WASHINGTON — President Trump says he still wants to reopen the country on Easter — even if all states can’t meet his “beautiful timeline.”
But health authorities and lawmakers remain skeptical of Trump’s vision to return life to normal in less than three weeks for the April 12 Christian holiday.
Allowing work and social life to return “needs to be scientifically blessed by the experts,” GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina implored Trump after he laid out the vision on Tuesday.
And Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and a key member of Trump’s task force, said the president needed to be “flexible” about the date and rely on the actual data on the virus spread before acting.
Still, at his daily coronavirus task force briefing Wednesday night, Trump doubled-down, saying Democrats wanted to harm the economy and keep the nation largely shutdown in order to hurt his reelection chances.
“I think there are certain people that would like it not to open so quickly,” Trump said. “I think there are certain people that would like [the economy] to do financially poorly, because they think that would be very good as far as defeating me at the polls.”
He added: “I’m not going to do anything rash or hastily — I don’t do that. But the country wants to get back to work.”
The president allowed that his symbolically ideal Easter reopening might only work in less-impacted regions.
“There’s big sections of our country that are very, you know little affected by what’s taking place, then there are other sections that are very heavily affected,” Trump said. “I would say by Easter we’ll have a recommendation.”
Trump added that Americans had learned better health practices thanks to the coronavirus that’s infected at least 65,000 in the US and killed nearly 1,000. New York is hardest hit, with about half of cases.
“They’re not going to go walk around hugging and kissing each other in the office when they come back, even though they may feel like it,” he said.