The decade's most triggering comedy
President Donald Trump spent Thursday on the phone with dozens of lawmakers from each party to talk about how to reopen the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. His calls included talks with every Republican senator except one: Mitt Romney.
Fox News reported that Trump asked the bipartisan lawmakers to serve on a council called the “Opening Up America Again Congressional Group,” which would be tasked with figuring out how let Americans return to work safely.
“The president announced that he will soon provide guidance to America’s governors to determine their ability to reignite the economies in their respective states,” the White House said in a press release.
“The dialogue between the president, senior administration officials and the bipartisan group of members of Congress also included a range of topics, namely the need for additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, the international and domestic supply chains, ways to energize the economy, surprise medical billing, clarifying the difference between essential and non-essential workers, mental health, and relief for small businesses,” the press release added.
The New York Post reported that the council “includes almost 70 senators, including a dozen Democrats and all 52 of the Utah lawmaker’s Republican colleagues in the upper chamber.
USA Today added that the panel “includes 65 senators and 32 House members.” It includes 12 Democratic senators, one independent, and 10 House Democrats in addition to the Republican congressmen who make up the majority of the council. Further, during his calls with lawmakers on Thursday, Trump fielded questions about increased testing for the coronavirus and how the country could reopen without increasing the rate of infection.
Romney, whose career was built on turning around struggling businesses, has had an ongoing feud with the president since he ran for election. Those tensions escalated in February when Romney became the only Republican senator to vote to impeach Trump on abuse-of-power charges.”
Trump responded to Romney’s vote by calling the Utah centrist a “disgrace.” When Trump learned that Romney was quarantined due to a possible exposure to the coronavirus, Trump said at a press conference: “Romney’s in isolation? Gee, that’s too bad.”
Once Romney tested negative for the virus, Trump sarcastically congratulated him on Twitter.
“This is really great news! I am so happy I can barely speak. He may have been a terrible presidential candidate and an even worse U.S. Senator, but he is a RINO, and I like him a lot!” Trump tweeted.
Fox reported that the White House said the council to reopen the economy would be “data-driven” and not tied to any specific dates. In addition, the reopening would be “governor-led” and “layered,” addressing each specific state’s needs instead of a one-size-fits-all approach.
“The White House says while some governors will continue shelter-in-place recommendations, others will be able to open back up again. Some may be able to reopen before the April 30 expiration of the current guidelines. The guidelines will include restaurants, bars and other public venues, plus sporting events,” the outlet reported.
Fox added that Dr. Deborah Birx, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and Dr. Robert Redfield, Trump’s medical advisers, all approved the guidelines.