President Donald Trump is alleging that Democratic Party leaders in a number of states across the country are purposely hurting their own economies in order to make him look bad on the issue in the months running up to the general election.
Trump suggested in a tweet he authored on Tuesday morning that those state economies would reopen after the election took place.
“The Democrats will open up their states on November 4th, the day after the Election,” Trump wrote. “These shutdowns are ridiculous, and only being done to hurt the economy prior to the most important election, perhaps, in our history!”
The comments from Trump this week are similar to ones he made last month against the media, in which he alleged the press was “doing everything they [could] to crash the economy because they think that will be bad for me and my re-election.” That comment came about the day after Wall Street suffered its worst single-day performance of 2020.
A number of states across the country continue to implement rules for social distancing imposed on businesses in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. States that reopened or relaxed these rules too quickly have seen surges in the number of cases and deaths from the disease after doing so.
Trump’s comments may resonate with a number of his most ardent devotees, but the argument that Democrats are purposely hurting the U.S. economy in order to diminish what many view as his top strategic issue for reelection falls apart when you consider that most countries around the world are also facing similar economic difficulties, as a report published earlier this month by the Congressional Research Service noted.
“The pandemic is negatively affecting global economic growth beyond anything experienced in nearly a century,” that report stated. “Estimates so far indicate the virus could trim global economic growth by 3.0% to 6.0% in 2020, with a partial recovery in 2021, assuming there is not a second wave of infections.”
Even in states that have aligned themselves with Trump and reopened despite the pandemic, economies continue to flounder. Florida, for example, a state that removed a number of rules on social distancing ahead of the rest of the nation, will not see its gross domestic product reach pre-pandemic levels until well into next year, one economist from the state predicted.
As Trump puts his focus on a false and unproven narrative alleging Democrats are trying to cause damage to their own states’ economies in order to hurt him, there actually appears to be evidence that just the opposite has happened — that Trump has pushed for states to reopen and resume business as usual in order to make himself look better politically on the economy.
Indeed, a report from The Washington Post in April detailed how Trump, speaking to his political advisers at the time, had expressed a strong desire to end states’ stay-at-home orders as soon as possible because it was producing an economic downturn, expressing that he felt it would make it more difficult for him to win the presidential race in November if the trends continued much longer.
This push for reopening a number of states, in spite of the continued spread of COVID-19, ran counter to what his own team of experts were saying at the time.
“The virus kind of decides whether or not it’s going to be appropriate to open or not,” Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, said then.
As of 1 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, nearly 6.5 million cases of coronavirus have been identified in the U.S. since the pandemic began. More than 193,000 Americans have died as a result of the disease, the highest number of deaths throughout the world.