- The Washington Times - Monday, April 20, 2020

Kevin Hassett, a senior adviser to President Trump and former chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said Monday that second-quarter numbers for the U.S. economy will likely be historically bad.

“I think that it’s quite likely that the second quarter is going to be one of the biggest negative numbers that we’ve ever seen and it’s because we’ve basically stopped the economy,” Mr. Hassett said on Fox Business Network.

The White House announced last week that Mr. Hassett would return to the administration as a “special government employee” after it had said last month they were bringing him back as an informal economic adviser amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Hassett, who had previously warned of the likely dire economic effects of COVID-19, left his job as CEA chairman in June.

“We don’t know exactly where the other shore is but hopefully, we’re going to get there soon,” Mr. Hassett said. “And then once we get there, because we’ve built this good bridge, the hope is that we could take off pretty sharply right away. And if that happens, then maybe they wouldn’t call it a recession.”

About 22 million Americans filed claims for unemployment benefits over the past month or so as a sizable chunk of the U.S. economy was essentially shuttered amid the pandemic.

Congress is currently debating another economic rescue package to replenish a depleted small business loan program and provide additional money for hospitals and testing — a seeming acknowledgment that the recent $2.2 trillion rescue package isn’t nearly enough to prop up the reeling economy.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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