Donald Trump increasingly believes that reopening the U.S. economy in the midst of a pandemic will be worth it, even though it will almost certainly mean that more Americans will die.
As MSNBC’s Chris Hayes said on Monday, there is a growing belief among the right-wing voices in Trump’s ear that it’s worth it to roll back social distancing restrictions that have essentially brought the economy to a standstill.
But allowing people to go back to their pre-coronavirus lives will only make matters far worse than they are right now, Hayes said.
“There is no option to just let everyone go back out and go back to normal if a pandemic rages across the country and infects 50 percent of the population and kills a percentage point – at the low end – of those infected and also melts down all the hospitals,” the MSNBC host said. “What kind of economy do you think you’re going to have under those conditions?”
“What kind of economy do you think you’re going to have under those conditions?” Chris Hayes asks Trump and his right-wing supporters who are pushing to re-open the economy and have people go back to work in the midst of a pandemic. #ctl #p2 pic.twitter.com/j1NtmK1M4v
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) March 24, 2020
There was a viral Medium post making basically that argument and now right-wing law professor Richard Epstein who’s circulating a version of the idea that the cost is not worth the benefit. I should note that this has been a central conservative right wing idea forever. It’s the same reason there are arguments for why we don’t need clean air regulations, even if tens of thousands of people die every year from lung disease from additional pollution. It’s just that now it’s being applied in this extreme case in the midst of a global pandemic and a growing exponential curve. And then it got to the president clearly. … One person in the administration who has consistently and publicly urged more action to stem the spread of the virus, is the director of the national institute of allergy and infectious diseases, Anthony Fauci. Now The New York Times reports, ‘Trump has become frustrated with Dr. Fauci’s blunt approach at the briefing lectern, which often contradicts things the president has just said.” … It’s probably worth pointing out Dr. Fauci was not at this evening’s White House press conference, an ominous sign to many about the president and his relationship to scientific advice. But here’s the thing, it’s not a question of if the economic shutdown is absolutely brutal for Americans, for our fellow citizens, for our economy. Of course it is. It’s just that those on the right, in the business world, talking to Donald Trump are just misreading what the choices are right now. There is no option to just let everyone go back out and go back to normal if a pandemic rages across the country and infects 50% of the population and kills a percentage point at the low end of those infected and also melts down all the hospitals. What kind of economy do you think you’re going to have under those conditions?
Trump doesn’t appear to care how many Americans die as long as he gets reelected
Every move Donald Trump has made throughout this crisis – from downplaying the virus to briefly pretending to take it seriously to, now, hinting at reopening the economy – has been motivated by one thing: a desperate desire to win reelection.
He doesn’t know much, but he does know that without the strong economy he inherited from Barack Obama and Joe Biden, he faces an incredibly uphill climb in this year’s presidential election.
With the economy slipping into a possible recession or depression, Trump sees his dream of a second term slipping away. In a last-ditch attempt to save it, he could be on the verge of reopening the U.S. economy and letting the virus wreak even more havoc across the country.
Not only won’t this save the economy, but it will likely mean more American deaths.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.