WASHINGTON, D.C. – One hundred days ago today, President Trump misled the public about when it would be safe to reopen the U.S. economy, calling for an April 12th reopening despite experts’ continued warnings that the country was not prepared. Trump himself suggested he chose this arbitrary date not based on any evidence, but on the notion that he considered Easter weekend “a beautiful time” to reopen.

President Trump’s April 12th reopening goal marked a turning point in the administration’s pandemic response strategy — one where reopening the economy took precedence over public health and safety. The day of Trump’s announcement, the U.S. saw what was then its highest daily death toll for COVID-19 and almost 53,000 confirmed cases.

Experts strongly warned against Trump’s April 12th plan, with Dr. Anthony Fauci saying, “I don’t think there’s a chance” the pandemic will be over by then, and the World Health Organization (WHO) stressing that the decision could lead to a “very large acceleration” in infections. And while the economy — and the President’s popularity, by extension — was a primary motivator for Trump’s rushed reopening goal, here’s how some experts and business leaders responded:

100 DAYS AGO THURSDAY: March 24, 2020

  • Trump announced in a press conference that he wanted America “opened up” by Easter — just over two weeks from the day of his announcement.
  • The United States saw its deadliest day to that point, hitting 163 deaths and reaching nearly 53,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
  • During a Fox News town hall with the Coronavirus Task Force, President Trump again compared the pandemic to seasonal flu: “Look, we lose thousands — I brought some numbers here.  We lose thousands and thousands of people a year to the flu. We don’t turn the country off — I mean, every year. Now, when I heard the number — you know we average 37,000 people a year.  Can you believe that?  And actually, this year we’re having a bad flu season.  But we lose thousands of people a year to the flu.  We never turn the country off.  We lose much more than that to automobile accidents.  We didn’t call up the automobile companies and say, “Stop making cars.  We don’t want any cars anymore.”  We have to get back to work.”


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