Business leaders are blanching at President Donald Trump’s plan to reopen the U.S. economy as soon as May 1, according to a new report from Politico, because they fear the notoriously unorganized and often irrational president could be making a giant mistake which will only serve to make matters worse.
Late last week at the daily Coronavirus Task Force press conference, Trump was asked what “metrics” he would use to determine the right time to rescind his national shelter in place order. He replied:
“’I will say this: I want to get it open as soon as we can. We have to get our country open,’ Trump told reporters at a White House briefing on Friday. When asked which metrics he would use to make his decision, he pointed to his head: ‘The metrics right here. That’s my metrics. That’s all I can do.'”
Based on Trump’s own words, the decision will be based on little more than a hunch, which is extremely troubling for many in the business community:
“The president, administration economic officials and business leaders — many of whom offer the opposite advice of top health officials — want the certainty of knowing the economy will open on a specific date, regardless of whether the White House arrives at that date through Trump’s own instincts, political imperatives or the advice of health officials.”
While the White House is consulting with members of the business community, the administration doesn’t appear to have an actual plan or set of goals in place for what will determine when the national lockdown ends:
“Trump and his top aides are receiving advice from a number of executives and donors, some of whom are urging him to reopen the country in phases. The president and his advisers have yet to settle on the benchmarks they’ll use to decide which parts of the country reopen and when, according to interviews with eight senior administration officials and Republicans close to the White House.”
One Republican who spoke to Politico noted that if Trump chooses to move prematurely without the support of scientific and medical advisers, he could wind up dooming whatever chance he has of winning a second term in office:
“If it is based off of data or metrics or some type of threshold, then the White House will have to put that out there and start building the case because the president has said he will do it in a way that is safe. If he lays out the case, then I think he will have the public with him. If it is just by his gut, that is where he will get beaten up politically.
“In the absence of that road map, there will be a lot of political criticism.”
Given Trump’s track record, a road map based on facts would seem to be an absolute impossibility.
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