Conservative Leaders Urge Second Coronavirus Task Force to Reopen U.S. as Soon as Possible

AP Photo/Evan Vucci
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Conservative leaders are calling on President Trump to form a second coronavirus task force with a “different” mission: to “plan and prepare for the re-launching of the American economy.”

Several conservative leaders this week signed a letter, spearheaded by Tea Party Patriots Action, addressed to President Trump, thanking him for his leadership throughout the coronavirus crisis but emphasizing the negative impact of many of the safety precautions, such as statewide shutdown orders, have had on the businesses and workers across the country:

For weeks now, our nation has followed the advice of the medical experts. Like you, Vice President Pence, and the Coronavirus Task Force, we want to help slow the spread of the virus to increase hospital capacity and to reduce the number of lives lost from this deadly disease. We have made sacrifices so that families across this country can avoid the most severe emotional toll, the loss of a loved one. To that end, we have sheltered-in-place, shuttered businesses, closed churches, and thrown millions of our fellow citizens out of their jobs. As an unfortunate result of this deadly disease, we have denied Americans the dignity of their work and caused them and their families another kind of emotional and physical hardship – not knowing from where their next paycheck would come.

At some point, conservative leaders emphasized, “This must end.”

“To that end, we strongly support the immediate establishment of a second coronavirus response panel, with a different mission from the one currently headed and ably run by Vice President Pence – to plan and prepare for the re-launching of the American economy,” the leaders stated.

The second task force would feature leaders with “significant” private sector experience in travel, energy, hospitality, manufacturing, retail, real estate, construction, agriculture, and more. Ideally, it would also include “economists and experts in constitutional law, and would be tasked with examining the many questions surrounding how best to reopen the economy from its current dormant state.”

They continued:

Your instincts are right, Mr. President. As a man who’s actually run a successful business, employing tens of thousands of people and earning billions in profits, you have insights into what entrepreneurs face that government bureaucrats will never have. You know that only businessmen like yourself – not academics, nor bureaucrats – can truly understand what an enormous undertaking this will be.

“Time is of the essence,” the leaders stressed, pinning a date on the reopening of the great American economy.

“If you mean to begin reopening the economy on May 1, as you have indicated, it is already past time to begin the planning and preparation,” they pressed.

“We stand ready with suggestions for how you can stand up such a panel in a matter of days, and look forward to the opportunity to discuss the matter with you and your team at your earliest possible convenience,” the letter concluded.

Signers include Tea Party Patriots Citizen Fund chairperson Jenny Beth Martin; economist Stephen Moore; former U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint; MRC chairman L. Brent Bozell III; CNP Action, Inc. chairman Kelly Shackelford; Liberty Consulting President Ginni Thomas; CNP President William Walton; LFR President Colin Hanna; Foley & Lardner LLP Partner Cleta Mitchell; Leadership Institute President Morton Blackwell; Conservative Action Project chairman Alfred Regnery; CPI ED Ed Corrigan; former U.S. Rep. Bob McEwen; TPPA board member William W. Pascoe, III; FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon; FreedomWorks Vice President Noah Wall; and Senate Conservatives Fund Executive Director Mary Vought.

Additionally, 5,000 grassroots activists signed an accompanying letter, calling for similar action.

“All over America, our fellow citizens are ready to go back to work,” Martin said in a statement.

“We have seen the coronavirus, and we appreciate President Trump’s leadership in protecting us. But it is time to start planning and preparing to reopen the American economy, sooner rather than later,” she continued.

Martin said that 80 percent of their members and supporters know someone who has lost his or her job.

“That’s just too much,” she said.

“Conservative leaders and grassroots activists are ready,” she said. “We want to be ready to go when the time is right. And that means we cannot afford to wait any longer in beginning the planning for the reopening of our economy.”

The push comes as the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) model, initially relied on by the White House Coronavirus Task Force, continues to lose credibility, as it also continues to revise its projections down.

In March, British researchers at Imperial College predicted that deaths in the U.S. could be as high as 2.2 million. The White House task force, including Dr. Deborah Birx, has cast serious doubt on those projections.

“There’s no model right now, no reality on the ground, where we can see that 60-70 percent of Americans are going to get infected in the next 10-12 weeks,” Dr. Birx said last month.

The letters come as members of Congress prepare to battle over the next stage of economic relief. Roughly 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment for the week ending April 4, Labor Department data released this week showed. That brings total jobless claims to nearly 17 million in three weeks alone.

President Trump has signaled that he is both willing and eager to reopen the economy, telling reporters on Thursday that he hopes to see it reopen “very, very, very, very soon.”

“Hopefully, we’re going to be opening up—you could call it opening—very, very, very, very soon, I hope,” he said.

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