Trump fears emergency declaration would contradict coronavirus message

Instead, the president is expected to sign within days what the White House calls a more limited designation to allow the federal government to cover small business loans, paychecks for hourly workers and delay tax bills, giving him a way to begin boosting the economy without waiting for Congress to sign off on an economic stimulus package.

Any emergency declaration would go significantly beyond that move, bringing in the Federal Emergency Management Agency and freeing up funding and resources for states struggling to contain the rapidly spreading virus.

Trump’s concern at this point is that going further could hamper his narrative that the coronavirus is similar to the seasonal flu and could further agitate Wall Street, said the three people familiar with the discussions.

“The president isn’t persuaded because [an emergency declaration] contradicts his message that this is the flu,” said a Republican who speaks to Trump.