Aides and advisers say the president was heavily influenced by briefings from scientific and public health officials, as well as by the stark reality of the virus, including projections of greater deaths depending on what measures the government takes.
But Trump campaign officials and political allies had also briefed the president in recent days about their fears of reopening the economy too soon, arguing that a spike in deaths could be even more politically damaging in November than the current economic downturn, according to two of the people familiar with the discussions. Campaign officials declined to comment.
Public health officials warned Trump that many rural areas — which form the bedrock of the president’s political support — do not have the necessary hospitals and doctors to handle an outbreak, should it come.
Some administration officials had also circulated a Yahoo News/YouGov poll showing that 59 percent of Americans believed opening up “the country for business” by Easter, as Trump suggested last week, was “too soon,” two of the people said. And Trump has been pleased by how his approval ratings have ticked up recently.