Trump Threatens To ‘Pressure’ Governors To Open Schools In Fall Amid Increase In Coronavirus Cases In 31 States
President Donald Trump is pushing for schools to reopen in fall, saying that the states which have been holding back are doing so for “political” reasons.
On Tuesday, Trump, along with education leaders from across the country, spoke at a forum at the White House and addressed his desire for governors to reopen schools in the fall.
“We’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools, to get them open,” Trump said. “It’s very important. It’s very important for our country. It’s very important for the well-being of the student and the parents. So we’re going to be putting a lot of pressure on: Open your schools in the fall.”
As the new coronavirus cases have increased dramatically in more than 31 states, with nearly 50,000 daily cases reported across the country, Trump did not acknowledge the threat of the pandemic and blamed Democrats for blocking schools from reopening for political reasons.
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“They think it’s going to be good for them politically, so they keep the schools closed,” Trump said. “No way. We’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools.”
During the speech, Trump also downplayed the 130,000 U.S. COVID-19 deaths so far, saying there could have been “way over a million” deaths without the spring lockdown.
“So we’ve really done it right, but now it’s time to be open, it’s time to stay open. And we will put out the fires as they come up, but we have to open our schools,” Trump said.
A few days ago, Trump additionally claimed without evidence that 99% of cases of the virus were harmless.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease specialist, has recently warned that the U.S. is “still knee-deep in the first wave” of coronavirus and the daily new cases may double to 100,000 cases. On Tuesday, he also said that downplaying death rate is “a false narrative.”
Trump criticized Harvard University for moving all their fall courses online and inviting just 40% of undergraduates back to campus, calling the decision “ridiculous.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Florida), a strong Trump’s ally, is already acting on Trump’s advice and is requiring Florida’s K-12 schools to reopen in August, despite the increase of coronavirus cases.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos also supported Trump, saying “students can’t afford to fall further behind” and there should be no “excuse making or fear mongering.”
Some educators expressed concern over schools reopening amid the surge in coronavirus cases in the U.S.
“Trump has proven to be incapable of grasping that people are dying — that more than 130,000 Americans have already died,” said Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association. “Educators want nothing more than to be back in classrooms and on college campuses with our students, but we must do it in a way that keeps students, educators and communities safe.”
According to John’s Hopkins University data, the U.S. is about to reach 3 million coronavirus cases.
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