President Trump on Wednesday said he was "surprised" by Dr. Anthony Fauci's comments in public testimony Tuesday voicing concern about the risks of reopening schools and the economy in general.
Fauci, who, said the concept of having treatments or a vaccine available to students returning to school in the fall is a "bit of a bridge too far." The infectious diseases expert said the matter will need to be approached cautiously.
"The idea of having treatments available or a vaccine to facilitate reentry of students into the fall term would be something that would be a bit of a bridge too far," Fauci said Tuesday. "The drug that has shown some degree of efficacy was modest and was in hospitalized patients."
Fauci also warned that if "states or cities or regions" disregard the government's "checkpoints" on when it's safe to pull back from mitigation measures, "there is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you might not be able to control, which, in fact, paradoxically, will set you back, not only leading to some suffering and death that could be avoided, but could even set you back on the road to trying to get economic recovery."
Fauci did not specifically say schools should or shouldn't reopen. Mr. Trump said he was "surprised" by Fauci's comments, particularly about reopening schools, and claimed the expert is trying to "play all sides of the equation."
"I was surprised by his answer, actually. Because you know, it's just, to me it's not an acceptable answer, especially when it comes to schools," the president said. "The only thing that would be acceptable, as I said, is professors, teachers, etc. over a certain age."
Mr. Trump said he believes schools should be reopening in fall, as school districts and colleges make decisions about what to do in August and September.
"I don't consider our country coming back if our schools are closed," the president said Wednesday. ... "The state is not open if the schools are not open."
The president also said a bill from House Democrats for additional coronavirus aid would be "dead on arrival."