President Donald Trump’s administration is coming under intense scrutiny as the coronavirus pandemic ravages the United States, with the number of infected Americans going up by the day. The pandemic is also threatening to cause an unprecedented economic meltdown, which could conceivably hurt the president’s chances in 2020.
On Sunday, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon appeared on Fox News to advise the commander in chief on how to handle the crisis. Per RealClearPolitics, speaking with host Maria Bartiromo, Bannon noted that the country is now facing three different crises: the pandemic, the economic crisis, and the financial crisis.
“I don’t think we have months to do this,” Bannon began, explaining that he believes the best way forward for the federal government would be to take the pandemic head-on and do whatever it takes to beat it as fast as possible. “I think what should happen, and my recommendation would be to drop the hammer, don’t mitigate the virus, don’t spread the curve, shatter the curve.”
In order to save the economy, according to Bannon, Trump should declare a full federal shutdown, and then use economic stimulus to help workers and small businesses weather the storm. According to the former White House chief strategist, the president should “go full hammer on the virus right now with a full shutdown, use the stimulus to bridge the economic crisis.”
“Whether it takes two weeks or four weeks, we get through this hard and fast.”
According to predictions, a major economic meltdown is all but inevitable. In an interview with Bloomberg published on Sunday, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard predicted that the unemployment rate may hit 30 percent in the second quarter. He also said that he expects a 50 percent drop in GDP, calling for robust financial aid programs.
According to Bullard, “everything is on the table” in terms of stimulus and more money can be pumped into the economy. “There is more that we can do if necessary,” he said, adding that “the overall goal is to keep everyone, households and businesses, whole.”
The Trump administration has been widely criticized for the way it is handling the coronavirus pandemic. Governors across the country have been growing increasingly frustrated and calling on the federal government to provide assistance. A number of governors have openly urged the president to activate the Defense Production Act, arguing that states cannot handle the crisis on their own.
Some states have turned to the private sector for help, with California enlisting billionaire Elon Musk and Apple CEO Tim Cook to help fight the pandemic.