I went for a nice walk yesterday evening. I didn’t mean to time it so perfectly, but I completely missed Donald Trump’s coronavirus briefing on Monday. I knew what was going to happen anyway, because Vanity Fair had a good preview – their sources claimed that Trump is bored with his racist “China virus” bullsh-t and bored with trying to pretend like he’s a wartime president. He’s so bored, he wants to “reopen the economy.”
According to sources, Trump is increasingly frustrated with Fauci and governors who advocated for shutting down large swathes of the economy to stop COVID-19’s out-of-control spread. According to four Republicans briefed on internal West Wing conversations, Trump is fuming privately that Fauci advised him that the only way to blunt the pandemic was to bring the economy to a halt. “Trump is furious,” a former West Wing official said. “He’s been calling business leaders asking if he should just reopen the economy,” a Republican briefed on the conversations told me. “He’s hearing that you have to get the economy going,” another former West Wing official said.
So far, Trump has refrained from publicly lashing out at Fauci and New York governor Andrew Cuomo, whose lucid and empathetic press conferences are in contrast to Trump’s shambolic media theater. But late Sunday night, as Dallas became the latest city to compel its citizens to stay home, Trump tweeted: “WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF. AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO!”
Weirdly, business leaders (??) seem to be telling Trump that he’s right to be more concerned about the economy than human life. Businesses want some kind of “end date” for how long people can work from home, self-isolate, social distance, etc. So that’s what Trump talked about in last night’s briefing:
President Trump, under growing pressure to rescue an economy in free fall, said Monday that he may soon loosen federal guidelines for social distancing and encourage shuttered businesses to reopen — defying public health experts, who have warned that doing so risks accelerating the spread of the novel coronavirus or even allowing it to rebound.
“America will again and soon be open for business — very soon,” Trump said at the daily White House news conference. “We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself.”
As he watches stock prices plummet and braces for an expected surge in unemployment, Trump has received urgent pleas from rattled business leaders, Republican lawmakers and conservative economists imploring him to remove some of the stringent social distancing guidelines that he put in place for a 15-day period ending March 30, according to several people with knowledge of the internal deliberations.
The consensus among experts — including infectious disease expert Anthony S. Fauci and other senior officials on Trump’s coronavirus task force — is that restaurants, bars, schools, offices and other gathering places should remain closed for many more weeks to mitigate the outbreak, the worst effects of which are yet to be felt in the United States. But Trump has been chafing against that notion and impatient to get American life back to normal.
Yeah, you don’t need me or the Washington Post or Vanity Fair to tell you that every medical expert, every doctor, every hospital administrator, every scientist wants MORE restrictions, more people isolating, more people self-quarantining. If Trump “reopens” the economy in the next month, thousands (perhaps millions) of people will needlessly die after being exposed. Hospitals will collapse. The American medical system will collapse. Trump cares more about corporations than people.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.