Washington (CNN)To staffers inside the White House, it was clear by mid-April the “big bang” economic revival once predicted by President Donald Trump wasn’t in the cards. By April 23, they decided to do something about it.
Trump’s push to reopen the economy comes as hope for a quick recovery fades
That day during his televised coronavirus briefing, Trump had made his much-maligned suggestion that injections of disinfectant could somehow treat coronavirus. Aides deemed the episode a disaster that could not be repeated. Instead of hours-long sessions flanked by doctors like Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, Trump and his advisers agreed that turning his attention to the economy was the best move.
Not only would it keep him from making precarious health musings, aides also believed Trump was a more natural messenger on economic issues rather than health ones, where he repeatedly committed blunders when discussing the medical aspects of the crisis.
Frustrated with the bleak advice they were getting from medical advisers, and with the November election looming, the President’s economic team prevailed with a simple message: reopen the country as soon as possible.
The pivot, however, has been halting. While Trump’s public messaging has shifted decidedly from concern over the health effects of the virus to concern over the reeling economy, it’s unclear what difference it’s making.
A much-heralded “Reopening the Country Council” wound up being little more than a list of important names from the private sector, many of whom didn’t even realize they were participating. Attempts to wind down the health-focused White House coronavirus task force were abandoned after an outcry persuaded Trump to preserve it. And the government’s own guidelines for re-opening have effectively been tossed aside, as many states set to reopen fail to meet the White House criteria.