Tweety McTreason said at a coronavirus press briefing on Monday that his administration would work to allow local economies to “cautiously resume” activities shut down due to the pandemic, saying that the United States “wasn’t built to be shut down” and could reopen in a matter of weeks, “not months.”
“Our public health experts, who are terrific, are studying the variation and the disease across the country, and we will be using data to recommend new protocols to allow local economies to cautiously resume their activity at the appropriate time,” Trump told reporters.
“Our country wasn’t built to be shut down,” Trump continued. “This is not a country that was built for this.”
“America will again, and soon, be open for business,” Trump said. “This was a medical problem. We are not going to let it turn into a long-lasting financial problem.”
“I’m not looking at months,” he said about getting businesses back open. “I can tell you right now.”
Reporters also asked the president about whether Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, agreed with his plan.
“I was just with him,” Trump said when asked by a reporter where Dr. Fauci was, explaining that the infectious disease expert was “at a task force meeting”.
Asked Trump if Fauci agreed with him about the need to restart the economy, Trump replied: “He doesn’t not agree.”
“He understands there’s a tremendous cost to our country,” Trump added.
Q: “Where is Dr. Fauci right now? Why is he not at this briefing?”
Tweety McTreason: I was just with him…he’s at the task force meeting right now.”
Q: “Does he agree with you about the need to reopen the economy soon?”
Tweety McTreason: “He doesn’t not agree.” pic.twitter.com/NC6CkyDmVN
— CSPAN (@cspan) March 23, 2020
Some Republicans have opposed the growing push for restoring normalcy to the U.S. economy and returning workers to their jobs.
“It would be a major mistake to suggest any change of course when it comes to containment,” Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), a close ally of Trump, said in an interview. “I just spoke with Dr. Fauci — he believes that, if anything, we should be more aggressive and do more . . . You can’t have a functioning economy if you have hospitals overflowing. People aren’t going to go to work like that.”
Trump signaled his concerns with the outbreak restrictions and the economy in an all-caps tweet late Sunday night.
“WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF,” Trump said. “AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO!”
“The president is right. The cure can’t be worse than the disease,” National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said on Fox News on Monday. “And we’re going to have to make some difficult trade-offs.”