Trump’s grand reopening council triggers a slew of new questions

By creating a second council, the White House is essentially giving structure to its ongoing tug of war between the health and economic aides: two wildly divergent viewpoints housed in two separate councils or task forces within the administration.

Donors and Trump supporters are expected to line up to applaud the president for drawing advice from so many different people.

“The more voices President Trump hears from, the better,” said Dan Eberhart, an energy executive and Trump donor. “Big industry and the financial sector are important to the economy and they have the president’s ear. There’s nothing wrong with that — they employee millions. But there’s a lot of other sectors of the economy that are important.”

“Whether it is manufacturing, heavy industry or small Main Street businesses, we need them all to come back for a healthy economy,” he said. “The CEO gets the soft leather chair, but he’s not always the wisest person in the room.”

The White House office said on Monday Trump would allow science to guide his thinking on reopening the economy. But aides, over the weekend, could not point to any specific benchmarks the administration intended to use to make its decision to relax its guidelines on social distancing.

“President Trump’s policies took this economy to record-setting historic highs for all Americans, but this unforeseen, unprecedented crisis has hurt many workers and businesses. The President wants to see this economy open again so people can get back to work, but scientific data will drive the timeline on those decisions because his number one priority is to protect the safety and well-being of the American people,” Judd Deere, the deputy White House press secretary, said in a statement.

Gabby Orr contributed to this report.

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