On Trump Extending the Social Distancing Guidelines: Advisers Told Him ‘You Will Own These Deaths’

On Trump Extending the Social Distancing Guidelines: Advisers Told Him ‘You Will Own These Deaths’


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Janet Ybarra
Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press

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Donald Trump’s backpedaling on his desire to reopen the country in time for Easter came after campaign advisers for his re-election campaign told him that the public would hold him primarily responsible for the resulting increase in American deaths, according to a Washington Post reporter.

Trump, for about a week, fixated on ending the extreme lockdowns and social distancing which have been in place as a result of the novel coronavirus outbreak, despite public health professionals estimates that that would not be wise from a health perspective.

Trump’s motivation was primarily one to restart the increasingly foundering US economy.

However, Trump changed his mind as his political advisers changed theirs, including that of his son-in-law, White House adviser Jared Kushner, MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell mentioned on her program, in an interview with Washington Post reporter Ashley Parker. Ultimately, Trump recommended that the social distancing be continued through April.

“That’s exactly right. And I don’t want to say it was only political considerations because it wasn’t. It was him listening to the scientists, having a very good and warm chemistry with especially Dr. [Deborah] Birx,” Parker said, referring to the White House coronavirus response coordinator. “It was as he said publicly seeing those images out of Elmhurst Hospital in Queens in the shadow where he grew up. But there was a political undercurrent as well.

“The president, as we understand, was told by campaign advisers and allies basically that he would pay more of a political price,” Parker added. “Of course, it’s a virus spiraled further out of control and there were more deaths than he would for an economic shutdown. There’s a belief that was communicated to him that as of now, he doesn’t own any of the downside of the economy.

“It’s a global pandemic, and he will own all of the upside if and when the economy rebounds, but a number of allies and advisers told him, ‘You will own these deaths. You will owe what happens with the coronavirus,’ and that and the models and numbers he was shown, these very grim forecasts, helped get him to abruptly the turnaround we saw in the Rose Garden Sunday and extend the social distancing guidance for 30 days until the end of April,” Parker said.

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