Trump to unveil council to re-open the country after coronavirus pandemic


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday that he will soon be announcing a second coronavirus task force, creating a council to focus on re-opening the country after the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic passes.

“We will be announcing that in a short while. Probably Tuesday,” Trump told reporters during the daily coronavirus task force briefing.

The council is expected to include Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House senior economic adviser Larry Kudlow, among others, a senior administration official said earlier in the week.

Trump said on Friday that state governors will also serve on the council.

Republican economist Art Laffer, who has presented a plan to jumpstart the economy to White House officials and has been a mentor to Kudlow, is also thought to be under consideration.

Trump awarded Laffer the Presidential Medal of Freedom last year.

Trump’s original coronavirus task force, which includes health experts Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, is devoted to slowing the spread of the virus, as well as finding drugs to treat the illness and a vaccine.

Trump is seeking re-election in November and is eager to re-open the economy after businesses have shuttered, prompting millions to file for unemployment.

Trump said on Friday that facts and recommendations from health experts will determine the next steps taken to re-open the economy.

Reporting by Jeff Mason, Steve Holland and Amanda Becker; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Daniel Wallis