POLITICS

Ex-Trump Advisers Issue Coronavirus Warning: Don't Prioritize Economy Over Lives

Three former top-level advisers urged the president not to relax social distancing advisories.

Three former top advisers to President Donald Trump warned against attempting to boost the U.S. economy by relaxing social distancing measures aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus.

Trump has signaled in recent days that he’s already weary of restrictions that have brought parts of the economy to a standstill.

“We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself,” the president tweeted in all-caps Sunday. On Monday, he said the U.S. will “soon be open for business, very soon, a lot sooner than three or four months, as somebody was suggesting.”

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, former Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon all countered Trump’s notion.

Gottlieb, who led the FDA for two years until 2019, argued in a lengthy Twitter thread late Monday that “it should not be lost on anyone that there’s no such thing as a functioning economy and society so long as COVID-19 continues to spread uncontrolled in our biggest cities.”

“So long as COVID-19 spreads uncontrolled, older people will die in historic numbers, middle aged folks doomed to prolonged ICU stays to fight for their lives, hospitals will be overwhelmed, and most Americans terrified to leave homes, eat out, take the subway, or go to the park,” he explained.

“There are two ways to end this. Let a vast swath of people catch COVID which is unthinkable, or break the epidemic,” he noted. “We must choose the latter.”

Check out Gottlieb’s full thread here:

Bossert, who resigned from his homeland security role in the Trump White House in 2018, predicted in a tweet that the U.S. would “top the list of countries with the most cases in approximately 1 week,” arguing “this does NOT make social intervention futile. It makes it imperative!”

In a later thread, Bossert acknowledged “the economic impacts of social distancing are very difficult” as he laid out the “sound” concept of the strategy:

Former White House chief strategist Bannon, meanwhile, told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo the Trump administration should “go full hammer on the virus right now with a full shutdown” and then use a multitrillion-dollar stimulus to blunt the economic crisis.

“It’s going to blow up our balance sheet,” Bannon added. “But we have to get through this.”

Check out the interview here:

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