- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday evening said President Trump has an “open mind” about a timeline for dialing back federal guidance tied to the coronavirus, saying Mr. Trump accepts the need for flexibility amid the pandemic.

“It’s a back and forth. The president clearly listens. I mean, he has this aspirational goal of hoping that we might be able to do it by a certain date,” Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Fox News.

“We talk to him about that. We say we need to be flexible. He realizes that, and he accepts that,” he said. “I mean, he doesn’t want to give up his aspirational goal, but he’s flexible enough to say, OK, let’s look at it on a day-by-day basis.”

“He’s been very flexible about it, even though it looks like he’s made this absolute decision on something, he does have an open mind about it,” Dr. Fauci continued.

Mr. Trump on Tuesday said he’d love to have the country “opened up and just raring to go” by Easter, which is on April 12.

The president on March 16 had announced a 15-day period during which the federal government is advising people to avoid crowds of more than 10 persons, work at home if possible, and eat takeout instead of dining in restaurants.

A number of states and localities have enacted their own lockdown orders, bans on gatherings, and business closings. They may or may not choose to follow the lead of the federal government if the guidelines are relaxed.

Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican, said he’d love to see things opened back up by Easter but that people need to exercise caution.

“The one thing we don’t want to see is a relaxing of some of the restrictions on public activities and then a resurgence of the pandemic,” Mr. Cotton said Wednesday on “Fox & Friends.”

“Remember, the president didn’t quote-unquote shut down the country,” he said. “These are decisions that are being made by governors and by mayors at the local and the state level based on conditions in their states.”

Mr. Cotton said ultimately things would happen on a “rolling basis.”

“You won’t just see a single, nationwide set of conditions,” he said. “I think you’ll see it down to the local and state level as the president and the federal government works with our governors and our mayors.”

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