The president made a similar suggestion earlier Friday, implying state and local Democratic officials were continuing to enforce coronavirus-related restrictions, meant to curb the spread of the disease, simply to hinder his reelection campaign. There, too, he failed to offer evidence for his assertion.
“I will tell you, you look at some cases, some people think they’re doing it for politics. Here we go again. But they think they’re doing it because it’ll hurt me, the longer it takes to — hurt me in the election, the longer it takes to open up,” Trump told “Fox & Friends.”
“And I can see some of that, because some of these — some of these people are being unrealistic,” he continued. “They’re being ridiculous. I’ve looked at a couple of states that are being absolutely ridiculous. But ultimately, the people are forcing it. I see what’s going on.”
The president’s remarks came on the same day the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported U.S. employers shed 20.5 million jobs in April, bringing the country’s unemployment rate up to 14.7 percent — its highest level since the Great Depression.
Throughout the pandemic, Trump has aggressively argued in favor of reopening the country and advocated for Americans to begin resuming normal life, frequently contradicting guidance from his own administration and the counsel of public health experts.
Last month, the president encouraged protesters to “LIBERATE” Minnesota, Michigan and Virginia — all states where aggrieved residents had defied stringent mitigation measures to rally in opposition to lockdown directives issued by Democratic governors.
Since then, Trump has signaled his intention to reorient the administration’s efforts from fighting the outbreak to jump-starting the economy. He has repeatedly contended that “the Cure can’t be worse than the problem itself,” and announced Wednesday the White House coronavirus task force would shift its focus to “SAFETY & OPENING UP OUR COUNTRY AGAIN.”