When push comes to shove, President Trump would rather just pass the buck. Trump rolled out recommendations for reopening the U.S. economy on Thursday that urge caution and allow states to continue calling their own shots, backing off a previous threat to "close down” any governors who don’t rapidly get back on track from the coronavirus crisis.
The new recommendations, contained in a glossy 18-page package entitled “Guidelines for Opening Up America Again,” call on states to take a three-phased approach for reopening schools and businesses. Each phase lasts at least 14 days and successively decreases social distancing restrictions, according to the guidelines.
In a best-case scenario, that means the guidelines do not envision most parts of the U.S. returning to any sense of normal until late May or early June — a stark contrast to Trump’s repeated vow of having the economy come roaring back as early as May 1.
Moreover, the document asserts that all the recommendations are “implementable on a statewide or county-by-county basis at governors’ discretions,” meaning the onus remains with the states and that none of the edicts are mandatory.
Unveiling the guidelines during his daily COVID-19 briefing at the White House, Trump said some states may be able to open up sooner than others, as health experts continue to monitor the virus, which has already killed more than 32,000 Americans and grounded economic activity to a sharp halt.
“Governors will be empowered to tailor an approach that meets the diverse circumstances of their own states,” Trump said. “Every state is very different, they are all beautiful, we love them all, but they are very different. If they need to remain closed, we will allow them to do that.”