President Trump went further with his recent remarks advocating for the reopening of the U.S. economy, despite a spike in coronavirus cases, during a “virtual town hall” on Fox News Tuesday.
On Monday night, Trump repeatedly said during his coronavirus task force briefing at the White House that “our country wasn’t built to be shut down,” referring to the extreme measures that some cities, states and even the federal government have suggested or enforced in an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus. The President added that “America will again and soon be open for business,” which he said would be “a lot sooner than three or four months, that somebody was suggesting.”
According to Johns Hopkins University, there are over 50,000 confirmed cases and at least 600 total deaths in the U.S. alone from COVID-19 as of Tuesday afternoon.
The President didn’t stray far from his Monday night remarks during Fox News’ “virtual town hall” the next morning, which also featured members of the White House coronavirus task force, by saying that he wants to “open” the U.S. economy back up by Easter (April 12).
“We’re opening up this incredible country because we have to do that. I would love to have it open by Easter,” Trump said. “I would love to have that. It’s such an important day for other reasons, but I’d love to make it an important day for this. I would love to have the country opened up, and rarin’ to go by Easter.”
Minutes before declaring his Easter deadline goal, Trump said that social distancing and going back to work is possible, but we’ll have to “work a little harder.”
“You can clean your hands five times more than you use to,” Trump said. “You don’t have to shake hands anymore with people — that might be something good coming out of this.”
In an interview with Fox News’ Bill Hemmer after the “virtual town hall” later Tuesday, Trump said that Easter Sunday would be a “beautiful time” for Americans to get back to work because there will be “packed churches” all over the country.
“It is just about the timeline that I think is right,” Trump said. “Gives us more chance to work on what we’re doing and I’m not sure that’s going to be the day, but I would love to aim it right at Easter Sunday so we are open for church service and services generally on Easter Sunday — that would be a beautiful thing.”
Trump explains why Easter Sunday is a "beautiful time" for Americans to be working again pic.twitter.com/lwg5cayiKB
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) March 24, 2020
Trump’s latest remarks come as public health experts have warned that relaxing social distancing could prompt a surge in millions of deaths, which would further overwhelm the U.S. health care system.