The day after President Donald Trump blasted off an all-caps tweet hinting that he’d soon pivot away from social distancing to combat the coronavirus pandemic in order to jumpstart the economy, his chief economic adviser said “the president is right” and we may need to make “difficult tradeoffs.”
With the economy cratering amid the coronavirus crisis—as Americans are being told to stay at home to stem the spread of the virus—the president and senior White House officials have reportedly begun to lose patience with health experts’ recommendations. Many of Trump’s Fox News allies, meanwhile, have been criticizing the administration’s medical experts while calling for an end to quarantine recommendations.
Appearing Monday morning on Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, Trump’s top economic adviser Larry Kudlow agreed that a pivot away from strict coronavirus measures could be on the horizon.
“The president tweeted at midnight that we can’t let the cure be worse than the problem,” Fox News anchor Ed Henry declared. “He seemed to be talking about, in another week or so, making a decision to try to get the economy back open… How do you do that?”
Kudlow responded that “we’ll have to try to do that” because the “economic cost to individuals is just too great,” adding that the administration will need to see how everything plays out after more Americans are tested for the virus.
“But the president is right,” he exclaimed. “The cure can’t be worse than the disease, and we’re gonna have to make some difficult tradeoffs. I’m not disposed—I don’t want to get ahead of the story.”
“I spoke to the president about this very subject late last evening,” Kudlow concluded. “So we’ll be looking at a number of different things. Let’s give it another week.”
Monday marks the eighth day of the White House’s 15-day period of social distancing, which features the CDC’s recommendation that people avoid gatherings of 10 or more. States and localities, meanwhile, have instituted stay-at-home policies as the number of positive cases in the U.S. has soared past 40,000 and deaths are now approaching 500.
Kudlow, for his part, initially brushed off the impact the pandemic would have on the economy and stock markets, advising Americans to buy the dip in late-February while claiming the virus had been “contained” in the U.S.