Trump’s most recent back-and-forth with school officials has taken on increasing urgency in the White House and the president’s campaign where there’s a belief that rebuilding the coronavirus-decimated economy — which can only happen if working parents have child care and can return to work — may be his best chance at winning reelection.
And with just over three months from Election Day, as the pandemic worsens in more than half the states, Trump is lagging behind presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden in most national polls and battleground states. His standing has even fallen in traditionally red states.
But most polls still show Americans trust Trump over Biden on handling the economy, though those numbers have started to fall, too. Some allies also believe the push for in-person learning could play well with the women and suburban voters the president needs to remain in office.
“He’s desperate to reopen the economy for the election. He knows you can’t reopen the economy unless you reopen schools,” said Rep. Donna Shalala, a Democrat who represents Miami-Dade County and served as secretary of health and human services under President Bill Clinton. “How many lives are we willing to lose? To open the economy or open the schools, you’re making a judgment about your willingness to lose lives.”
Trump blasted Democrats for keeping schools closed, saying they were trying to hurt him politically, and pushed his own administration to revise its guidelines to favor school openings because he says children are less likely to get sick or transmit the virus. Public health experts say children are still vulnerable and that many aspects of the virus are still unknown
Still, Trump and his aides have continued to push the reopening of schools in speeches, interviews and social media. On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos flew to North Carolina to visit a reopened private school to urge other schools to do the same.
“We have to remember that there is another side of this, keeping them out of school and keeping work closed is causing death also, economic harm but death for different reasons,” Trump said at a news conference Thursday. “But death, probably more death.”
While the president once threatened to cut off funding if schools didn’t offer in-person learning, he has acknowledged some schools may remain closed in his more scripted remarks from the White House podium and requested more than $100 billion from Congress for school districts. Senate Republicans propose giving more money to schools that offer in-person learning, but Democrats have balked at that proposal.
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y), who supports Trump, dismissed the president’s prior remarks on funding, saying he has been clear this week that he backs providing schools the money they need to reopen in person.
“What we know about the online-only [learning] is it wasn’t working for a huge amount of…
Go to the news source: Trump gets an education in the art of reversal