Republican think tanks, pundits, and media personalities spent the last couple weeks building up the case to prematurely reopen the economy and Trump himself indicated that he planned to do so, but he didn't.
So, what stopped him?
According to the Los Angeles Times, Trump's top advisers like Larry Kudlow urged him to reopen the economy, but he was ultimately persuaded not to by his reelection campaign advisers. The latter reportedly changed his mind by telling him the virus would spread to his own voters in rural America if he reopened the economy.
The voices came from inside as well. Larry Kudlow, Trump’s chief economic advisor, was a strong advocate for relaxing the guidelines, according to several people close to Trump or the White House. [...]
One former White House official said Trump’s reelection campaign advisors are terrified that the coronavirus outbreak, which so far has hit largely Democratic coastal cities hardest, will soon scythe across the rural areas that remain deeply loyal to Trump.
The advisors have warned Trump that the political consequences at the ballot box in November will be even worse if he is seen as too lax.
You know, most of you reading this have made your own decisions about when to leave and when to stay home for human reasons. I haven't seen my father for nearly a month now even though I have no symptoms, for example, because he would be particular vulnerable to the virus and it's not worth taking a chance.
Trump and the people closest to him are not making these decisions for human reasons; they're making cold political calculations and every decision they make appears to revolve around Trump's reelection.
The notion that we should prematurely reopen the economy was based on the idea that maintaining isolation would doom Trump's chances of being reelected, but the decision to keep the current guidelines in place was also intended to increase Trump's chances of being reelected.
The Trump regime is also making decisions about critical medical supplies, like refusing to talk to "that woman," Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, if she was not sufficiently deferential to Trump.
Almost every decision they've made has been made for political reasons and political whims. When legitimate science or medical expertise enters the equation, it's either by accident or because firing their top medical advisers would look really bad right now which is also a political calculation.
It should be said that Trump's actual ability to reopen the economy would have been relatively limited in any case because state governors are the ones who actually make these decisions. With that said, a significant number of governors are Republicans who would obey Trump and a national decision would put a lot of pressure on all the others.