WASHINGTON, D.C. – As early as this week, President Trump is expected to announce another COVID-19 task force focused on reopening the nation’s economy.
While a comprehensive list of members isn’t publicly available, it’s expected that Trump will tap Kevin Hassett and White House Advisor Larry Kudlow for the team. As airlines seek a taxpayer-funded bailout, Hassett has been serving on the board of a tax consultancy that helps the airline industry reduce its tax payments. Kudlow made at least $433,000 last year, but recently announced that his wife had applied for a small business loan, raising questions about his impartiality.
“This appears to be just another excuse for Trump to eschew public health experts’ advice and reopen the U.S. economy before it is safe to do so,” said Kyle Herrig, Accountable.US president. “Industry big-wigs shouldn’t be the ones deciding when it is safe for Americans to return to work. Once again, it appears Trump is putting the big business interests ahead of American lives.”
The formation of the new task force would come as Trump aides started hitting the airwaves yesterday to say that there is a “light at the end of the tunnel” and conditions are beginning to improve in the U.S. amid the public health crisis. While public health experts have warned against too quickly sending people back to work, potentially risking the public’s health, President Trump has been clear in his desire to drop nationwide social distancing practices and reopen the economy.
In an interview this morning on CNBC, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin suggested that the economy may reopen in May.