Trump to unveil second coronavirus task force, officials say

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Meadows is likely to lead the task force, although no formal decision has been made, said two senior administration officials.

Kevin Hassett, the former chairman of the Council of Trump’s economic advisers, could also join the group, another official said.

These people spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

The economic working group – which will be separate from the main coronavirus working group, despite the presence of some overlapping members – will focus on how to reopen the country, as well as the needs of businesses to rebound under conditions catastrophic. The goal is to open as many countries as possible by April 30, Trump’s current deadline for tough social distancing measures.

The economic task force will not meet every day, like the big one, and should have a more informal atmosphere, with many meetings held by telephone and in face-to-face briefings with the president.

An announcement could be made as early as this week, although within the West Wing there were plans to announce this second task force earlier this week – and these have been delayed.

The White House declined to comment.

The second working group adds another layer to an already cumbersome bureaucratic response to the coronavirus in the White House; after getting involved in the effort last month, Jared Kushner – Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor – has also formed his own task force, which some disdainfully call a ghost task force.

The idea of ​​a group dealing solely with the economic impact of the virus has recently been under consideration.

After initially announcing an Easter deadline – which falls on April 12 this year – to reopen the country, the president reluctantly pushed back the deadline until April 30, under heavy pressure from public health officials. But he remained obsessed with reopening the economy and publicly contemplated a second task force focused on this goal.

Trump shared a tweet from Fox News host Dana Perino on Saturday in which she suggested an additional economic task force. “I think we need a second working group convened under the leadership of POTUS to consider reopening the economy,” wrote Perino. “Made up of a mix of non-partisan / bipartisan experts from all sectors of the industry, so we have their recommendations and plan – let the 1st task force focus on the crisis right now.”

When asked later, at the briefing that day, if he actually planned to create a second task force, Trump replied that he was considering this possibility.

“Come to think of it,” he said. “Get a group of people. And we have to open our country. You know, I had an expression, “The remedy cannot be worse than the problem itself. I started by saying it and I keep saying it: the cure cannot be worse than the problem itself. “

Trump concluded, “We have to open our country. “

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