Donald Trump seemed to be watching. Soon after the segment aired, the president fired off an all-caps tweet repeating some of Hilton’s talking points.
Hilton played a clip of Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, saying he was fine if people think the response to the virus was an overreaction.
“Well, that’s easy for him to say,” Hilton said. “He’ll still have a job at the end of this, whatever happens.”
“Our ruling class and their TV mouthpieces whipping up fear over this virus, they can afford an indefinite shutdown. Working Americans can’t, they’ll be crushed by it. You know that famous phrase, ‘The cure is worse than the disease?’ That is exactly the territory we are hurting towards.”
Hilton calculated that an economic shutdown in response to the virus would lead to a recession that could kill 1 million Americans.
“Poverty kills. Despair kills. This shutdown is deadly,” Hilton said. He then urged Trump to reassess the plan within 15 days. After that, it would be time to stop the shutdown while keeping in place bans on large gatherings and measures to protect the elderly.
Shortly after the segment aired, Trump tweeted:
WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF. AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 23, 2020
On Twitter, critics trashed both Hilton and Trump:
Policy by Donald Trump channeling Steve Hilton. God help us
— Norman Ornstein (@NormOrnstein) March 23, 2020
im having a hard time wrapping my head around this making it on airpic.twitter.com/8wnRuUL0xT
— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) March 23, 2020
Steve Hilton has gone from advising David Cameron to, it seems, advising Donald Trump. His argument against Dr Fauci's advice is that many people died because of austerity in Britain between 2012-2017. https://t.co/xRxKAlV1Aj
— Dave Lee (@DaveLeeFT) March 23, 2020
Steve Hilton on Fox just called Anthony Fauci a global elitist whipping up hysteria who will still have a job when this is all over. And public health officials have too much influence over economic decisions now: we shouldn’t be ‘caging’ the American entrepreneur. This is /1
— Robert E Kelly (@Robert_E_Kelly) March 23, 2020
We could really use a steady hand in the White House right now. https://t.co/t731MIn4mR
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) March 23, 2020
Trump's ALL-CAPS tweet tonight where he suggests he might end social distancing guidelines after 15 days was likely prompted by Steve Hilton's Fox News show.
Meanwhile, who were Hilton's 'experts' on coronavirus this evening? Charlie Kirk, Lisa Boothe and Sara Carter. pic.twitter.com/BfUUaewP4Z
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) March 23, 2020
Translation: Trump is thinking about sending people back to work a week from now while the pandemic rages out of control. https://t.co/dJZpNHTNgY
— Max Boot (@MaxBoot) March 23, 2020
Also on HuffPost
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.