Trump: $2 trillion coronavirus bill could be too small, 'If we have to go back, we have to go back'

"It's going to open up like a rocket ship," Trump said of the post-shutdown economy. "I think it's going to go very good and very quickly." 

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President Trump on March 24, 2020
President Trump on March 24, 2020
(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Last Updated:
March 25, 2020 - 6:51pm

President Trump on Wednesday touted the unprecedented size of the pending $2.2 trillion federal coronavirus stimulus bill but said if it's not sufficient to lift the economy from a recession, additional stimulus might be required.

"If we have to go back, we have to go back," Trump said during the daily White House coronavirus task force briefing.

The stimulus bill would offer a check for an average of $3,000 for a family of four and give 100 percent of workers' salary for up to four full months, at no cost employers, Trump said.

The president also said that unlike typical unemployment insurance, the stimulus bill would also include salary support for independent contractors and self-employed people. 

"That's a tremendous thing because a lot of this money goes to jobs, jobs, jobs and families, families, families," Trump said.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said during the briefing that he expected the stimulus bill would support the economy for about three months.

"It's going to open up like a rocket ship," said Trump, predicting how the post-shutdown economy will be. "I think it's going to go very good and very quickly." 

The stimulus bill also includes funding for millions of ventilators, face masks and other medical equipment, and vaccine research funding. In addition, the bill includes support for corporations. Trump said he support the bill's ban on corporate stock buybacks and limits on executive compensation.

A defiant President Trump said during the Tuesday task force briefing that the coronavirus outbreak proved his policy arguments on immigration, trade, foreign policy and manufacturing. The president also said that the country will remain in an economic shutdown beyond the 15-day period of nationwide “social distancing” to prevent the spread of coronavirus. 

“We’ll stay a little bit longer than that,” Trump said during a Fox News virtual town hall with other members of the White House coronavirus task force. “I would love to have it open by Easter.”

However, Americans should focus not on predicting an end date for the coronavirus pandemic, but on aggressively containing the outbreak now, the nation’s top military medical official said Wednesday.

“Worry about today,” said Air Force Brig. Gen. (Dr.) Paul Friedrichs, Joint Staff Surgeon for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at a Pentagon briefing. “If we stop doing the right thing today based on what we think will happen in a few weeks,” the outbreak will not subside, he warned.

The Pentagon will set up a “Mythbusters” web page to debunk false stories about military takeovers during the COVID-19 pandemic, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Tuesday.

The full text of the final $2 trillion coronavirus-related stimulus plan hasn't been publicly released, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the GOP-led Senate will still vote Wednesday on the legislation.