Apr 6, 2020
Donald Trump Coronavirus Task Force Briefing Transcript April 6
Donald Trump and the Coronavirus Task Force held their daily press briefing on April 6. He talked about a “light at the end of the tunnel” for COVID-19 and said he and Joe Biden had a good phone call about the virus response. Read the full transcript here.
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Donald Trump: (03:41)
Thank you very much. Thank you very much. This week, America continues our aggressive effort to defeat the virus as we enter a crucial and difficult phase of the battle. We continue to send our prayers to the people of New York in New Jersey and to our whole country, but right now New York and New Jersey are very hot zones and we’re with them. We’re with everybody. Your struggle is our struggle and we will beat this virus. We will beat it together. I also want to send best wishes to a very good friend of mine and a friend to our nation, prime minister, Boris Johnson. We’re very saddened to hear that he was taken into intensive care this afternoon, a little while ago, and Americans are all praying for his recovery. He’s been a really good friend, he’s been really something very special. Strong, resolute, doesn’t quit, doesn’t give up.
Donald Trump: (04:48)
We have made tremendous progress on therapeutics. I had a fantastic call today, which I’ll be talking about a little bit later and I’ve asked two of the leading companies, these are brilliant companies, Ebola, AIDS, others, they’ve come with the solutions and just have done incredible jobs. And I’ve asked them to contact London immediately. They have offices in London and major companies, but more than major, more than size, they’re genius. And I had a talk with four of them today and they speak a language that most people don’t even understand, but I understand something that they’ve really advanced therapeutics and therapeutically and they have arrived in London already. Their London office has whatever they need, and we’ll see if we can be of help. We’ve contacted all of Boris’s doctors and we’ll see what is going to take place, but they are ready to go. But when you get brought into intensive care, that gets very, very serious with this particular disease.
Donald Trump: (06:00)
So the two companies are there and with what they are talking about and it’s rather complex and has had really incredible results. We’re working with the FDA and everybody else, but we are working with London, with respect to Boris Johnson. Across the country we’re attacking the enemy in all fronts, including medical, scientific, social, logistical and economic. We’re pressing into action the full power of American government and American enterprise and our military has been incredible. We’ve just sent 3,000 public health personnel. They’re now deployed in the New York area and they’ll be over at the Javits center, over at the great ship.
Donald Trump: (06:51)
As you probably have heard, and I was informed that Governor Cuomo has already told you and announced, he called me up a little while ago and he asked whether or not it would be possible to use the ship with respect to fighting the virus. And we hadn’t had that in mind at all, but we’re going to let him do it and we’re also going to let New Jersey, Governor Murphy, we spoke with him a little while ago, and New Jersey is going to use it also because New Jersey is a hotspot. So Governor Murphy and governor Cuomo are going to be using the ship from New York, New Jersey and it’s a big ship and it’s now COVID. It’s set for COVID, and we are going to … Hopefully that will be very helpful to both states.
Donald Trump: (07:46)
The Javits Center, which has 2,900 beds just built by our military also is going to be manned now by the military and they should be in place tomorrow and they’ll start sending quite a few people over to the Javits Center. It’s convenient, it’s right in the middle of everything so that’ll be something great, and we appreciated Governor Cuomo’s nice, really nice statements and likewise Governor Murphy. We have worked very well with both of them and with, frankly, all of the governors. Vice President Pence had a call this morning with them that lasted for close to two hours, and I understand there wasn’t a negative person on the call. 50 governors or just about 50 governors. I think they were all on, from what I understood, and they were very positive about everything their federal government has been doing for them.
Donald Trump: (08:42)
You’ll hear what that is, and it’s rather amazing, actually. Nationwide, the Army Corps of Engineers is building 22 field hospitals, these are big hospitals, and alternate care sites in 18 states. So you have a combination of 22 field hospitals. In addition to that, we’re building ultimate care sites, which is a little bit of a smaller version of the hospital, and we have a lot of them and they’re going up in 18 different states. In total we have deployed 8,450 hospital beds from federal stockpiles, and if you think this has done over really a period of weeks, that’s incredible, actually.
Donald Trump: (09:26)
More than 8,000 ventilators have been sent from the national stockpile to our cities and States backed by the defense production act, which we’ve used very strongly, very powerfully. So powerfully that we don’t have to use it too much, frankly, and it’s nice to when you don’t have to. We’re getting more than we ever bargained for. American industry is stepping up. Manufacturers are really going to town and we have thousands of ventilators being built as we speak and we have hundreds that are being sent to different locations and we’re ready to roll with almost 10,000 that we have in the federal stockpile.
Donald Trump: (10:07)
When I say ready to roll to, I mean exactly what that states. We are … Wherever that monster goes, we’re able to move with it. Great flexibility. We have tremendous flexibility, and we have people waiting and they’re ready, willing and able, but waiting to bring them wherever it may be if they need it. If they need it, it’s possible that they won’t be needed, that we’re fully stocked because numbers are coming in where because of what the American people are doing, we’re having fewer hospital visits. I think that could be the case in New York. It could be the case in a few other states. And fewer beds, fewer hospital visits mean fewer ventilators. So we’ll see whether or not our original projections were right. But anyway, I had a very good talk with both governors and I think they’re very happy, extremely happy about what we’re doing for them. And especially going all COVID. So that’ll take place almost immediately.
Donald Trump: (11:09)
FEMA and HHS have directly distributed 11.7 million N95 respirators. Think of that. Get the number. 11.7 million N95 respirators, 11.7 million. 26.5 million surgical masks, 5.3 million face shields, 4.4 million surgical gowns, and 22.6 million gloves, 22.6 million gloves. We have also arranged for our vast quantities of additional materials to be allocated through donations and existing supply chains. We’ve also given tremendous medical material and supplies throughout the 50 states and territories and through Project Airbridge, we have succeeded in bringing plane loads of vital supplies into the United States from overseas. We had an additional three … These are massive planes by the way. They’re big planes, very big, very powerful and that they’re loaded to the gills with supplies and rather than bringing them into our stock file, as we’ve discussed, we bring them to all the different locations where they’re needed so we can save a big step, and a timely step.
Donald Trump: (12:33)
Because of my actions under the DPA, I can also announce today that we have reached an agreement, very amicable agreement with 3M for the delivery of an additional 55.5 million high quality face masks each month so that we’re going to be getting, over the next couple of months, 166.5 million masks for our frontline healthcare workers. So the 3M saga ends very happily. We’re very proud to be dealing now with 3M and its CEO, Mike Roman. I just spoke with him and I thanked him for getting it done and Mike was very happy to get it done. Great company. So we’re getting 166.5 million masks and mostly that’s going to be for our front line healthcare workers. Okay. That’s 3M, thank you 3M. Three on. I also want to thank Apple, one of the many great American companies that’s taken into … That’s really leapt into action. Today Apple announced that it is now producing plastic face shields for healthcare workers at the rate of one million per week. One million. And these are the shields that you see on television quite a bit and they’re at the highest level of quality and safety.
Donald Trump: (14:03)
We’re grateful as well to Salesforce, which has donated 48 million pieces of personal protective equipment, including masks, gowns, suits and face shields. So thank you very much to Salesforce. I urge all of our nation’s governors to ensure that the massive deliveries that we’ve made to your states over the past few weeks are distributed as quickly as possible. So again, we’re working very well with the governors. Now they may see you and say, “Oh, we’re not happy.” But they’re very happy on the phone. And Mike Pence is a straight shooter and he had a great phone conversation to them with all of the … Teleconference and they’re very happy, every one of them. Were there any negatives?
Mike Pence: (14:50)
Donald Trump: (14:51)
See? I told you. Mike is the greatest. Mike … And you have done a great job. Mike, and I appreciate it. The whole country appreciates it. Anthony appreciates it, right? Don’t you? See? Everybody appreciates Mike. Special man. So a lot of the things that we’ve done, again, are going directly to the states. The states seem to be very happy if they’re not, they can call me directly, they can call Mike directly and we’ll make them happy. But tremendous progress has been made in a very short period. And I think very importantly the progress has been made before the surge comes. Because the next week, week and a half is going to be a big surge, the professionals tell us, and I think we’re in good shape for it, Anthony, so it’s good timing, really good timing. We can have this stuff there. It’s already there for the most part, but we’re bringing a lot of different resources to the various locations, especially where the surge is looking like it’s going to take place. Resources from the national stockpile need to reach our warriors, and they are warriors.
Donald Trump: (15:55)
I tell it all the time. I saw it again this morning. These young and many cases, many cases older, but they’re walking into the hospital and they’re putting on … I mean, as their doors open, they’re going into this place and it’s not exactly to safe and they’re going in there and they’re putting the outfits on, they’re putting their masks on and they’re … It’s incredible. It’s like no different than you watch the war movies or you watch the old clips of war, running up hills. To me it’s the same thing. Men and women, young and old, but a lot of young people just going in there. They’re not thinking about, “Oh gee, this is dangerous.” They’re not saying, “I don’t want to go in.” They’re warriors, they’re running through those doors. It’s the most incredible thing. It’s beautiful, it’s an incredible, beautiful thing.
Donald Trump: (16:48)
Resources from the national stockpile need to reach these warriors in the hospitals immediately, and we’re making sure they do. And again, the states have that responsibility, but we’re working with the states, we’re getting the states a lot of things that they could distribute, or when they tell us we bring it directly to the hospital from the federal stockpile or from the planes that land, without even going to the stockpile. If any state’s having difficulty distributing supplies, we urge you to use the National Guard to assist in the delivery. And I have to say you have done a fantastic job. Debra, you know that you’ve done great. Tony, you know that you’ve done great, but what a job you’ve done and I appreciate it. I really do. Your whole group has been incredible. That’s a lot of stars you have. I’ll tell you that. He’s supposed to do a great job when you have four stars. Right? But the military has been incredible and I thank them for all of us.
Donald Trump: (17:49)
Conversely, if a state believes that it has surplus equipment or supplies, very important because we actually have gotten so much to some of the States that they are able to now … They’ve done a fantastic job and they’ve kept that line low and we have some States that have surplus equipment and supplies and they’re working with us to rapidly redeploy those supplies to areas of greatest need. We thought that might happen. If it worked out well, that’s what was going to happen and it’s happening and I want to thank Governor Gavin Newsome, who is doing a tremendous job, who’s announced California will send 500 ventilators to be distributed to other locations. I think some are going to Arizona, some are going to Washington DC.
Donald Trump: (18:38)
We think they’re going to Delaware. We’re working to that, but 500 excess of ventilators from the state of California and we’re going to get them taken care of wherever they have to go. Those decisions are being made right now. The members of the White House task force and I are in close touch with mayors and governors and hospital administrators of course our country, and we’re told that the present time, at the present time, most of the critical needs are being more than met. States have to continue sharing detailed information and the amount and utilization rates of medical supplies so we know what to resupply them or they can get it directly. That includes ventilators. They can get it directly, ideally they can get it directly, but if they can’t, if they’re unable to do it, we have tremendous amounts of supplies and we’re building it up very fast too, and this is before the big surge.
Donald Trump: (19:40)
This information is fundamental to our ability to deliver the material when and where it’s most needed. Now, Mike in his conversation today, I think got some information as to a couple of locations where we’re going to be delivering large numbers of ventilators and large numbers of medical supplies, and we’ll take care of that. But some of the States are very happy. Even Governor Pritzker from Illinois is happy. Of course, he may not be happy when he talks to the press, but he’s happy. He’s a very happy man. We’re increasingly hopeful that the aggressive mitigation strategy we put into place will ultimately allow our hospital system to successfully manage the major influx of cases that we have right now. Again, I say that we’re finding, because of the incredible job done by the American people, in conjunction with everybody, governors, the military, federal government, state government, local government, had a lot of conversations with New York City and Mayor De Blasio.
Donald Trump: (20:50)
I’ve gotten to know him. I didn’t know him, gotten to know him and a lot of people are working hard. Everybody’s working hard. A lot of people are doing a great job, tell you that, a lot of people are doing a great job. But the goal is that all Americans have been sacrificing to achieve these last few weeks, things that a lot of people thought were not possible to achieve, and I think we’ve more than achieved, but we have to go through, again, we’re going to have a rough week. We’re going to have maybe a rough little more than a week, but there’s tremendous light at the end of that tunnel. I said it last time, said it last night. There’s tremendous light at the end of the tunnel. There’s so many things happening with therapeutics, with vaccines, with things that we really want. Debra, Tony, they’re all working so hard on this, but those therapeutics,
Donald Trump: (21:41)
I mean, look, the vaccines are going to be always a little bit later because of that testing period. But the therapeutics getting the kinds of things that I heard about today, talking to these brilliant companies and brilliant people on the phone was fantastic. It was such an incredible conversation. I also spoke just a few minutes ago with former Vice President Biden who called and we had a really wonderful warm conversation. It was a very nice conversation. We talked about pretty much this, this is what we talked about, this is what everyone’s talking about, this is what they want to talk about. And he gave me his point of view and I fully understood that, and we just had a very friendly conversation. Lasted probably 15 minutes, and it was really good. It was really good. Really nice. I think it was very much so. I appreciate his calling. As we continue our efforts to develop treatments and cures, this afternoon I spoke with leaders of the American pharmaceutical companies, and just to give you their names, Amgen, Genentech, Gilead, Regeneron. These are four of the greatest in the world for doing exactly what they’re doing.
Donald Trump: (23:04)
Currently 10 different therapeutic agents are inactive trials and some are looking incredibly successful, but we have to go through a process and it’s got to be a fairly quick process, I will tell you, based on what the FDA told me. And another 15 are in plans for clinical trials, so they’re advancing rapidly and today a second company announced that the FDA has authorized its vaccine candidate to begin clinical trial. So you have Johnson and Johnson is already there. I believe they’re the one that’s first, and now we have a second company that just announced and we were just … Was just approved. So we have two companies at level for the vaccine. We’ve now performed 100 … Well, if you think of this, 1.79 million tests, that’s 1,790,000 test nationwide. And I think we’re going to put up a screen here someplace that they’re on cue, but just on cue.
Donald Trump: (24:07)
Here it is. This is the process starting on five March and ending right there, right about now, right? That’s about it. And it’s going up at a rapid rate. Nobody has done more testing. And one of the reasons why they say, and I think I can say this, Debra, very strongly, but one of the reasons that we have more cases is we’ve done more testing. And if I went to some of these countries that have, in my opinion, far more people than we do that had the problem. And if we did the kind of testing proportionally that we’re doing that have many more cases than us, but we have more cases because we do much more testing. So when you do the testing, you have cases, otherwise you wouldn’t know about the cases. People sit home, you don’t know about it. But we have now done 1, 790,000 tests nationwide.
Donald Trump: (25:03)
That’s more than any other country in the world, hence we have more cases and that number is growing by nearly 125,000 people per day. Think of that one. So it’s growing by 125,000 people per day. I told you about South Korea. This is vastly faster and we also have, they say, the most accurate of tests. CVS is launching, and they’ve been great, two new drive through testing sites and Atlanta, Georgia and Providence, Rhode Island and each location would be able to test up to 1,000 patients per day using the ultra fast five minute test developed by Abbott Labs. Now they’re down to five minutes. They go to the ultra fast. It’s very accurate. Abbott Labs, I want to thank them. They’ve been fantastic. We’re also speeding urgent economic relief to the American worker and families and the employers.
Donald Trump: (26:05)
As of today, tens of thousands of small businesses have applied for more than $40 billion in relief under the paycheck protection program. You’ve all been reading about it and it’s really … I mean, it’s only been going for a couple of days. It’s really been performing well. A couple of little glitches, minor glitches that are already been taken care of, what they say. These funds were resulted in nearly two million jobs being preserved, so we’re taking care of our workers, small businesses and our workers. Nearly 3,000 lenders have already made loans under the program and we’re signing up additional lenders very quickly, rapidly. Community banks have been very responsive and larger banks are also stepping up if this … If we run out of funds, by the way, we’re already preparing because it’s going so fast for the small businesses and their employees, we’ll ask Congress to refill it immediately, but the banks have been great.
Donald Trump: (27:01)
The big banks, the Bank of America was right up there at the beginning. JP Morgan Chase was … Has been great. After the first day, they really came through and a lot of the big banks, but the community banks have been fantastic. As we announced last week, we are providing $100 billion in direct support for our hospitals. And the first traunch, $30 billion, will be distributed this week. I want to say one other thing. Our farmers, we love our farmers, and as you know, as of April 1st the China trade deal, $250 billion, they purchased $250 billion from us, if not more. And of that, approximately 50 billion is expected to be with our farmers. So it kicked in as of April 1st and we’ll see how it goes. It seems like they’re buying. So we’ll let you know how that’s going, but they’re buying anywhere from 40 to $50 billion worth of our agricultural product. That should have a huge impact on our farmers, a tremendous impact on our farmers. But we’re watching it very closely.
Donald Trump: (28:14)
To fight the medical war, we’ve mobilized the unbeatable and it just … It is unbeatable strength of American determination, ingenuity and compassion. I got to see that when I spoke to the great science, because I call them science companies more than drug companies, they’re scientists. We’ve seen businesses, charities, and private citizens making generous donations. So many people are making donations. We’ve seen states and cities supporting and helping each other and caring for our citizens, and we’ve seen Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs uniting together to answer the challenge and rise to the moment, and that’s what they’re doing. Above all, we’ve been awed, inspired by the exceptional courage of the doctors, nurses, EMTS, and healthcare workers, who are the soldiers of this war. No words can ever express the complete measure of our gratitude for these intrepid heroes.
Donald Trump: (29:14)
One Cleveland patient credited his medical team for not only saving his life through their skill, but forever changing his life through their example of selfless devotion. Couldn’t believe it. So generous he was with his statements and he talked about their bravery in an area that was in such trouble, an area of that hospital where people were dying and he talked about their bravery. Another survivor in Euston said simply, “I will consider them my angels forever.” I will consider them, think of that, my angels forever as our nation endures the depths of loss and grief. We also witnessed to the summit of American virtue, character, and courage with the love and dedication of every American Patriot. We will win this battle, we will defeat this enemy, and we will rise from this present crisis with new strength, unity, and resolve and that’s what’s happening.
Donald Trump: (30:13)
Tremendous stories are coming out of this horrible moment, very dark moment for the world. 182. I was saying 151 for a while and then it got up to 160 and 182, as I announced yesterday, 182 countries are being attacked by this virus. So I just want to thank everybody. I want to thank the American citizens for doing a great job. Stay inside and let’s win this and let’s get our country open as soon as we can. I think it’s going to be sooner than people think. Things are going really well. Again, light at the end of the tunnel. And with that I’ll take a few questions and then Mike is going to take over and talk with the admiral and with the professionals and we appreciate you being here. Yes, please?
Speaker 4: (31:07)
Mister president, you mentioned that you were asking US drug companies to provide treatment to the British prime minister. What sort of treatment is that? Is that something that’s available?
Donald Trump: (31:15)
Yeah, it’s a very complex treatment of things that they’ve just recently developed and that they have a lot of experience with having to do with something else, but recent for this. And they’ve already concurred, they’ve already had meetings with the doctors and we’ll see whether or not they want to go that route. But when you’re in intensive care, it’s a big deal. So they’re there and they’re ready. I think we have … Well, we have three of them. I spoke with four, you know who the four would be, and the people within those, you’d know the companies, I told you the companies, but the people are the greatest in the world. So they’re at the hospital and we’ll see. And they have everything with them should it be needed. Hopefully it won’t have to be needed, but should it be needed. I found Boris to be a fantastic person, just like a fantastic warm, strong, smart guy. He loves his country. You see that. I mean, he fought like hell for his country. And intensive care is big stuff. Really big.
Speaker 4: (32:27)
Yesterday you were asked about this as well, but now that he’s been moved to intensive care, does that give you and the vice president any pause or additional concerns, steps that you’re taking to preserve the [inaudible 00:32:36] of government here?
Donald Trump: (32:37)
I don’t think so. Mike had his test a couple of days ago. I had my test couple of days ago. And we’re here and here you are. So no, I don’t think so. But I think we’ll probably … Just because of the questions like that, I think we’ll probably have maybe quite a few tests. It’s not the worst idea. The system of testing now is so quick and so easy. So I could see … And you were tested again today? You sure you’re okay?
Mike Pence: (33:03)
Donald Trump: (33:03)
Speaker 5: (33:07)
Despite the nearly 1.8 million tests that you say the United States has done, the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services released a report today, a survey of more than 300 hospitals across the country. And the number one complaint from those hospitals were severe shortages of testing supplies and really long wait time, [crosstalk 00:33:32].
Donald Trump: (33:31)
Did I hear the word inspector general? Really? It’s wrong. And they’ll talk to you about it. It’s wrong.
Speaker 5: (33:36)
But this is your own government.
Donald Trump: (33:39)
Well, where did he come from, the inspector general. What’s his name?
Speaker 5: (33:42)
It came from the inspector general.
Donald Trump: (33:43)
What’s his name?
Speaker 5: (33:45)
I don’t know his name.
Donald Trump: (33:45)
Well, find me his name, let me know. Okay? If you find me his name, I’d appreciate it.
Speaker 5: (33:49)
But sir, these are hot-
Donald Trump: (33:51)
All I can tell you is this. It’s been put up on the board, you’re going to ask the admiral, but we are doing-
Speaker 5: (33:58)
[crosstalk 00:33:58] who say that they are waiting a week or longer to get their test results. Why-
Donald Trump: (34:03)
We’ve done more-
Speaker 6: (34:03)
-to get their tests. Why is it still taking so long?
Donald Trump: (34:03)
We’ve I’ve done more testing and had more results than any country, anywhere in the world. They’re doing an incredible job now. They’re all calling us. They want our testing. What are we doing? How do you do the five minute test? How do you do the 15 minute test? So give me the name of the inspector general. Could politics be entered into that? Go ahead, please. Go ahead.
Jonathan Karl: (34:23)
Thank you, sir. Are you worried about retaliation to your decision to ban export of medical goods, like Indian Prime Minister Modi’s decision to not export hydroxychloroquine to the United States and other country?
Donald Trump: (34:36)
I don’t like that decision. I didn’t hear that that was his decision. I know that he stopped it for other countries. I spoke to him yesterday. We had a very good talk and we’ll see whether or not that is. I would be surprised if he would because India does very well with the United States. For many years they’ve been taken advantage of the United States on trade. So I would be surprised if that were his decision. He’d have to tell me that. I spoke to him Sunday morning, called him, and I said, we’d appreciate your allowing our supply to come out. If he doesn’t allow it to come out, that would be okay. But of course there may be retaliation. Why wouldn’t there be? Yeah.
Speaker 7: (35:12)
Thank you, Mr. President. The Paycheck Protection Program has gotten off to a confusing start for small businesses.
Donald Trump: (35:18)
I don’t think so. I think it’s done very well.
Speaker 7: (35:19)
Wells Fargo has stopped taking applications. Bank of America-
Donald Trump: (35:23)
Not any more they haven’t.
Speaker 7: (35:25)
– ensuring they prioritized taking applications from clients that were already [crosstalk 00:35:30].
Donald Trump: (35:29)
Bank of America has been the leader. Taking tremendous numbers of applications, and of course there may have been, they wanted to have a slightly different application. They wanted to have a little different information, but Bank of America has been a leader. They had number one in terms of applications.
Donald Trump: (35:45)
I wish you’d ask the question differently. Why don’t you say “It’s gotten off to a tremendous start, but there were some little glitches,” which by the way, have been worked out. It will be so much nicer if you do that, but you’re just incapable of asking a question.
Speaker 7: (35:58)
What oversight measures is the federal government putting in place-
Donald Trump: (36:01)
It’s already done. It’s already done.
Speaker 7: (36:03)
-to ensure that there is fairness?
Donald Trump: (36:05)
It’s taking the measures and we may even do a different system. Not with this. We’re going to have to probably add more money to this to save and to keep our small businesses going and to keep the employees of those small businesses working. But it’s such a positive event and you ask it in such a negative way. It’s just, I wish we had a fair media in this country and we really don’t. Speaking of unfair, go right ahead.
Speaker 8: (36:31)
Mr. President, the acting Secretary of the Navy told the crew of the USS Roosevelt that Captain Crozier was either “too naive or too stupid” to be in command. Is it appropriate for the chief officer of the Navy to speak in his way about this captain?
Donald Trump: (36:45)
Well I haven’t heard it exactly. I haven’t heard. I heard they had a statement that was made. If that were the statement, it’s a strong statement. Look, the letters shouldn’t have been sent and certainly they shouldn’t have been leaked. This is a military operation. I must tell you, I’ve heard very good things about the gentleman, both gentlemen, by the way, I will say this, but about both gentlemen. And I may look into it only from the standpoint that something should be resolved because I’m hearing good things about both people.
Speaker 8: (37:18)
What might you look into sir?
Donald Trump: (37:20)
I may just get involved if it’s okay with you. Because you know what? You have two good people and they’re arguing and I’m good, believe it or not, at settling arguments. I’m good at settling these arguments. So I may look into it in detail and I’ll be able to figure it out very fast.
Donald Trump: (37:38)
But that was a statement. It’s a rough statement, but look letters should not have been sent to many people unclassified. That was a mistake. It’s a mistake that shouldn’t have been made because it’s unfair to the families of the people on the ship because they get nervous and it shows weakness and there’s nothing weak about us now. Not anymore.
Donald Trump: (38:03)
We have the strongest military we’ve ever had, and we’re not going to be showing weakness to anybody because we have… That ship is incredible, nuclear powered aircraft carrier. And we don’t want to be doing writing letters. We don’t want to have letter writing campaigns where the fake news finds a letter or gets a leak. We don’t want that. So the letter, excuse me, so the letter shouldn’t have been sent.
Donald Trump: (38:25)
With all of that said his career prior to that was very good. So I’m going to get involved and see exactly what’s going on there because I don’t want to destroy somebody for having a bad day. Okay. Does that make sense?
Speaker 9: (38:39)
Okay. Mr. President, Vice President Biden’s a spokesperson, said that he’d made some suggestions to you about actions that you could be taking to deal with the pandemic.
Donald Trump: (38:49)
He did. We agreed that we weren’t going to talk about what we said, but we had a very, very good talk. It was a warm talk. I enjoyed it. I hope he enjoyed it too. And it was short. It was 15 minutes.
Speaker 9: (39:03)
Did he have good suggestions, anything that you’re going do?
Donald Trump: (39:03)
He had suggestions. It doesn’t mean that I agree with those suggestions, but certainly he had suggestions, and I also told him some of the things we’re doing, but the conversation was a friendly, very friendly conversation.
Speaker 10: (39:14)
Yeah. Thanks a lot, Mr. President, you’ve mentioned other members of your task force had mentioned over the course of the next two weeks, it’s going to be a very difficult time for our country in terms of fatalities and-
Donald Trump: (39:26)
It will be a difficult week and a half.
Speaker 10: (39:28)
And there are a number of governors who are close allies of yours, Mr. President, who have refrained thus far to have these stay at home orders and Dr. Fauci who of course is on your task force has said that the states that don’t have stay at home orders are putting themselves at risk and the country at risk.
Donald Trump: (39:47)
If Dr. Fauci said that I would be inclined to call them up. We do have a constitutional problem in doing that. You understand that? There’s a double edge, so you understand. I can do it, but it is a constitutional, you can say Federalists, you can say there’s lots of different reasons where I would rather have the governors do it, make their own determination. They’re smaller, and not in all cases, but sort of their smaller cases. But I’m not sure 100% that Dr. Fauci said that. But you can ask him. Do you want to say something please.
Dr. Anthony Fauci: (40:22)
I had good conversations with the governor of Nebraska and the governor of Iowa here. And it’s, interesting that functionally, even though they have not given a strict stay at home, what they are doing is really functionally equivalent to that. And we had a really good conversation with both of the governors. And when I had mentioned that I think there was a public response that they weren’t really doing anything at all and they really are doing a very good job, both of them. Those are the only two that I spoke to. But it was really good conversation and I want to make sure people understand that just because they don’t have a very strict stay at home order, they have in place a lot of things that are totally compatible with what everyone else is doing.
Jonathan Karl: (41:04)
If I can ask a question, Dr. Fauci.
Donald Trump: (41:07)
Jonathan Karl: (41:08)
About getting back to normal. You said you wanted to get back to normal as soon as possible. Will we truly get back to normal in this country before there’s an actual vaccine that’s available to everybody? How do you start lifting the restrictions?
Dr. Anthony Fauci: (41:23)
Yeah, well, Jon if back to normal means acting like there never was a coronavirus problem, I don’t think that’s going to happen until we do have a situation where you can completely protect the population. But when we say getting back to normal, we mean something very different from what we’re going through right now. Because right now we are in a very intense mitigation. When we get back to normal, we will go back gradually to the point where we can function as a society. But you’re absolutely right. If you want to get to pre-coronavirus, that might not ever happen in the sense of the fact that the threat is there, but I believe with the therapies that will be coming online and with the fact that I feel confident that over a period of time we will get a good vaccine that we will never have to get back to where we are right now. So if that means getting back to normal, then we’ll get back to normal.
Donald Trump: (42:13)
I think that with the therapies and I think that with the vaccines, which I have total confidence are coming and I’m dealing with the companies, I’m talking to Johnson and Johnson, I’m talking to all of them. I think that when you add the tremendous stimulus that we’re giving, like for instance, deductibility for restaurant expenses, for restaurants and entertainment. The money that we’re talking about for small businesses and employers to keep everybody working, and other things that we’re frankly working on right now, which are going to be great for our people. I think when you add that to it, I think we could get more than back to normal from an economic standpoint, actually be better but more than back to normal.
Donald Trump: (42:54)
But I would agree that we’d love to see a vaccine but immediately would love to see a therapeutic, and I think we’re getting great close.
Speaker 9: (43:03)
You think you’d be able to lift restrictions on April 30th right now-
Donald Trump: (43:06)
I don’t want to comment on that. But I can tell you that we certainly want to try. We certainly want to see what’s going on. We’re doing very well. Look, you look at most places where you can call it the bump. You could go up the hill, you could go up the mountain, you can call it whatever you want to do it. It’s very flat. You take a look. And that was done through mitigation. That was done through a lot of good work. And that far exceeded our expectations before.
Donald Trump: (43:32)
People can’t even believe how low some of those bumps are, some of those hills are, they’re very surprised. They have a couple of tough ones. New Jersey has been very tough and New York has been very tough. They’re crowded in. It’s tight, it’s tougher, but far exceeding, California far exceeds, Washington State far exceeds. You look at so many of these states how well they’re doing.
Donald Trump: (43:59)
The eight states by the way. And I haven’t spoken to the governors, but Tony’s so right. They may not have it from the standpoint that they’re saying it, but those people are practicing it and they’re doing a fantastic job. Take a look at where they are in terms of the levels, but take a look where they are. But if I thought it was something that, and I’ve looked at them and I’ve looked at them very carefully. I looked at them today, looked at them yesterday. From a constitutional standpoint, I’d love not to get involved with that and not from a legal standpoint, just from a moral constitutional standpoint. Because legally I can, but morally, and I believe in our constitution much more so than most people. And I’d love to be able to let the governors do what they have to do. Those states are doing a fantastic job. All eight of them, they’re doing a fantastic job. So we’ll see what happens. As for your question, you fully understand what I’m saying. So thank you.
Speaker 11: (45:03)
I have two questions if I may, one from somebody outside of the room. But first, do you think Boris Johnson, when he talked about so shaking hands of hospital patients, did he downplay the threat of this virus too much and do you know exactly what his current condition is?
Donald Trump: (45:17)
I think Boris was looking at it differently. He was looking at it earlier. He was looking at it like ride it out. There were many people thinking about riding it out. Meaning whatever it is, it is. But then you see what starts to happen and the numbers become monumental and they decided not to do that. And we actually moved early. We moved early because of what we did with respect to the ban on China coming in. And then Europe coming in. That was an early ban too. And then UK.
Donald Trump: (45:47)
So no, he waited a little while and he felt that, but he made a decision very quickly thereafter to do what they did and they’ve gone to a very strict lockdown. But they’re suffering greatly as a nation right now. They’re going through a lot. They’re a nation that’s having a difficult time. But I’ve gotten to know him. He’s just such an incredible guy. It was just so shocking to see that because you know what that means. Intensive care is a big deal with regard to what we’re talking about. That’s a very big deal. Very scary deal.
Speaker 11: (46:23)
Just somebody would can’t be in the room because of social distancing has asked me to ask a question. It’s a Thomas Howell of the Washington Times, how many health workers in the US have become infected with COVID-19? If the answer is not know, will the CDC be publishing that data?
Donald Trump: (46:38)
I can get you that information. I think they’d probably be willing to give that, right? Yeah, we could get you that information. Jeff.
Mr. President OPEC is meeting on Thursday and they have said that they are willing to make a cut in production if the US chips in as well, which suggests that they want you to ask US producers to do [crosstalk 00:46:58].
Donald Trump: (46:57)
We’ll you’re the first one that’s told me that. We’ll have to make that decision and maybe we will. Maybe we won’t, but we’ll have to make that decision. I think the cuts are automatic, if you’re a believer in markets. I can guarantee you there’s a cut from pre this condition. This happened because of the virus. The virus knocked out 40%. It went down in one hour, literally when places close up, you’re talking about a 40% cut. Now, I think it’s happening automatically, but nobody’s asked me that question yet, so we’ll see what happens. I’ll let you know Thursday evening.
All right. That’s a deal. But you would consider asking US companies to reduce?
Donald Trump: (47:36)
I think it’s automatic. because they’re already cutting. If you look, they’re cutting back because it’s market, it’s demand, it’s supply and demand. They’re already cutting back and they’re cutting back very seriously.
But if OFAC is asking for a signal from the US-
Donald Trump: (47:51)
Nobody’s asked me that. So if they ask I’ll make a decision. Okay. But again, it’s happening anyway. Yes please.
Speaker 12: (47:58)
In light of all the discussion about Prime Minister Johnson and his health, can you update us on the status of the second half of your physical that you were going to have this year?
Donald Trump: (48:07)
Yes, so I had physical, the first half was very successful. I did it on a day when I was in the White House and we were able to do that as the doctor reported. And I have some… The second half of the physical different, probably is done at Walter Reed and I’ll do that at the appropriate time, but I feel very good and according to the doctor very good shape.
Speaker 12: (48:29)
Can I just ask you again on the idea of a national stay at home recommendation, what is giving you so much pause about making that recommendation?
Donald Trump: (48:38)
I told you. I told you. He understood very well. I appreciate your understanding.
Speaker 12: (48:42)
It’s not an order-
Donald Trump: (48:42)
It’s called the Constitution of the United States and I’d rather have if possible, the governors to make the decision. If a decision was very necessary, and they have done a good job and Tony said it better than anybody. They are doing what we’re asking them to do without having to put the seal on it. But I will say if I thought it was necessary, I’ll do it in a heartbeat.
Speaker 12: (49:06)
Do you agree with the Georgia governor opening the beaches.
Donald Trump: (49:09)
Speaker 12: (49:10)
Donald Trump: (49:11)
I haven’t seen, I’m going to have to see to what extent, I’m going to have to see how many people you’re talking about. Are they crowded? Are they packed? Are they not packed? We’ll have to take a look at it. Right now it’s very early for beaches in Georgia, so right now very early, so I’ll take a look at it. He’s done a very good job as the governor. He knows what he’s doing, but we’ll have to take a look. It really does depend on how crowded it may be, but I will talk to him and I will ask him that question. I would ask him. Yes please.
Speaker 13: (49:36)
Mr. President, you said last week that you were considering travel restrictions around hotspots. Is that something that’s still on the table and at what point?
Donald Trump: (49:44)
We’re looking at it and the airlines have been cutting their routes. You saw that yesterday. They announced big cuts in routes. We need some some flights for emergency use for military people. We need some flights for medical people. And there are very few flights as you know, and the flights that are going out I think they said they’re 3% to 4% full. You have 3% of the plane that’s occupied, so they’re generally very, very empty planes.
Donald Trump: (50:16)
But it’s good to have. it’s a tiny amount of flights relative to the overall. And we need them also for medical workers. Otherwise we’re going to have to do a whole big thing with our own planes. So they’re done for a reason. There’s also testing done when people get onto those planes and also when people get off the planes.
Jonathan Karl: (50:35)
Mr. President, if I could follow up on this question of the HHS inspector general, and by the way, her name was Christi Grimm and it wasn’t so much her opinion, but they interviewed 323 different hospitals-
Donald Trump: (50:48)
It still could be her opinion. When was she appointed? When was she appointed?
Jonathan Karl: (50:52)
I’m not sure when she was appointed.
Donald Trump: (50:53)
Will you do me a favor.
Jonathan Karl: (50:54)
Donald Trump: (50:55)
No, no, no. Let me know now. I have to know now, John. Let me know now because we are doing an incredible job in testing. We are doing a better job than anybody in the world right now in testing. There’s nobody close and other nations admit this. Other nations have admitted it very strongly. Other nations are calling us wanting to know about our testing. Let me know when she was appointed, would you?
Jonathan Karl: (51:15)
Specifically what she was saying was there had been a delay in the-
Donald Trump: (51:19)
Okay, thank you very much. Go ahead.
Speaker 14: (51:20)
Thank you Mr. President. Only last week there were multiple flights coming from China full of medical supplies. Companies like Huawei and Alibaba has been donating to the United States 1.5 million N95 masks, and also a lot of medical gloves and much more medical supplies.
Donald Trump: (51:44)
Looks like a statement more than a question.
Speaker 14: (51:48)
Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai last night wrote an oped New York times calling to cooperation with the United States. So are you personally working directly with China-
Donald Trump: (52:00)
We just signed a trade deal. It’s the biggest deal probably ever made and I hope they’re going to honor that trade deal. If they don’t honor the trade deal, then I’ll tell you a different answer, but I think they will. They’re going to spend billions of dollars for agriculture. They’re going to spend billions of dollars for many different things. Whereas China never spent money in our country. We spent money. We had a deficit, a trade deficit with China for years of $500 billion, $400 billion. We had the biggest trade deficits in the history of the world with China. Now China has agreed to spend $250 billion, many billions of dollars in our country. Much of it going to farmers and manufacturers. So I’ll let you know.
Donald Trump: (52:48)
I hope they’re going to honor the deal. We’ll find out.
Speaker 14: (52:51)
Are you cooperating with Chian?
Donald Trump: (52:52)
I don’t know. Who are you working for? China? You work for China? Are you with a newspaper? Who are you with?
Speaker 14: (52:57)
Hong Kong Phoenix TV.
Donald Trump: (52:59)
Who owns that? China. Is it owned by China?
Speaker 14: (53:02)
It’s based in Hong Kong.
Donald Trump: (53:02)
Is it owned by the state?
Speaker 14: (53:03)
No, it’s not. It’s a private owner of the company.
Donald Trump: (53:06)
Okay, good. Look, I’ll let you know. I’ll give you a good answer to that in a few months. I wanted to just see what they do. Because it’s time for them to help us. It’s time right now for China to help us and hopefully they do. And if they don’t that’s okay too. But we signed a deal. It was signed with great goodwill and spirit and it’s time that our farmers benefited, our manufacturers benefited, and we’ll see whether or not that deal is honored.
Donald Trump: (53:36)
And I think it will be because I know president Xi who I like and respect, and I think he will honor the deal he made with us. It just went into effect four days ago. I will see whether or not… In fact, I called up just a little while ago, I said, “How are the farmers doing with respect to China? Are they buying the product as anticipated?” And the answer was “yeah, I think so,” but it wasn’t the most positive but it was starting. The deal just started. So I’ll let you know. But for many, many years China ate our lunch because we had people in this position that I’m in right now that allowed China to get away with absolute murder and it should have never happened. But we are now dealing with China. We’ll see what happens.
Jonathan Karl: (54:24)
Mr. President, I’ll tell you when she was appointed.
Donald Trump: (54:27)
Wait, how many do you want to ask?
Jonathan Karl: (54:29)
I was going to answer your question you asked me. She was appointed in January of this year to her current position as the principal deputy inspector.
Donald Trump: (54:35)
We’re going to take a look at it. Go ahead.
Speaker 8: (54:37)
Mr. President, I know you don’t want to talk about We don’t want to talk about-
Donald Trump: (54:38)
Speaker 15: (54:39)
On the issue of small business loan, sir. You said that businesses have applied for $40 billion in loans, but can you us how much of that money has actually gone out to the small businesses?
Donald Trump: (54:50)
I can’t tell you, but I know it goes out very quickly once the loan applications approved. And the process is very fast and you have to understand these are banks and this is what they do, but they were swamped. They were actually swamped. Okay, go ahead.
Speaker 8: (55:03)
I know you don’t want to talk about the inspector general report, but testing is still a big issue in this country. When can hospitals expect?
Donald Trump: (55:11)
Put the slide up again please.
Speaker 8: (55:13)
When can hospitals expect to receive a quick turnaround of its test results?
Donald Trump: (55:18)
Are you ready? Are you ready? Hospitals can do their own testing also. States can do their own testing. States, they’re supposed to be doing testing. Hospitals as opposed to be doing testing. Do you understand that? We’re the federal government. Listen, we’re the federal government. We’re not supposed to stand on street corners doing testing. They go to doctors, they go to hospitals, they go to the state. The state is a more localized government. You have 50 of them and they can go… you also have territories as you know.
Donald Trump: (55:49)
And they do the testing and if you look at the chart, if you take a look, did they put it up? Yeah, just take a look. And these are testing, and the results are now coming in very quickly. Initially speaking, the tests were old, obsolete and not really prepared. We have a brand new testing system that we developed very quickly and that’s your result. And you should say, congratulations. Great job. Instead of being so horrid in the way you ask a question, please go ahead. I’d love to have the Admiral speak to that question. Yes.
Admiral Brett Giroir: (56:24)
So I can talk a little bit more about testing later on. But as the president said, 1.79 million tests have been done, and this does not count the hundreds of thousands of tests that are done within hospitals that are now currently not reporting. So I’m sure we’re well over 2 million.
Admiral Brett Giroir: (56:42)
That inspector general report was done here, 23rd, 24th during our ramp up period, quite a long time ago. There was clearly, and it’s hard to interpret the report because it mixes up all kinds of things, but clearly there was complaints by some hospitals of a backlog, probably had sent out tests. And that is true. There were several days of backlog at some of the major labs that have been taken care of. We know now that the ACLA labs now have a 24 to 48 hour turnaround. They’re doing well over 100,000 tests a day. We now have the Abbott machine that’s point of care, that’s 18,000 of those instruments throughout the country. The [inaudible 00:57:25] machine is now all across the country with a 45 minute turnaround. So we have worked directly with many of the hospitals that have their own laboratory derived tests. Some of those really quite frankly didn’t understand the regulatory freedom they have to use other different kinds of instruments or different kinds of reagents. So like they do now, like they do now. And I’m on the phone with them all the time to make sure that everything is clear. We have a 24 hour call number. But that’s what it was there for.
Admiral Brett Giroir: (57:58)
And I don’t know the inspector general. I don’t know that person. I tell you one thing I have a problem with. If there was such a problem that she knew about or he knew about on March 23rd and 24th why did I find out about the test from them on the news media at eight o’clock this morning? If there was a problem, I think you’re ethically obliged to tell me where that is so we can interact with it like I do every single day. But that’s a discussion for the future. I think testing is really in a good position right now and I’m happy to expand on some of the really good tests that are coming up.
Donald Trump: (58:32)
How long has that person been in government?
Jonathan Karl: (58:35)
They did serve in the previous administration.
Donald Trump: (58:37)
Oh, you didn’t tell me that. Oh, I see. You didn’t tell me that, John. You didn’t tell me that. Did serve in the previous admin. You mean the Obama administration? Thank you for telling me that. See, there’s a typical fake news deal.
Jonathan Karl: (58:50)
You asked me when she was appointed, I told you when she was appointed.
Donald Trump: (58:53)
You’re a third rate reporter and what you just said is a disgrace. You asked me, you said, “sir, just got appointed.” Take a look at what you said now. I said, “When did this person, how long in government?” Well, it was appointed in the Obama administration. Thank you very much, John. Thank you very much. You will never make it. Go ahead please.
Speaker 15: (59:14)
On the ventilators, [crosstalk 00:59:16] per Admiral Giroir but can you tell us today how many ventilators are in the federal stockpile?
Admiral Brett Giroir: (59:23)
I’m not going to tell you how many are in the stockpile, but I can tell you that we look at ventilator use granularly every single day in every single state and down to the hospital level. So we have been able to meet and easily meet all the ventilator requirements that have been brought us by the state. No one has not gotten the ventilator that needs a ventilator and as far as we can project looking at all models, every person who needs a ventilator will get a ventilator.
Admiral Brett Giroir: (59:50)
I’m a ventilator doc, right? I’m an ICU physician for children, spent every day of my life managing people on ventilators. This is my community. It’s also the Surgeon General’s community as an anesthesiologist. So what we have in the stockpile I think is not a number that we give out, but we have thousands remaining in the stockpile, and now you’re seeing either out of the appropriate American spirit that when a state like Washington or California doesn’t need that ventilator, they’re doing the right thing by moving them around the country.
Donald Trump: (01:00:21)
It’s about 9,000, just so you understand. It’s about 9,000. And by the way, you didn’t tell me you also that this inspector general came out of the Obama administration. You didn’t tell me that. Okay, please go ahead. [crosstalk 01:00:37].
Speaker 16: (01:00:36)
Sir, I’m looking at this inspector general’s bio sheet. She has served in government since 1999. I was hoping to ask you about your call with a former Vice President Joe Biden. Is there something that you learned on that phone call and has that changed your [crosstalk 01:00:49].
Donald Trump: (01:00:49)
No, I understood his views before the call.
Speaker 16: (01:00:51)
Does that change your opinion about the about speaking to people?
Donald Trump: (01:00:53)
I just think he’s very nice. I think he’s a nice man. I’ve always thought he was a nice man. I don’t know him. I don’t know if I ever spoke to him before other than to say hello, but I think he’s a nice man. We had a very nice call.
Speaker 16: (01:01:05)
Do you want seek out the counsel of some of your predecessors, George Bush, Barack Obama-
Donald Trump: (01:01:09)
No, not really. We’re doing a great job. Hey, I inherited, we this administration. We inherited a broken system both militarily, but we’ve rebuilt our military. We now have so much ammunition where as you remember it, very important, general said, “sir, we have no ammunition.” They wanted to save money on ammunition. They didn’t want to save money because they spent money like nobody ever spent money. But you know what? We now have a great military rebuilt. We have so much ammunition. We don’t know what to do with it. Okay. And that’s a nice feeling to have.
Donald Trump: (01:01:41)
But they also gave us empty cupboards. The cupboard was bare. You’ve heard the expression, the cupboard was bare. So we took over a stockpile with a cupboard was bare and where the testing system was broken and old and we redid it and frankly it would be okay for a small event but not for a big event and they had a chance to do it.
Donald Trump: (01:02:00)
Somebody said that a certain person, I won’t tell you, but a certain person said this will happen and that’s true. The problem is that person never did anything about it. Previous administrations, in previous… they never did anything about it. We all know all about pandemics and all of the things that we’re seeing now, but nobody thought it was going to happen. And if we did think it was going to happen, the problem is nobody did anything about it. We did.
Donald Trump: (01:02:26)
We have rebuilt the system and now we’re a fine tuned machine. We built thousands of hotel beds for New York. We moved a ship in that now we’re going to make for COVID-19. We’re going to make it so that people having this horrible thing happen to them will be able to use the ship. The ship, as I said, is going to be shared with New Jersey, New York and New Jersey.
Donald Trump: (01:02:48)
We’ve done things that are incredible. When you build, what was it, 18 hospitals. We built 18 hospitals. We built medical centers all over the country and when you have Gavin Newsom and other governors who really have been very nice and generous in their statements because they make the statements to the press, not just to my face. Others tell us how great we’re doing. Like the call that Mike had today. I heard from other people that were on the call. He said it was incredible. It was two hours and everything was positive. They were so happy with what we’ve done and we’re ready to do more if they need it because we’re ready to march.
Donald Trump: (01:03:23)
The admiral can tell you we are sitting there with 9,000 ventilators and we’re ready to march. When we see that we can move very quickly. As soon as we see that need, we can move very quickly. We’re ready to march. We built a great system. The problem is the Democrats, like a guy like Chuck Schumer’s a total lightweight, by the way, I’ve known him for a long time. He’ll say, “Why don’t you put a military man in charge?” Military man, I have all military man. This man is doing an incredible job. We have two admirals, numerous generals. We have the Army Corps of Engineers, we have FEMA.
Donald Trump: (01:04:02)
We have this whole force like nobody’s ever seen before. We have a great military operation, and they’ve done an incredible job. And honestly people should respect because nobody’s ever seen anything like what we’ve done. And what they end up with… Thinking about me, don’t worry about me. I will only get bad. If I say, “How many ventilators do you need, governor?” “1,000 would be great.” I said, “No, I’m going to send you 10,000.” And then you’ll call up from the media. You’ll say, “How did Trump do?” “We’re not happy. He didn’t send us enough ventilators.”
Donald Trump: (01:04:36)
Because that’s called politics, but if you look at what’s happening, and I’m even surprised. The governors are saying all good things, but the Democrat governors and a couple of RINOs, frankly they’re RINOs, that’s all they are. One RINO in particular. But the governors are saying great things. He had a call that lasted two hours today. I heard about that called not just from Mike. It was a perfect call. Now I’m sure you were on the call even though you’re not supposed to be. I’m sure you were on the call, meaning some of the media was on the call because they’re constantly reporting the call. If they’re honest, they will say it was a great call. Okay. Okay, next question, please. Here we go.
Speaker 17: (01:05:18)
You didn’t mention the hospitals that were built in New Orleans and Dallas today, but you’ve mentioned that a number of times previously. There seems to be some concern in Texas that they might lose the hospital in Dallas. If it’s not-
Donald Trump: (01:05:32)
We’re never going to do anything that hurts Texas.
Speaker 17: (01:05:34)
It’s not used yet.
Donald Trump: (01:05:35)
We’re only helping Texas. By the way, the governor is doing a great job over there with this situation, and Texas is so big. You have some parts of the state that are affected. Other parts that aren’t affected at all. It’s an incredible place.
Speaker 17: (01:05:47)
Can they keep this hospital even if it’s unused or is the federal government going to shift those resources elsewhere?
Donald Trump: (01:05:54)
We’re going to use whatever we need and we’re doing it totally in conjunction with the governor. We’re doing it in conjunction with your Texas governor who’s done a fantastic job.
Speaker 17: (01:06:05)
Governor Abbot also has a set up checkpoints at the border to check people coming in from Louisiana. We’ve seen checkpoints in Florida, other state borders. Americans-
Donald Trump: (01:06:16)
Very few people are coming through our border and you’ll be happy to know, we’re up to mile 161 of the wall.
Speaker 17: (01:06:23)
Internal borders between states.
Donald Trump: (01:06:24)
Oh, I see, okay. But on the border between Mexico, we have 161 miles of wall.
Speaker 17: (01:06:29)
I’m talking about internal borders. Americans, they’re not used to seeing border checkpoints between states. How much longer, and is that something that states have to keep [crosstalk 00:32:38].
Donald Trump: (01:06:39)
First, you want us to call eight governors and tell them to do something, and then you’re complaining that another governor is so strict that he actually checks the borders. I understand why he’s doing that because he knows who he has and he doesn’t want people coming in if they should maybe not be to the liking of the doctors. [crosstalk 01:07:01] No, I think, look, he’s done a great job. He’s done a great job with this case as have many other governors. But he’s done a great job. One of the things I thought you were going to say is we’ve been very tough on our southern border as you know. Very, very tough and part of that’s because of the fact that we have so much… when you talk about 160 miles of new wall, nobody’s coming through that. Nobody, not even close. And we’re building it rapidly. We will have early next year we’ll have close to 500 miles of wall, which is what our goal was.
Speaker 18: (01:07:34)
You mentioned a Senator Schumer just a moment ago. He had a conference call today and he said that he believes that a COVID Four relief bill will be necessary. Do you share that belief from what would be contained in such a bill?
Donald Trump: (01:07:45)
I don’t know necessarily, but I certainly want to listen, and what I want to do is two things. A real infrastructure, not a green new deal. The carbon footprint. I’m not looking for the carbon footprint. We want to put people to work. And frankly, for so many years, we’ve let our infrastructure go.
Donald Trump: (01:08:03)
Frankly, for so many years, we’ve let our infrastructure go to hell because we were wasting all our money in the Middle East and other places. Okay? I want to rebuild our country. I don’t want to rebuild that. We’re tired. We’ve rebuilt, if you call it that, or destroyed, frankly, what we’ve done is so crazy. What we have done, the direction that this country has taken is so sad, but we’re in the Middle East for $8 trillion, and if you want to fix a pothole in a highway, you can’t do it because they don’t want to give you the funds. So, we want to have an infrastructure bill, a real one like in the vicinity of $2 trillion to completely rebuild our roads, our bridges, our highways, our tunnels, everything. I’m totally open to listening to that. I’m also open to listening to, and even putting forward, because we are going to be putting something forward, more money for our citizens because they’ve gone through a trauma.
Donald Trump: (01:08:56)
This has been trauma. This came out of nowhere. I say it and I’ll say it again, we had the greatest economy in the history of the world. We had the most people working in the history of our country, almost 160 million people, far more than ever before, and then one day our professionals correctly came to us and they said, “Sorry sir, we have to close down our country.” And I said, “Say it again, say it again.” “We have to close down our country,” and the entire world closed down because of this hidden enemy. Now we are going to take good care of our people. It was not their fault.
Speaker 19: (01:09:38)
[crosstalk 01:09:38] Dr. Birx, to clarify something that she said on Saturday, sir.
Donald Trump: (01:09:41)
Speaker 19: (01:09:42)
May I ask Dr. Birx to clarify something that she said on Saturday? If I may, Dr. Birx, this is a question that comes from a radio colleague of mine, Tamara Keith, and on Saturday it sounded like you said that for the next week people in high risk areas should not even go to the market or the drug store. Is that what you meant to say or is that accurate?
Dr. Birx: (01:10:05)
You know, out of respect for every single health care worker that’s on the front line, whether they’re a nurse, a doctor, a respiratory therapist, the phlebotomist, the persons who come in the rooms to clean, out of respect for them, we as Americans should be doing everything possible. And what I meant was if you can consolidate, if you can send one person, the entire family doesn’t need to go out on these occasions. This is a highly transmittable virus. We’ve been saying that we want every American to know that what they’re doing is making a difference, but we need to have solidarity of commitment from everyone to really, so, maybe once every two weeks we can do a grocery store and pharmacy shop for the entire family. So it was really about we have to do everything we can. I know, I see on the TV stations, the level of human suffering in the hospitals.
Dr. Birx: (01:11:12)
Dr. Fauci and Admiral Giroir have spent our lives taking care of others. We need to take care of each other now as Americans and do everything that’s in those guidelines. And I know they’re tough. I know incredibly how tough they are. My grandchild of 10 months got a fever of 105 this weekend. I’m the doctor and I couldn’t get there. I mean, so I’m trying to explain to my daughter how to listen to her lungs, how to listen to her lungs, [crosstalk 01:11:43], and then the baby’s lungs.
Donald Trump: (01:11:44)
You did not get there.
Dr. Birx: (01:11:45)
I did not go there.
Donald Trump: (01:11:46)
Good, I’m very happy about that.
Dr. Birx: (01:11:47)
Because of you two. I mean, you can’t take that kind of risk with the leaders of the country.
Donald Trump: (01:11:54)
Your grandson’s okay?
Dr. Birx: (01:11:55)
Daughter, but she’s coming out of it.
Donald Trump: (01:11:57)
That’s a lot of temperature, would have thought.
Dr. Birx: (01:11:58)
Yes. But you know, and that’s just an illustration that I know you all are making sacrifices, and I guess I want everyone to take this seriously. So that was really a call of seriousness of how important this is and how we’re starting to see the impact. But you can see what can happen when you come at this a little bit too late, and that’s why the message before you see it, before you have to see your hospitals, and your emergency rooms overwhelmed, it is on us as a member of this community of this country to do everything possible to save one another. And so that was really what I was saying, and I will continue to say that because I do believe it’s making a difference. You can start to see it making a difference, but we have to do even more right now because that will predict where we are two or three weeks from now.
Donald Trump: (01:12:53)
Thank you, Deborah. And it is making a big difference. I saw where Governor Cuomo was a little bit upset today over the weekend, a lot of people outside and they were pretty big groups of people. I saw that. I noticed that and he wasn’t happy with that, and I could understand that. Look, we have a period, a short period of time, hopefully it’s a short period of time to go, and let’s get it done. Let’s get it done. Kristin, did you have a question?
Yes, I did. Thank you.
Donald Trump: (01:13:16)
You’re so quiet today.
Just got here. Apologies.
Donald Trump: (01:13:19)
It’s because you have your own show.
Yeah, quick follow to the question about legislation. I know there’s discussion about a phase four, but are you also looking seriously at a second round of direct payments, and are you putting discussions on a potential phase four on hold for now while you pursue that?
Donald Trump: (01:13:37)
Well, I was opposed to the way of money distribution through, as you know, unemployment, and through the state offices, because they have very old, not all of them, but many of them have 40 year old equipment as I’ve said, and it makes it very difficult. But that’s what they want to do. That’s the way it’s mandated to do. I thought it would be better if we did a direct payment system, but the Democrats really wanted it, and I think they had some help from a couple of people that I would have, had I spoken to them, I would have convinced them otherwise, I really believe. But it’s getting out and the federal government has done its job. All we could do is give this massive amount of money to the states. The states then are responsible to distribute it a little bit like we’re talking about here, but the money will be right on time from the federal government.
Donald Trump: (01:14:25)
Then the states have to do their job in getting it out.
Is there going to be a second round of those payments?
Donald Trump: (01:14:30)
We could very well do a second round of direct. I would do it direct.
Is that under serious discussion?
Donald Trump: (01:14:35)
It is absolutely under serious consideration.
In terms of Chuck Schumer, he also said he spoke to your Chief of Staff about potentially appointing Azar to oversee the supply chain. Is that something that you are considering-
Donald Trump: (01:14:50)
But we have people that are so talented. I know the people he suggested. They’re wonderful people. They worked here. They’re wonderful people. He’s just doing that because it’s politics because you know what-
Who is the point person right now, Mr. President?
Donald Trump: (01:15:01)
We have many depending on what. In terms of testing, this gentleman right here. You know who the point person is? This gentleman right here. He’s the one in charge of the task force. But Mike, you may want to tell him about the… Because this is really a military operation.
Mr. Vice President, in terms of the supply chain-
Mike Pence: (01:15:19)
Let me answer your first question, if I may, because it’s a very good question, and I spoke to Senator Schumer the night before last about just that. When the President signed a Declaration of National Emergency, he stood up FEMA as the lead agency implementing his policy to marshal a whole of government response. And under FEMA, we provide federal support, the state manages the healthcare response, and healthcare providers and first responders implement that response on a local level.
Mike Pence: (01:15:54)
Our lead on this issue in implementing it is Administrator Pete Gaynor, but the man managing all of the supplies, and you heard a presentation this weekend about our air bridge, what we also call the control tower, we literally, with Admiral John Polowczyk at the helm of our logistics effort, we have visibility now on all the supplies that are moving across this country and into this country from around the world. It really is extraordinary. I mean, when the President tapped FEMA to lead this effort, we essentially wanted to say we want to organize this in a military fashion, and we tapped really someone who is widely regarded as the number one supplies and logistics military officer to do just that.
Mike Pence: (01:16:49)
He really is an extraordinary individual. Admiral Giroir has known him for a long time, and to be working with Admiral Polowczyk, we speak every morning. Our team reviews the data. We go over that with Administrator Gaynor and Admiral Polowczyk. We talk about an extensive team that’s identifying supplies around the country and around the world. And then as we were explaining to governors today, we work with the requests that are coming in from states with a priority on the areas that are dealing with widespread outbreak like the greater New York City area, New Jersey, Louisiana, focus on Detroit, focus on Chicago and Illinois. And then what Pete Gaynor and Admiral Polowczyk are doing is directing those commercial distributors to send the resources directly to the front lines of the battle against the coronavirus.
Mike Pence: (01:17:46)
It is an extraordinary system. And as I explained to the governors today, as I’ve explained to congressional leaders who’ve made what I think is a good faith recommendation, that we organize this in a manner of military logistics, it’s exactly what President Trump has done, and it’s what we’re doing every single day to make sure that healthcare workers, to make sure that the states that are dealing with a widespread outbreak coronavirus, can be confident that we’re going to spare no expense, leave no stone unturned, and use this extraordinary apparatus centered in FEMA to get the people of our country what they need when they need it to battle the coronavirus.
Donald Trump: (01:18:30)
Thank you. And Kristen, when Schumer makes a statement like that, he’s only doing it for politics. He knows. We have the best generals, the best admirals, we have the best people. These are incredible leaders. These are vibrant people. They’ve done such a good job. And again, you’ll get a tape of the conversation, because I’m sure some of the governors probably had their favorite reporter listening to the conversation, even though they weren’t supposed to, but that’s happened before. Just so you understand, we had a call today that was a beautiful call, everybody friendly, everybody happy. They also know in some cases we’ll get them a little bit more, and if they need it, we’ll get them a lot more depending on where this monster is going. But when Schumer does that, [crosstalk 01:19:16] take a look at the past… Well, you’re going to have to tell me who. [crosstalk 01:19:19]
Donald Trump: (01:19:21)
Well, yeah, some Democrats, because they view this as a campaign issue. They want to make Trump look as bad as they can because they want to try and win an election that they shouldn’t be allowed to win based on the fact that we have done a great job. We built the greatest economy in the world. I’ll do it a second time. We got artificially stopped by a virus that nobody ever thought possible, and we’ve handled it, and we’ve built a team and we’ve built an apparatus that’s been unbelievable. Take a look at the Swine Flu, right? That’s H1N1. Take a look at that, and it’s not the other way around, by the way, it’s H1N1. Take a look. You know what I mean by that. Take a look at the Swine Flu. It was a disaster. 17,000 people died. The other administration, they didn’t even know.
Donald Trump: (01:20:07)
It was like they didn’t even know it was here, and that was peanuts compared to what we have in terms of the power and the magnitude of what we’re going through. This is attacking 182 countries simultaneously. So Schumer’s just all about politics. I’ve known him almost all of my adult life, and he’s a disgrace. In many ways he’s a disgrace, and he knows it’s done. He just wants to do that. But he knows the job we’re doing. Everybody’s amazed at the job we’re doing, and the public is starting to find out. One of the reasons I do these news conferences, because if I didn’t, they would believe fake news, and we can’t let them believe fake news. They see us up here. They see us with admirals. They see us with this talent. They see the job that Mike Pence has done, which has been an unbelievable job, an unbelievable job. I put him there. I thought he’d do well. He did great as the Governor of Indiana, and I thought Mike would do well. He’s done much better than well, and he gets along with people I think much better than I do, because I like people being 100. Mike can put up with things that sometimes I say it’s amazing that he can put up with it, but he’s done an incredible job, and so has the entire team. This is a military operation, and again, we built 2,900 beds in Javits Center. We built medical centers in New York. In Chicago, we built a thousand beds much more now in McCormick Place. That’s their big convention home, the equivalent of Javits, conventional home, big McCormick Place, fantastic place. By the way, the mayor of Chicago, at least on the phone, is extremely happy with what we’re doing, thanking us, has a great relationship with Mike, thanking us, and I just wish the politicians would say to you what they say to us, really, and it’s a good question. Do you have one? Yeah, please.
Speaker 22: (01:22:08)
Yes, Mr. President, [crosstalk 01:22:07], an actual security question and then a question about Governor Cuomo. The national security front, to the extent that you can comment on that, your administration is making heavy preparations to move against cartels in Latin America right now, and could you expand-
Donald Trump: (01:22:25)
You said Latin America?
Speaker 22: (01:22:26)
Yes. Could you expand on the reasoning of why now? Are their supply and logistics especially weak? Is it political? What’s the reasoning?
Donald Trump: (01:22:32)
It’s a good question. We’ve moved a tremendous number of boats and ships to the area of, different areas of exactly where you’re talking about, because we’re tired of drugs pouring into our country from other places, and we’re tired of seeing drugs pouring into different parts of Latin America, South America, and just coming into our country. Now we’ve got them stopped at the border and they’re trying to do it by sea. So we stop them at the border with, and frankly with the help of Mexico. Mexico right now has 27,000 soldiers on our southern border. They never had any soldiers. They’re doing that because I’ve asked them to do it. That’s the only reason they’re doing it. They have 27,000 soldiers. So now they’re trying to bring it in by boat and by ship, the drug Lords and the people doing drugs, and trying to destroy our country from inside with drugs, and we’re hitting them very, very hard, and that’s why we’re doing it.
Speaker 22: (01:23:28)
Are there illicit activities that U.S. assets are targeting?
Donald Trump: (01:23:30)
Speaker 22: (01:23:31)
Is it beyond narcotics? Are there other illicit activities [crosstalk 01:23:34]?
Donald Trump: (01:23:34)
Well, there are the activities of human trafficking, and especially with respect to women, and as you know, proportionally, it’s mostly women, and it’s a horrible thing. [crosstalk 01:23:46] It’s a horrible thing and there’s never been a time like it, and it’s because of the internet, and this is all over the world. But for the most part they’re coming through, in this country. they’re coming through the southern border, but we’re hitting them very hard. They have tremendous illegal trafficking in women and children also, but mostly in women. And it’s illegal, and it’s horrible, and it’s disgraceful, and I’ve seen things that are an absolute disgrace, and we’re trying to knock them out and we’re knocking them hard. And again, I want to thank the President of Mexico because he has really stepped up to the plate, 27,000 soldiers. They’ve never had any soldiers at our border, and I did that because the Democrats will not approve anything to stop because they want to have open borders.
Donald Trump: (01:24:31)
They want to have all these people flowing through our border and in many cases they’re sick. They have problems that you don’t want to know about, or they’re criminals in many cases, not in all cases, but in many cases. They want to have open borders. They want to have sanctuary cities, so they protect criminals, and I don’t want to have it, and Joe Biden does want to have that also, as you know, because he said that during numerous debates. I want to have strong borders and I don’t like protecting criminals with sanctuary cities, but we’re doing it for drugs, we’re doing it for human trafficking, we’re doing it because you have to do it. We either have borders or we don’t have a country. [crosstalk 01:25:11] All right. Go ahead, please.
Speaker 23: (01:25:12)
Mr. President, on the question of antibody testing which is FDA approved now but not widely available yet. I know the Admiral said by May you expect to have millions available. How are we going to prioritize who’s going to get the antibody tests, and what is that going to show you? Do you think that’s going to be immunity?
Donald Trump: (01:25:29)
I have an answer but I’d rather have the Admiral answer that.
Admiral Giroir: (01:25:32)
So, let me clarify, and I know you probably understand this, is the antibody test does not tell you if you have the active virus in your nose. If you are positive for the antibody, it strongly implies, it means that you have had the virus before, and to the degree that we know of medical knowledge, you will probably highly probably be protected against getting the virus again in the future.
Admiral Giroir: (01:25:57)
So I want to make something clear. There’s no antibody test approved. Okay? Approved is not a word we talk about. There is a test or two that has received emergency use authorization, and many, many, many others out there that have not gone that way yet, and I want to take this opportunity to caution. There is a very consolidated effort between the FDA, CDC, NIH, to validate some of the tests that are on the market right now, because it is very important that they actually do what they say they do, and we have reason to believe that not all of them are going to perform well. I don’t know the primary source, but the Financial Times just reported that the UK had 17.5 million antibody tests that they bought and none of them work.
Admiral Giroir: (01:26:45)
So we’re not going to get in that situation. We’re going to be very careful to make sure that when we tell you you’re likely immune from the disease, that test really said that. Now I will also make a statement, and there’s a lot of work on here and I’m very excited about it, as opposed to the test for a novel virus, the antibody type tests are very sophisticated technology, but they’re old technology. This, we expect to have many tens of millions of tests the first month that we are really sure that the test makes sense. So, this allows for surveillance screening, and Dr. Birx is one of the world experts to understand, is 1%, 5%, 20% of Americans have been infected, but it also allows us to have very widespread tens and tens of millions of people screened with a finger prick on the spot.
Speaker 23: (01:27:39)
And by when, by May you are saying this will happen?
Admiral Giroir: (01:27:43)
So, science doesn’t run on rails, right? So you need to make sure that the FDA, the NIH, which they’re actively doing right now, assure that the tests that they’re testing really do perform the way they should. And if things work out the way we believe they will, we will have millions on the market by May in a sophisticated way, in a prospective way, that we get the surveillance we need, we can test people to see if they’ve been exposed, immune, and go back to work, and a combination of that kind of test with the current kind of test we have now is how America opens back up.
Speaker 23: (01:28:20)
And how will you prioritize Who gets those tests? I mean, tens of million, we’re a country of 300 million, how do you determine who you’re going to have have that test?
Admiral Giroir: (01:28:25)
Well, we are having active discussions under the leadership of Dr. Birx and the task force, but you can imagine how that is, right, but with tens and tens and tens of millions of tests per month that are available, you could really do very widespread testing, but let me just give you an example.
Donald Trump: (01:28:41)
Which nobody else can do, by the way. No other country can do.
Donald Trump: (01:28:44)
I’ll just give you one example. It would be very important to know if the virus is still circulating here, whether for example a healthcare worker, or a longterm care nursing home worker is immune from the virus and can’t carry it. Very, very important to protect our elderly in that situation. But also if you haven’t been exposed to make sure that you really take precautions, and maybe take care of the people who don’t have the virus and you don’t have the virus. So it’s complex, but it’s not complicated on how you go about looking this in different segments of society. And I don’t want to take too much more time with the podium, but antibody tests are a different thing. They’re coming. We’re highly confident that this can be scaled very rapidly and provide us a bit of information we just don’t have now.
Donald Trump: (01:29:30)
[inaudible 00:21:31], be a bad week.
Speaker 24: (01:29:35)
Does that mean-
Donald Trump: (01:29:36)
Yeah, I’m going to look into it. And I also think our Navy Secretary is a highly respected man. So sometimes that happens with people and I’ll take a look at it.
Speaker 24: (01:29:47)
What do you mean by that? Would you consider reinstating him?
Donald Trump: (01:29:50)
When he sends a letter out and he sends copies all over the place and it’s not a classified letter, and it was very disconcerting to the families of the people on the, very disconcerting, so number one, they get worried and scared. It was weak. We don’t want weak, but I’m going to take a look because I think he looks to me like he’s an outstanding guy. I looked at his whole, just a little while ago, I looked at his file, and people have bad days and we’ll take a look at it.
Speaker 24: (01:30:25)
I guess my question is what would you consider doing for him?
Donald Trump: (01:30:27)
Well, we’ll take a look. I want to look. I want to speak also to the Secretary. I also want to speak to the Secretary of Defense, who is Mark Esper, who’s doing a fantastic job, and maybe I can help the situation out. I mean, you guys are saying why is the President getting involved and going, well, I like to solve problems. It’s a problem. I don’t want to see men hurt, women hurt, I don’t want to see people hurt unnecessarily. Maybe we can solve it easily where it’s not life changing. But he did, he did a bad thing. Sending a letter out and many, many copies, as you know. I don’t know. I heard 28 copies. I heard a lot. That’s a lot of copies. Plus, the letter was five pages long. I haven’t read the letter, but I think it was five pages long, single spaced. That’s a lot of writing. He’s the captain of a ship. He’s a very important person of a very expensive ship, a nuclear powered ship. He shouldn’t be writing letters like that, but it happens. Sometimes I’ll write a letter that I say, ” I wish I didn’t send it.” Not too often, but it happens. [crosstalk 01:31:34] Go ahead. Yes.
If you could follow up on that, because the Acting Navy Secretary, I mean, I know you were asked, but I just want to try one more time. He did say in remarks to soldiers on the USS Roosevelt that Crozier was, “Too naive or too stupid to be in command if he didn’t think that writing that letter was a bad thing.”
Donald Trump: (01:31:52)
Well, I don’t want to comment on what he said. I understand.
Could he have used different language, Mr. President?
Donald Trump: (01:31:55)
It’s tough language, but let’s not get into that. It’s tough language. Now there are some people that think, “Oh wow. He says it like it is.” Look, he made a mistake. He should not have sent that letter, or he should’ve gone through his chain of command, which is the typical way of doing it. He’s in the military. He’s a very important person in the military. He knows it better than anybody in this room, what he should’ve done, and I’m sure he feels he made a mistake, but I’m going to look into it, and I’m going to see, maybe we can do something because I’m not looking to destroy a person’s life who’s had an otherwise stellar career as I understand it. I looked at this file just now because I’ve been seeing what’s going on. If we can save a person’s career…
Donald Trump: (01:32:42)
I don’t mind going after a person that they did something wrong, but this was a mistake. He made a mistake. I’m not justifying what he did. He made a mistake. Shouldn’t be sending letters. He’s the captain. He’s a very important person in the military. You don’t send letters and then it leaks into a newspaper, of all newspapers, that was a beauty, right? So you just don’t do that. So it was a mistake, but I may get involved. I’ll call Secretary of Defense and find out a little bit about it, and if I can help two people, two good people, I’m going to help them.
Speaker 26: (01:33:14)
Mr. President, your tone seems to have changed a little bit-
Donald Trump: (01:33:18)
Speaker 26: (01:33:18)
Your tone seems to changed a little bit on the captain.
Donald Trump: (01:33:22)
With the captain?
Speaker 26: (01:33:22)
Yeah. Was it the news coverage or did somebody to on his behalf?
Donald Trump: (01:33:26)
I said, when you asked me, and when the question was asked the last time, I said, “He shouldn’t have sent the letter.: I haven’t changed. He should not have sent a letter. And if there’s a letter, it should go classified and it should go to his superior, and he shouldn’t be jumping off the superior. [crosstalk 01:33:39] It hasn’t changed in that regard. The only thing that has played right up here with me is that I looked at his record and he’s been an outstanding person. If he wasn’t, I wouldn’t even be talking about this. He’s been an outstanding person. He’s had a very exemplary military career. I mean, he started off as a helicopter pilot. They called him Chopper. His name was Chopper. He was a great helicopter pilot. It’s a tremendous skill. I know a lot about helicopters. And then he went F-16s or F-18s and he was a tremendous pilot.
Donald Trump: (01:34:15)
And then he’s very smart. He studied nuclear energy and he was fantastic, and very few people have the aptitude, they have the mentality to do that. Nuclear energy is very complex. It’s very hard. Very few people can do it. And he did it well, and then it became the captain of a nuclear ship, right, replacement cost, if you look at replacement cost, $18 billion are replacement costs, right? So he’s got, on a replacement cost basis, an $18 billion ship. You know the President Gerald Ford, very expensive, that’s the nearest thing I can think of, but they’re spending money on that one like nobody’s ever seen. So he made a mistake. He made a mistake, and maybe we’re going to make that mistake, not destroy his life. Okay, a couple of more. [crosstalk 01:35:08] Go ahead.
Speaker 27: (01:35:09)
Mr. President, you mentioned medical professionals. You compared them to soldiers going onto the battlefield. Many doctors and medical workers today, some that see pay cuts. They’re going into a sort environment where they’re concerned about their own health, their family’s livelihood. If something were to happen to them-
Donald Trump: (01:35:25)
Very much in my mind.
Speaker 27: (01:35:26)
As part of this phase four are you going to prioritize?
Donald Trump: (01:35:28)
There doesn’t have to be a phase four. I think it could be a separate phase when it’s all over. Right now, I don’t think they want to think of it. These people don’t want to think about. These people are incredible. They’re not thinking about how much am I getting paid? These people are incredible. I’ve seen it. I see their spirit. I hear about it all the time from Mike, from the Admiral, I hear about it all the time. These people are incredible. When it’s all over, I do want to seriously think, maybe in the form of bonuses. These people are, what they’ve done is incredible. I just admire the attitude and I’ve said it. They walk into those hospitals and they are seriously, you know, one of the things that came up with the Comfort, the ship, is that when we fulfill the request of Governor Cuomo and Governor Murphy, and they’re going to be splitting up, but a lot of things happen to ships when you do that.
Donald Trump: (01:36:22)
They didn’t want to do this. In fact, they specifically didn’t want to do this, have patients that were affected with this horrible disease, or whatever the plague, because frankly it’s a plague. That’s exactly what it is. You’d read about it in the old days, the plague, and that’s exactly what it is. But we’re doing it. But when I see the bravery of these people walking through doors without their stuff, they’re not standing outside, “Hey, let’s get ready.” They’re running through doors putting on the stuff. It’s not even on. I think it’s incredible. I’m telling you, the nearest thing I can think of is soldiers in battle, and soldiers going right into battle, because that’s what they’re doing. It’s really, in many ways, it’s the same thing. All right. How about one more?
Speaker 28: (01:37:10)
Mr. President, [inaudible 01:37:11] question, Mr. President, you may have seen this. The Masters Tournament has been rescheduled to November. Two questions, A, is that an outgrowth of your conversation that you had with sports commissioners on Saturday?
Donald Trump: (01:37:22)
I hope it’s rescheduled. I hope football is able to start. I hope baseball can get to play a little bit. I hope basketball can maybe do their playoffs. I mean, hey, I have no interests or anything other than I want what’s good for the country.
Speaker 28: (01:37:35)
What about the U.S. Open which you have attended many times?
Donald Trump: (01:37:38)
A lot of people are tired of looking at games that are five years old. I looked the other day, I saw somebody, I said, “Wow, he looks great.” I forgot. I said, “Oh, that was nine years ago.” I said, “He’s really in great shape.” Well, not in great shape now, but he was in great shape then. It was nine years ago. You get tired of looking at nine year old baseball games and playoff games that took place 12 years ago. I don’t have much time to do that, frankly, but that’s what people are doing, and they want to see sports. Sports are a great thing for this country and I hope football can start, and I told them, I think you might be able to. They may very well be able to. I hope they can start and I hope they can start with people in the stands.
Donald Trump: (01:38:14)
You know, we’re not going to be separated. You have seats. Those seats are meant for people to sit next to each other, and when this virus is gone, people are going to be sitting next to each other, and just for the restaurant industry so they understand, when the virus is gone, people are going to be sitting next to each other. One man said, “I have a 200 seat restaurant. It’s been great. But if I go by these rules, those 200 seats goes down to 60.” I said, “No, no. You have a 200 seat restaurant. That’s what you have.” But we have to wait until the virus goes away. It wouldn’t even do well at 60. Frankly, there’s a warmth to it also. There’s a warmth. But not when we have the virus in the air.
Donald Trump: (01:38:54)
Well ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much. I’m going to let our Vice President take over. He’s got some really interesting numbers, statistics, and I want to thank the Admiral. I want to thank Tony and Deborah and everybody else. I want to thank everybody that’s working, and I really do, I see a lot of tremendous things happen. The therapeutics, the call I had today was one of the most exciting calls I’ve had in a long time. And again, I want to wish my best to the UK and the family of Boris Johnson, and we just hope he’s going to be okay because he’s a fine guy. Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.
Mike Pence: (01:39:35)
Thank you, Mr. President. A few updates on the activity of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, then I’m going to ask a Dr. Birx to speak about what we’re seeing in the numbers. We know we are at the beginning of what’s going to be a very tough week in America, but as Dr. Birx will reflect, because the American people have been embracing social distancing, putting into practice the advice of state and local leaders, and the President’s coronavirus guidelines, are for our country. As Dr. Birx will describe, we are not only seeing remarkable progress in Washington state, and in California, where the numbers remain low and steady, that’s a great tribute to the people of both of those states, and to all of their dedicated healthcare workers, but we’re also beginning, we’re beginning to see a leveling, and just at the very beginning, and she’ll reflect on those in just a few moments.
Mike Pence: (01:40:46)
A couple of quick updates. At the present moment, the President has approved 50 major disaster declarations, and will likely be issuing a disaster declaration for the state of Minnesota before the end of the day. We’ve distributed more than $4.1 billion to states, and right after our incredible healthcare workers, we couldn’t be more proud of more than 21,000 National Guard that have been activated and are working in states all across the country.
Mike Pence: (01:41:17)
During my conference call today, I learned that Governor Brian Kemp is actually using the Georgia National Guard to sanitize and clean up nursing homes. But National Guard are being deployed in a variety of ways all across the country, and to them and to the families of all these citizen soldiers, you have our admiration and our respect.
Mike Pence: (01:41:41)
As the President mentioned, our focus remains on the New York metro area, New Jersey, Louisiana, and then Michigan and Illinois. We’re watching every area of the country, but those are the priorities today. And in that spirit, I spoke today, as the President did with Governor Cuomo of New York. The President made the-
Mike Pence: (01:42:03)
Did with the Governor Cuomo of New York. The president made the decision to open up the USNS Comfort to COVID patients and he also informed the governor of New Jersey that we would be taking New Jersey COVID patients. So now there will be two facilities, one of the Javits Center that’s all COVID and the USNS Comfort that we’ll be managing COVID patients.
Mike Pence: (01:42:26)
At the present moment there… by this evening, there will be a 2,179 medical military personnel in New York city, and over the next two days, that number will rise to 3,000. Speaking with the governor, speaking with Mayor de Blasio, the president and I were informed that while we have surged ventilators, we have surged personal protective equipment, that sending in some relief for healthcare workers was vitally important. And so again, I want to emphasize that those are medical personnel, doctors and nurses and medical assistants who are on the scene now and will continue to arrive to a total number of 3,000.
Mike Pence: (01:43:16)
I spoke to Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey. New Jersey is very much in the forefront of the coronavirus in America today. We want to commend the governor for his extraordinary leadership in the state. During our briefing today, we learned about the progress that they were making and also about the governor’s decision to temporarily reactivate retired healthcare personnel in the state. And just as a reminder of all that we’re dealing with, this weekend, Governor Murphy told me that New Jersey surpassed the number of lives that were lost on September 11th to the state of New Jersey, and it breaks our heart to think of that and our hearts go out to all of the families of the more than 10,000 Americans who have succumbed to the coronavirus.
Mike Pence: (01:44:13)
We also, as the president said, we express our gratitude to governors in Oregon and Washington state yesterday for donating ventilators to help the states at the epicenter of the coronavirus. Governor Gavin Newsom of California donated 500 ventilators and I just learned that those will be going… 200 to the state of Maryland, 50 to the district of Columbia, 100 to the state of Delaware, 100 to Nevada, and we’ll also be deploying the remaining 50 to the Northern Marianas Islands and to Guam. And we want thank Governor Gavin Newsom. The state of California has provided extraordinary and compassionate leadership for their citizens. They’re making progress. They’re as the governor said the other day, they’re not out of the woods yet, but the numbers speak for themselves and the generosity of the people of California and the governor is gratefully received.
Mike Pence: (01:45:18)
Beyond that before I recognize that Dr. Birx, let me just say that at the beginning of this challenging time, we want to challenge every American to continue to do what every American can do and clearly what we see in Washington and California and what we are just beginning to see elsewhere is put into practice the social distancing recommendations of the coronavirus guidelines for America. Listen to your state and local authorities. We really do believe that while this will be a week of heartache, it also is a week of hope and as we see some of the cases beginning to level just for a day or two, it is our hope that what we have seen begin in the greater New York area and even in Louisiana and elsewhere will become a trend, but it only becomes a trend if every one of us continues to take ownership and continues to do our part for this 30 days to slow the spread.
Mike Pence: (01:46:31)
With that, I’ll recognize Dr. Birx for the latest data and then we’ll take questions.
Dr. Birx: (01:46:36)
Thank you Mr. Vice President. I think you heard very clearly our concern in the New York, New Jersey metro areas. This is also includes Connecticut and Long Island. As we talked about, we did see a significant increase in Sussex County over the weekend. The weekend numbers are always difficult. I want to be clear on that because sometimes case reporting is not as accurate over the weekend, so we’ll be watching very closely today’s numbers and Tuesdays numbers. Also very of course focused on the New Orleans metro area and that includes the three parishes of Jefferson, St. John’s the Baptist and New Orleans Proper and of course the Detroit area, which is Oakland and Wayne.
Dr. Birx: (01:47:22)
As we mentioned before, we’re continuing to track very closely out of concerns of it potentially reaching logarithmic phase in the Chicago metro area, the Boston metro area, the DC and Baltimore metro area, Indianapolis, the Denver area and two regions of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and the Pittsburgh area, as well as Dallas and Houston in the Texas area.
Dr. Birx: (01:47:45)
I had a very encouraging call, because we also don’t want to miss anything. Remember I showed you a lot of states were very much under 25 and 50 cases for 100,000. There were a few standouts that we were concerned about, which was Vermont, New Hampshire, Idaho and Montana. We had excellent calls today with their health commissioners and they’re really were able. They’re on top of the situation. These were micro outbreaks that occurred due to ski events and weddings and nursing homes. And they were able to describe and critical detail the incidents and how they’re tracking and tracing. They are still doing full contact tracing through those areas.
Dr. Birx: (01:48:31)
And I just want to applaud these… both a rural and metro problem and I really want to applaud how many of the states that may have smaller populations are approaching this. That gives us encouragement of how we can talk about beginning surveillance activities. At the same time, we’re following these very clear outbreaks and ensuring that there’s full supplies based on the very granular data that we’re utilizing. And I just want to thank the mayors and governors who get us that granular data and allows us to make these deep interpretation across all of United States. We know each governor is concerned about their areas, but these metro areas cover different areas. So the Philadelphia area also includes Southern New Jersey and Delaware. And so we have to really look at things very much as both the metro and the communities that surround those metros. And so all of those people, we ask you again throughout the United States to follow these very clear guidance.
Dr. Birx: (01:49:31)
I want to just recognize both HHS and you heard about the work that Admiral Giroir is doing, the work that Dr. Hahn and Administrator Seema Verma are doing and also Administrator Engels in the work of HRSA to really ensure that our federally funded clinics are actively engaged in all of these aspects.
Dr. Birx: (01:49:51)
But I also want to recognize the military, the medical corps, the nursing corps and the medical subspecialty core. These were my brothers and sisters for 29 years. It is highly unusual for the active force to be called into a domestic situation. I think that shows you how seriously we’re taking this at the federal government level. In my 29 years in the military, I was never deployed domestically. This is showing you how serious of an event we take this. If the military is deploying domestically, it is another reason for every American to be following these guidelines.
Dr. Birx: (01:50:29)
Finally, on CDC quietly launched a new website. It’s you go to cdc.gov and you go to COVID-19 you can find their surveillance data. This surveillance data is bringing together our influenza like illnesses with their syndromic management databases so that you can track the respiratory disease across the United States. The states are used to using this system. It’s in emergency rooms, it’s in hospitals, it’s in doctor’s offices, and it gives you insight and you can see very clearly influenza A peak. You can see the influenza B peak and now you can start to see the respiratory disease from this current outbreak. These are the systems that exist within the United States that will be strengthened in order for us to do comprehensive surveillance.
Dr. Birx: (01:51:23)
I just want to assure the American people while we’re working on these outbreaks, we’re also working on bringing new systems together that have a comprehensive look across the country, building on the strong work of CDC as a public health institution so that we can work county by county, community by community, state by state to really understand where this virus is and where it will be, but also as an early alert for us in the future. I want just want to assure the American people that as we’re working on the crisis of today, we’re looking to the future to ensure we have the systems in place to bring those early alert systems together while we work on the antibody testing and why we work on continuing spreading and increasing the diagnostic capabilities that you see presented here. Thank you.
Mike Pence: (01:52:11)
Thank you, Deb. And it was Rob spoke several times when the president was with us, so he’ll be here for questions as Deborah Birx will, but Dr. Fauci, your thoughts and then we’ll take some questions.
Dr. Fauci: (01:52:26)
No, no, actually I just wanted to… okay. I will. It related to the… something I said yesterday about that’s somewhat paradox of everything going up at the same time that the feeding into this engine of this virus is starting to show some signs.
Dr. Fauci: (01:52:46)
Governor Cuomo today reported an interesting data from New York, namely that the number of hospitalizations, the number of admissions to intensive care, and the number of requirements for intubations over the last three days have actually started to level off. Again, everybody who knows me knows I’m very conservative about making projections, but those are the kind of good signs that you look for. You never even begin to think about claiming victory prematurely. But that’s the first thing you see when you start to see the turnaround. That doesn’t mean we don’t have a lot of work to do. That tells me instead of saying, “Hmm, that’s pretty good,” it’s we got there through mitigation. We cut off the stream of people who ultimately required hospitalization, required intubation, required all of the kinds of extreme methods.
Dr. Fauci: (01:53:38)
We just got to realize that this is an indication despite all the suffering and the death that has occurred, that what we have been doing has been working. The call that I say every time I get to this podium is just it up, because this is going to get us out of it. This is our best and only great public health tool.
Jonathan Karl: (01:53:59)
Are we starting to see that across many states? We’re seeing the level of hospitalizations and deaths is lower than what we anticipated?
Dr. Fauci: (01:54:10)
You’re going to see it most dramatically, John, in a place like New York where you see it goes up and peak and then it will hopefully, and I think it will come down. When you have places like Seattle, which did a… and Washington state who did a really good job from the beginning, it never really did that so they were able to keep it down and on the charts that Dr. Birx showed when you saw California and Washington state, they were fortunate. They did a good job, that it never really got out of hand. Again, this is a big country and you have a number of different metropolitan areas. I think if we do it right, you’re going to see those who have not peaked, will not peak and those who have peaked, the New Orleans, the New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Detroit and others. You’re going to see the same thing if we keep our foot on the accelerator.
Jonathan Karl: (01:55:05)
Mike Pence: (01:55:05)
Thanks John. Are there questions for the team?
Follow up to Dr. Fauci’s comment about what it’s like going to be coming back normal and until there was a vaccine that there’ll be gradual steps towards the sort of normalcy. Under that, short of a vaccine, does putting 80,000 people fans, spectators in a sports stadium or 25,000 politicos in a indoor arena for a political convention this summer make a lot of sense? Or does those sorts of things require a vaccine to fully protecting the American populates.
Dr. Fauci: (01:55:33)
I don’t think that you’re going to have to say that the country cannot get back to a real degree of normalcy until you absolutely have a safe and effective vaccine. It will be really evaluating the kinds of things and that’s the reason why it was discussed up here, why it’s so important to have an antibody test so you know what the penetrance is in society. And then we have a situation where we don’t ever want to get to have to mitigate. We wanted to be able to contain, and by the time we have to face what’s going to happen with this going back to normality, we will have in place the capability of identifying, isolating, contact tracing so that it never gets out of hand. Ultimately, the show stopper will be, obviously, a vaccine where you can vaccinate people and you won’t have it.
Dr. Fauci: (01:56:28)
There’s going to be another issue that’s going to be important and it has to do with somewhat of a comparison. For example, with influenza, we go through multiple cycles of influenza. There’s always a degree of background immunity in the population. I mean that will ultimately happen if we get a situation where we get back to normal. Now, I hope we don’t have so people infected that we actually have that herd immunity. But I think it would have to be different than it is right now. So again, remember when you say normalcy, I mean we could give back normally, economically and otherwise without necessarily saying we’re going to forget about the virus. We have to pay attention to this because we’ve had a very bad experience with this virus.
Speaker 29: (01:57:15)
Thank you. And this is for the vice president, for Dr. Birx And Dr. Fauci, but can you give us a sense of, and I know you don’t want to make any projections, but where we are with the numbers, because we saw that horrible number today, more than 10,000 deaths now in the US. Are we on track for the those best case scenario numbers that you had laid out, the 100,000 or are we potentially coming in lower than that at this point given some of what you’re seeing?
Dr. Birx: (01:57:44)
It just gives me an opportunity to thank and respect the modelers who have really worked on this because there’s a large number of them have worked very hard and had done a lot of predictions and what we did is we did predictions of predictions. We like to integrate data and so that’s where you come up with these numbers.
Dr. Birx: (01:58:01)
I think Dr. Fauci and I both strongly believe that if we work as hard as we can over the next several weeks that we will see potential to go under the numbers that were predicted by the models. And I think that is really two things. It is the extraordinary compliance of the American people and the diligence that they have mitigated with, because remember we are doing this strictly by behavior change. It’s very hard to change trajectory of viruses on just behavior change. We have had difficulty in our past doing that. That’s what we’re doing and that’s what the American people are doing. But the other side of that is the incredible insights that Washington state and others are providing on how to better care for the patients in the hospital. And so those two pieces are coming together that could have a dramatic impact on the predictions of the mortality from this disease.
Dr. Fauci: (01:59:00)
I’m glad you asked that question because I’ve said it a couple of times here. I want to say it again. Repetition is good… is that models are good. They help us to make projections. But as you get data in, you modify your model. And I’ve always said data always trumps models, always.
Dr. Fauci: (01:59:22)
What I feel, and I believe that Dr. Birx also feels, that I don’t think anyone has ever mitigated the way I’m seeing people mitigate right now. This has never happened in this country before. I am optimistic, always cautiously optimistic, that if we do what I’ve been talking about over the past few minutes, we can make that number go down. I don’t accept every day that we’re going to have to have 100 to 200,000 deaths. I think we can really bring that down no matter what a model says, because when the data comes in, they’ll start to saying, “Maybe you are essentially overshooting the model.” And I think that’s where we can go. That’s the reason why I like to always get up and tell the American people, it’s the virus doing what the virus wants to do and it’s we as a society doing what we can do.
Mike Pence: (02:00:16)
And let me just amplify that from a lay person’s perspective. The American people are doing it. I mean, the initial data, what we’ve seen in California and Washington support fact that the American people are doing these things, which is nothing short of loving your neighbor. I mean the truth is the threat of serious illness for most Americans is relatively low. But the threat of serious illness for seniors with underlying health conditions or anyone with an immunodeficiency is very high. And when we see Americans putting these principles into practice the way you all have been, it really means you’re considering others more important than yourself. And I have to tell you, for the president, for me, for all of us, it’s deeply inspiring. We just need to continue to do it for all of these 30 days and we’ll bring that number down. How about a couple more? Please.
Speaker 30: (02:01:27)
Mr. Vice President. When will you know… when do you think that you will know whether or not you will have to extend those 30 day guidelines or if 30 days will be enough?
Mike Pence: (02:01:39)
Well, the experts told us that somewhere around the middle of this month would be the peak. And as we begin to see a couple of days, but that might be the beginning of leveling. We’re going to watch that carefully and we’re going to bring that information to the president. But for now the decision is, and the request of every American is to continue to put into practice all of the president’s coronavirus guidelines, 30 days to slow the spread and for all of you in areas that have been impacted broadly by the coronavirus, listen to what your state and local authorities are asking you to do. It will protect your health, your family’s health, and it will save lives. Let’s do a couple more and a for our panel if you’d like. Jeff,
It’s more of a personal question, but Dr. Birx, can you tell us if your granddaughter’s okay?
Mike Pence: (02:02:36)
Yeah, I’d like to know too.
Dr. Birx: (02:02:36)
Well, thank you. Due to her… the great care of my 91 year old nurse mother and my daughter, she’s down to like 100 to 99 now, but it was three days of 104, 105 which is… babies can do that. But it’s very scary, especially when I couldn’t assure myself that she was fine. It was just some sleepless nights for me and them as they kept her fever down. Thank you for asking.
Is it the virus?
Dr. Birx: (02:03:09)
No, I’m sure it’s roseola or something. They have not been out of the house. They are not allowed out of the house. They’ve got two granddaughters under… one, 2-1/2 almost and one only 10 months and my 91 year old and 96 year old. So no one is allowed in that house or out of that house because there’s too much precious cargo inside the house.
Mike Pence: (02:03:34)
How about one more question. We’ll let go.
Speaker 31: (02:03:36)
Mr. Vice President, for whoever wants to answer this. It’s a technical question. FEMA says that it is in the process of distributing 90% of each states allocated supplies from the National Strategic Stockpile and that allocation is determined based on population by the last census in each state and the other 10% it says is going to frontline healthcare workers serving in the federal response efforts. Where are those healthcare workers in the federal response and do you envision a scenario in which you could start giving states more supplies from the National Strategic Stockpile?
Mike Pence: (02:04:14)
It’s a really good question and let me say the Strategic National Stockpile, and I’m going to have Admiral Giroir to speak about his piece of that, it has been largely deployed. We are continuing to replenish it in part with a small portion of what’s coming in from around the world. You’ve heard about our air bridge, now more than 50 flights that have been scheduled that are bringing millions of supplies into the United States. What we’re doing is taking less than 10% of that, put it into the Strategic National Stockpile so we have that to basically provide for states on an as needed basis. But the other 90%, that system that I just described earlier when the president was here, is working with the six major medical distributors in the country to deploy those resources to New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Louisiana, Michigan, Illinois, the exact priority that you just heard Dr. Birx describe and that the data informs and those decisions are being made every single day.
Mike Pence: (02:05:29)
And so while, well, if a hurricane hits Florida or tornadoes or flooding tear through the state of Indiana, we’re very accustomed to FEMA coming in, drawing from the National Stockpile, providing specific resources. In this case with a nationwide effort, what President Trump directed us to do was literally marshal the resources of the full economy to be able to make sure that we can meet the needs for personal protective equipment, ventilators and all manner of supplies. And we’re doing that in a small way through the Strategic National Stockpile, but in the largest way through that control tower system that Admiral John Polowczyk is running for us, that is deploying those resources and making sure they’re going straight to where they need to go.
Mike Pence: (02:06:28)
And as I said earlier, those decisions are being informed by the data and they’re literally being made by our team at FEMA on a daily and sometimes hourly basis. And we’ll continue to keep you informed as we did today about where some of those are going. But let me let Admiral Giroir finish that answer.
Admiral Giroir: (02:06:46)
I don’t really have much more to add to that. The vice president is certainly well-informed about that and I want to assure you that all the sourcing around the world, if it’s there, we’re putting it in our supply chains. We’re buying more. Manufacturers are stepping up to the plate and this is going not just by percent allocation, but it’s going to the exact places that need it, in the quantities that they need to take care of patients.
Admiral Giroir: (02:07:11)
And we want to make sure this is a two way street. We get the data in from individual hospitals to know exactly what their burn rate is, exactly what they need and we want to make sure that they feel comfortable that they’re going to have supplies because they will, because part of this is about potential shortages other place, some places, most of it’s about a fear of a shortage. If I’m a physician in an ICU and I’m not sure that it’s going to be there, that’s going to scare me, it’s going to scare my nurses. We want everyone to have that assurance that we will provide you what you need over a week’s periods of time exactly to your need.
Admiral Giroir: (02:07:47)
And Admiral Polowczyk and his team, and again, it’s all military in there. I mean he is the logistics guy for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, right. This is what he does. He is a wizard. He has a… there are more stars around me in the DOD part of the military than I’ve generally seen outside of the Pentagon. This is really being run as a military operation. I’m in the US Public Health Service, so we’re part of HHS. The surgeon general, and I have the honor of running that service. We are shoulder to shoulder in the field, in the military hospitals with everyone else. There are only 6,100 of us. 3,000 are doing direct patient care on a daily basis. We take care of the Indian Health Service, the Bureau of Prisons, those in detention at the border, et cetera. That’s what we do. The other 3, 000, over 2,000 of those are in the field already taking care of patients directly and we have more going out the door every day.
Speaker 31: (02:08:36)
And if I could just follow up on that very quickly then, is it even worth then governors writing into FEMA, if they’ve already received their 90% allocation and you’re getting data directly from the hospitals to ask for more at this point?
Admiral Giroir: (02:08:50)
This has been a very cooperative interaction. I bet I talk to five governors a day and we talk out the issues and understand what they perceive in their state. They often help us… help point us to particular areas that may… that they feel need more attention or there needs more communication. It’s been very productive. I have to look up what governor goes to what state because I’m not… that’s not my world, but it’s been a very productive interaction.
Admiral Giroir: (02:09:20)
I think all of this is necessary. I’m on almost every governor’s call with the vice president. They’re very meaningful. They’re impactful. They’re informative. They’re communicative. We talk to each other. But then we do get down to the individual hospital level, because when the rubber meets the road, you got to know what the docs, nurses, respiratory therapists, the people who clean the rooms are important part of the team. I want them to come to every work saying, “It’s not that I cleaned a room, I’m saving lives today.” And they are saving lives by keeping the viruses off the surfaces and reducing transmission. You’ve really got to get that granular, and we’re to a point with Admiral P’s… you have two admirals with the worst pronounced names in the world. So Admiral P. I’m Admiral G, but Admiral P’s team really has this covered down to the individual hospital level.
Speaker 31: (02:10:05)
Thank you, sir.
Mike Pence: (02:10:06)
Let me say just by way of closing, because I thought that last question was helpful. We’re interacting with governors every day, seven days a week and we welcome that. And while there are some resources in Strategic National Reserve, we spoke about ventilators. We have some 9,000 ventilators on standby. We also have this vast array through the commercial system that when we hear from governors, we’re identifying the needs. They’re working every day to identify their hospital capacity. We went over governors today saying, “We need to know what your capacity is, what your normal capacity is, what your surge capacity is. We need to understand what your equipment complement is across the state.” And governors have been doing this. They’ve been assembling that information. But I want to tell you, the governors across this country in both political parties had been doing a remarkable job and the president’s grateful and I’m grateful and I just want to know that those health care workers that they’re serving and the families that those healthcare workers are serving can be confident that we are going to do whatever it takes to get them what they need, when they need it. And every governor is working in that regard. Every hospital administrator is working in that regard.
Mike Pence: (02:11:32)
And the opportunity that we have because the American people are stepping up so strongly and putting others ahead of themselves. In most cases, they’re acting in a way that puts the health of others first. We’re more confident today than ever before that we’re going to be able to provide our healthcare providers in the states that are impacted with coronavirus with the resources and the support they need to meet this moment. And we’re just going to continue to work our hearts out and make that a reality.
Mike Pence: (02:12:11)
But I have to end with just a reference to the healthcare workers. You’ve heard these doctors talk about them. They’re all healthcare people. You’ve heard the president talk about them. You all have seen it. And to think what these healthcare workers, doctors and nurses and medical assistants are doing every day, it inspires us to get up early, to stay up late, to keep working, to make sure they have what they need to be able to continue to do their job courageously. And I know I speak on behalf of every American, when I say how grateful we are for each and every one of you and in this very special holy week, I know millions of Americans are praying for our healthcare workers.
Mike Pence: (02:12:57)
I saw a picture that I sent out last night on Twitter. It was an article about a series of cities where doctors and nurses had paused to pray for the patients and the families that they were ministering to. And I just want to say to all those healthcare workers, I know there is a chorus of prayer going up every day for all of you and with your continued courageous service and with God’s help, we’ll get through this and we’ll get through it together. Thank you all.
Speaker 31: (02:13:28)