President Donald Trump launched headlong into his push to reopen the country on Tuesday, saying Americans should begin returning to their everyday lives even if it leads to more sickness and death from the pandemic.
Trump, speaking in Phoenix during his first trip outside Washington in more than a month, said he’s preparing for “phase two” of the U.S. response to the coronavirus. That will include disbanding the White House task force of public health experts, including Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, that have steered the government response to the outbreak so far.
Trump acknowledged that reopening the economy would likely lead to more suffering.
“Will some people be affected? Yes. Will some people be affected badly? Yes,” Trump said. “But we have to get our country open and we have to get it open soon.”
On his visit to a Phoenix-based Honeywell International Inc. factory producing medical masks, Trump made his most forceful case yet that the economic damage to the country has become too great to sustain an extended shutdown. He encouraged Americans to think of themselves as “warriors” as they consider leaving their homes, a tacit acknowledgment of deep public reservations about re-opening the country too soon.
The president has expressed increasing frustration with the coronavirus-sparked recession that has put more than 30 million Americans out of work and hurt his case for a second term. The U.S. continues to sport the largest coronavirus outbreak in the world, with about 1.2 million people infected and more than 70,000 killed so far.
Speaking separately in an ABC News interview that aired Tuesday evening, Trump said closing down the nation was “the biggest decision I’ve ever had to make.”
And he was resolute about the decision to reopen the nation, despite the certainty of suffering it will cause until a vaccine is developed.
“There’ll be more death,” he said. “The virus will pass, with or without a vaccine. And I think we’re doing very well on the vaccines but, with or without a vaccine, it’s going to pass, and we’re going to be back to normal.”
“But it’s been a rough process. There is no question about it,” Trump said. “I think our economy is going to be raging” next year, he added.
The White House medical taskforce is being disbanded. No more federal help is coming. States and cities are now on their own. Tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, will die to a preventable disease, but only the economy matters, and lives will have to be sacrificed for the greater good of quarterly profits.
The man in charge of the country is going to sacrifice as many of us as it takes. And as far as Republicans around the country are concerned, the pandemic is over and the governors who took no social distancing measures are taking victory laps.
Why are we allowing this to happen?