WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump again used his daily White House briefing on the coronavirus to rail against the press and Democrats, arguing Wednesday that they oppose his idea to potentially reopen businesses within weeks because they want the economy to fail and hurt his reelection prospects.
In recent days, Trump has said he wants businesses in large parts of the country to reopen by Easter, defying public health experts who say people need to continue isolating and social distancing for several months.
When CBS News reporter Paula Reid asked Wednesday if the president's Easter timeline was linked to his political interests, Trump lashed out.
“The media would like to see me do poorly in the election,” he said. “I think there are certain people who would like it not to open so quickly. There are certain people who would like [the economy] to do poorly because that would be very good as far as defeating me at the polls. I don't know if that's so, but I think there are people in your profession that would like that to happen. I think it's very clear.”
He continued, telling Reid, “I think it's very clear that there are people in your profession that write fake news. You do. She does. There are people in your profession that write fake news. They would love to see me, for whatever reason — because we've done one hell of a job. Nobody's done the job that we've done. And it's lucky that you have this group here right here for this problem, or you wouldn't even have a country left. Okay?”
The president made a similar argument on Twitter earlier on Wednesday.
The plan, Trump has said, would be to lock down hot spots like New York where there are a high number of cases and let businesses in other parts of the country reopen in the coming weeks.
But experts say the entire country does need to remain closed and people need to remain home for more than just a few more weeks. Vincent Racaniello, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Columbia University, told BuzzFeed News on Monday that there isn’t enough testing being done in the US to know how many people have been infected. This makes any plan to keep infection hot spots locked down impossible.
“If you just lock down [those] who have clinical symptoms, it's not going to do a damn thing,” Racaniello said. “For god’s sake, do people really not have any patience in this country? It was finite in China. It will be finite here.”
Additionally, according to estimates from the New York Times, many states could hit peak cases in May, several weeks after Easter.
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