Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, Mr Moore defended protesters in various states in the USA lamenting the state of lockdown Donald Trump imposed to fight the coronavirus pandemic. He said: “We can’t go past May 1st. If we go past May 1st we’re going to so devastate our economy that the cost of having our economy and society shut down will be multiples greater than the threat of this virus.
“We’re going to see 50 million people unemployed.
“We’re going to see property rates quadruple in this country.
“And the poorest people in the country are the people who are being hurt the most.
“Minorities are being hurt the most, disabled people are being hurt the most.”
But as BBC host Nick Robinson claimed his claim to re-open the country was a mere attempt to counteract criticism of Donald Trump’s approach to the crisis, the US President’s adviser snapped.
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Mr Robinson said: “You make a powerful economic case, but papers in the United States have been pointing out that a lot of people organising these protests are pro-gun campaigners, and there is a sense here – is there not – that this is an attempt to get back the initiative, given that the President himself is under fire for being in denial about this virus at first, then being slow to act and now being the man in charge of the country that is going to have the worst record in dealing with the virus on the planet.”
But Mr Moore blasted: “Let’s be very clear about this because that’s the liberal narrative that somehow Trump was slow to act on this issue, but it’s exactly the opposite.
“Donald Trump did exactly what every liberal in America was supposed to, he shut down travel from China.
“That single act probably saved tens if not hundred thousands of American lives.”
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It comes as President Trump said on Monday he will suspend all immigration into the United States temporarily through an executive order in response to the coronavirus outbreak and to protect American jobs.
The move, which the Republican president announced on Twitter, effectively achieves a long-term Trump policy goal to curb immigration, making use of the health and economic crisis that has swept the country as a result of the pandemic to do so.
The decision drew swift condemnation from some Democrats, who accused the president of creating a distraction from what they view as a slow and faulty response to the coronavirus.
Trump said he was taking action to protect the US workforce.
Millions of Americans are suffering unemployment after companies shed employees amid nationwide lockdowns to stop the contagion.
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“In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States,” Trump said in a tweet.
The White House declined to offer further details about the reasoning behind the decision, its timing, or its legal basis.
“As our country battles the pandemic, as workers put their lives on the line, the President attacks immigrants & blames others for his own failures”, former Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar said in a tweet.
Immigration is largely halted into the United States anyway thanks to border restrictions and flight bans put in place as the virus spread across the globe.
But the issue remains an effective rallying cry for Trump’s supporters.
Donald Trump won the White House in 2016 in part on a promise to curb immigration by building a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico. He and his advisers have spent the first three years of his tenure cracking down on both legal and illegal entries into the country. Crowds regularly chant “Build the Wall!” at Trump’s political rallies, which are now idled because of the virus.
President Trump has lamented the economic fallout of the outbreak; his stewardship of the US economy was set to be his key argument for re-election in November.
The US death toll from the virus topped 42,000 on Monday, according to a Reuters tally.
The US economy has come to a near standstill because of the pandemic; more than 22 million people applied for unemployment benefits in the last month.
“You cut off immigration, you crater our nation’s already weakened economy,” former Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro said in a tweet. “What a dumb move.”
The United States has the world’s largest number of confirmed coronavirus cases, with more than 780,000 infections, up 27,000 on Monday.
But the President has made a point of saying the peak had passed and has been encouraging US states to reopen their economies.
“It makes sense to protect opportunities for our workforce while this pandemic plays out,” said Thomas Homan, President Trump’s former acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “It’s really not about immigration. It’s about the pandemic and keeping our country safer while protecting opportunities for unemployed Americans.”
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