After announcing that he would extend the federal government’s coronavirus social distancing guidelines to April 30, Donald Trump was asked at a White House briefing whether his economic advisers had disputed his decision. Trump replied by saying that a lot of people advised him to do nothing about the pandemic, and “just ride it.” He decided not to because if he did, he said, 2.2 million people would die.
“Ride it like a cowboy. Just ride it. Ride that sucker right through,” Trump said, as seen in the C-SPAN video below. “And I thought about it,” Trump admitted, adding that 1.6 million to 2.2 million people would die if he had simply decided to “ride it.”
“And that’s not acceptable,” Trump declared.
Experts surveyed by the University of Massachusetts at Amherst predict that under the current trajectory of the pandemic, U.S. deaths are likely to hit 246,000, as The Inquisitr reported. That total could be as high as 2 million or more depending on how strictly social distancing measures are implemented and followed by the general population, according to the experts.
Trump at the Sunday press conference announced that the government’s social distancing guidelines would run until April 30, and said that by June 1 the country would be “on our way to recovery,” as quoted by New York Magazine. The original guidelines had been set to expire on Tuesday.
He did not acknowledge at the briefing that the 30-day extension marked a sharp turnaround from his position stated less than one week earlier, in which he declared that the guidelines would be lifted and the country’s economy would “re-open” on Easter Sunday, April 12. According to the experts surveyed by UMass-Amherst, the peak of the coronavirus crisis is most likely to occur in May.
Trump earlier declared that he picked the Easter date because “it would be a beautiful time,” as quoted by New York Magazine. But on Sunday, he struck a more sober note, saying that “nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won.”
Asked about his earlier April 12 “reopening” claim, Trump said that the Easter deadline was “just an aspiration,” adding that he did not want to see a “spike up” in cases that could be caused by lifting the guidelines prematurely, forcing workers back into offices and other job sites where they would be in close proximity with others, possibly spreading the coronavirus at an accelerated rate.
Trump did not name any of the people who he claimed had advised him to do nothing and “ride that sucker” as an approach to the coronavirus crisis.