(USA Features) President Donald Trump is pushing back on media and some administration officials who want to keep the country virtually shut down for months on end to deal with the emerging coronavirus.
“I’m not looking at months. I can tell you right now, we’re going to be opening up our country,” he said on Monday, suggesting relief could come in weeks.
Aides have said the president is concerned about rising unemployment and economic loss for families and workers, as some worry the unemployment rate could reach as high as 30 percent.
“You have tremendous responsibility,” he said. “We have jobs. We have … people get tremendous anxiety and depression, and you have suicides over things like this when you have terrible economies.
“You have death probably in far greater numbers than the numbers we are talking about with regard to the virus,” Trump said.
The president maintained that it is possible to do both — reopen the country and still protect the most vulnerable Americans.
Asked whether his chief immunologist and pandemic adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, agreed with him, Trump said, “No, he does not agree.”
But on Tuesday during an interview on WMAL’s “Mornings on the Mall” with Mary Walter and Vince Coglianese, Fauci admitted, “Obviously, this is something that’s under very intense discussion.”
“What the president is trying to do is to balance the public health issues with the fact that this is having an enormous impact on the economy, which may actually of the country – indirectly – even cause a considerable amount of harm and difficult even health wise,” he said, echoing the president’s comments a day ago.
“So, it’s a delicate balancing act, which the president is trying to get it right, and we’re under very intense discussions right now about what the most appropriate timeline is and if we do modify it, how we modify it,” Fauci said.