Trump believes that only an economy that appears to be strong and fully functioning by November can save his re-election chances. Toward that end he will do everything he can to keep businesses and schools open, if it costs the lives of tens or hundreds of thousands of American lives and trillions of dollars of economic damage.
The only explanation for Trump’s rule to force foreign students to leave America if they are not attending classes in person is to punish colleges, and punish foreign students for that action.
We know Trump enjoys punishing those he does not like.
We know Trump does not like foreigners.
We know he does not like seeing things shut down just to protect American lives.
We know the only tool he knows how to use to negotiate is to bully and punish.
Yes, definitely, Trump’s action is pure punishment toward those who are trying to keep themselves healthy and safe because he thinks that anything that is “closed” reflects poorly on him.