© Reuters. US President Donald Trump leaves Washington to travel to Joint Base Andrews, Maryland in Phoenix, Arizona?
By Jeff Mason
PHOENIX (Reuters) – President Donald Trump accused the Democrats on Tuesday of hoping that his response to the corona virus will fail "so they can win the election" when the Republican governor of Texas tried to further ease business closings in order to ease the Suppress pandemic.
Trump's latest partisan commentary on the public health crisis and the resulting economic crisis his presidency devoured came hours before he visited an Arizona face mask factory where he defied infection control guidelines by not wearing a mask himself.
At the factory, Trump said he was planning to dismantle the White House coronavirus task force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, as the country entered a new phase focused on the consequences of the outbreak.
"We cannot keep our country closed for the next five years," Trump said when asked why it was time to dismantle the task force.
He said two leading medical experts who played a prominent role in the task force – Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx – would continue to act as advisors after the group was dismantled.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who has sometimes openly contradicted Trump's claims about the pandemic, has become a lightning rod for contempt for the president's supporters on the far right.
Before leaving the White House, Trump was asked by a reporter why he would allow Fauci to testify before a republican-controlled U.S. Senate committee next week, but not in front of the House of Representatives with a democratic majority.
"Because the house is a setup. The house is a bunch of Trump haters," replied the Republican President. "They honestly want our situation to be unsuccessful, what death means, what death means, and our situation will be very successful."
Trump, who launched his reelection offer for a robust US economy in November before the pandemic, said the Democrats "want us to fail so they can win an election they won't win." He offered no evidence to support his claims.
Despite Trump's efforts to distract Fauci from what the President sees as a hostile area on Capitol Hill, a house panel is likely to be the next battleground in a separate controversy over the recent fall of the doctor who headed a U.S. biomedical agency .
Dr. Rick Bright filed a whistleblower complaint on Tuesday, accusing the Trump administration of having removed him in retaliation for concerns he tried to raise in January about the coronavirus threat. A Bright spokeswoman said he would testify before a house panel on May 14.
GRAPHICS: World-focused tracker with country-specific interaction – https://graphics.reuters.com/HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS/COUNTRIES/oakveqlyvrd/index.html?id=united-kingdom
PANDEMIC ANSWER POLITIZED
The debate over how and when to ease trade and social life restrictions has become increasingly politicized, and Trump and his supporters are trying to loosen social distancing measures faster than medical experts think it is reasonable.
Democratic governors of countries most affected by the outbreak have taken a more cautious stance and adhered to health authorities – and the guidelines of the White House itself – to warn that advanced coronavirus testing and other protective measures come first Stand.
But dozens of U.S. states, many of which are led by Republicans in the South, Midwest, and West of the Mountains, have begun to ease home-stay orders that have paralyzed their economies in recent weeks.
Texas, one of the largest allowed restaurants, retail stores, and shopping malls last Friday to resume business to a limited extent. Republican Governor Greg Abbott announced on Tuesday that he would extend the partial reopening to hairdressing salons, barbershops and nail salons this Friday, followed by fitness clubs and office buildings on May 18, subject to occupancy restrictions and social distance in the workplace.
He also recommended that people aged 65 and over and people with chronic illnesses stay at home for the most part.
The widespread easing of socially distant measures was a key factor spearheaded by an influential coronavirus mortality model on Monday to predict that nearly 135,000 Americans would die from COVID-19 by early August, almost twice as much as previous forecasts.
The research model of the Institute of Health Metrics and Assessment at the University of Washington has become a closely watched data point that is often cited by the White House and health officials when measuring the coronavirus crisis.
It is already known that the highly contagious virus, which appeared in China late last year before it spread worldwide, infected over 1.2 million people in the United States. According to a Reuters balance sheet, at least 70,000 Americans died from COVID-19.
In Arizona, Trump visited Honeywell International Inc's (N 🙂 aerospace facility in Phoenix on his first trip in weeks outside of the Washington metropolitan area to produce protective N95 face masks for healthcare workers.
But the president, who has consistently refused to wear a mask in public despite the White House guidelines asking people to do so, appeared in the facility with no face covering. Most of the workers wore masks.
Arizona, a battlefield country that could decide the outcome of the election, has also joined the ranks of partial economic reopening after protesters gathered in the capital, Phoenix, and called on Republican governor Doug Ducey to relax the restrictions.
GRAPHICS: Tracking the Novel Corona Virus in the USA – https://graphics.reuters.com/HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-USA/0100B5K8423/index.html