President Donald Trump is preparing to announce the creation of a second coronavirus task force focused on reopening the economy, according to reports from people familiar with the matter.
The Washington Post reported that four people, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the smaller task force will focus on identifying which businesses need to rebound in order for a lot of the country to be reopened by April 30, the date that the White House’s current social distancing guidelines expire.
Top administration officials including chief of staff Mark Meadows, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and national economic adviser Larry Kudlow will reportedly be part of the new task force.
Officials from the private sector are also reported to be part of the new team.
Unlike the large coronavirus task force led by Vice President Mike Pence, this group would not meet every day. It will most likely hold most of its meetings over the phone and give in-person briefings to the president, according to The Post.
Two senior administration officials told The Post that Meadows will most likely lead the task force, but a decision has not been made yet.
The announcement could come this week, but officials said there were plans to announce the second task force earlier this week that were delayed.
Trump first hinted at the creation of the new task force in a Saturday morning tweet.
In his tweet, he said Fox News anchor Dana Perino’s idea of creating a second task force to reopen the economy was a “good idea.”
Good idea Dana! https://t.co/Vx7yfwfpIU
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 4, 2020
When he was asked about the idea in his media briefing later that day, Trump confirmed he was “thinking about it.”
“Getting a group of people. And we have to open our country. You know, I had an expression: ‘The cure can’t be worse than the problem itself.’ Right?” Trump said.
“I started by saying that and I continue to say it: The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself. We’ve got to get our country open.”
Trump originally wanted to reopen the country on Easter Sunday, which falls on April 12.
But on March 29, Trump extended the coronavirus safety guidelines through the month of April in an effort to mitigate the effects of the pandemic outbreak.
“The better you do, the faster this whole nightmare will end,” Trump said.
House Republicans also hope to reopen the American economy by the end of April if progress has been made combating the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our focus is on locking down the virus while we’re taking the steps now to prepare to reopen the economy by the end of the month if the virus permits,” Texas Rep. Kevin Brady, the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, told reporters on April 2, according to the Washington Examiner.
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