Trump 'totally' disagrees with Fauci on school reopenings

States investigating unknown illness appearing in children that may be linked to COVID-19

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As state economies begin slowly reopening in phases, President Trump wants to see schools reopen -- despite some of the coronavirus concerns being voiced by top advisers.

In an exclusive interview with FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo, President Trump responded to top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci’s fears that spikes during the reopening process could turn into outbreaks if activities, like schooling, resume too quickly.

“So [Dr.] Anthony [Fauci] is a good person, a very good person – I've disagreed with him,” Trump said. “We have to get the schools open, we have to get our country open, we have to open our country. Now we want to do it safely, but we also want to do it as quickly as possible, we can't keep going on like this … You're having bedlam already in the streets, you can't do this. We have to get it open. I totally disagree with him on schools.”

Trump reiterated those beliefs in a press briefing Wednesday, saying that while the decision is ultimately up to state governors, he does not consider the country “coming back” if schools remain closed.

“I was surprised by his answer actually because it’s just to me it’s not an acceptable answer, especially when it comes to schools,” Trump said.

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Fauci made comments during testimony before lawmakers Tuesday that caused some alarm, including the possibility of an uncontrollable outbreak.

He cautioned that a vaccine or treatment would not likely be available before students are expected to begin their fall terms.

“If this were a situation where you had a vaccine, that would really be the end of the issue in a positive way,” Fauci said. “But as I mentioned in my opening remarks, even at the top speed we’re going, we don’t see a vaccine playing in the ability of individuals to get back to school this term.”

Given the uncertainty, the California State University system announced that it would move fall 2020 classes online.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday also indicated he was unsure whether New York state schools would reopen in the fall.

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The debate comes as states are investigating an unknown illness appearing in children that may be linked to COVID-19.

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You can catch Bartiromo’s full interview with Trump on “Mornings with Maria” starting at 6 a.m. ET Thursday.