There's been some reported tension inside President Donald Trump's administration over their handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The concern comes after the president suggested on Wednesday that that "we're going to be very good with the coronavirus" and that at some point it would "sort of just disappear."
Following Trump's controversial remarks, several White House aides have encouraged him to avoid the issue entirely, according to CNN. This includes advisor Jared Kushner and counselor Hope Hicks. However, Vice President Mike Pence and trade adviser Peter Navarro are pushing for the opposite and encouraging him to take a more active role. Especially considering that the surge in cases across the U.S., which will likely continue to cause some serious disruptions across, one advisor told the outlet.
Dr. Anthony Fauci's testimony before a Senate committee on Tuesday hasn't done much to help this divide. Fauci, a member of the coronavirus task force, warned lawmakers that new cases could climb as high as 100,00 a day. Another source close to the White House told the outlet that Fauci's testimony was like "dropping bombs" on the president, who had stopped meeting with the task force weeks ago. Yet another source said Fauci was describing a "resurgence within the first wave."
Part of the larger issue behind the surging number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 is the politicized debate over wearing face masks, which officials have urged as a means to significantly slow the spread. While Trump has largely disregarded the need for masks, he recently claimed he was "all for" them, but wouldn't issue a federal mandate requiring them.
"I don't know if you need mandatory," he said. "You have many places in the country where people stay very long distance. But I'm all for masks, I think masks are good." The president added that he'd "have no problem" wearing a mask himself, but added that "usually I'm not in that position." U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, who'd previously tweeted out against the idea of people hoarding masks, also encouraged people to wear them "if you want the return of college football this year."
"Please, please, please, wear a face covering when you go out in public," Adams said at a press conference on Tuesday. "It is not an inconvenience. It is not a suppression of your freedom. This mask, this face-covering actually is an instrument of freedom for Americans, if we all use it."