What's behind Trump's strategic pivot?
After Pearl Harbor, FDR declared that his role of "Dr. New Deal" had been superseded, replaced by his new role, "Dr. Win the War."
Tuesday, President Donald Trump signaled that, in the war on the coronavirus pandemic, he, too, is executing a strategic pivot.
Where the medical crisis had been the central front, pulling the U.S. economy out of its coma is now his principal objective.
Trump is not unaware of the consequences of this decision.
"Will some people be affected badly? Yes," said the president, "but we have to get our country open and we have to get it open soon."
"Tremendous progress" has been made in dealing with the medical crisis, Vice President Mike Pence told reporters Tuesday, adding that the White House task force he chairs could be phased out in June.
Wednesday, Trump reversed that. From the public reaction, by popular demand, said Trump, the task force, whose primary medical voices are Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, will continue.
As the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 is now 74,000 and still rising at a rate of 2,000 a day, what is behind Trump's strategic pivot?
First, there is not a great deal more the White House can do to slow the inexorable momentum of the disease itself.
"Social distancing" and "sheltering" have been in place for weeks. So, too, are the programs for producing masks, gowns, gloves, tests and ventilators. Trump cannot create any more from a White House podium.