, putting America first.
Black tries to rationalise Trump's action by citing the report on the pandemic from Imperial College, London. But Black quotes selectively. He says the report
“predicted that it (the coronavirus) could kill over two million Americans”.
Black believes that's why Trump acted in the way he did - to save American lives. The masks were needed in America.
“An American company seemed to be selling to foreign countries articles required to save the lives of Americans. The administration’s reaction was unexceptionable and no other national government would have acted differently.”
In fact, the Imperial College report makes it clear that the projected 2.2 million fatalities in the US would result only if life continued as before with no mitigating interventions - no case isolations, no home quarantines, no social distancing, no school closures and none of the exhortations to wash your hands constantly and cough into your sleeve. The report itself says such a scenario would be unlikely.
The Clown in Chief
On 3 April 2020, 3M said banning the export of respirators to Canada and to Latin America would backfire as other countries might retaliate:
“The Administration also requested that 3M cease exporting respirators that we currently manufacture in the United States to the Canadian and Latin American markets. There are, however, significant humanitarian implications of ceasing respirator supplies to healthcare workers in Canada and Latin America, where we are a critical supplier of respirators. In addition, ceasing all export of respirators produced in the United States would likely cause other countries to retaliate and do the same, as some have already done. If that were to occur, the net number of respirators being made available to the United States would actually decrease.”
On 6 April 2020 3M and the Trump administration agreed the way forward.
“3M will import 166.5 million respirators over the next three months primarily from its manufacturing facility in China, starting in April. The Administration is committed to working to address and remove export and regulatory restrictions to enable this plan. The plan will also enable 3M to continue sending U.S. produced respirators to Canada and Latin America, where 3M is the primary source of supply.”
Black couldn't give a toss about Canada. He is an apologist for the worst President in modern American history.
Fortunately, Trump's time in the White House will soon be over. New polls show him hemorrhaging support in the key groups he needs if he is to win a second term. (And remember, in 2016 he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by 3 million. It was the flawed electoral college that delivered the Presidency to him.)
And now that Bernie Sanders has conceded defeat in the race for the Democrat nomination, everyone who cannot abide Donald Trump will rally round Joe Biden (or "Sleepy Joe" as Trump would say.)
Although Bloomberg found that his millions couldn't buy the Democrat nomination he pledged that he would use his money to back the Democrat nominee. In America's deformed politics - where getting elected at the highest level takes untold millions - this could make the difference.
As I reflect on these things I keep coming back to the big unanswered question.
Here is the latest on covid-19 cases in York Region. Updated at 5pm on 10 April 2020.