Government coronavirus response updates: Trump now says WH task force to continue ‘indefinitely’
By LIBBY CATHEY, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — After facing questions about disbanding the White House coronavirus task force even though the pandemic hasn’t abated, President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday morning that the task force would “continue on indefinitely” to focus on vaccines and therapeutics but that “we may add or subtract people.”
As more states begin to ease restrictions even as the country’s death toll continues to climb, the president also is conceding it’s likely more lives will be lost in the push to reopen the U.S. economy, while many Americans struggle to choose between life and livelihood.
As the U.S. death toll surpassed 70,000 Tuesday, Trump admitted that it’s “possible” more Americans will die as governors lift orders that were invoked to slow the spread of the virus, during an interview with ABC News World News Tonight Anchor David Muir.
“It’s possible there will be some because you won’t be locked into an apartment or a house or whatever it is,” Trump said, before criticizing “out of whack” models. “But at the same time, we’re going to practice social distancing, we’re going to be washing hands, we’re going to be doing a lot of the things that we’ve learned to do over the last period of time.”
Here are Tuesday’s most significant developments in Washington:
Trump now says ‘task force will continue on indefinitely’
President Trump has done something of an about-face on the future of the White House task force coordinating the government response to the coronavirus crisis, tweeting Wednesday morning that the task force will, in fact, “continue on indefinitely” but that “we may add or subtract people.”
….gloves, gowns etc. are now plentiful. The last four Governors teleconference calls have been conclusively strong. Because of this success, the Task Force will continue on indefinitely with its focus on SAFETY & OPENING UP OUR COUNTRY AGAIN. We may add or subtract people ….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 6, 2020
The president also said it will be “very focused on Vaccines & Therapeutics” as he pushes for a quick economic revival.
The task force does have a meeting scheduled for today at 4 p.m. which Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to lead. Notably, it’s scheduled for the same time as the new White House press secretary’s briefing.
The president had said Tuesday the task force would take “a little bit of a different form.”
“We’ll have a different group, probably, set up for that,” Trump said in Phoenix, adding that they’ll continue to be involved in White House decision-making along with “other doctors and so will other experts in the field.”
Pence also told reporters that conversations were underway about winding down the task force by around Memorial Day.
Although Trump claims the task force will continue to exist, it remains to be seen whether it’ll meet as frequently and whether it’ll truly hold the elevated status it has over the last few months.
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