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Coronavirus: Trump shifts to upbeat message on opening country – but top aide warns of more economic pain

'This is a tough one. The [economic] contraction is going to go on for a bit,' Larry Kudlow says

John T. Bennett
Washington
Wednesday 29 April 2020 22:01 BST
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'I didn’t say it': Trump falsely claims he never said US could test 5m a day for Covid-19 'very soon'

The White House has shifted to a strategy of focusing almost exclusively on getting the country open again amid the coronavirus outbreak, though a top aide to the president warns of more economic turmoil.

"Everyone wants to open up," Donald Trump said on Wednesday of governors and US residents, striking an optimistic tone during an afternoon event with industry executives.

About the coronavirus, which has infected more than 1m Americans and killed more than 60,000, according to The Johns Hopkins University, Mr Trump declared it one day will just "leave."

"I think there is tremendous pent-up demand," Mr Trump said at one point of an quick economic turnaround.

"You'll see some astonishing numbers," the president said at another point.

"Frankly, I really feel like next year is going to be a really good year economically," he said. "I'm feeling very much so that it's going to be very successful."

At yet another: "We're going maximum testing," he said as some Democratic governors, and a small handful of GOP state leaders, say they still lack ample Covid-19 testing kits.

That comment came a few hours after he denied saying a day earlier that the US "very soon" would be able to test 5m people each day, a comment that is plainly audible on video of a Tuesday afternoon White House event.

But the suddenly sunny Mr Trump had more upbeat words: "The worst of the pain and suffering is going to be behind us."

But Larry Kudlow, one of his top economic advisers, was something of a wet blanket around a U-shaped table in the ornate State Dining Room.

"This is a tough one," Mr Kudlow said. "The [economic] contraction is going to go on for a bit.

But his boss set a lofty goal of returning the country to how it operated before the virus arrived.

"We want it to be the way it was before," Mr Trump said, "as soon as possible."

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