Trump allies are working on an initiative to have pro-Trump doctors publicly support the president and his views, multiple senior Trump campaign official confirmed to CBS News. The move comes amid the president's determination to boost the economy, which has been ravaged by the deadly coronavirus.
"The purpose of campaign coalitions is to amplify and promote President Trump's accomplishments and point of view. The president has been outspoken about the fact that he wants to get the country back open as soon and as safely as possible because there are also health risks associated with a prolonged lockdown," Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said. "There are a lot of doctors who agree with that and support what the President has done to combat the coronavirus."
The former reality television star-turned president has long valued those who can effectively defend his viewpoints publicly on television, something perhaps more critical to him now than ever as he battles the greatest crisis yet during his presidency. It's not clear which medical professionals will be touting the president's points of view, or when this initiative might be unveiled.
In audio from a May 11 call with political allies obtained by CBS News, a Republican activist said they'd submitted a list of 27 "extremely pro-Trump doctors" to top Trump campaign adviser Mercedes Schlapp, and said the campaign is working on building that coalition and vetting names.
"There's a coalition of doctors, a doctors coalitions, including some of the most respected doctors in this country that are ready to speak if somebody will just call on them," GOP activist Nancy Schultz told Schlapp on the call.
One senior campaign official told CBS News the campaign has already featured doctors in their online shows, which is true although not all of them are medical doctors or specialists in infectious disease or epidemiology. One is an anesthesiologist. Another has a Ph.D. in human and organization systems.
Mr. Trump has been lamenting the historic economic downturn, but he expresses optimism about the future, even as unemployment reaches Great Depression-era levels. He has also voiced concerns about massive job losses and mental health challenges arising during the pandemic, routinely insisting the "cure cannot be worse than the disease." Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has said the economy risks "permanent damage" if lockdowns continue.
"I'm not saying anything is perfect," Mr. Trump said earlier this month about reopening the economy. "And yes, will some people be affected? Yes. Will some people be affected badly? Yes. But we have to get our country open, and we have to get it open soon."
More than 91,000 Americans have died of the virus so far, as all states, according to Vice President Mike Pence, have begun to at least partially reopen their economies. Some of them failed to meet the Trump administration's own gating criteria and thresholds to reopen communities safely.
The Centers for Disease Controlfor entities including schools, restaurants and mass transit to guide states as they reopen. The 60-page document is the most comprehensive roadmap the administration has publicly released for states and localities, with far more detailed information than the Power Point-like guidance released earlier this spring.