Campaign on Operation: Warp Speed

I recently read Scott Gottlieb’s account of the COVID pandemic, Uncontrolled Spread. I’ve long seen him as the most intelligent pundit on public health in recent years, and this book is among the best pandemic histories I’ve read. Because he was a regular go-to guy on the outside, for the Trump administration, Gottlieb’s book also reads like a memoir as he accounts how government officials, in both Beijing and Washington, would contact him for advice.

Gottlieb’s stature makes a particular passage all the more important. He heaps some well-deserved praise on the Trump administration.

Operation Warp Speed was a bright spot: one of the greatest public health achievements in modern times. The unprecedented research effort helped to deliver safe and effective vaccines and to secure new efficiencies in manufacturing. The Trump administration deserves credit for helping to facilitate that accomplishment, which will eventually end the pandemic. The success of Operation Warp Speed proved what government can accomplish when it functions well, to improve our preparedness and protect the nation.

When we’ve seen the Biden administration stumble over much smaller things, like cutting the red tape for baby formula supplies, there is certainly an opportunity to make comparisons with how democratic administrations get a little too fond of regulatory barriers, even during a crisis.

Sadly, Trump does not appear to be capitalizing on what is probably his administration’s greatest achievement. It got smothered by the internet folklore of too many of his followers, and ah there’s the rub. Or shall I say there’s the jab?

Eric Shierman lives in Salem and is the author of We were winning when I was there.