May 6, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump says coronavirus task force will continue "indefinitely" but focus on reopening

Pence, Fauci and Trump.

Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks as President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence listen. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Wednesday that the White House's coronavirus task force will continue "indefinitely" but move to focus on "safety & opening up our country."

Why it matters: Trump noted that the administration may seek to "add or subtract people ... as appropriate" — adding to concerns that the White House could oust medical officials as it seeks to reframe the pandemic as an economic crisis.

The state of play: Vice President Pence told reporters that the White House was in "preliminary discussions" to wind the task force down on Tuesday.

  • A senior administration official told Axios that any change to the task force "does NOT mean doctors are being removed from the equation or being pushed out."
  • "Members of the Pence-led task force will continue providing input, though the group will not be meeting in person as regularly as the focus changes toward vaccines, therapeutics, testing, and ultimately reopening the economy," the official added.
  • White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany also tweeted: "Reporting on the task force is being misconstrued to suggest the White House is no longer involving medical experts. This is totally false."

What he's saying: "The White House CoronaVirus Task Force, headed by Vice President Mike Pence, has done a fantastic job of bringing together vast highly complex resources that have set a high standard for others to follow in the future," Trump wrote in a series of tweets.

  • "Because of this success, the Task Force will continue on indefinitely with its focus on SAFETY & OPENING UP OUR COUNTRY AGAIN. We may add or subtract people to it, as appropriate. The Task Force will also be very focused on Vaccines & Therapeutics," he added.
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