A number of senators, including Mr. Graham, are also calling for some sort of economic working group to complement the working group on viruses.
“The administration needs to think about what it looks like to get back into business,” said Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey, suggesting that it should “think a lot about how we are going to evolve economically, because this is going to be the next great challenge for us. ”
The health of the economy could pose the greatest challenge to Mr. Trump’s re-election.
Toomey said he “will not be surprised if we have a 25% unemployment rate”, which would match the height of the Great Depression at the start of the summer. But he said that if voters think “the president has handled the situation well under the circumstances, and we are on the right track, he has a chance.”
Other Republicans are more skeptical that Trump can win if he still faces double-digit unemployment in November. “I think it makes things really difficult,” said Tony Fratto, a former Bush administration official.
Then there is the question of Mr. Trump and his conduct during daily briefings.
Toomey was candid about the need for Americans to wear masks when they leave the house. Last week, he had a 20-minute conversation with the president, whom he called “thoughtful and committed.”
By the end of the week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had issued guidelines: people should wear “cloth face covers in public places where other social distancing is difficult to maintain.” The agency’s decision was based in part on recent studies showing that people without symptoms can spread the virus to others.