President Donald Trump on Tuesday said “there will be more death” as the U.S. reopens its economy and sends people back to work.
“It’s possible there will be some because you won’t be locked into an apartment or a house or whatever it is,” the president told ABC News in Arizona.
During a roundtable with the leaders of Native American tribes in the state, Trump also acknowledged the potential cost of trying to return to normalcy.
Photos: Coronavirus Lockdown Protests
“I’m not saying anything is perfect. And, yes, will some people be affected? Yes. Will some people be affected badly? Yes. But we have to get our country open, and we have to get it open soon,” he said.
Trump’s push to get the economy back on track comes as the administration talks about phasing out the White House coronavirus task force, which consists of health officials like Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx and has been shifted out of the spotlight since its press briefings ceased toward the end of last month.
But Trump on Wednesday tweeted that the task force will “continue on indefinitely” with a focus on reopening the country, therapeutics and vaccines, adding that the administration might “add or subtract” members.
Meanwhile, the U.S. hasn’t shown significant signs of slowing the pandemic. Health officials report 1.2 million cases of the virus – nearly a third of all infections reported worldwide. The U.S. has recorded more than 71,000 fatalities from the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Democratic politicians on Wednesday stepped up their criticisms of Trump’s response to the outbreak, with new attacks from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.
De Blasio told CNN that the president was “politicizing a pandemic” by mentioning red and blue states in reference to federal aid.
“It’s astounding that [Trump] even introduces the question of red states and blue states. He’s saying it out loud. He’s politicizing a pandemic – not being patriotic, not talking about all Americans and how to bring us back together,” he said.
Inslee brought up Trump’s use of the Defense Production Act to direct companies to make personal protective equipment, telling CNN his state and others have been “scrambling around the world” to find the equipment “because the federal government would not accept the responsibility to help purchase this material. And most importantly they would not help to manufacture it.”