WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump enlisted advisers from nearly all sectors of American commerce, the medical field and elected officials to help shape his plans to reopen the coronavirus-battered economy.
The panel of advisers, whom Trump said he will consult by phone, will operate separately from the White House task force that’s leading the administration’s public health strategy to contain and mitigate the pandemic, though there is expected to be some overlap.
The panel, which the White House has dubbed the Great American Economic Revival Industry Groups, includes more than 50 executives and leaders from agricultural, defense and financial service industries, as well as leaders from unions, professional sports, think tanks and more.
The list of executives includes Apple's Tim Cook, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and hedge fund manager Ken Griffin, all individuals with whom Trump has long-standing relationships. Trump also named some individuals who have been critical of him in the past, including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban.
Trump announced on Thursday the names of elected officials, including governors and members of Congress, whom he would also consult. Click here to view the full list.
“I’m confident that these respected people ... will give us some great ideas in addition to what the governors have learned,” Trump said.
Trump signaled that he is ready to push for big swaths of the country to get back to business soon. He noted that some states have been less affected by the virus and will be ready to “open very very shortly, if not, almost immediately.” More than 25,000 Americans have been killed by the virus outbreak.
With the country barreling toward a likely recession ahead of November’s election, Trump is eager to spur an economic revival, hoping to steady financial markets and restore some of the 16 million jobs already lost because of the pandemic. He originally hoped to have the country stirring again by Easter but now wants at least a partial reopening by the end of the month.
Many medical experts in the government, including Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, have cautioned that easing up on social distancing too soon could lead to a new wave of the disease that would require shuttering the economy again, with disastrous results.
Some ethics experts and participants in past councils created by Trump voiced concerns that the president may not be open to using the new panel to explore diverse viewpoints and hard truths about the best path forward.
“It doesn’t work if you bring in the hallelujah chorus,” said Thea Lee, president of the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning Washington think tank. Lee served on a short-lived manufacturing council that Trump established early in his presidency.
Among the executives with whom Trump said he will consult are representatives from Cisco Systems, Tyson Foods, Archer Daniels Midland, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, US Bank, Morgan Stanley, Grand Rapids State Bank and Southern Bank Corp.
Trump said he would also consult with union leaders including the International Union of Operating Engineers president James Callahan, North America's Building Trade Unions president Sean McGarvey, International Brotherhood of Teamsters President James Hoffa, and Trumka.
The president's leaders focusing on hospitality include three cruise chips executives, Micky Arison for Carnival, Richard Fain with Royal Caribbean and Frank Del Rio for Norwegian Cruise Lines.
Among the sports world emissaries, he said he planned to consult are the WWE's Vince McMahon, NASCAR board chairperson Lesa Kennedy, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.