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President Trump said Wednesday the coronavirus “attack” is “worse” than the Pearl Harbor and 9/11 attacks.
“We went through the worst attack we've ever had in our country. This is really the worst attack we've ever had. This is worse than Pearl Harbor. This is worse than the World Trade Center,” Trump said while signing a proclamation in the Oval Office in honor of National Nurses Day.
The U.S. has reported 71,064 coronavirus-related deaths, while 2,403 people died at Pearl Harbor in 1941 and 2,977 people were killed in the 9/11 attacks in 2001.
“There's never been an attack like this. And it never should have happened,” Trump continued. “It could've been stopped at the source, it should've been stopped at the source. It should've been stopped in China.”
When asked if he was accepting the fact that more people would die under a quick reopening, Trump said “it could very well be the case,” but “hopefully won’t.”
Still, the country “won’t take” an extended lockdown, the president said. “They won’t stand it, it's not sustainable.”
The Trump administration was in talks Tuesday to wind down the coronavirus task force, but Trump said Wednesday he would keep the task force and add a few members to it after learning how respected the group was.
“I had no idea how popular the task force was when I started talking about winding it down,” the president said, adding that he got calls from “very important people” suggesting he keep the force. "I knew it myself, I didn't know whether or not it was appreciated by the public, but it is appreciated by the public."
Trump said he would name two to three new members to the force by Monday to focus on reopening efforts.