On Monday, President Donald Trump called for a quick end to measures taken across the country to slow the spread of deadly coronavirus. Reportedly, he claimed that maintaining the shutdown of many U.S. businesses could cause "tremendous death" exceeding even the death toll wrought by the virus itself.
According to a Washington Post investigative report published late Monday, Trump's call to reopen the U.S. economy came after six of the top seven cash-generating hotels and resorts owned by his private business were forced to close as part of the coronavirus measures.
The closed properties include Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, where he has reportedly vacationed at least 30 times during the 1,160 days since his inauguration on January 20, 2017. Trump has also been a frequent visitor to a golf resort that he owns in Bedminster, New Jersey. That facility is also now closed as part of the effort to stem the rapid spread of coronavirus, according to the Post report.
The closures of those and four other Trump hotels and resorts are "potentially depriving Trump's company of millions of dollars in revenue," according to Post reporters David A. Fahrenthold, Joshua Partlow, and Jonathan O'Connell. Trump claims that his private business is now run by his sons, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., and that he is no longer involved.
As Congress debates a $2 trillion stimulus package designed to prop up the economy during the coronavirus pandemic, Trump has refused to pledge that his own businesses will not take taxpayer cash to make up for the money they may lose during the shutdown.
On Tuesday, Trump ramped up his calls for the measures taken to slow the coronavirus spread to end, even suggesting a specific date for when the economy could be opened, according to an Associated Press report.
"I would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter," Trump said in a Fox News interview on Tuesday afternoon, as quoted by the AP. Easter falls on April 12 — just 19 days away.
Trump's purported call to ease "social distancing" restrictions runs counter to the views of most health experts, according to the AP report. Per the report, the lifting of measures could lead to a more rapid spread of the virus, increased death totals, and an overwhelmed health care system.
The president's purported call to "have the country opened up" also runs counter to steps taken by other governments now stricken by the coronavirus pandemic. On Monday, United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a lockdown of the country with citizens banned from leaving their homes and facing criminal penalties such as fines for breaking the order, according to a CNN report.