The Slatest

Trump Says He Will Rely on “Facts and Instincts” to Decide When to Reopen the Country

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens to President Donald Trump speak from the press briefing room with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force on April 1, 2020 in Washington, D.C.
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens to President Donald Trump speak from the press briefing room with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force on April 1, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Donald Trump told Fox News’ Jeaning Pirro that he would be relying on “a lot of facts and a lot of instinct” to help him decide when he would call for areas of the country to start to be reopened as the coronavirus crisis continues. He characterized the decision as the hardest of his presidency. “I think it’s going to be the toughest decision I ever made and hopefully the most difficult I will ever have to make. I hope I’m going to make the right decision,” Trump said during a phone interview on Justice With Judge Jeanine. “I will be basing it on a lot of very smart people, a lot of professionals, doctors and business leaders. There are a lot of things that go into a decision like that. And it’s going to be based on a lot of facts and instincts.”

Trump’s partial reliance on his gut to make such a key decision could be a bit concerning considering he hasn’t always shown the best instincts throughout the coronavirus crisis. Just last month, Trump still apparently did not understand why they couldn’t just let the coronavirus run its course through the country with the idea that “herd immunity” would eventually protect most people. “Why don’t we let this wash over the country?” Trump asked Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, during a meeting in the Situation Room, reports the Washington Post. Fauci seemed confused at first on what Trump meant but once he understood, was adamant that it would have tragic results. “Mr. President, many people would die,” Fauci said.

Even though he now says he understands why that isn’t possible, he still is clearly itching to get the economy moving again soon. And some fear that even as Trump says it will be a difficult decision many in the White House have already made up their mind. “They already know what they want to do and they’re looking for ways to do it,” a senior administration official tells the Post. “They think it’s time to reopen because some thought it was never time to close, and they’ve made that up in their minds.” Trump made clear he was a bit impatient in his interview with Jeanine Pirro Saturday night. “I want to get it open as soon as possible. This country was meant to be open and vibrant and great, not where people are, you know, staying in,” he said.

Trump is pushing to reopen the country—and has created a task force toward that end—even as there is still no clear plan to deal with the coronavirus crisis. Sure, there are a lot of meetings—and a lot of task forces—but no one ever seems to make a decision and any suggested plan of action immediately gets tangled up in a bureaucratic mess. The Post says Trump himself is in large part to blame as “even the most dutiful plans and projects often get caught up in the chaos of the White House.”

Despite the problems to come up with a clear plan to deal with the present, Trump made clear Saturday night that he is already looking ahead and said the economy will be rebuilt in “honor of those who perished.” Plus he predicted good things ahead for the country, saying the economy is going to grow “like a rocket ship” after the crisis is over. “I think the stimulus, coupled with this pent-up demand and everybody wanting to get out and go back to work,” Trump said. “I think we’re going to have a just a tremendous surge.”