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Coronavirus Philadelphia: Mayor Jim Kenney Slams President Donald Trump, Says Easing Restrictions Comment 'Unacceptable'

PHILADELPHIA (CBS/CNN) -- Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney slammed President Donald Trump for wanting to ease coronavirus restrictions during the pandemic, which goes against health officials' recommendations. During a briefing on Tuesday, Kenney called Trump's comments "clearly unacceptable."

"I want to be clear, Philadelphia will continue to do what is best for our residents. We recognize that our stay-at-home order will create serious disruptions and economic hardships for tens of thousands of people, but our health department and other experts are absolutely certain that ignoring the restrictions will further the spread of this virus," Kenney said.

Coronavirus Update: Latest On COVID-19 Cases, School Closings And Cancellations Across Delaware Valley

Kenney said it was short-sighted on Trump to question stay-at-home orders.

"While doing so may help some businesses stay afloat, the cost in lives and the cost to society will be far greater," Kenney said.

Kenney added that there is no indication that the virus has slowed in the city as the number of cases rose to 252.

Trump tweeted on Tuesday that "the cure cannot be worse than the problem."

"Our people want to return to work. They will practice Social Distancing and all else, and Seniors will be watched over protectively & lovingly. We can do two things together," Trump said.

On Monday, Gov. Tom Wolf issued stay-at-home orders for Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties.

Kenney also criticized Congress for not getting a coronavirus response aid bill passed yet, which includes a request from 303 mayors across the U.S. for $250 billion in direct aid to cities like Philadelphia.

"We know there are many individuals in federal agencies who are working tirelessly with our team to get us the information and resources we need," Kenney said. "But leadership has been lacking."

During a town hall on Tuesday, Trump said he wants the nation "opened up and just raring to go by Easter," a date just more than two weeks away that few health experts believe will be sufficient in containing the spread of coronavirus.

Trump reiterated he was eager to see the nation return to normal, even as doctors warn the nation will see a massive spike in cases if Americans return to crowded workplaces or events.

"I give it two weeks," Trump said earlier in the town hall, suggesting he was ready to phase out his 15-day self-isolating guidelines when they expire. "I guess by Monday or Tuesday, it's about two weeks. We will assess at that time and give it more time if we need a little more time. We have to open this country up."


Despite announcing the new guidelines under the banner "The President's Coronavirus Guidelines for America," Trump seemed to distance himself from the practices during the town hall.

"Somehow, the word got out that this is the thing we are supposed to be doing," he said, noting the country had "never done a thing like this before."

"But we had to do it. It's been very painful for our country and very destabilizing," he said.

As his advisers prepare options for returning the country to work, Trump suggested that Americans would still be able to exercise good health practices while still returning to normal.

"We have to go back to work much sooner than people thought," he said.

Trump again compared coronavirus to the flu and auto accidents, despite warnings from his health advisers that such analogies make little sense.

"We lose thousands and thousands of people to the flu. We don't turn the country off," he said, adding: "We lose much more than that to automobile accidents."

Last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci said comparing coronavirus to auto accidents was a "false equivalency" and said it was important to "face the fact" that coronavirus is more lethal than the flu.

(©Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company contributed to this report.)

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