President Trump, Gov. Scott diverging on coronavirus shutdown rhetoric

The White House

ECONOMY FIRST: President Donald Trump is signaling he is ready to slowly reopen the country for business while Gov. Phil Scott said Monday that Vermonters could face months of state-imposed economic shutdown.

While President Donald Trump said he is preparing to ease the U.S. economy back to health at the end of the month, Gov. Phil Scott on Monday said he expects to keep Vermont’s economy under lockdown for months to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“This is going to be a very long recovery, in some respects,” Scott said, speaking at a news conference with U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., and members of his administration.

In his comments about the recent closing of restaurants, schools and “close-contact businesses”  — scheduled to last at least until April 6 — Scott hinted at a more protracted period of economic inactivity.

“Some had said in the beginning that this was going to be a short period of time — maybe two or three weeks. But this is not going to be two or three weeks. This is going to be for a long period of time — months I think, before we are even through the initial surge. And then, at that point, it’s going to be a slow recovery.”

In addition, Scott announced an order directing all businesses and not-for-profit organizations to implement telecommuting or work-from-home procedures. These must be in place by 8 p.m. Monday, March 23.

Meanwhile the president is suggesting businesses might begin to open back up after the initial federal-recommended restrictions expire on March 31. Trump said in a tweet Sunday night that an economic recession or depression could end up hurting more Americans than the virus itself.

Trump’s comments echo those by Fox News host Steve Hilton, who recently spoke against the perpetual calls for an economic shutdown, which he claimed could result in 1 million American deaths.

“Our ruling class and their TV mouthpieces whipping up fear over this virus, they can afford an indefinite shutdown. Working Americans can’t, they’ll be crushed by it,” he said. “You know that famous phrase, ‘The cure is worse than the disease’? That is exactly the territory we are hurtling towards.”

Welch, who also spoke at the press conference, suggested federal money would be able to prop up the economy.

“This is where the federal government has to be aggressive,” he said. “[U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin] indicated in a conference with the Senate that we could have unemployment of up to 20 percent.”

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard has stated unemployment could reach 30 percent. The highest record rate of unemployment in the U.S. was 24.9 percent in 1933, during the Great Depression.

Welch, like Scott, says the economy must be sacrificed to get society through this health threat.

“This is an unprecedented challenge. We have a pandemic, and the recommended way of protecting our health is to compromise our economy,” he said. “People can’t go to work, businesses are closed down, people who had a job now don’t. And we know that we’ve got to take the steps required to protect our health, and we’ve got to do it no matter how painful they are.”

Welch said the latest estimates are that $2 trillion is coming from the federal government to help households and businesses. He hopes to get much of this money to small businesses.

Erin Sigrist, president of the Vermont Retailers and Grocers Association, was also at the press conference.

“We’re all trying to do our best to get through this as best as we can,” she said. “We ask that you take a little bit of precaution where necessary. We need to rest … and remember that the food and other necessities are available.”

As of Monday, Vermont has reported 75 positive cases of COVID-19 and five deaths resulting from the virus.

The most recent data from the National Center for Health Statistics Mortality Surveillance System indicates that over a three-week period ending March 7, there were 24 Vermonters who died from pneumonia, and three by the flu. During that same three-week stretch, about 8,335 Americans died of pneumonia and 1,289 from the flu.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of The White House

26 thoughts on “President Trump, Gov. Scott diverging on coronavirus shutdown rhetoric

  1. I believe that the amount and reliability of guaranteed income will be directly proportional to the length of time politicians will want the Covid 19 shut down to continue. Take away THEIR income and THEIR access to food, housing and let them wonder how they will take care of THEIR families, friends and themselves and THEIR views will change. I haven’t heard of any checks getting into the hands of citizens. I haven’t been hearing about supplies at food shelves but I would think that stocks are running low.

    This IS a serious situation but the majority of Americans, given good information on which to base their choices will a make decisions that will be best for themselves and for society.

    Trump ran on a platform of making America great again by bringing businesses back to the US that will allow us to have more control over our own destiny. It should be obvious to all that letting China control so many essential supplies for medicines, electronics and infrastructure is like letting them hold a gun to our head. Being able to produce the oil and gas we need has given us freedom from the whims of Middle East and Russian dictators. We should also become free from China.

  2. If we are truly at war…

    We should be acting like it. There is full employment in a time of war. We would be manufacturing all that we need to defeat the enemy in our country and every country.

    America would be producing more bleach , more masks, more ventilators for the entire world. We would be figuring out how to keep the virus from our most vulnerable, working to solve this problem. We would be stock piling food for every one if needed.

    We would be supplying everyone with a ton of toilet paper!

    Yet, we are doing the opposite. Why?

    • How did our leaders come up,with a brand new bill, 1200 pages long in one week? Might they have been planning for this,,,,,,for months or years? This thing just pops up in 7 days? Everybody of course has read the bill to, huh? Who is pulling the strings in Washinton d.c.?

    • Hi. I wanted to let you know that many, many, U.S. companies, including some car plants in Michigan, are going to stop making what they make and instead will be manufacturing masks and respirators.

      Almost all of congress, in both parties, have been asking Trump to trigger the DPA (Defense Preparation Act) which would force all manufacturers that are able to, to make these items.

      For some reason Trump does not want to enact this and no one understands why.

      People are begging him to do this, it would produce thousands of needed safety equipment for medical workers, as well as more respirators, hand sanitizers, etc…

      But on the bright side, here in Vermont (and in many other states), local distilleries are making hand sanitizer instead of drinking alcohol, and several have been handing it out for free.

      I agree with you that in times like this, we need as many people as possible making the badly needed items that can help fight this virus.

      Not all businesses are able to do this and for the safety of all those businesses that cannot do need to be closed for a while.

      However, a bill with 2 trillion dollars to help all Americans, as well as corporations and small business has just passed the senate and will likely pass the house today.

      The bill provides for 1,200 dollars for every adult (2400 for married couples), 350 billion for small business, 5 billion for corporations, as well as unemployment benefits for those whose jobs have been shut down during this time.

      This will help individuals, as well as our large corporations and small businesses survive during this time.

      But the manufacturer’s who are able to provide the equipment needed to fight this virus are being called upon to do it.

      Enacting the DPA would make it mandatory for all who can do this, to do it.

      We need to convince Trump to trigger this asap.

      Congress in both parties have been calling for him to do this.

      And kudos to both parties for working together to get a bill to help all of us passed in the senate.

  3. So who is right, Pres. Trump or Gov. Scott? I suspect both will rely on incoming data to determine the best course of action. And I would not be surprised if they both came to the same conclusion. I wonder why Gov. Scott is allowing the Senators from all parts of the State to gather together and possibly spread the virus throughout the State.

  4. Interesting statements:

    1) ‘Welch, like Scott, says the economy must be sacrificed to get society through this health threat”.
    What!!! The Dems including Welch stopped that. He voted against it to satisfy his godmother piglosi.

    2) “Welch, who also spoke at the press conference, suggested federal money would be able to prop up the economy. “ WHAT!!!! Welch and company against it in a bill turned down by Dems last Sunday.

    3) Welch and company wanted to load up the relief bill with pork.

    4) “Welch said the latest estimates are that $2 trillion is coming from the federal government to help households and businesses. He hopes to get much of this money to small businesses. “
    WHAT!!!! He and his cohorts stopped that.

    Constant lies. What piglosi wants via Welch, piglosi gets. Lahey also, what Chucky ants, Chucky gets. The people be damned. It’s for their agenda being against Trump (and the country) so they can get total power. Fine representatives for the state. Regarding Lahey, where is Fred Tuttle when we need him?

    The Dems are playing this Covid-19 virus into political gain, clear and simple.

    • They are hoping for a collapse of the economy, so they can win in November.

      “Never let a crises go to waste”, per Rahm Emmanuel, in 2008.
      The US is facing an unprecedented moment in an era that has already witnessed 9/11 and the 2008 crash.

      “…we must be careful not to exacerbate the ongoing climate crisis,” Democratic Reps. Kathy Castor of Florida, Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico, and Jared Huffman of California wrote in a March 20 letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.”

      What the (fill in your own word) has the “climate crisis” got to due with, never minding, “exacerbating”, the epidemic!

      The Dems have gone crazy!

      Dems are holding the virus bill hostage by inserting their:

      Climate Change agenda, and
      Other Liberal Dreams; a total Disgrace

      Demself inserted into the virus bill that the aviation industry to practice:

      Adoption of low-carbon fuels,
      Support for greenhouse gas efficiency standards, and/or
      Electrification of ground support equipment at airports

      In the virus bills were tax credits for solar panels and wind turbines.
      60% of all solar panels are made in China.
      How stupid could these people be to literally hand out hard American currency to China?
      Who knows how much of wind turbines are made in China.

      Dems look terrible by trying to hold this relief bill hostage to their laundry list of leftwing desires.

      Trump’s approval rating for handling the Wuhan virus crisis is 55 percent favorable, according to a new ABC poll, and 60 percent in another poll.

      That’s despite Dems and lapdog media doing everything they can do to undermine Trump in a time of crisis, including this instance of blackmail.

      Dems are going to pay at the polls.
      They are making a perfect case for why they should no longer wield power.

      Trump is working tirelessly to help ordinary people through a crisis, whilst those in the left/green movement are pushing their left wind agendas

      I hope, people will remember all in November.

      • Pelosi just came out with her House virus bill

        The legislation includes provisions for green energy tax credits, wind and solar, and new fuel emissions regulations for airlines.

        It will cost an estimated $2.5 trillion, TWO TIMES the Senate bill.

        • Here is a more complete list of the junk in Pelosi’s bill.

          Welch, Bernie and Leahy support those items

          Early voting for all states
          Same day voter registration
          Internet voter registration
          Post Office Bailout
          New Emission standards for Airlines
          Student Loan Forgiveness
          Corporate Pay info by race
          Expand collective bargaining rights for government workers
          Expansion of minority banks
          Wind & Solar tax credits

          • Republicans had a deal until Nancy Pelosi rode into town from her extended vacation.

            The Democrats want the Virus to win?

            They are asking for things that have nothing to do with our great workers or companies.

            They want Open Borders & Green New Deal.

            Republicans shouldn’t agree!

  5. Without jobs there is no income tax paid because there is no income. Without a paycheck there are no sales taxes paid because there are no sales. And come property tax time how are we supposed to pay that?

    Closing a business is not like turning off a light bulb. Without sales there is no income, employees lose their jobs and employers lose their businesses. No one is left to turn the light back on and goverment is left holding an empty money bag.

    Come on Montpelier – be bold, be smart and implement a plan to fight back. Protect the vulnerable, yes, but let us at least go back to work to help our families and neighbors. We can’t cower behind our doors much longer. A protracted shutdown will necessarily destroy both our economy and our society – a reality, perhaps, more dangerous and deadly than the virus itself.

    If you do nothing then return your paychecks and come November you will all be out of a job, just like us. A protracted shutdown will destroy our economy and the fabric of our society – a reality perhaps more dangerous and deadly than the virus itself!

    • What could possibly be wrong with the RINO governor flexing his executive muscles? He can finally finish the job of totally destroying the state’s economy.

  6. This whole thing is so very, very disturbing.

    Are we hearing anything about protecting those at risk? “chirp”, “chirp”, “chirp” say the crickets.

    This is so entirely disgusting. They talk, talk, talk, about the danger and those truly in danger, will probably be given the corona virus by those “helping” them. We all have family at risk today! Will these people even have the courtesy to feign concern for those truly in need while they stuff their pockets, take more power, slide with lobbyists and ruin our country?

    Please tell us what you are doing. What protocols have you adopted in nursing homes to keep things clean? All the while you want to release criminals from prison….you keep our grandparents locked up! There is no shame in this country, and these people get up and spout on national t.v. no less.

    • look at the headline articles about Prisons and corona virus on Vermont Digger…..

      shouldn’t they be covering nursing homes? Read one of the articles, they make excuses the whole time, we are doing everything perfect! My guess without looking is this week 7 days will have something about the prisons, nothing on nursing homes or perhaps they’ll tell us again how perfect our Vermont nursing homes are.

      And where is everyone dying of corona virus? In the nursing homes. Guess what your plan is clearly NOT working….try again please. Heaven help us, we clearly know not what we are doing. But our leaders will be stuffing the pockets of their “constituents” with money from our own pockets.

      • Excellent point Neil about patients in the nursing homes having the corona virus. Maybe they’ve been visiting the take out restaurants and close contact businesses? Obviously it will run its course regardless of precautions taken, same as the flu or cold.
        Of course these deaths are tragic but why destroy so many lives and businesses because it may stop this? Let people make informed decisions.

        • There is so much more they could be doing in the nursing homes, and they aren’t. We might as well send grandma on a cruise, she has a better chance of making out alive.

  7. Scott talking, but who’s really listening ??

    Vermont needs a leader, Scott’s not it. I don’t like New York’s Governor Cuomo, but he
    has made some bold decision, he has taken the bull by the horns for his state and his
    the state is in trouble with this CCP Wuhan Virus.

    Let’s see if he ” Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk “.

    • Interesting, in my book, based upon what he’s done so far, he is clearly the best. The best we have ever, ever had, above ALL others before him, including George.

    • Very good article and frankly I’ve thught the authors points maybe closer to the truth,Thanks for posting it.

  8. We have a flu / corona virus pandemic (meaning it’s across the globe).

    How is releasing prisoners going to stop this pandemic from spreading in the general population?

    How is collapsing the entire economy going to help those who need serious medical help?

    How is not allowing people to purchase handguns keeping the virus from spreading?

    How come some day cares are ok, but others not?

    If all the medical people with corona virus can’t work at all, how does that help us?

    If any police officer has to removed,from service if they have corona virus, how are they going to keep law and order?

    Why do our legislators and all other leaders across the nation need more power, secret meetings, and restricting our personal liberties reduce the spread of corona virus?

    How come nobody is talking about how we are going to save and protect the most vulnerable? How come that is not the focus on every leaders quotes and on tv?

    You can tell a tree by its fruit. They reap what they sow. Actions speak louder than words

    • Why do our leaders think if we are a socialist state or country we won’t get the corona virus?

      How is spending trillions on the green new deal will keep us corona free?

      just curious, where’s the science in all this?

      • Shameful, pontificating legislators, who are supposed to work for voters, not for lobbies, do know better, but sell themselves to get re-elected and enjoy having some power and control to “actualize” themselves.

        They cannot wait to get their paws on the federal money, created out of thin air by the Federal Reserve “Bank”, to fill the state budget gaps (due to less sales tax, less income tax, more unemployment benefits, less room and meals tax, less gasoline tax, etc.)

        The state should be reducing head counts, eliminate programs, tighten its belt, so the stagnant Vermont economy, with a stagnant population, would be less burdened and start growing again.


        These are the same folks who came up with energy programs that were supposed to reduce Vermont’s CO2.

        But those programs were inspired by politics, not common sense, and as a result Vermont’s CO2 increased from 1990 to 2018; TWENTYEIGHT YEARS OF MALFEASANCE.

        • I think we need more than term limits, we need trials, we need to use our wonderful trees for another use, we need to use the hemp for some old time rope manufacturing. We need to see some feet swaying. We are witnessing the complete take over, collapse and sell out of our country all done within two weeks, amazing how fast everything has come together. Hopefully our president gets his wits and quickly, I have little and no hope for our leadership in Vermont. Who is willing to stand up and call out this charade?

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