Trump has been adamant that schools must reopen for in-person instruction in the fall. He’s gone so far as to threaten to withhold federal funding from districts that keep school buildings closed at the start of the school year.
Many who are affected by school reopening decisions have criticized the president’s outlook as dangerous because, well, there’s a pandemic. But in a press conference yesterday, Trump said that he is not worried about sending his own family members back to school.
ABC News White House reporter Jon Karl asked the president about his family at a press briefing on Wednesday afternoon: “Regarding the children in your family, your son, your grandchildren, are you comfortable, do you plan to have them back in person in school this fall?”
“Well I am comfortable with that,” the president replied.
“I would like to see the schools open, open 100 percent, and we’ll do it safely, we’ll do it carefully, but when you look at the statistics I just read when it has to do with children and safety it’s very impressive. They have very strong immune systems.”
NEW: Pres. Trump tells @jonkarl he'd be comfortable with his son, grandchildren returning to school this fall.
— ABC News (@ABC) July 22, 2020
The problem with the president’s thought process, even if it was completely correct on its own, is that students aren’t the only people who will have to go back to school. Teachers, administrators, custodians, cafeteria workers, and other support personnel who lack “very strong immune systems” will also have to return. Some of them will contract COVID-19, and some of them will die. At this point, it’s dishonest to pretend otherwise.
There’s also the chance that Trump’s family members could bring the coronavirus home to their parents and domestic staff, a possibility that Trump did not address in his comments.
So on the one hand, there is some intellectual consistency to Trump’s public declaration that he’s fine with his family members going back to school, assuming that he cares about their well-being. On the other hand, Trump might be blinded by ideology to the point where he’ll say anything that he thinks is good for him and bad for his political enemies.