Steve Mnuchin Says Coronavirus Task Force Unanimously Shot Down Donald Trump’s Quarantine Idea

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin briefs reporters
Mark Wilson / Getty Images

President Donald Trump recently floated the idea of quarantining the tri-state area of Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York, which led to pushback from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as well as Johns Hopkins University public health professor Joshua Sharfstein. As reported by Breitbart, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin revealed on Fox News Sunday that the president’s coronavirus task force was also opposed to the idea.

“The president did very seriously consider it,” Mnuchin said, adding that the task force met yesterday with Vice President Mike Pence.

According to Mnuchin, the task force instead pushed for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue a travel advisory relating to travel in and out of the greater New York area.

“It was the unanimous decision — the recommendation of the task force to go forward with the advisory. The vice president, myself, Mark Meadows [White House Chief of Staff], and others met with the president yesterday afternoon, and he decided to go forward with the recommendation.”

Mnuchin claimed that Trump was intent on considering all of the options available and was “concerned” about the effect that COVID-19 has on New York, which is now the epicenter of the pandemic.

“He spoke to the task force, he spoke to the governors, and he was comfortable that people would take this advisory very seriously and would not travel.”

Per CNN, the CDC urged residents of Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey to “refrain from nonessential domestic travel” for 14 days. The advisory is effective immediately and provides each state with “full discretion” over their handling of the warning.

According to the publication, the three regions make up over half of the coronavirus cases in the U.S. and nearly half the deaths.

The state of New York, in particular, has faced an overwhelmed hospital system, which prompted the Trump administration to send the naval hospital ship, USNS Comfort, to help deal with the rapidly increasing COVID-19 cases fueling the strain.

Given the state of the pandemic, Trump’s previous goal of reopening the economy by Easter has raised eyebrows. In an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Sunday, Mnuchin stopped short of committing to the timeline and said he would leave the decision up to Trump and medical professionals, Mediaite reported.

Although Wallace noted to contradicting statements between Trump and health officials, Mnuchin assured him that Trump’s top priority is protecting public health. He also said the administration would do “everything to support the economy.”