The high-stakes theater playing out between Trump and one of his top public health officials underscored a tense dynamic in the White House: a squadron of scientists and health experts — including Birx and infectious disease expert Anthony S. Fauci — caught in an uneasy tug-of-war with Trump as they push a worldview grounded in data and evidence in a West Wing where the president has mused about a “miracle” cure.

Trump has increasingly minimized and pushed aside many of the top public health and scientific experts in his administration, instead relying on advice from economic advisers and outside voices in the business community who are urging him to prioritize the nation’s economy above all else. On Tuesday, Trump told Fox News he hoped to have the country reopened by Easter on April 12 — a timeline at direct odds with the recommendations of experts such as Fauci, who had said previously that social distancing measures would probably need to remain for at least “several weeks.”…

But some allies have also tried to impart the sheer magnitude of the crisis to the president, privately warning him that if he adjusts health policy to try to boost the economy and there is a spike in coronavirus deaths, he will personally be blamed.

“Trump needs to resist the urge to listen to economists until we have defeated the virus,” said Dan Eberhart, a prominent Republican donor. “If Trump tries to restart the economy too soon and the pandemic continues to spread, that will be his legacy and it will be a legacy of failure.”