Trump ‘abandoned dream of re-opening country by Easter after campaign warned move would hurt re-election hopes’ – The Sun
DONALD Trump reportedly abandoned his goal of re-opening the country by Easter after being warned the move could harm his chance of re-election.
Multiple reports said that alongside coronavirus guidance from health officials, President Trump's decision was also influenced by political advisers who warned it could harm poll numbers.
The President had previously said he thought the country could be re-opened by Easter amid the coronavirus pandemic – but health officials warned that lifting social distancing guidelines too early may cost more than a million lives.
"I would love to have it opened by Easter," Trump said at a virtual town hall meeting last week.
This Sunday, however, Trump extended social distancing guidelines to April 30 – a month longer than the original 15-day period.
He also said that keeping the COVID-19 death toll to 100,000 would be "a very good job."
Multiple sources told the Washington Post that alongside briefings from health officials and scientists, campaign officials and political advisers told Trump that a spike in deaths could cause more political harm ahead of the election in November than the economic impacts would.
Political advisers for Trump also cautioned that polling numbers show voters prefer extended social distancing guidelines, versus re-opening the country too soon, the New York Times reported.
Campaign officials for President Trump did not immediately respond to The Sun's requests for comment.
Officials declined to comment on the matter to The Washington Post.
As of Tuesday, the U.S. had confirmed more than 165,000 cases of coronavirus with over 3,500 deaths.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Coronavirus Task Force member and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN on Monday that he presented models projecting the possible effects if social distancing guidelines were lifted too soon – and Trump agreed to extend them.
"We showed him the data. He looked at the data and he got it right away," Fauci told CNN's John Berman on "New Day."
"It was a pretty clear picture. Dr. Debbie Birx and I went in together in the Oval Office and leaned over the desk and said, 'Here are the data. Take a look.'"
"He looked at them, he understood them and he just shook his head and said, 'I guess we got to do it.'" Fauci said.
If the guidelines were lifted around Easter, 128 million Americans could become infected, according to a projection created by Epidemiologists for the New York Times.
Despite warnings from health officials, Trump had maintained that he wanted to re-open the country – or later, parts of the country – by Easter.
The President had also claimed media want to hurt his chances of being re-elected by keeping the country closed.
Dr. Fauci had insisted that on the timeline the President was pushing for would not happen, and called the goal "aspirational".
That decision was reversed Sunday, however, when Trump extended the lockdown until the end of next month.
As of Tuesday, the U.S. had over 20 percent of the world's more than 823,000 coronavirus cases.
The reports on Trump's reasons for reversing the lockdown end date came the same day as a leaked recording on a call with U.S. governors when the President said he heard about testing being a problem."
"Literally we are one day away, if we don’t get test kits from the C.D.C., that we wouldn’t be able to do testing in Montana,” Gov. Steve Bullock said, as reported by the New York Times.
Trump said: “I haven’t heard about testing in weeks.”
“We’ve tested more now than any nation in the world. We’ve got these great tests and we’re coming out with another one tomorrow.”
He added: “I haven’t heard about testing being a problem.”
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi also called for Trump on Tuesday for Trump to get healthcare workers more protective equipment and the need for "proper testing, testing, testing" in America.
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