would trigger a global depression.
The medical experts on his team were adamant: The best way to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus was to buy time by keeping Europeans out, they said, with the hope the virus might naturally ebb in the warmer weather, according to people familiar with the deliberations. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Larry Kudlow, the president's top economic adviser, pushed back strongly, saying the economic cost would be steep.
Trump let them go on for a bit, then had heard enough. He dispatched some of the advisers into the nearby Cabinet Room and told them to come back with a plan they could all stand behind, said two of the people, who like others asked for anonymity to describe internal deliberations. When they returned with almost everyone endorsing the travel restrictions, Trump agreed to do a prime-time address to tell the nation.
His aides now see this moment as the most crucial of Trump's presidency, the time when voters will decide whether he deserves re-election.