Mnuchin: Trump Travel Advisory Came After ‘Unanimous’ WH Task Force Recommendation

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks during the daily briefing on COVID-19 at the White House on March 25, 2020. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
March 29, 2020 2:24 p.m.
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Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin provided some detail into what led President Trump to back away from his idea to quarantine the New York tri-state area to contain its surge of coronavirus cases, during an interview on Fox News Sunday morning.

During an interview on CNN Sunday morning, coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci said that the Trump administration released a travel advisory instead of a quarantine for the tri-state area after “very intensive discussions” at the White House with the President last night.

When asked by Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace about why Trump decided against his tri-state quarantine idea in the end, Mnuchin said that although the President “very seriously” considered it, he backed away after the White House coronavirus task force met with Vice President Mike Pence.

“It was the unanimous decision — the recommendation — of the task force to go forward with the advisory,” Mnuchin said. “The vice president, myself, [incoming chief of staff] Mark Meadows and others met with the President yesterday afternoon and he decided to go forward with the recommendation.”

Pressed on why Trump initially thought a quarantine might be necessary, Mnuchin said the President “wanted to consider all the options.”

“He was obviously concerned what was going on with New York,” Mnuchin said. “He spoke to the task force, he spoke to the governors and he was comfortable that people would take this advisory very seriously and would not travel.”

Regarding Trump’s desire to reopen the economy by Easter, Mnuchin said that he’s going to defer to medical professionals and the President on whether that’s a realistic timeline. Mnuchin added that his “full-time focus is delivering” on the $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill.

At the end of the interview, Mnuchin expressed optimism that the U.S. economy will bounce back in the third quarter.

“What I do think is: we are gonna kill this virus. We’re gonna re-open this economy,” Mnuchin said. “And in the third quarter of this year, you’re gonna see this economy bounce back with very large GDP numbers and very low unemployment back to where we were beforehand.”

Watch Mnuchin’s remarks on Fox News below:

Mnuchin shared a similar sentiment on CBS Sunday morning, saying that the economy will come “roaring back” once “we kill this virus.”

“This money is going to go into the economy very quickly,” Mnuchin said, referring to the coronavirus stimulus bill. “It is going to help American workers very, very quickly. And I don’t know how long it’s going to take to kill this virus. I do know we will kill this virus. And when we do, I have great confidence that the U.S. economy will become roaring back.”

Watch Mnuchin’s remarks on CBS below:

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