How Trump picked Easter as back-to-normal date despite outbreak

Many of the president's evangelical base have pushed for the Easter deadline. "That's a very special day," the president said.

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March 27, 2020 - 4:31 PM

President Donald Trump participates in a Fox News interview, in the Rose Garden of the White House March 24. Photo by Doug Mills/Pool/Abaca Press/TNS

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is determined to ease coronavirus restrictions on most Americans by the Easter holiday — auspicious timing for his evangelical base and business allies but a worrisome deadline for public health experts shaping the U.S. response to a still mushrooming outbreak.

Trump’s impatience to get everyone back to work set in almost immediately after he urged everyone to stay home — touched off as he watched a sermon delivered by a prominent evangelical preacher to an empty megachurch. It gained momentum as Trump listened to advice from conservative economists who warned of near-apocalyptic financial damage, a view reinforced by a free-fall in markets.

And it coalesced around a single day, among the most sacred in the Christian calendar — Easter Sunday, April 12 — for reasons more symbolic than scientific after a key meeting headed by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner just four days after the stay-at-home advice.

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