His administration’s goal is to “ease the guidelines and open things up to very large sections of our country as we near the end of our historic battle with the invisible enemy,” the president said. “It’s been going a while time, but we win. We win.”
He has targeted Easter, 12 April, as his date for declaring the United States “open for business.” But, later in a shorter briefing than usual, a senior – and widely respected – member of his public health team said he had privately urged his boss to remain “flexible” as Mr Trump acknowledged his goal is not based on medical science or data about the virus outbreak. Senior congressional Democrats and experts panned his plans and called on him to listen to scientific experts, although the always-defiant president again and again flashed his penchant to follow his own instincts as he makes a major gamble about his re-election chances.
Should his declaration of victory and plan to reopen at least part of the country pan out, he will be able to take Air Force One to campaign rallies in key swing states and say his hunches defeated a pandemic, making him uniquely suited for a second term. But should the outbreak become more widespread, as experts warn, his judgement will be severely damaged in a manner that could prove a death knell among the key voting blocs that are expected to decide the 2020 election.