White House claims Trump listens to health experts as he keeps ignoring them


Trump is talking about ending social distancing measures against the advice of experts.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham appeared on Fox News Wednesday morning, fresh out of a two-week-long quarantine after being exposed to people infected with coronavirus, and claimed that Donald Trump is listening to experts about the current outbreak — even as Trump flouts expert advice and pushes for an early end to social distancing measures.

In an appearance on "Fox & Friends" — which Grisham often uses as a de facto briefing room while avoiding questions from non-Fox News reporters — the press secretary said that Trump is listening to the people on his coronavirus task force and blamed the media for trying to create a rift between Trump and members of the team, such as infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Fauci had been absent from briefings after he gave a handful of interviews in which he said he often disagrees with how Trump presents information.

"Unfortunately, once again, some members of the media are using a really important time in the country to try and divide people on the task force," Grisham said.

However, when pushed by the hosts about whether members of the White House's coronavirus task force knew about Trump's desire to end social distancing measures by Easter — which experts say is too soon and could lead to possibly millions of people dying — Grisham suggested that the team was in the dark.

"I don't know how well informed they were," Grisham said.

She went on to say that Trump's desire to get people back to work by Easter may be just a hope rather than a set date. Yet she also said Trump will make the decision now, and then reevaluate on Monday — when the initial 15-day period declared as the necessary time frame to slow the spread of COVID-19 disease is up.

"I think that the president, as he has been doing, is very hopeful and wants to have a message of hope to the American people," Grisham said. "I think he would love it if we were opened up for business yesterday. But after the 15 days, when we see the data come in, we'll see where we're at and I think the president will make his decision now, but he is hopeful."

CNN has reported that one of the deciding factors in Trump's push to end the social distancing measures is his personal frustration that he cannot hold campaign rallies amid the lockdowns. He has also suggested people are eager to get back to work and that "thousands" would commit suicide if they were forced to remain at home any longer, but has provided no evidence to back that baseless claim.

Grisham seemed to try to validate those feelings on Wednesday.

"I will tell you something, as somebody who was just in quarantine for two weeks, it's tough, it's tough," Grisham said. "And I imagine a lot of people want to get out there and get back to work as long as there's social distancing."

Trump's own surgeon general earlier this week suggested that, despite Trump's rosy predictions about re-opening the country, things were likely to get much worse in the days to come.

"I want America to understand this week, it's going to get bad," Surgeon General Jerome Adams said in an interview with "Today" on Monday. "...Everyone needs to act as if they have the virus right now. So, test or no test, we need you to understand you could be spreading it to someone else. Or you could be getting it from someone else. Stay at home."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.