“We did all the right moves,” the president said Wednesday. “The federal government rose to the challenge, and this is a great success story,” said his son-in-law.
WASHINGTON — The total number of coronavirus cases in the United States exceeded one million. The American death toll surpassed that of the Vietnam War. And the economy was reported to have shrunk by nearly 5 percent. But the White House on Wednesday declared its response to the crisis “a great success story.”
As states begin to lift quarantines, President Trump is trying to recast the story of the pandemic from that of an administration slow to see and address the threat to one that responded with decisive action that saved lives. Recognizing that the crisis jeopardizes his chances of re-election, he and his allies want to convince his supporters that the cascade of criticism is unwarranted.
“We think we really have crossed a big boundary and much better days are ahead,” Mr. Trump said on Wednesday at a televised meeting at the White House with business leaders. The session was intended to highlight what the president hopes will be the resumption of a healthier economy only hours after the release of the most cataclysmic economic numbers of the past decade.
“I often say I see the light at the end of the tunnel very strongly,” Mr. Trump said.
The president waxed at length about restoring life to the United States as if the crisis were nearly over. He disclosed that he plans to fly to Arizona next week and soon after that to Ohio, his first trips out of the White House since early March other than a short visit to Norfolk, Va., to see off a Navy hospital ship dispatched to hard-hit New York. He talked wistfully of going to football games and resuming his campaign rallies. “I’d like to get out,” he said.