Trump huddles with business leaders on reopening country

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Trump huddles with business leaders on reopening country
Trump huddles with business leaders on reopening country

President Donald Trump met by phone Wednesday with executives from diverse sectors of corporate America, as part of a newly created effort to solicit options for reopening the U.S. economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump on Tuesday named dozens of advisers to what the White House calls the Great American Economic Revival Industry Groups. Among them are Apple’s AAPL, -0.91% Tim Cook, Morgan Stanley’s MS, -3.66% James Gorman and Regeneron’s REGN, -2.50% Leo Schleifer.

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“They’re going to give us some ideas,” Trump said on Tuesday.

It wasn’t immediately clear which executives Trump spoke with Wednesday. His schedule listed four separate phone meetings with various industries.

The Wall Street Journal reported that banking and financial services executives said during the first call that the administration needed to dramatically increase the availability of coronavirus testing before the public would be confident enough to return to work, eat at restaurants or shop in retail establishments. The report cited people familiar with the call.

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The meetings come as Trump and governors butt heads over the speed and other details of reopening shuttered businesses, schools and other institutions. After claiming he had reopening authority, Trump on Tuesday said he would authorize governors to put plans in place. Trump’s claim of “absolute authority” has been contradicted by legal experts, and governors have proceeded on their own to study reopening options.

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U.S. stocks DJIA, -1.86% lost more than 400 points Wednesday, as investors faced weaker-than-expected economic data and disappointing corporate earnings.

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