- As the country struggles to contain the corona virus, President Donald Trump seems to be largely concentrating on getting back to work as usual.
- In the past few days, the president has been working to reduce his own social distancing policies to reopen the economy, even if experts believe that this would exacerbate the public health crisis and kill the Americans.
- But Trump has long believed that a strong economy is his best case for re-election.
- On Wednesday, the president accused the media of promoting social distancing to reduce his re-election chances, saying "real people" want to work again.
- However, some of Trump's most prominent supporters don't believe that worsening the pandemic by resuming American work will help either the economy or the president's reelection offer.
- You can find more stories on the Business Insider homepage.
As the country struggles to curb the corona virus, President Donald Trump seems to be much more focused on getting the economy back in a fight.
In the past few days, the president has begun to reduce his own social distancing policies to reopen the economy, even though experts believe that this would exacerbate the public health crisis and increase the death toll .
Last Sunday evening, Trump argued that the "cure" for the pandemic could be "worse" for the country than the pandemic itself, which is controversial, suggesting that economic damage outweighs the potentially massive loss of life.
"We cannot allow the cure to be worse than the problem itself," he tweeted.
Trump clarified his stance during a Fox News "virtual city hall" on Tuesday when he aggressively downplayed the virus threat, suggested that he only approved federal social distancing policies for fear of political conflict, and argued that Americans "must" get back to work. "
"You can't just come in and say we're closing the United States, by far the largest and most successful country in the world," said Trump. "We had the best economy in our country's history and then we should suddenly shut it down."
And Trump even argued that if companies remain closed, more Americans will die of suicide than be killed by the spreading pandemic.
"More people will die if we allow it – people will have to work again," he said of the ban. "We cannot lose the advantage we have."
A strong economy was Trump's best case for re-election
Before the pandemic reached the United States, it was clear for a long time that Trump's worst case for re-election was the economy.
Voters, including key independents, have long given Trump significantly higher approval ratings for how he deals with the economy than how he deals with the leadership of the United States government. February Gallup survey American satisfaction with the economy was at a 15-year high, and Trump's economic approval rating was higher than that of a president since George W. Bush after September 11.
During his speech on the state of the Union on February 4, Trump said that after taking office, he would largely depend on his perceived economic achievements well into the 7th year of a growing economy.
"From the moment I took office, I moved quickly to revitalize the US economy," Trump said. "In just three short years, we destroyed the mentality of American decline and rejected the downsizing of American fate. We are moving forward at a pace that was unimaginable recently and we will never return."
The corona virus is likely to cause massive economic damage.
Morgan Stanley researchers predicted that unemployment could rise to 13% this week, while the US economy will decline 30% in the third quarter of this year. The stock market that Trump has long promoted as an indicator of its economic success has suffered a historic blow, and earlier this week all the gains Trump had made during his three-year tenure were wiped out.
The president has clearly become concerned that the economic crisis could cost him the White House.
On Wednesday, the president even accused the media of promoting social detachment to hinder his chances of re-election.
"The LameStream media is the dominant force in trying to get me to keep our country closed for as long as possible, in the hope that it will adversely affect my election success." he wrote. "The real people want to work again as soon as possible. We will be stronger than ever!"
A lot of conservative experts support the President's decision to prioritize business over American life.
"When it comes to the nation's long-term public health, a strong economy is the best way to protect it," said Tom Fitton, president of the conservative Judicial Watch group. said in a video posted on Twitter.
The right talk radio host Glenn Beck argues that Americans over 50 should work for the good of the economy again because he "would rather die than kill the country".
But some of the President's strongest supporters, including Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina and Liz Cheney from Wyoming, have publicly pushed Trump back. You seem to have made a different political calculation.
Graham said Monday that he would listen to health professionals, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's best infectious disease specialist, spearheading the government's coronavirus response efforts rather than "political experts."
"There is no functioning economy if we don't control the virus," said Graham.
The senator later said the Atlantic that there are also political concerns about ignoring science.
"If his judgment lengthens the disease – and takes his foot off the neck of the disease – at a time when we're making progress, it would put him in great danger," Graham said of Trump.
Republican governor of New Hampshire, Chris Sununu, simply said that his state would ignore the president's orders if he found them inconsistent with New Hampshire's needs.
"What we're not going to do is speed up or loosen regulation just for the sake of the economy and at the risk of public health," he said Tuesday.