“The people aren’t going to accept” a long shutdown, Donald Trump said Tuesday, even as poll after poll finds that a majority of people support stay-at-home orders or would not want to go to the sort of businesses Trump is pushing to reopen. But Trump’s imagination of what “the people aren’t going to accept” is, of course, all about what Trump wants, and he’s not only pressing to reopen businesses but teased the idea of shutting down the White House coronavirus task force before retreating following an outcry.
Because nothing says “time to stop fighting” like models of likely deaths rebounding up as the death count crosses 70,000 with no end in sight. That’s just the moment to start talking about disbanding the centralized effort to fight the pandemic because of “the tremendous progress we’ve made as a country,” as Mike Pence put it. In fact, the thought of shutting down the coronavirus task force looks a lot like surrender … to the virus and to the fact that the botched response is hurting Trump’s reelection chances.
Trump is clear: his mental image of an open economy comes before human life, and admitting that “I’m not saying anything is perfect” is the closest he can come to empathy about that fact.
“And, yes, will some people be affected? Yes. Will some people be affected badly? Yes. But we have to get our country open, and we have to get it open soon,” Trump said as he toured a mask factory—while not wearing a mask himself—on Tuesday. To spell it out: “some people” being “affected badly” means tens of thousands of deaths. Conservatively. And Trump doesn’t want to keep fighting that fact any more.
”I’ve always said if you do that prematurely, you run the risk of there being rebound and [an] increase in cases,” Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said of reopening.
”The rebound will be masked because of the lag in the system,” Columbia University epidemiologist Jeffrey Shaman explained. “By the time you recognize the rebound, it could be too late. Cases will still increase for another two weeks or more.”
A new poll from Civiqs shows 65% support for stay-at-home orders, while 54% of people disapprove of Trump’s handling of the crisis. A new Washington Post/University of Maryland poll finds that well under half of people support opening a range of kinds of businesses, from just 18% support for reopening movie theaters to a high of 41% support for reopening golf courses. In that poll, Trump’s response was rated negatively by 56% of people.