Mar 22, 2020
Donald Trump Coronavirus Task Force Briefing Transcript March 22: National Guard Activated in New York, California and Washington state
Donald Trump held a Sunday COVID-19 update with the Coronavirus Task Force on March 22. He spoke about activating the National Guard in New York, California and Washington state. Trump is also taking heat for what some are considering a sarcastic tone, after hearing about Mitt Romney being in quarantine during the briefing. Read the full transcript of his briefing speech and Q&A here.
Donald Trump: (00:56)
Thank you very much. Just before we begin, I want to mention we’re working very hard, long on getting a young group of people out of Peru. We’ve removed some and the rest are being removed with the cooperation of the Peruvian government. And we’re also dealing with Honduras on getting some people out that got caught up. And we are working in that very well again with the Honduran government’s work. And they’re working with us, so I appreciate that.
Donald Trump: (01:38)
We have a couple of other locations that will report to you and we were able to get a young woman released from a certain area who was being a horribly accosted, horribly treated. And we spoke to General Milley. General Milley took care of it. We went in and we got her out. And we’ll report further on that one, but it’s, that was rough stuff. I want to thank General Milley. I want to thank all of the people that were involved and the people that went in to get her. I want to thank you very much.
Donald Trump: (02:18)
As we continue to marshal every resource at America’s disposal in the fight against the Chinese virus, we were profoundly grateful to our nation, state and local leaders, doctors, nurses, law enforcement and first responders who are waging this battle on the ground. It is absolutely critical that Americans continue to follow the federal government’s guidelines. So important about social distancing, non-essential travel, and hand-washing. Defeating this unseen enemy requires the help and commitment of every single American.
Donald Trump: (02:55)
I want to just say that Senator Rand Paul, a friend of mine, he’s been a great friend of mine. He’s been always there when we needed him, when the country needed him, and as you know, he just tested positive. Jose Diaz-Balart, I spoke to him yesterday, tested positive. And some people are getting quite close to home. And it’s a terrible thing that’s going on, the hidden enemy. I call it the hidden enemy. And I think they’ll all be fine. I hope they’re going to be fine. But I just want to send our regards. And I think I can speak on behalf of our country to those two great friends of mine.
Donald Trump: (03:39)
We’re working urgently with Congress on legislation to support the millions of workers, small businesses and industries who’ve been hit hard by the virus through no fault of their own. Our goal is to get relief to Americans as quickly as possible so that families can get by and small businesses can keep workers on the payroll. This will help our economy and you will see our economy skyrocket once this is over. I think it’s going to skyrocket. It’s a pent up demand. It’s a built up demand. And I guess you really have to say who knows, but I think it’s going to be a tremendous day when we win this war. And we will win the war.
Donald Trump: (04:24)
We want to win the war was with his few, if you look at it, just deaths as possible. We want to have as few number of deaths as possible. Today I’m announcing action to help New York, California, and Washington ensure that the national guard can effectively respond to this crisis. The national guard, these are tremendous people. They’re fully on alert. We’ve signed what we had to sign. And it’s been activated.
Donald Trump: (04:54)
We’re dealing also with other states. These states have been hit the hardest actually pretty much by far you could say the hardest. Everybody can see that. Just look at the numbers. And through FEMA, the federal government will be funding 100% of the cost of deploying national guard units to carry out approved missions to stop the virus while those governors remain in command. So the governors locally are going to be in command and we’ll be following them. And we hope they can do the job and I think they will.
Donald Trump: (05:25)
I spoke with all three of the governors today and just a little while ago. And they’re very happy with what we’re going to be doing because we will be announcing some other things for those three states and some other states where it’s a hit the hardest.
Donald Trump: (05:44)
This actually will give them maximum flexibility to use the guard against the virus without having to worry about cost or liability. And freeing up state resources to protect the health and safety of the people in their state. The federal government has deployed hundreds of tons of supplies from our national stockpile to locations with the greatest need in order to assist in those areas. I approved the state of New York’s request for a major disaster declaration, something which Governor Cuomo has been asking for and which I agree. And we had it done in very rapid fashion.
Donald Trump: (06:21)
We approved this on Friday evening. And we are working very, very hard to get all of these things not only signed up but completed and finished and win. The requests from the state of Washington for a major disaster declaration was approved just a little while ago. Went through the process and we moved it very quickly. The request from the state of California was just received and we will have it approved very quickly. We’ll be working, I told that to Gavin Newsome. And we’re working on getting that done very quickly. It’ll be done maybe tonight. We have large quantities of medical equipment and supplies on the way based on all of this to those states including respirators, surgical masks and gowns, face shields, coveralls and gloves with large quantities already delivered to Washington and to New York. In addition to large quantities of supplies, I’ve also directed FEMA to supply the following, four large federal medical stations with 1000 beds for New York, eight large federal medical stations with 2000 beds for California, and three large federal medical stations and four small federal medical stations with 1000 beds for the state of Washington. The governors know.
Donald Trump: (07:46)
The supplies in route to California in New York will be delivered within the next 48 hours. In addition, the Naval hospital ship, the USNS Mercy, it’s incredible ships. These two ships are incredible. One on the West coast, one on the East coast will be deployed to Los Angeles to add emergencies, surge medical capacity, and they have a tremendous capacity. They are really something. I will say that if you look at some of the things we’ve been doing and now those numbers have gone up, and just to be a little bit more exacting, we’ve done a presidential approval for requests for major disaster declaration for the state of New York, approval of Title 32 national guard activation for the state of New York. We’re providing all of this at no cost to the governor. I spoke with Governor Cuomo. He’s working hard, we’re all working hard together. The relationship is really been amazing.
Donald Trump: (08:48)
But it also enables the governor to provide robust national guard support to the state and the 25%, we’re going to be waving that 25% cost. We’re picking up, we’ll be coordinating. And they’ll be doing something with very special people. Mission assignment of the US army Corps of engineers to provide support to build out alternate care sites. They’re doing various alternate care sites which have now been designated by New York, four large federal medical stations of 1000 beds. These are very complex places actually with great equipment and great people. Strategic national stockpile order and this is as of a number of days ago, so far delivered to New York and this is the 19th, we had the N95 respirators, 186,416 delivered. We’ve delivered 444,000 O78 surgical masks, many have been delivered since then. Face shields, we’ve delivered 84,560 face shields, surgical gowns 68,944 to New York, coveralls 352, gloves 245,486.
Donald Trump: (10:19)
Also to New York in terms of what’s been delivered just since then. The numbers are quite large and we have tremendous numbers of companies also making equipment for the state of Washington. We’ve delivered 369,000 N95 respirators, 507,406 surgical masks. This is as of about three days ago. Face shields 63,788 face shields, surgical gowns 107,850, gloves 240,376 and we have many, many things pending. It’s actually not pending. They’re being fabricated, they’re being made. And they’re moving.
Donald Trump: (11:15)
Now for Washington, so we have four small federal medical stations 250 beds, and for Washington, state of Washington, we have three large federal medical stations 750 beds. And then you have, as I said, the approval of the Title 32 national guard.
Donald Trump: (11:35)
State of California, again, to be very precise, we’re going to have the approval of the Title 32 national guard activation. And we’re providing all of this again, like in New York, at no cost to the governor, meaning to Governor Newsome, and the state, no cost to the state. It enables the governor to provide robust national guard support to the state, so they’re going to have control of the national guard. Federal government’s sending, these are incredible people that are being sent.
Donald Trump: (12:08)
We have eight large federal medical stations with over 2000 beds and that’s going to California and then strategic national stack pile order. We’ve ordered likewise hundreds of thousands of different items, won’t go into the exact numbers but the numbers are very substantial, but we’re having tremendous additional numbers sent. And whatever the states can get, they should be getting.
Donald Trump: (12:34)
I say we’re sort of a backup for the states. And some of the states are doing really well and some don’t do as well. The ones that don’t do as well need more help. But these are three states that really do need help because they are hit very hard. And the outpouring from the private sector has also been extraordinary. I’m pleased to report that Honeywell, great company, has just announced it will immediately expand its personal protective equipment manufacturing operations in Rhode Island to produce millions of additional N95 masks. They’re very hard to get, they’re actually quite complex, for the US government strategic national stockpile. They’ll be immediately then delivered to the various states. This expansion is already underway and it’s going to provide a lot of jobs for that state, probably around 500.
Donald Trump: (13:29)
The masks will be distributed by the government for the use of the health, safety, and emergency, and this for response workers, primarily for response workers. These are very high end. This expansion is in addition to Honeywell’s action to more than double production of its existing personal protective equipment manufacturing plants. They make a lot of different things and they’re doubling and tripling their production. They’re going round the clock.
Donald Trump: (13:56)
Today, I’m also announcing the launch of a new public private consortium organized by the White House, the Department of Energy, and IBM to unleash the power of American super computing resources to fight the Chinese virus. The following leaders from private industries, academia and government will be contributing. And they’re going to be contributing a lot of different things, but primarily computing resources to help researchers discover new treatments and vaccines. There’ll be working along with NIH and all of the people that are working on this. But tremendous help from IBM, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, MIT, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the Department of Energy’s national labor laboratories, the National Science Foundation and NASA. They’re all contributing to this effort. And they’re fully in gear.
Donald Trump: (14:56)
This afternoon, I also want to update you on the steps we’re taking to protect and serve our country’s 18 million veterans. These are great people. Our amazing veterans have shown their eternal loyalty to our nation and this is the time where they’re in need and we are going to show our loyalty to them. We’re being very protective of our veterans. We’re working on certain hospitals where we may be doing some work in Louisiana in particular and some other states, veterans hospitals. We’re going to be very protective of our veterans. Some of them are of that very vulnerable age. And some of them obviously are not feeling well. And some of them are still suffering the wounds of war from many years ago.
Donald Trump: (15:43)
Yesterday I signed vital legislation to ensure that the GI bill will cover distance learning during this emergency. I also spoke with many of our veteran service organizations or the VSOs to describe our unprecedented action. In February, the department of veterans affairs established 19 emergency operation centers throughout the country. One of the things that they’ve been trying to get done for many years, you all know this from following me over the last number of years, but we got it done pretty quickly. They’ve been trying to get it done for many, many decades was choice, veteran’s choice and also veterans accountability.
Donald Trump: (16:26)
Now if it’s crowded within this, if they can’t get to a doctor, we have great doctors in the VA. I have to say that. We have fantastic doctors as good as they come. But it’s hard to get to them because of what was bureaucracy, but no longer bureaucracy. We’ve done a lot of things in that case because of accountability. When people aren’t doing their jobs or if they’re bad or if they’re sadistic or if they steal or anything bad happens, we’re now allowed to fire them for, I signed that a year and a half ago. For many years you weren’t able to do this.
Donald Trump: (16:59)
So the VA is working and I was just told by our great leader at the VA, Robert Wilkie, he said for the first time we get the highest marks in the history, highest poll numbers in the history of the veteran’s administration came out a week ago that they’re happy. And look, one of the reasons that happened, highest in history, one of the reasons that happened is because of veteran’s choice. If they have to wait in line, they go and see a private doctor and we pay the bill. And they get better.
Donald Trump: (17:36)
They don’t have to wait two weeks and three weeks or two days. But they get better. And a lot of times they waited so long that they would have a problem and it would end up being terminal because they couldn’t get the kind of treatment that they deserve. So highest poll numbers, highest approval numbers in the history of the VA. I was just given that information yesterday.
Donald Trump: (17:59)
We restricted visitors access to 135 veteran community living centers, which has nearly 8,000 veterans with chronic medical conditions so that we limit their exposure to the virus. We want to totally take care of our veterans and that’s what we’re doing. The VA has canceled most elective medical and surgical procedures. They’re delaying them until after this has gone, after we’ve won. We began providing lifesaving care to patients who had symptoms across the 171 VA medical centers nationwide, that’s a big deal.
Donald Trump: (18:41)
Under my administration, the VA has also been a leader in expanding telehealth. Telehealth is becoming a bigger and bigger factor in medicine. This month we’ve taken bold action to cut through the red tape and make telehealth available for millions more Americans during this crisis. They can speak to a doctor from the safety of their home rather than risk becoming infected, or making a tremendously long trip, when frankly you’ll speak to a great doctor right from your home. It’s happening, telehealth. We’re very much at the forefront of that too. We’re very proud of it. And it also takes a big burden off our system.
Donald Trump: (19:19)
We continue to accelerate the development of safe and effective vaccines. We’re also aggressively investigating a number of antiviral therapies and treatments to determine their potential in reducing the severity and duration of the symptoms. And you know how I feel because how I feel is on Tuesday, they’re going to be starting it on Tuesday morning, and we’re going to have some medications delivered that we’re going to see if they work.
Donald Trump: (19:51)
They certainly are effective in other ways and they are safe from the standpoint is that they’re not killing people. We’re not going to have that. So a lot of great things have been happening in that regard. I just want to finish and then we’re going to ask a couple of people to say a few words that have been so much in the forefront of this incredible job that we’ve all been given.
Donald Trump: (20:16)
But I want to say that I know that this is a challenging time for all Americans. We’re enduring a great national trial and we will prove that we can meet the moment. I want to assure the American people that we’re doing everything we can each day to confront and ultimately defeat this horrible invisible enemy. We’re at war. In a true sense, we’re at war. And we’re fighting an invisible enemy. Think of that.
Donald Trump: (20:47)
For those of you who are feeling alone and isolated, I want you to know that we are all joined together as one people eternally linked by our shared national spirit. We love our country, a spirit of courage and love and patriotism. No American is alone as long as we are united. And we are united, we’re very united. People are saying things now that three weeks ago they didn’t talk that way. We’re very united.
Donald Trump: (21:16)
No force is equal to the strength of really a unified America, united America, an America like we have it right now. For those worried and afraid, please know as long as I am your president, you can feel confident that you have a leader who will always fight for you. And I will not stop until we win. This will be a great victory. This is going to be a victory. And it’s going to be a victory that in my opinion, will happen much sooner than originally expected.
Donald Trump: (21:50)
It’s now attacking. The enemy is attacking 144 countries at this moment, 144 that’s unthinkable. There’s never been anything like this. And it’s vicious. It is vicious. Some people recover well. And some people have a hard time. We all know that, but we will be totally victorious. We will then get our economy up to a level that it was and in my opinion beyond, because that will be a pent up demand. There is a pent up demand. And a lot of great things will happen. But I’m very proud of our country. I’m very proud. I’m very proud to be your president. And it’s just something that’s just, you’re very special people. So thank you very much. And I’m going to ask if I might, combination of Pete, why don’t you start off. Okay? Please.
Thank you Mr president.
Donald Trump: (22:49)
Just a little bit about what we’re doing in Washington, California and New York. We understand that the states of Washington, New York, and California, the areas seeing a steady increase in Corona 19 Virus cases. In order to assist with additional needs identifying those areas, the state of New York was approved for a major disaster and declaration this morning. Washington state was also approved earlier today. California submitted their requests and the president will consider it immediately.
We have medical supplies in route to these states, including respirators, surgical masks, gowns, face shields, coveralls, gloves with quantities already delivered to both Washington, New York and California. And we anticipate additional supplies to be delivered over the next 42 hours to all these states. Under president Trump’s unprecedented national emergency declaration on March 13, FEMA is assisting state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, including reimbursing eligible emergency protective measures taken at the direction or guidance of public health officials in response to this emergency. All 50 States, the District of Columbia, five territories and two tribes are working directly with FEMA under the nationwide emergency.
… and two tribes are working directly with FEMA under the Nationwide Emergency Declaration for COVID-19. With the assistance of the FEMA regional administrators who are throughout the country, we are working to address the needs of state and local officials everywhere.
States, tribal and territorial governments do not need to request separate emergency declarations to receive FEMA assistance under this nationwide declaration. The Emergency Declaration does not authorize direct financial assistance available to individuals such as disaster, unemployment assistance or other needs assistance at this time.
Just a note on the USNS Mercy. Based on analysis of potential needs for hospital beds on the West Coast, the decision was made that the USNS hospital ship Mercy would have the greatest impact in California. The Department of Defense has been given direction to dispatch it to Los Angeles immediately. DOD has advised that the Mercy can get into position within a week or less of today’s order. Even though there are more cases right now in Washington, the projected needs for beds in California is five times more that of Washington. The Mercy will be used to take pressure off local hospitals, other medical needs and not for treating COVID-19 cases.
Finally, a little bit about the National Guard. The federal government continues to take aggressive action and proactive steps to address the COVID-19 threat. As we attack the health and safety or protect the health and safety of American people, it remains our top priority. The National Guard is especially posited and equipped to assist federal, state, local agencies while serving the public.
In response to this unprecedented nationwide operation, President Trump has approved Washington, California, New York National Guard units under Title 30 T, excuse me, Title 32 status for the COVID-19 response. The president’s action provide the nation’s governors continued command of their National Guard forces, enabling states to use additional resources to meet the missions necessary in the COVID-19 response.
The National Guard is a viable and responsive avenue to provide a much-needed asset that is state-managed and fairly supported. I want to be clear: This Title 32 activation does not federalize National Guard members. The National Guard is still under the authority of each governor. They will work in concert with the Department of Defense.
We’ve had a lot of disinformation circling and I want to make sure it is understood that this is not martial law. The Department of Defense by way of a mission assignment will lead this task. Then finally, we continue to respond to hundreds of requests from governors across the country in filling all their critical needs. Thank you, sir.
Donald Trump: (26:45)
Thank you, Pete, very much. Good job. Peter Navarro?
Peter Novarro: (26:50)
Thank you, sir. Thank you, Mr. President. Good evening. What I want to talk briefly about is the Defense Production Act and to give you the overview here. Using the full power of private enterprise and new full force in the federal government, my job at the White House is to make sure, tactically working with FEMA and HHS, is the American people, particularly our healthcare professionals, get the gloves, the masks, and all of the personal protective equipment they need.
Peter Novarro: (27:20)
I can tell you, sir, that since you signed Defense Production Act, my job’s gotten easier and let me explain why. The Defense Production Act in this context has two primary functions. One is mobilization of the industrial base, in this case the public health industrial base. And the other is allocation of resources both from the supply chain to the manufacturers and from the manufacturers to the end users, such as the healthcare professionals.
Peter Novarro: (27:54)
Now, what we’re seeing on a purely voluntary basis, based on the leadership of this administration, we’re seeing the greatest mobilization in the industrial base since World War II. Every day I’m working with organizations and companies, National Association of Manufacturing, the National Council of Textile Organizations and so on, in terms of building up rapidly our capabilities to get what you need.
Peter Novarro: (28:21)
Now, let’s think about what mobilization means. It can mean, for example, re-purposing a factory. So Pernod Ricard called us last week and they had three hurdles they had to deal with. They called my office, had to make a call to Treasury, FDA and HHS to clear the path. We got that done that day.
Peter Novarro: (28:44)
They started their production that day, moving from alcoholic beverages to hand sanitizers. And as we speak, a truck is moving towards New York and will arrive there Tuesday to share with the hospitals over a thousand gallons of sanitizer. So that would be a re-purpose.
Peter Novarro: (29:03)
A second example would be one that the president offered with Honeywell. Again, Honeywell called the White House asking for help from the president. What they said is, “Look, we want to do this new factory in Smithfield, Rhode Island.” They called me on a Friday morning, and by that night we had a contract in to HHS.
Peter Novarro: (29:24)
HHS flipped that immediately and I had Honeywell moving people and equipment from Massachusetts to that facility in Smithfield, Rhode Island. And we’re going to have those masks produced within 30 days, moving on the assembly chain.
Peter Novarro: (29:40)
So my point is mobilization is re-purposing, building up capabilities. And the other portion is, of course, the allocation of resources. Now, what I can tell you so far is that the Defense Production Act, sir, has given me quite a leverage.
Peter Novarro: (29:57)
When you have a strong leader, you can take a light hand initially. So what we’ve seen with this outpouring of volunteers from private enterprise, we’re getting what we need without putting the heavy hand of government down.
Peter Novarro: (30:13)
There will be, possibly, cases down the road, and the manufacturers have actually asked me and alerted me to this, where some places in the supply chain, they may have problems that the White House will have to break through using the Defense Production Act. We won’t hesitate to do that. The last thing I’ll tell you is that I also get a lot of calls that are very disquieting. Brokers are offering millions of items, whether they’re goggles, masks or whatever. And you go through three different brokers, tracing to a warehouse in LA that’s allegedly got 10 million masks and they want to charge you seven times what they cost. That’s price gouging.
Peter Novarro: (30:54)
A message to the hoarders: If you got any large quantities of material that this country needs right now, get them to market or get them to us. We’ll pay you a fair price. But if you don’t do that, we’re going to come for you and make sure that doesn’t happen in this country. And that would be a good use of the Defense Production Act.
Peter Novarro: (31:12)
So I salute you, sir. You’ve made my job easier and I appreciate that.
Donald Trump: (31:16)
Thank you, Pete, very much. Good job. Mike Pence.
Mike Pence: (31:20)
Thank you, Mr. President. Task force met this afternoon, as we do every day. Let me begin today by simply saying thank you to the American people. And thank you for the way that people across this country, seven days into 15 days to slow the spread.
Mike Pence: (31:38)
The people in communities large and small across America are responding, are cooperating, are communicating. Not just on behalf of their own health and the health of their family, but more importantly on behalf of the most vulnerable among us. So on behalf of your president and our entire Task Force, just thank you to the American people. I also want to express our appreciation to the governors across the country. President today just announced action in New York, California, and Washington State as the latest demonstration that this administration will do whatever it takes to support the leadership at the state and local level as the American people confront the spread of the coronavirus.
Mike Pence: (32:25)
The legislative efforts that are underway being negotiated on Capitol Hill as we speak, the bi- partisan spirit that’s taking place there that’s reflected in all of our interactions with state leaders around the country is a great credit to the nation. But it should be a great encouragement to the American people that your government at the federal level, at the state level, working with courageous healthcare providers all across America are coming together to meet this moment.
Mike Pence: (32:55)
That is the way our system works. It’s extremely important that the American people recognize that one of the things that makes America different is that we have a system of federalism and that by putting FEMA in the lead, the president has emphasized that our response to the coronavirus is in the anthem of FEMA. It is locally executed, state managed and federally supported.
Mike Pence: (33:24)
We want the people on the ground, the decision makers, to have what they need. We want states to be able to manage the unique circumstances in their states. And whether it be the legislation moving through the Congress or the efforts the president announced today, major disaster declarations, Title 32 on the National Guard, resources flowing, hospital beds flowing, we’re going to continue to make sure that our states have what they need to meet this moment.
Mike Pence: (33:50)
Our task force continues to focus on the priorities the president’s given us. They are testing, mitigation and supplies. And on the subject of testing as is evident to people across the country, testing is more and more available every single day.
Mike Pence: (34:04)
We’ll be detailing tomorrow from this podium the progress that we are making on tests. At this day’s reporting, 254,000 Americans have been tested and received results in coronavirus tests, with slightly more than 30,000 actually testing positive.
Mike Pence: (34:25)
There’s a bit of an encouraging word in that for every American. Remember, everyone that’s being tested now, with the exception of our healthcare workers, are people that have symptoms that make them think they may have the coronavirus.
Mike Pence: (34:37)
As our numbers come in consistently because the 254,000 does not include all the local hospitals or all the local labs in our states, it’s working out to be about one in 10 Americans who’ve been tested who thought they had coronavirus, actually had it. Nine out of 10 did not.
Mike Pence: (34:55)
But we’ll continue to roll out the testing to provide that resource to the American people. And we’re working to make testing happen faster. We expect from word from the commercial labs that we should be caught up on the backlog in testing by the middle of the week.
Mike Pence: (35:12)
We are urging today on the president’s behalf that all labs would prioritize in-patient testing. Let me say again, to all of the commercial labs in the country, you will receive guidance from HHS tomorrow.
Mike Pence: (35:26)
But on behalf of the president and the White House Coronavirus Task Force, we are urging all commercial labs to prioritize in-patient testing. We want people that’ve been checked into a hospital, that are being treated for what they suspect to be coronavirus to receive those tests more quickly.
Mike Pence: (35:47)
Also, I’m pleased to report that yesterday the FDA approved an emergency authorization on a new test that should be in production by the end of March. It actually would be a coronavirus test, the results of which come back in 45 minutes.
Mike Pence: (36:03)
We’re also working, the FDA is working with manufacturers around the country to come up with even faster, more innovative tests. And as we told our governors in several calls this week, governors and state health officials should simply contact FEMA for the latest information on testing solutions.
Mike Pence: (36:20)
Let me also say tomorrow when we gather at this podium, we’ll be unveiling, with Dr. Bob Redfield in the lead, new guidance for people that work in law enforcement, first responders. People that work in what we call critical infrastructure in the country.
Mike Pence: (36:37)
It was in early March the CDC issued guidance for people that were asymptomatic or did not have symptoms, but who had been exposed to someone with coronavirus. Who gave them guidance about being able to return to work wearing a mask for 14 days.
Mike Pence: (36:52)
Tomorrow at this podium, CDC will unveil, in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security, new guidance which will make it possible for people that have been exposed to return to work more quickly by wearing a mask for a certain period of time.
Mike Pence: (37:09)
Let me also amplify a point on behalf of the president and on behalf of the State Department about Americans abroad. One of the reasons why the United States is in a different position today than portions of Europe are and China and elsewhere, is because the president suspended all travel from China. He suspended travel from Europe and the UK and Ireland.
Mike Pence: (37:33)
But the State Department is working around the clock to assist Americans who may find themselves overseas. They’re able to come home. There’s no barrier to Americans coming back to American soil. They’re screened when they come home through a series of airports.
Mike Pence: (37:49)
But we’re aware that with flights being canceled, some Americans have found themselves unable to find a way home. As the president said, we’ve been working very diligently through the State Department to make it possible their commercial flights have been chartered. We’re also working with the military for a backup on flights. At this point, the State Department has brought more than 3,000 Americans back home.
Mike Pence: (38:13)
But speaking to the secretary of state today, he wanted me to share a website and a phone number for any American that might be looking on from overseas. You can call the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program at 1-888-407- 4747. Or you can go online at step.state.gov. This will allow our embassies and consulates to gather important information about your situation and work to facilitate to bring you home.
Mike Pence: (38:47)
Let me say, finally, as I began, let me close. As the chairman or the leader of this White House Coronavirus Task Force, we are seven days into 15 days and the American people are responding. Because as we speak about supplies, as we speak about testing, the most important thing every American can do is heed the guidance and the direction from your state and local officials, particularly in areas where we have widespread coronavirus infections.
Mike Pence: (39:15)
But for every American putting into practice these measures that the president alluded to at the very beginning of his remarks is a way that we can do this, America. We can lessen the magnitude of the coronavirus in our country. With the cooperation, compassion, generosity and prayers of the American people, we can slow the spread, we can protect the most vulnerable and we can heal our land. So let’s do it, America.
Donald Trump: (39:46)
Thank you, Mike, very much. Thank you. Thank you very much, Mike.
Donald Trump: (39:51)
So just a couple of little things, then we’ll take some questions. Maybe you will have some, maybe you won’t. That’d be a shock. You’ll shock the American public.
Donald Trump: (40:04)
But I have to say on the testing if this works out and we think it might, the new test will be a very simple one and much easier than the existing test, which is quite complex and not a lot of fun to take. And this will be a game changer.
Donald Trump: (40:21)
But remember we inherited a broken, obsolete system. It was good for a small number of people, but not good for the millions of people that we’re talking about. And we’ve made this into a system that no matter where you go in the world, that’s where they’re going. That’s what they want to do. That’s how they’re going to be doing it, should something like this happen again.
Donald Trump: (40:41)
So our people have done a fantastic job, really a fantastic job and I hope the new test works out. We’ll know fairly soon. I think, doctor, we’re going to be knowing about that fairly soon. Hopefully, it’ll check out or test out and we certainly are looking forward to that. That’ll be a very simple test by comparison. Won’t be unpleasant at all.
Donald Trump: (41:04)
One other thing: the ships. We have the Mercy and it’s going to California, as you know. It’s on the West Coast now. And you have a sister ship; it’s essentially a twin. They’re incredible. I mean, they’re incredible ships.
Donald Trump: (41:22)
I’ve seen it. I’ve seen one of them and they are unbelievable what they can do and the capacity. Many operating rooms. They’re wartime ships. They are meant for war. Many, many operating rooms. Stainless steel, these rooms are as good as there is anywhere in the nation, actually.
Donald Trump: (41:43)
I spoke with Governor Cuomo. We had a great conversation today, a number of conversations, actually. He’s working very hard. And we are going to be bringing that ship that’s called the Comfort. So you have the Mercy and the Comfort. The Comfort’s on the East Coast and that ship will be coming over the next three weeks, three or four weeks. It was in the middle of maintenance and we are moving the maintenance very, very quickly.
Donald Trump: (42:09)
We’re also supplying the ship simultaneously. It’s actually big supplies going into those ships. Big. And that ship will be coming up here over the next few weeks and we’ll probably be putting it in New York Harbor. We’re making arrangements for that also, as to where it’s going to be docked.
Donald Trump: (42:28)
So you have the Mercy and you have the Comfort. They’ll be coming up. The Mercy will start very, very quickly. It’ll be arriving in Los Angeles pretty soon, so we look forward to that.
Donald Trump: (42:42)
A question? ABC, go ahead.
Speaker 3: (42:44)
Thank you. First of all, Senator Paul testing positive. When’s the last time you had in-person contact with him?
Donald Trump: (42:51)
Gee, I think it was quite a while ago. I don’t know. It’s been a long time.
Speaker 3: (42:54)
Also on top of Senator Paul now, four senators are in isolation and the rules say that in order to vote, they have to be there.
Donald Trump: (43:00)
Who are they, please? Who are they?
Speaker 3: (43:01)
Romney, Senator Lee Gardner, Senator Rick Scott-
Speaker 4: (43:05)
Senator Gardner, Senator Rick Scott.
Speaker 3: (43:06)
Senator Gardner and Senator Rick Scott, also. Two of them were in contact with [crosstalk 00:43:09]-
Donald Trump: (43:07)
I guess Rick is coming out.
Speaker 3: (43:10)
With the critical stimulus package vote expected soon-
Donald Trump: (43:12)
Romney’s in isolation?
Speaker 3: (43:13)
Speaker 4: (43:13)
Donald Trump: (43:15)
Gee, that’s too bad. Go ahead.
Speaker 3: (43:18)
Do I detect sarcasm there, sir?
Donald Trump: (43:20)
No, no. None whatsoever.
Speaker 3: (43:21)
Do you think that Congress should consider changing the rules to allow them to vote remotely if it comes to this critical stimulus package?
Donald Trump: (43:27)
I was thinking about it today and I’m saying you could have a lot of senators, a lot of House members. I spoke last night with a very, very good man who happens to be in the House, as you know, and he’s just started and he tested positive. So you could have a large number of people in there from Congress. You could have between House and Senate, you could have a large number.
Donald Trump: (43:49)
I think it’s something, at least … I mean, I fully understand why you should be there. I think it may be a constitutional reason why you should. But if we could be in a position where, I would certainly be in favor of it, where they could vote from a certain outside location. I would be in favor of it.
Donald Trump: (44:06)
I was thinking about it today. I mean, we could be in this … Look, with what’s going on, nobody’s ever seen anything like this. You could have a lot of people in there from Congress. And it would certainly be … They tell me there’s a reason constitutionally and there may be, but I would be totally in favor of it on a temporary basis.
Speaker 3: (44:27)
It does seem like negotiations still have a ways to go on the stimulus package.
Donald Trump: (44:30)
Speaker 3: (44:30)
Are you concerned about the timing at all? In the [crosstalk 00:44:32] sense?
Donald Trump: (44:32)
Well, we have an interesting thing. You know, we all want to get to the same place, but we have different … And I just wrote this down just a little while ago. We want to protect the worker very much. So do they, so do the Democrats. We also want to protect the worker through their companies.
Donald Trump: (44:49)
We don’t want to necessarily … We’re going to help the worker anyway. But ideally, they can go back to one of their great companies.
Donald Trump: (44:56)
You have great companies that are in financial trouble now, and we need money to help those companies so they get back into where they should be: health. Most of these companies four weeks ago were having the best year they’ve ever had. Last year was the best year.
Donald Trump: (45:11)
Almost all of them other than Boeing, which is, incredibly, had problems. Big percentage of GDP. But we have to be able to work with Boeing. Boeing was a great company and will be a great company again I think shortly. So we have to work with the companies and they don’t want to do that. It’s crazy. They don’t want to do that.
Donald Trump: (45:32)
I don’t want to stock buybacks, so I don’t know where the problem is there. But I know that’s one of the things that they’re talking about. I do not want stock buybacks. I don’t want to give a bailout to a company and then have somebody go out and use that money to buy back stock in the company and raise the price and then get a bonus. Okay?
Donald Trump: (45:48)
So I may be Republican, but I don’t like that. I want them to use the money for the workers. I want them to use the money for the company, to help the company. In the airline business, to take care of their planes and all of the things they have to do, including buying new planes.
Donald Trump: (46:03)
But I don’t want to have any stock buybacks. The Democrats are with me. I don’t know what the problem is on that one, because I can’t imagine that is too tough. We want to be able to take care of our people.
Donald Trump: (46:19)
You’re going to have things coming up. We’re going to have some of the elements that they’re talking about. They’re down to, I mean, literally 95% of things that you would think that they wouldn’t agree and you’d think the Republicans wouldn’t agree to it.
Donald Trump: (46:33)
Unemployment, as an example, is one of the things they talk about and unemployment insurance. I think we’re very close on that. But right now they’re not, so right now they’re not there. But I think that the Democrats want to get there and I can tell you for a fact the Republicans want to get there.
Donald Trump: (46:50)
I don’t think anybody actually has a choice. It’s a bold package. It’s a big package. One of the things is we do have money for saving small businesses. I don’t imagine the Democrats, because we have a lot of money set aside for small businesses.
Donald Trump: (47:06)
We also have a lot of money set aside for big businesses. You know the big, powerful companies that were powerful four weeks ago and today they’re overextended.
Donald Trump: (47:14)
Look at the cruise line. That’s a tremendous business, a big business, very important to Florida. And it’s unthinkable a month ago, it just unthinkable. They were setting all sorts of records, they’re building new ships.
Donald Trump: (47:28)
We can’t let the cruise lines go out of business. I mean, that would be massive numbers of jobs for our country and actually for the world. But for our country, it’s a massive business and it doesn’t take much to keep them going. So we have to provide for that.
Donald Trump: (47:44)
But I think both the Democrats and the Republicans are agreed that we have to take care of our workers. And we’re going to be doing that in numerous ways, including a substantial cash payment.
Donald Trump: (47:55)
Speaker 5: (47:56)
Newsmax. When it comes to the Defense Production Act, we know that governors across the country all day today, were pleading with you to-
Speaker 6: (48:03)
… Across the country all day today, we’re pleading with you to utilize the DPA saying that they needed specifically-
Donald Trump: (48:06)
Well, it depends which governors you’re talking about.
Speaker 6: (48:07)
… For that allocation piece that you mentioned, Mr. Navarro, why not use it now if that would answer their pleas for help?
Donald Trump: (48:15)
Well, we are using it now. The fact that I signed it, it’s in effect, but we’re a country not based on nationalizing our business. Call a person over in Venezuela, ask them how did nationalization of their businesses work out, not too well. The concept of nationalizing our business is not a good concept, but I’ll tell you why. As Peter said, we may have to use it someplace along the chain, but we’re getting calls. Here’s the beauty of it. If we go out and we want, let’s say masks, we don’t know who to call on mask, but Hanes who makes things of cotton, various elements, lots of things. It’s a great company. They called us and they said, we’re going to make millions of masks. We got a call today from 3M, there’s a big article today. The head of 3M. They are going to make tremendous products and they’re more or less in that business.
Donald Trump: (49:05)
And if they’re not, like for instance, General Motors spoke to us, Ford spoke to us about doing ventilators. The beauty is they’re calling us. If you go the national route, nationalization route, we’re going to tell a company to make a ventilator. They don’t even know what a ventilator is. In the case of one company, they used to make them years ago and they know how to make them. It’s a very complex piece of equipment, frankly. So what we’re doing is, I think Peter said it may be better than anybody’s going to say it. We have the threat of doing it if we need it, we may have to use it somewhere along the supply chain in a minor way, but we have millions of masks being done. We have respirators, we have ventilators. We have a lot of things happening right now.
Donald Trump: (49:48)
So just the threat of using it, but using it’s actually a big deal. I mean, when this was announced, it sent tremors through our business community and through our country, because basically what are you doing? You’re talking about you’re going to nationalize an industry or you’re going to nationalize, you’re going to take away companies, you’re going to tell companies what to do. The truth is most people, nobody would know where to start. There are companies out there that you wouldn’t think of that have called us that say, “We can do ventilators. We used to do them years ago.” And they can do them in large quantities. If I call companies and say, “You build ventilators,” they don’t even know what a ventilator is.
Donald Trump: (50:27)
So it’s really working out very well. One of the reasons I read the numbers to you is because we’ve given vast numbers of just about everything. We’ve taken it out of our supply, and we’re restocking our supply. But we’re really backing up the governors. The governors have to go out and do their things and you have a lot of governors, they’ve done a fantastic job. You have some that haven’t. Usually, it’s the ones that complain that have the problems. But we’ve had a great relationship as an example with Governor Cuomo, with Governor Newsome. We’ve had a great relationship with the state of Washington. Those are three hotbeds. Those are three hotbeds. Now, we’re also dealing with other states. As the Admiral said yesterday, we’re dealing with all of the states actually in one form or another. Some are very affected in a very minor way where you have two people or three people, and I don’t even mean deaths. I mean literally cases. And that’s different than New York, where you have tremendous where everybody, I lived there for a long time. Everybody’s extremely close, tight, and you have a lot of cases in New York. You have a lot of cases in New York, and we’re helping Governor Cuomo, we’re helping Governor Newsome. Frankly, they’ve been total gentlemen. They want to get it done and we want to get it done. But doing it the way we’re doing it is much better. It’s really much better.
Speaker 6: (51:47)
But in terms of I’m asking about the supply chain, it’s about allocation, not about manufacturing. So the companies, it’s not about nationalizing the companies, it’s about the allocation.
Donald Trump: (51:55)
But it all comes from… Yeah, I know. You’re right. We coordinate with the states and we are coordinating with the states, and for the most part the coordination has been very good. Look, three days ago I had a phone call with all the governors. I actually allowed the press to stay. They weren’t supposed to stay. And one person in the media said “That was surprising. It’s actually a little risky doing that.” Because we had Democrats and we had Republicans, and they’re politicians, and they always have something to say. Well, I took a lot of calls, and we really didn’t get one nasty or bad response. They were thanking us for the job we did.
Donald Trump: (52:31)
And I had the press standing, I don’t know if you were there. I don’t think so. I had the press standing there watching. They weren’t supposed to be there, but I said “Let them stand there.” The governors were very complimentary, very, very complimentary. And I watched over the last few days, Governor Cuomo, I watched Gavin Newsome in California, I watched both of them. And they’ve been very complimentary. And those are really the hotbeds, and so we want to keep that going. I’m very proud of this country and I’m frankly very proud of a lot of the politicians that normally we’re fighting with. We have different views on things, a little different view, but we’re going to get to the same place. We have different views, but we’re going to get to the same place. Yes, please.
Speaker 7: (53:13)
Yes. I wanted to ask if you’re considering an executive order to free elderly nonviolent criminals from federal prisons?
Donald Trump: (53:20)
We have been asked about that and we’re going to take a look at it. It’s a bit of a problem, but when we talk about totally nonviolent, we’re talking about totally nonviolent prisoners. We are actually looking at that. Yes. Go ahead real quick.
Speaker 7: (53:39)
Also, your administration eliminated a key position in China in July, a medical epidemiologist embedded in China’s disease control agency. And it was just months before the first cases were spotted in Wuhan. So the question is basically why the post was eliminated and-
Donald Trump: (53:56)
Well, I could ask… Anybody? Would you like to take that one, Bob? But this is just like all of the other stuff that you, not you, but that the press was asking, all of which turned out to be, we actually gave CDC more money, not less money. They said we defunded, it turned out it was more money. Every one of those things that were said were 100% wrong. And this sounds like another one of them. But anyway, go ahead.
Yeah. As you know, CDC has offices all around the world right now to do our function to detect and prevent and respond to outbreaks where they occur. The China office is actually being augmented as we speak, and we’ve been embedded there for over 30 years. There’s a reason they call it the Chinese CDC, because we’ve had that productive partnership.
Donald Trump: (54:46)
And I wish, again, our relationship with China is a very good relationship. I wish they told us three months sooner that this was a problem. We didn’t know about it. They knew about it, and they should have told us. We could have saved a lot of lives throughout the world. If you look at what’s happening in Italy, in Spain, and a lot of other countries, we could have saved a lot of lives throughout the world. Kelly?
Mr. President, given the diagnosis for Senator Paul and people being a self quarantine, what concerns do you have about the direct threat to the function of the Senate, the ability to get this important package that people are waiting for passed, and should Americans be expecting you to extend the 15 days given the climate of how this is spreading at this point?
Donald Trump: (55:31)
Well, I hope we won’t have to. It’s possible, but we’ll have to see how that works. As far as the Senate is concerned, we are looking at some of the folks who are feeling very good, some are quarantine, but they’re negative. They may be totally fine. Others are positive. We’re just finding this now for the first time. I mean over the last two days we found that.
Do you see it as a threat to the aid package that Americans are waiting for?
Donald Trump: (56:02)
No, I don’t see any threats at all. Honestly, I don’t see any threats at all. It’ll all work out. It is a question and a very good question, I thought, that we are considering. Now, I don’t know if you can do it constitutionally, but we are considering letting people vote senators, congressmen and women, vote from a separate location. From an outside, namely a hospital or a home, depending on where they are. So we are looking at that. It’s a little trickier question most people would believe, but we are looking at that very strongly.
Speaker 8: (56:34)
Speaking of the same thing, I think Kelly was kind of alluding to it, while we’ve been up here. They weren’t able to get the 60 votes to move the package for the cloture vote. I’m just curious, just your reaction to that sir, and then what is Mitch McConnell telling you and Secretary Mnuchin-
Donald Trump: (56:47)
Well, we’re dealing with them all the time. And we’re dealing with Mitch. We’re dealing with the other side. Everybody wants to get there. We’ll see what happens. I think you’ll get there. To me, it’s not very complicated. We have to help the worker. We have to save the companies. Because as soon as we’re finished with this war, it’s not a battle. It’s a war. As soon as we’re finished with this war, our country is going to bounce back like you’ve never seen before.
Donald Trump: (57:13)
But, we have to get into that position, and we have to make sure that those companies are whole, that they haven’t been disbanded. Because if you do that, it’s going to take much longer. So in a way it’s being penny wise if you don’t, but we want to help the worker. We want to help the companies that the workers come from, because if those companies go out of business, and that includes small businesses. We have a tremendous amount of small business work in there. You know that. Once they go out and they don’t come back, that’s a much longer period of building.
Speaker 8: (57:43)
Sir, I apologize. There was a woman that was an American that was… Was she being tortured? What was going on there?
Donald Trump: (57:49)
Bad things were happening to her in a certain country, and we’re really under the feeling that we should keep it somewhat private until she’s already been freed, and I have to tell you General Milley and his people were unbelievable. They were not playing games. General Milley does not play games. He’s a very interesting guy. They got her out. They got her out of a certain situation where she was seriously abused, accosted. And whatever the maximum word is other than death. That happened. But we got her out and she’s okay and she’s back with her parents.
Speaker 8: (58:29)
Can I ask you one more question, sir?
Donald Trump: (58:30)
Speaker 8: (58:31)
It’s something I’ve just been curious about. Previous crises, like the tsunami, Katrina, past presidents, they’ve called their predecessors and said, “Hey, I need you to step in,” do something like that. Do you have any interest in reaching out to presidents Bush, Obama, Clinton, Carter, or talking to them? I’m just curious if that’s something you consider enough.
Donald Trump: (58:46)
Look, I have the best people in the world. I think we’re doing an extraordinary job. If you look in, let’s say the H1N1, you look at that whole, that was a disaster. That was a tough period of time for our country. You look at so many other things that weren’t handled very well, whether it’s Katrina or something else. Look, I respect everybody, but I feel I have an incredible team and I think we’re doing an incredible job. When you look at the job we’re doing, and all you have to do is look at the approval numbers on the job we’re doing. I think we’re doing an incredible job, so I don’t want to disturb them, bother them. I don’t think I’m going to learn much, and I guess you could say that there’s probably a natural inclination not to call. Now, if I felt that if I called, I’d learn something, and that would save one life, it would save one life. Okay. I would make the call in two minutes, but I don’t see that happening. Please.
Speaker 9: (59:43)
Can I ask you about the comments that a couple of your four aides have said today? Gary Cohn said, “Is it time to start discussing the need for a date when the economy can turn back on?” Where Steve Bannon is saying, “Drop the hammer today on the virus, we’re going to have to take the pain out front. We have to shut it all down.” I want to ask what the tension between, the economic pain we’re suffering, and of course the virus itself and the casualty and deaths from there?
Donald Trump: (01:00:09)
I’m of the opinion we have to do great during these 14 days, during the 15 day period. We’ll know at the end of 14 days pretty much we’re going to have a pretty good idea how we’re doing. I think you have to shut it down and you have to see, but there’ll be a point at which we say “We’re back in business. Let’s go.”
Speaker 9: (01:00:24)
Is that point coming sooner or-
Donald Trump: (01:00:25)
Those two statements are not mutually exclusive, if you understand. I saw both of them today and they sort of intermesh.
Speaker 9: (01:00:31)
… For more of a shutdown than we are now?
Donald Trump: (01:00:33)
He’s calling for a faster, just a brutal shutdown, and then open up maybe a little bit faster. So there’s that fine line. Look, we did a big shutdown when we wouldn’t allow people from China that could have been very seriously infected that were when we cut that off very early, and then we cut Europe off very early as you know. So that was also very [inaudible 01:00:54].
Speaker 9: (01:00:55)
When do you start opening main street back up?
Donald Trump: (01:00:55)
Well, I can’t tell you that. What I have to say is that I think we’re going to have good results. I think the American people have been amazing. I think our stimulus package will get done and it will be a tremendous package. They may not have gotten those votes, but they’re very close to getting a deal done. So I’d be surprised if they didn’t. And if they don’t, I think frankly the American people will be very upset with the Democrats because the Republicans are ready to approve a deal. So the only reason the deal couldn’t get done is pure politics. Yes, please.
Speaker 10: (01:01:30)
Mr. President, despite your differences with New York City mayor, Bill de Blasio, he says that the city is going to run out of basic hospital supplies by April. How you prevent New York City from becoming the next Italy?
Donald Trump: (01:01:42)
Well, he should have the hospital systems in various places. Some have been stocked and ready to go for… Nothing for this. Nothing. This is beyond anything that anybody ever thought possible. I think you could really say this. Nobody can really, Dr. Nobody can really say, “Oh gee, this will happen.” This is a very unique and hopefully it will be unique for many, many centuries for a long time. Hopefully we don’t see this again. But again, the systems are supposed to be ready, willing, and able. This is supposed to be ready to go. We are helping them a lot, and I have great love for New York City and I have great love for New York state. And we’re going to help them a lot.
Donald Trump: (01:02:27)
I mean, I was just saying we’re sending our ships up there. We’re sending more than just this ship. We may be using, if we need, we’ll be using some of the cruise ships that you’ve been reading about. We’ll be using them also because they’re very immediate and very quick. They can be there very quickly. We have good docking systems in the places that we’re talking about. So we may be using some of the cruise liners that we’re talking about. But no. I mean I think Bill de Blasio is working very hard. I think he’s trying very hard. It’s a tough situation for him and every mayor because nobody’s ever seen the scale. When you hear you’ve given millions of masks and you’ve given hundreds of thousands of masks in a certain short period of time, and then you hear they need many, many more.
Donald Trump: (01:03:12)
One of the things they have started with respect to masks is the sterilization process. Some, it works very well. Others aren’t really set up that way. You throw them out. But we have a sterilization process that’s working very hard. Speaking of that, hand sanitizers, when you asked the question on the companies and what’s going on, we have many companies now, companies that made whiskey, they’d made alcohol, they’ve now gone very quickly into the hand sanitizers. And all of you know, you’ve been reading about three or four big companies, we’re doing incredibly well on that.
Donald Trump: (01:03:48)
There was no way if you took the existing companies that something like that could happen. But it happens almost… They’ll call Peter Navarro, or they’ll call somebody. On one case they called me, they said, “We can do this, we can do that.” We’ve had a lot of those calls where companies want to… There’s a company in New Hampshire, a great company, they want to make ventilators. I’d never thought of them for ventilators, but they do make metal equipment and things that have metal. There’ll be great. They’ll make a great product. So Peter, I think you’re seeing a lot of that.
Peter Navarro: (01:04:16)
Donald Trump: (01:04:16)
Speaker 11: (01:04:16)
The bill that is being contemplated by the Senate right now has a fund that has hundreds of billions of dollars for the treasury department to use to bail out states and localities as well as specific industries such as cruises and hotels. Will you commit publicly that none of that taxpayer money will go towards your own personal property?
Donald Trump: (01:04:36)
Well every time I do it, like for instance, I committed publicly that I wouldn’t take the $450,000 salary. It’s a lot of money. Whether you’re rich or not, it’s a lot of money and I did it. Nobody cared. Nobody said “Thank you.” Nobody said “Thank you very much.” Now, I didn’t commit legal. I just said, I don’t want it. I don’t want my salary. I work for zero. I don’t want my salary. Nobody said, “Oh, thank you very much,” but I guarantee you if I ever took it, you would go out after me. You in particular, would go out after me like crazy. So I have no idea what they’re talking about with regard to the one element. Everything’s changing, just so you understand. It’s all changing. But I have no idea.
Donald Trump: (01:05:15)
But every time I commit to do something, I committed to do… Look, I ran and everybody knew I was a rich person. I built a great company and people knew that, but I agreed to do things I didn’t have to, I still don’t have to. But my company, I told the kids who are running it, I’m not running it. But I told them, “Don’t deal with foreign companies. Don’t deal.” I didn’t have to do that. I could’ve just ran and I didn’t have to do that at all. And instead of being thanked for, again not agreeing to do it, but just for not doing it, I get excoriated all the time. So I’ve learned, let’s just see what happens because we have to save some of these great companies that can be great companies literally in a matter of weeks. We have to save them. Yeah, please.
Speaker 12: (01:06:06)
Mr. President, can I go back to your announcement at the top about the National Guard and then also the medical structures that are going to be built?
Donald Trump: (01:06:14)
Speaker 12: (01:06:14)
Okay, so you had said that there would be eight large medical structures that will be built in California with more than 2000 beds, and then I think I heard you say there would be four small medical structures in the state of Washington with 250 beds.
Donald Trump: (01:06:27)
Pete, go ahead.
Speaker 12: (01:06:27)
And could you say what cities and areas those are going to be in specifically?
Peter Navarro: (01:06:34)
So we are filling the governor’s request, and so we send that resource to them. They will put it to best use, they’ll put it to where they will have the most effect. So we don’t dictate exactly where it goes. Again, it’s a request from the state to the federal government for a certain asset, and those assets are sent the governor can use it as he or she sees fit.
Speaker 12: (01:06:53)
And you’re still considering, you just said that using the cruise ships as well. So-
Donald Trump: (01:06:59)
If we need them. I hope we don’t need them. I hope you’re going to have great luck on Tuesday morning. We sent a lot of the medicine, we don’t have to go into it again, but we sent a lot of the medicine to Governor Cuomo. I believe they already have it, and they have some very capable people. We spoke to Dr. Zucker who is his primary representative on this, and we spoke to the governor himself, and I think he’s excited about it like I’m excited about it. Now, will it work? I think it has a really good chance. I think it’s worthwhile. Why should we be testing it in a test tube for a year and a half when we have thousands of people that are very sick? They’re very, very sick. And we can use it on those people, and maybe make them better, and in some cases maybe saved their lives.
Donald Trump: (01:07:50)
So Governor Cuomo told me they’ll be using their supply, starting their supply on Tuesday morning. I think it’s very exciting, I think because if that happens, much of what we’re talking about with ships and hospitals and all of the things that we’re doing, and all of these masks and everything that we’re ordering, ventilators, it’s a whole different game if that happens. And we’ll see. There’s been some tremendous signs that this could work. Now again, some doctors think it should go for years on testing, but this has been something that’s been around for many years. It’s been phenomenal, strong, powerful drug for malaria.
Donald Trump: (01:08:31)
But we think it might work on this based on evidence, based on very strong evidence. We’re going to see, we’re going to know sometime after Tuesday. But you’ll have to ask Governor Cuomo, I think they’re going to start the process. We’ve gotten them the drug. I think they’re going to start the process of giving the drug through mouth. And I think that starts on Tuesday morning, he said. And that’ll be, I mean, I’ll tell you what. I don’t want to get anybody overly excited, but I’m very excited by that, by the prospect of it. Then in addition to that, NIH is working on vaccines and all. They’re making great progress, but the vaccine does have to be tested for a long period of time because you can’t give thousands millions of people a vaccine and it turns out to be dangerous. So that does have to be tested. But this one’s been taken for a long time, so we know pretty much one result. Yeah, please.
Speaker 13: (01:09:27)
Thank you. Mr president. I wanted to ask about China and president Xi. When was the last time you had a conversation with him?
Donald Trump: (01:09:34)
Well, I don’t want to exactly say that. But I have spoken to president Xi about this, specifically about this. And look, he doesn’t want this, this is not something that he wants. And it happened, it happened to China. And one thing they told me, I was told by our great Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, that China’s been buying a lot of our farm product. And I’m looking at different pricing, but China has, despite all of this. And it started, this delayed it a little bit obviously, but it started fairly recently. But China is buying… We made a new deal as you know, with China, very big trade deal. And China has been buying our agricultural product.
Speaker 13: (01:10:15)
Have you talked to China about masks? I mean, they’ve been a supplier of the United States of masks, of a lot of its equipment. Have you tried to open those back up?
Donald Trump: (01:10:20)
Yes. In fact, they are sending masks to Italy. We’re in a very good process with masks, but I’m a little upset with China, I’ll be honest with you. Because as much as I like president Xi and as much as I respect the country and and admire the country, I have great admiration for the country, what they’ve done in short period of time. Of course our presidents, our previous presidents allowed that to happen. You should say thank you very much to all of them, but they should have told us about this. And I did ask him whether or not we could send some people in, they didn’t want that, out of pride. I think really out of pride.
Donald Trump: (01:11:02)
They don’t want us sending people into China to help them. China’s strong country. They have their scientists and they have their doctors. Very smart. A lot of people, but I did discuss that about sending our people in and they didn’t really respond. We went again, they didn’t respond. If they went in, they would have been able to tell us, give us a much earlier indication, but we had an early indication. That’s why I closed out China. I mean, I felt it was my instinct, but that’s why I closed out China at a very early time. Please.
Speaker 14: (01:11:39)
Mr. President, are undocumented persons welcome at testing sites and can they show up and be tested without fear of being reported to immigration officials for possible deportation?
Donald Trump: (01:11:50)
It’s really a fair question. I think I’ll let… Would you like to answer that question? Please, please. Surgeon General.
Surgeon General: (01:11:58)
We know from a public health perspective that it is important that people who have symptoms can get tested, but as you heard…
Jerome Adams: (01:12:03)
Feel that it is important that people who have symptoms can get tested, but as you heard earlier, we are-
Speaker 15: (01:12:05)
Regardless of citizenship.
Jerome Adams: (01:12:06)
Well, we know that the virus doesn’t judge based on where you’re from, and so it’s important that we try to get people tested who have symptoms, but the important thing that we really want people to hear is that in-patients need to be tested. We need to prioritize our healthcare workers. And one thing I would like to say to you all very quickly, on behalf of the doctors on the task force, healthcare workers, we hear you. We hear you and we absolutely are prioritizing your health and safety, making sure healthcare workers can get tested, in-patients can get tested, people at highest risk. But to answer your question, yes, we absolutely want to make sure people who have symptoms, who could be spreading it, can get tested. [crosstalk 01:12:45]
Speaker 8: (01:12:46)
Sorry, question, Surgeon General.
Mike Pence: (01:12:51)
Department of Homeland Security addressed that issue a few days ago. Customs and Border Protection actually issued guidance that absent certain circumstances, Customs and Border Protection does not target emergency rooms or health clinics, and I would refer you to the website. They issued a very clear statement making it clear to any person that is in need of a test or medical care that Customs and Border Protection is not focusing on emergency rooms or health clinics or the drive-through clinics.
Speaker 15: (01:13:30)
So that they could come in without fear of-
Donald Trump: (01:13:33)
Yes. I’ll answer that, and if that’s not the policy, I’ll make it the policy. And I was just saying as Mike was saying that the answer is, yes, we will do those tests, because I think in that case it’s important. I think that if you could say illegal alien, you could say illegal immigrant, you could say whatever you want to use your definition of what you’re talking about, we’re all talking about the same thing, yes, we will test that person. Because I think it’s important that we test that person and we don’t want to send that person back into wherever we’re going to be sending the person, whether it’s another country or someplace else because we’re now bringing them right out of our country. But yeah, we will test those people. Okay?
Speaker 8: (01:14:18)
[inaudible 01:14:18] Sorry, Mr. Surgeon General. Question for you. We were talking about this before the briefing. A lot of folks, they’re watching TV, they’re reading up on this constantly. If you are not somebody who’s got a preexisting health condition, but all of a sudden you go, “All of a sudden, I just don’t feel 100%,” and then your mind just starts playing with you, right? You think, “Oh my god, I coughed three hours ago. Was that a first sign?” When should those people really start to say, “Okay, maybe I need to call the doctor.” Because you don’t want to flood them, but a lot of people that are probably healthy right now are thinking, “Whoa, wait. That’s all I’m hearing about. It’s all I can think about. When should I either call a doctor or get tested?”
Donald Trump: (01:14:52)
Do you need a test?
Speaker 8: (01:14:55)
Well, I hope not.
Jerome Adams: (01:14:55)
I asked him before you came in, if they’ve had their temperature checked.
Donald Trump: (01:14:58)
He better not. He better not.
Jerome Adams: (01:14:59)
The Vice President gave an important statistic this morning. Only 10% of the people who have symptoms who have been tested actually tested positive for coronavirus, meaning nine out of 10 people who actually likely had symptoms do not have the coronavirus. So I want people to understand that so that they are reassured.
Jerome Adams: (01:15:18)
I also want to direct people to a website we’ve been telling them about all the time, coronavirus.gov. Coronavirus.gov has information to walk you through the symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath, body aches, and what to do if you have symptoms or you’re worried. The most important thing we can tell people is call your healthcare provider, talk to your healthcare provider information that coronavirus.gov to walk you through when to come in and when and what to do.
Speaker 8: (01:15:46)
And Mr. Vice President, you got tested yesterday, I’m just curious, sir, can you tell us what that was like for you? A lot of people are going to be going through this. Were you standing by the phone? Were you just having an iced tea? What was that like and what did you do to kind of kill that time to keep your mind at ease?
Donald Trump: (01:16:00)
He wasn’t happy.
Mike Pence: (01:16:02)
The test was very quick, but it goes a fair amount up into your sinuses and it’s not comfortable, and that’s the reason it probably is a good opportunity to say again to any American looking on, if you don’t have symptoms, you don’t need a test. And the current testing format, although they’re evolving regularly now, we just mentioned that I think at the end of this week there’ll be a new test and there’s all new technologies. I would say again to all the governors that are looking on and their state health officials, contact FEMA, we’ll give you all the latest information on new testing that is available, including steps we’re making where Americans would be able to test themselves and send it in.
Speaker 8: (01:16:49)
What was that like for you, sir?
Mike Pence: (01:16:50)
Well, for me and Mrs. Pence, it was kind of a pinch. It was kind of invasive, but we were grateful for the support. Walter Reed Hospital processed the test very quickly. They had a lab at the hospital to be able to do that and gave us the results quickly. But it also informed me we. We were wondering during that time as a family, and it’s one of the reasons the President’s made it such a priority that we brought all these commercial labs together, and now more than a quarter million tests have been done. We believe we’ll be caught up, if you will, by the middle of this week on a backlog of tests.
Mike Pence: (01:17:29)
But we announced today that we are directing commercial labs to prioritize people who are in the hospital for tests, because we want to continue to work with new technology and with the new focus and guides from HHS to get the results of that as quickly as possible for every American. So if they have coronavirus, they can be properly treated, or they can have the peace of mind that they may have some other respiratory ailment, but not that.
Speaker 8: (01:18:00)
Mr. President, Mr. President, Mr. President, Mr. President, Mr. President.
Donald Trump: (01:18:02)
[inaudible 01:18:02] You know, everybody that knows Karen Pence, knows this, because the Vice President told me. He said, “She actually handled it better than him.” Right?
Mike Pence: (01:18:12)
Donald Trump: (01:18:12)
That’s true, right? I didn’t handle so well either, don’t worry about it.
Speaker 16: (01:18:16)
Mr. President, Speaker Pelosi, earlier today said that the House may introduce its own bill. A, are you willing to work with the Speaker on a House bill, and given what happened in the Senate just a short time ago, what are you willing to do to get this bill over the finish line given the urgency? Secondly, did you send a letter to North Korea’s Kim Jong Un seeking cooperation [crosstalk 01:18:43] with the coronavirus and if so, what type of-
Donald Trump: (01:18:45)
Sure, with numerous countries. If they need help, we’ll give them help. There’s nobody has what we have, especially with the new tests that are coming out. North Korea, Iran by the way, and others, we are open for helping other countries and is a very serious time, and North Korea’s going through something. Iran is going through something very, very strong. Iran is really going through it, very difficult period with respect to this as you know. It’s really a glad hand. It’s all it is to North Korea, to Iran, and to many other countries, and we’re working with as the doctor can say, we’re working with many countries with respect to the problems that they have.
Donald Trump: (01:19:25)
Again, it’s over 140 countries right now, but North Korea, Iran, and many other countries, we will help and we’re willing to, as an example, this new test. If this new test works at where instead of going through what we all went through with this rather difficult test, to put it nicely, is that just a swab on the tongue, doctor? How does that work?
Speaker 17: (01:19:51)
It’s a similar swab, but I think we’re going to do it in the nose.
Donald Trump: (01:19:57)
Not to the same [crosstalk 01:19:57]. It doesn’t go all the way up and hangs a right under your eye. Right? It’s a tough test. So if we do that, the procedure, the test, and nobody has this in the world, nobody has this. This is developed by us. We think it’s going to be certified soon. We think it’s going to be very good. But if we have that, we’ll be able to help a lot of countries.
Speaker 16: (01:20:18)
What about Speaker Pelosi, sir? What about Speaker Pelosi, sir?
Donald Trump: (01:20:20)
We’re going to work with everybody and see if we can get something done. Please.
Speaker 18: (01:20:24)
Just to follow up on that, are you willing to work directly with Speaker Pelosi if she writes the House bill?
Donald Trump: (01:20:28)
Yeah, we’ll work with whoever we have to. We have to help the American worker. We have to help the countries from which the American workers, I mean, they came out of these companies. They were doing phenomenally well. You saw where payroll was going way up, where wages were going way, way up. There’s never been a time like this. We can’t lose those companies and we want the worker to be happy, and we’re being, I think, more generous than anybody’s ever been. We want to take care of the worker, but we want to make sure that when we win the war, it’s only a question of it’s when, not if, when we win the war against the virus, we want to make sure those companies that are ready to charge forward, not that they’d been disbanded because we were penny wise and dollar foolish.
Speaker 19: (01:21:10)
Mr. President, there are factors around the world that produce medical protective equipment that are used in European hospitals. They’ve been certified for use and at the highest level in European hospitals. Is the FDA and your administration willing to look at a waiver for that equipment to be sold from those factories?
Donald Trump: (01:21:25)
Well, we were asked that question a little while ago, and the answer is we may, but we may not need it. We do a very high standard. Our standard is higher. Please.
Speaker 20: (01:21:32)
Mr. President, I was hoping you could give some guidance to American families who are anxious about their financial futures. Earlier today, on one of the Sunday morning shows, the Secretary of the Treasury, Steve Mnuchin, was talking about the millions of Americans who are impacted by these shutdowns that are happening in cities and sometimes full states, and secretary Mnuchin said that this shutdown, this lockdown, could last 10 to 12 weeks, perhaps early into June. Given that, would you consider another fiscal stimulus, another check to these families?
Donald Trump: (01:22:04)
We’re going to see what happens. Hopefully we won’t need it, but we might, but we’re going to see what happens. Look, the greatest thing we can do is win the war. The war is against the virus. That’s the war. We do that, everything, I really believe everything’s going to fall into place. It’s going to be beautiful. I call it a pent up demand. People are dying to go out to a restaurant. People are dying to go onto airplanes. I think there’s a tremendous pent up demand. You may be surprised to the degree. I think it’s going to go very rapidly because this wasn’t a financial crisis, just the opposite, this was a medical crisis.
Speaker 21: (01:22:44)
Did you sell stocks, Mr. President? Did you or your family sell stocks?
Donald Trump: (01:22:44)
No. I don’t have stock. I own things.
Speaker 21: (01:22:45)
Did you make any alternatives to investments in advance of this?
Donald Trump: (01:22:49)
I didn’t even think about it. You know, it’s very interesting that you ask a question like that, nasty question and yet it deserves to be asked, I guess. What I’ve done by deciding to run, and I knew this, I knew this the first day. I said, “If I win, it’s going to cost a lot of money.” It cost me billions of dollars to become President, to be President of the United States. In things that would normally be run at a certain thing. Even people that don’t like me because they think I’m too tough on the border. Now some people love me for it. Other people don’t like me at all. You know, it’s very funny. My wife, we were at a charity event in New York City. I had just announced that I was running, and we were at the Robin Hood Foundation at the Convention Center, which now we’re going to be converting to hospitals for Governor Cuomo, and I was walking in and there was a smattering of booze and a smattering of cheers.
Donald Trump: (01:23:49)
I was getting both. And our very popular first lady, she’s turned out to be very popular, people have great respect for, but our very popular first lady said to me, “Huh, that’s strange. I’ve never heard anybody booing you.” That was very early on, because I think I called for strong borders, or I called for something that other people don’t like, and I knew this would happen. I knew it was going to happen, but the fact that I ran, and I knew as soon as they announced, when I ran, I said, “It’s going to cost me a fortune, not only in terms of actual costs. Look at my legal costs. You people, everybody, everybody is suing me. I’m being sued by people that I never even heard of. I’m being sued all over the place and doing very well, but it’s unfair. But I’ll say this. In terms of running for President and I don’t think rich people, Michael Bloomberg spent now it’s determined almost a billion dollars and look what happened.
Donald Trump: (01:24:53)
I think it’s very hard for rich people to run for office. It’s far more costly. It’s a very tough thing. Now, with all of that being said, I’m so glad I’ve done it because you know, there are a lot of rich people around, got a lot of rich friends, but they can’t help, and they can’t do what I’ve done in terms of helping this country. We are doing things. We got sidetracked by the invisible enemy. But you know what? When you look at what we’ve done, I said before with the veterans, with all of the things we’ve done, especially choice, but when you look at all of accountability, when you look at all of the things that we’ve done, rebuilding the military, the tax cuts, which thank goodness we had the tax cuts because we had cushion.
Donald Trump: (01:25:40)
Oh, and without that, this would have been catastrophic. We had a big cushion. I mean with all of the losses that you’ve seen in the stock market, we’re basically back, and with this horrible thing. If this would’ve happened before, you would have had nothing left. This was all cushion. But I will say that it costs me billions of dollars to be President. And especially with all the money I could have made for the last three, four years, and I didn’t because I was being President. I have no interest in it. I’m allowed to. I don’t know if you know. George Washington, they say he was a rich man supposedly, relatively rich, and he ran the presidency and he also ran his business. They say he had two desks. Nobody complained until I came along. I got elected as a rich person, but nobody complained until I came along.
Donald Trump: (01:26:31)
So it cost me billions of dollars to be President, and I am so happy I did it because who cares? Who cares? I’m really happy with the job we’re doing, and I’m glad that this team and me are here for this horrible thing. I mean, a number of people have said it, and I feel it actually. I’m a wartime President. This is a war. This is a war, different kind of a war that we’ve ever had. And when you look at the economics of the war, in the past, we used to stimulate to get people jobs. Now we’re stimulating to protect people because we don’t want them to work because we want them to stay away from each other. We don’t want them to gather social, social gathering. So we’re paying billions of dollars, more than that, so that they don’t gather, because we have to defeat this virus and we will. But it cost me billions and billions of dollars to be President, and I am so happy I did it.
Speaker 22: (01:27:29)
[inaudible 00:15:31]. Mr. President, can I ask about foreign countries, please? I realize that your priority is to Americans and of course this nation, but have you ever considered supporting the foreign countries who are also fighting this global pandemic? Let me [crosstalk 00:15:46].
Donald Trump: (01:27:45)
Well, we do help foreign countries. That was the other question and I’m honored to help and the doctor has helped. The Surgeon General is speaking to other countries all the time. They’re asking him questions, what do we do? Nobody’s ever seen anything like this. They’re calling our people all of the time and yes, I have let it be known that we’ll help people, including North Korea, including Iran, and including many other countries. It’s very important to do this.
Speaker 22: (01:28:08)
Are you considering any financial support for them? Let me quote to you. Two retired, a retired General and a retired Admiral from the U.S. Global Coalition, “No matter how successful we are in fighting the threat of COVID-19 pandemic at home, we’ll never stop it unless we’re also finding it around the world.” So financially, is there anything in the stimulus bill? And then are you considering any financials?
Donald Trump: (01:28:29)
So no, not in the stimulus bill, but we are very much, I mean, we give away billions of dollars for, as an example, AIDS in Africa. We’re still fighting that battle. It’s a tremendous battle, tremendous war also, but we’re fighting it here. As you know, in 10 years, now it’s eight years because I started it. It should have been started long before I got here because they had the answer even before, but we’re fighting that battle. We’ll be AIDS free in approximately eight years. It looks like that is going to happen. We’re spending a lot of money, but we’re spending a lot of money with other countries. If you look at the aid that we give to other countries, we give billions and billions and billions of dollars to other countries, and a lot of times I say, “You know, we could save a lot of money. We shouldn’t have,” and then they come in. I say, “What’s it used for?”
Donald Trump: (01:29:15)
It’s used to fight malaria in countries that are very poor. It’s used to fight AIDS in Africa. It’s used to fight many other things, many other things. And I don’t think I’ve ever said, “No, I can’t.” It’s just so terrible. Countries that we have, really, we’re not involved with them very much other than there would be tremendous death, tremendous death. I mean, you can get a list and I could get you a list. We give away billions of dollars to other countries, and we are giving away a lot in terms of everything, and probably we’ll end up doing economically doing something for other countries. But when I’m presented with these lists, that yes sir, in Africa, we’re fighting AIDS, or fighting something else. I tell you what, I start off by saying, “You know, we should say we could save a lot of money,” and then by the time they walk those lists into my office, I say, “We have to keep doing that.” That’s humanity you’re talking. How about one more question? Yes.
Speaker 23: (01:30:11)
Sir, thank you. I want to ask you about the states that have not yet issued stay at home orders. So in Texas for example, the hospitals have said that they expect to run out of beds by the end of April if the Governor does not issue a at home order. Dallas county just announced an order. It’s very, it’s not-
Donald Trump: (01:30:29)
Well, states have to go, that’s a great Governor. You’re talking about Greg Abbott in Texas, and he’s a great Governor, and he knows what he’s doing. A lot of the areas that he’s talking about, a lot of the counties he’s talking about are not very strongly affected. It’s a very different kind of a place and a great place, but I have total confidence in Governor Greg Abbott.
Speaker 23: (01:30:48)
So you’re okay with the lack of uniformity [crosstalk 00:18:52].
Donald Trump: (01:30:51)
Yeah, sure, because every state is different. Every state is different. I mean, Idaho, West Virginia, Iowa, Nebraska are much different than New York, than California, Los Angeles as an example, or San Francisco, they’re much different. I mean, it’s much different. The hotspots right now are state of Washington, and probably number one by far right now is New York. That’s the hotspot like no other hotspot, and California’s a hotspot. But New York right now is the leader. There’s no question. All right, final question.
Speaker 24: (01:31:27)
Thank you, sir. Your administration is backing a lawsuit to invalidate the Affordable Care Act. So given that people are losing their jobs now and need healthcare more than ever, would you consider rethinking your position on that?
Donald Trump: (01:31:38)
Well, that’s a lawsuit coming out of Texas again, that was headed up by Texas, and what we want to do is get rid of the bad healthcare and put in a great healthcare, and we will always, I will say this, I can make this commitment to you, the Republican party is fully backing preexisting conditions. Now, if we could get a great healthcare plan, which would need the House to do, but if we can get a great healthcare plan, we will only do it if we have preexisting conditions totally backed. So we’re back in preexisting, but we’d like to get rid of bad health healthcare. Now, we are running the bad healthcare much better than it was ever run and we’re making it better. But it could be much better than it is. And so what we want to do is terminate it, have a great healthcare, but we will only do it with preexisting. We will back preexisting conditions.
Speaker 15: (01:32:24)
But what if the [crosstalk 00:20:26]-
Donald Trump: (01:32:25)
Thank you all very much. Thank you. We’ll be back. We’ll have a meeting tomorrow. [ inaudible 00:01:32:30].
Speaker 26: (01:32:34)
Mario [inaudible 01:32:34] , not Jose, if you wanted to clarify that. You had said Jose. Works for us.
Donald Trump: (01:32:37)
[inaudible 01:32:37] Oh, did it take? I watched Jose on NBC the other night. Okay.
Speaker 25: (01:32:42)
Thank you. Donate blood. Donate blood. We need it.