House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday vehemently disagreed with President Donald Trump’s recent suggestions to “open” the country back up for business, saying the economy will recover when the coronavirus pandemic has passed.
“Well there doesn’t have to be a contradiction there. Our economy will thrive when our people are well and able to go back to work in groups and collaborate on the enthusiasms that they have in their entrepreneurial spirits or in the workplace that they thrive, and our children can go back to school,” Pelosi told CNN’s Dana Bash on “Inside Politics.” “But central to all of that is stopping the spread of disease — of the coronavirus.”
Earlier Tuesday, Trump, who has been itching to scale back social distancing guidelines, wrote in a tweet, “Our people want to return to work. They will practice Social Distancing and all else, and Seniors will be watched over protectively & lovingly. We can do two things together. THE CURE CANNOT BE WORSE (by far) THAN THE PROBLEM!”
During a Fox News town hall on Tuesday, Trump reiterated he was eager to see the nation return to normal, even as doctors warn the US will see a massive spike in cases if Americans return to crowded workplaces or events.
“I give it two weeks,” Trump said, suggesting he was ready to phase out his 15-day self-isolating guidelines once they expire. “I guess by Monday or Tuesday it’s about two weeks. And we’ll assess at that time and we’ll give it some more time if we need a little more time. But we have to open this country up.”
Pelosi told Bash that Trump should listen to scientists’ advice on the pandemic, saying he should be “scientifically-inclined (and) evidence-based.”
“We have the best minds in the country, 24/7, all hands on deck trying to find a path here. And that is what will be the light at the end of the tunnel,” she said. “What the President is suggesting is that that light at the end of the tunnel could be a train coming at us if people are out and about in a way that spreads the disease further.”
Trump made clear at a press briefing on Monday that he plans to lift his self-isolating guidelines soon, a potential move that has caused aides to search for a compromise that would avoid a return to normal life, which health experts warn could be disastrous.
Such a step would pose dramatic risks, the experts warn, since Americans who have contracted coronavirus could spread it even if they’re not showing symptoms. Returning to crowded gatherings or bustling offices would drastically increase the spread.
Business leaders and some conservatives, meanwhile, have countered that a virtual shutdown of the American economy is causing its own kind of dramatic damage as millions of Americans lose their jobs and livelihoods.
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