In an interview with Bill Hemmer of Fox News on Tuesday, President Trump said that he would love to announce the end of the shutdown in time for Easter Sunday: “I would love to aim it right at Easter Sunday so we’re open for church services on Easter Sunday.… That would be a beautiful thing.… You’ll have packed churches all over the country. I think that this will be a beautiful time.”
Ignoring the obvious parallel between Easter Sunday — for Christians it is the “Resurrection Day” of Jesus Christ — and the resurrection of the moribund U.S. economy, the pushback was immediate from both the Left and the Right.
Representative Liz Cheney (R–Wyo.) said, “There will be no normally functioning economy if our hospitals are overwhelmed and thousands of Americans of all ages, including our doctors and nurses, lay dying because we failed to do what’s necessary to stop the virus.” Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said, “We need to follow CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines and watch what our experts are saying. I would love to see the economy up and going as soon as possible, but let’s make sure we’re taking care of people first.”
Democrat California Governor Gavin Newsom said Trump’s suggestion was “misleading”: “We’re trying to bend the curve, but we haven’t bent it. The question is: early April, I think that would be misleading to represent, at least for California.”
Democrat presidential hopeful Joe Biden said the president should stop talking and start listening to experts:
He should stop talking and start listening to the medical experts. You talk about an economic crisis. You want an economic crisis? Watch the number of dead go up.
We all want the economy to open up as rapidly as possible. The way to do that is to take care of the medical side of this immediately.
The idea that we are in a position to say by Easter we’re going to have people going back to work, what is he talking about?
Noah Smith, an opinion columnist for Bloomberg, unloaded on the idea:
His plan to reopen by Easter would only make matters worse.… letting people go back to work now wouldn’t simply restore the economy to its former health. The disease would come roaring right back. Infections would soar … overwhelming the health-care system.
Mass panic would be enough to keep people huddled in their homes, possibly for months, causing restaurants, stores and other businesses to go bankrupt anyway.
The economy would still take a huge hit, but now many more people would die….
Easter is probably at least two weeks too soon.
Easter Sunday celebrates Christianity’s foundational principle, as the Apostle Paul expressed it in his first letter to the church at Corinth: “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”
Trump himself has said that Easter is a date to shoot for, but only if his advisors support it. The message the president is delivering is two-fold: one of hope that the virus will have peaked before then; the other that the occupant of the White House is a follower of Christ.
It would truly be a beautiful thing if Christ’s followers were to celebrate two events on Easter Sunday: the resurrection of their Lord, and the start of restoring the economy.
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