According to the Washington Examiner, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs (R-AZ) called on President Donald Trump on Thursday to disband the White House coronavirus task force, saying that conflicting statements from health officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci are holding back U.S. economic recovery and that they should be given the boot.
“We can protect our most vulnerable from the COVID-19 outbreak while still protecting lives and livelihoods of the rest of the population,” the Arizona Republican said in a statement, according to the Examiner. “It’s time for the COVID-19 task force to be disbanded so that President Trump’s message is not mitigated or distorted.”
In Arizona and other states, new coronavirus cases are rising, but it’s a younger population being infected in most cases, with milder cases and fewer hospitalizations and deaths than were occurring in March and April, as The New York Times has reported.
While officials in the Trump administration have said they don’t think the economy should be shut down again, much of that decision-making rests with state governors and local officials, who have varying views about the virus and safety.
Good economic news bolsters reopening
A new report showing the economy added 4.8 million jobs in June has spurred Republicans, for their part, to keep businesses open even as cases spike, the Examiner reported.
But with cases spiking, Biggs is worried that Drs. Fauci and Deborah Birx “continue to contradict many of President Trump’s stated goals and actions for returning to normalcy as we know more about” the ongoing pandemic, as the Examiner notes.
Biggs credits Trump’s unprecedented economic growth before the pandemic as contributing to the quicker-than-predicted recovery now.
The “pro-growth foundation that President Trump set over the past three-plus years is paying dividends in one of our nation’s most-uncertain times,” Biggs said, according to Politico.
Arizona pauses reopening plans
As Biggs drops the hammer on experts in Washington, Arizona’s Republican governor, Doug Ducey, has paused the state’s reopening for at least 30 days, keeping bars, nightclubs, gyms, movie theaters, and water parks closed during that time, according to the New York Post.
In addition, Ducey also ordered schools to stay closed until at least Aug. 17, when many districts in the state had planned to start in late July or early August.
Ducey did not mandate the wearing of masks, as governors in other states like California and Texas have done. Instead, the state has joined others like Florida in strongly recommending mask-wearing but leaving the final decision up to individuals.
According to a tracker from The New York Times, more than 2.8 million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the U.S. since the outbreak began. At least 129,000 Americans have died.