Trump, Countering Fauci, Says He Wants Schools Reopened

File photo: President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence, listen as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony S. Fauci takes questions from the press during a coronavirus update briefing Tuesday, March 31, 2020.

By Fred Lucas Published on May 14, 2020

President Donald Trump called Wednesday for America’s schools to reopen, seeming to express disapproval of Senate testimony the day before in which a top public health adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, cautiously warned against reopening schools too early during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“He wants to play all sides of the equation,” Trump said of Fauci in remarks to reporters as he met at the White House with two governors.

While noting that he likes Fauci, Trump added: “I was surprised by his answer. … To me, it’s not an acceptable answer, especially when it comes to schools.”

Fauci, an immunologist who directs the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is a leading member of the White House’s coronavirus task force. He has become a familiar face to Americans through almost daily briefings that stopped only recently.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, a Republican, were with the president in the Cabinet Room as he answered a question about Fauci. Both governors have moved to reopen their states’ economies.

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“I think they should open the schools, absolutely. I think they should. It’s had very little impact on young people,” Trump said of COVID-19, adding:

And I think that if you’re an instructor, if you’re a teacher, a professor over a certain age — like let’s say 65 or maybe even, if you want to be conservative, 60 — perhaps you want to stay out for a little while longer. But I think you should absolutely open the schools.

Our country has got to get back and it’s got to get back as soon as possible, and I don’t consider our country coming back if the schools are closed.

“It’s had very little impact on young people,” the president later said of the coronavirus pandemic, “and I would strongly say [schools] should open. It’s up to the governors, it’s the governors’ choice, but their state is not open if the schools aren’t open.”

The two governors spoke briefly about the situations in their states while reporters were present.

The president and Dr. Deborah Birx, response coordinator for the coronavirus task force, did not wear masks during the White House meeting. Neither did Burgum and other officials from North Dakota.

However, Polis and accompanying Colorado officials wore masks, according to the White House press pool report, although Polis removed his when speaking.

Asked about House Democrats’ stimulus proposal, Trump at first seemed noncommittal, then turned negative on its chances in the Senate.

“It’s, as they say, DOA,” Trump said, using the acronym for “dead on arrival.”


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