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President Donald Trump on Tuesday sat down with ABC’s World News Tonight anchor David Muir in Phoenix, where he spoke about reopening some parts of the country as the next phase of the pandemic response.
As restrictions are rolled back and some businesses, such as clothing and sporting good stores, are allowed to reopen, Trump indicated that there may be deaths as a result of the decision.
“Do you believe that’s the reality we’re facing — that lives will be lost to reopen the country?” Muir flatly asked the president, to which Trump responded, “It’s possible there will be some because you won’t be locked into an apartment or a house or whatever it is.” He added, “But at the same time, we’re going to practice social distancing, we’re going to be washing hands, we’re going to be doing a lot of the things that we’ve learned to do over the last period of time.”
The president made the remarks just days after former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie controversially argued that the country should reopen even though scientists warn an early reinstitution of business could result in more deaths. “Of course, everybody wants to save every life they can — but the question is, towards what end, ultimately?” result in said on the CNN podcast The Daily DC. “Are there ways that we can … thread the middle here to allow that there are going to be deaths, and there are going to be deaths no matter what?”
President Trump went on to say that the decision to close the country was “the hardest decision” he ever had to make, and he wants Americans to go back to work. Asked by Muir if people will have wide access to testing going forward, Trump said, “They should have, no problem.”
Further into the interview, Trump emphasized that he was “left with nothing” by the Obama administration, including medical equipment such as ventilators. “We had a lot of people who refused to allow the country to be successful,” Trump later added, noting that time was wasted on exploring “hoaxes” in Russia and Ukraine.
“Our country has to go back to being a country again,” Trump said multiple times in the interview. Muir pressed the president on various death projections, to which he replied, “Those numbers have been wrong.” Again, he said that the American people “have to get back to work.”
After the mention that $2 trillion has been approved by the stimulus to keep people employed and for businesses to stay afloat, Trump declared, “I want to be a cheerleader for our country.”
As for what he would say to families who have lost loved ones as a result of the coronavirus, the president said he wished to say, “I love you” and “We’re doing everything we can.” Added Trump, “There is nobody that has taken [the coronavirus’ death toll] harder than me. But at the same time I have to fight it, and that’s what we’re doing.”
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