Mar 27, 2020
Donald Trump Coronavirus Task Force Briefing Transcript March 27: Trump Says Michigan and Washington Governors Not “Appreciative”
Donald Trump and the Coronavirus Task Force held a press conference on March 27 with COVID-19 updates. Trump said of Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer and Washington governor Jay Inslee, “If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call.” Read the full transcript of his news conference here.
Donald Trump: (01:03)
Thank you very much. Great to have you, and thank you all for being here. My administration is taking new action to ensure that America has the medical resources and equipment needed to fight the global pandemic. It’s been a brutal pandemic for over 150 countries all over the world. We’ve had great success over the last month. We’ve, as you know, the millions and millions of pieces of equipment have been delivered successfully by us, purchased and delivered, and we’ve made it available to the states and the governors have been very gracious, for the most part, I would say. A couple that aren’t appreciative of the incredible job, they have to do a better job themselves. That’s part of the problem. But generally speaking, I have to tell you the governors have been great. I just spoke to the governor of New Jersey, Governor Murphy, and he’s very thankful and Governor Cuomo has been very nice.
Donald Trump: (02:09)
They’ve really appreciated, I think, what the federal government has done, you look at the hospitals that are being built all over the country by the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA. It’s been really incredible. Nobody has seen it. They’ll build hospitals in two or three days, portable hospitals. This afternoon I invoked the Defense Production Act to compel General Motors to accept, perform, prioritize federal contracts for ventilators. Ventilators are a big deal and we’ve delivered thousands of them, and oftentimes you don’t need ventilators very much, hospitals don’t have very many, and now we’re turning out that we have to produce large numbers, but we’ve been able to do that and we’re going to be doing a lot more. This invocation of the DPA should demonstrate clearly to all that we will not hesitate to use the full authority of the federal government to combat this crisis. We thought that we had a deal with, as an example, General Motors and I guess they thought otherwise they didn’t agree and now they do.
Donald Trump: (03:15)
They do agree and I think we might be able to pull it, but we let them know the way we felt and they can’t be doing that. We’ll work in partnership with the private sector, but where an emergency exists and it’s very important that we get to the bottom line and quickly we will do what we have to do and immediately exercise all available awful authorities to get the job done. This afternoon I also signed an executive order investing, and very, very strongly investing the Department of Health and Human Services, and the department of Homeland Security with the full authorities available under the Defense Production Act to respond to the outbreak of the terrible virus, the invisible enemy, as we say. My order also establishes that Peter Navarro, a very trusted person from the White House and he’s been an incredible … He’s done an incredible job for me in terms of negotiation, in terms of understanding where the world is going economically, but my order establishes that Peter will serve as national Defense Production Act policy coordinator for the federal government.
Donald Trump: (04:30)
That’s a very important position, more important probably than it’s almost ever been in our country, and so I want to congratulate Peter and his family. It’s a … I know he’s going to do a fantastic job. He’s been doing that job over the last few weeks. Peter is a PhD in economics from Harvard, has a master in public administration from the Kennedy School, also from Harvard, and he’s a tremendous guy and he will do a fantastic job. But I’d like to maybe ask before I continue Peter to say a few words, please.
Peter Navarro: (05:07)
Thank you Mr. President. And of course you know, a Harvard junkie and total Harvard man, you just can’t tell them much, right? So anyway, on a serious note, let me just give you a little idea of the Defense Production Act and why it is so important. We are engaged in the most significant industrial mobilization since World War II. We have a wartime president fighting an invisible enemy and we have the full force of government coupled with the full power of private enterprise bearing down on this problem for the American people. What we had to do today with president Trump’s order with respect to General Motors. I want to give you a little background on that. We need industrial mobilization to make adequate ventilators, particularly in the very short run to help the people in New York, Detroit, New Orleans, Chicago, Denver, Seattle, all around this country as this virus bears down. And the ventilators really are the most important thing for patients who become most seriously ill.
Peter Navarro: (06:09)
They are literally the lifeline for people. And I personally have been working with FEMA and I’ve been working with HHS and over 10 ventilator companies, making sure we can get what we need as quickly as possible. And virtually every one of those companies has been cooperative, patriotic, moving in Trump time, which is to say as soon as possible, sir. But we did have a problem with GM and Ventech. On the one hand, we had Ford and GE moving forward on a similar kind of project, patriotically moving as fast as possible. Over the last several days, we ran into roadblocks with GM. We cannot afford to lose a single day, particularly over the next 30 to 60 days. So President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act as a way of enhancing and accelerating his mobilization. I salute him for doing so. It’s going to make my job so much easier. For the most part, we’ve had tremendous cooperation from the private sector. Today, sir, was the right day to do it. Thank you, sir.
Donald Trump: (07:12)
Thank you, Peter. Good luck. My administration is marshaling the full power of the American government and we will do that and that’s what we’ve done and we will continue to do it until our war is won. Economic, scientific, medical, military and Homeland Security. All of this to vanquish the virus. We are working to sign contracts immediately with the major ventilator companies in the country, including GE, Phillips, Medtronic, Hamilton, Zol, Resmed, Hillrob and Viar. These are all companies that do this, great companies, the FDA will be reducing and waving unnecessary regulations in order to get this done, we’re going to be getting rid of certain, let’s say, barriers to speed. We want them to get it done quickly. They’ve been doing it for a long time. They’ve been making ventilators for a long time. Hopefully General Motors will join in the fray, under the normal condition that you would be.
Donald Trump: (08:22)
Regular times, 29,000 ventilators are distributed in the United States each year. In the next 100 days … Well, first of all we’ve already delivered thousands of them, but within the next 100 days we will either make or get in some form over 100,000 additional units. And I guess to put it in other words, in the next 100 days we’ll receive over three times the number of ventilators made during a regular year in the United States. And that doesn’t include all of the thousands and thousands that we’ve given to the various states, a lot of them.
Donald Trump: (08:59)
We delivered thousands, as you know, to New York and they didn’t know they got them. And then we also had thousands put in a warehouse and that was also for New York and they just found out that they were there. So we have to make sure that when we deliver things, they get distributed. Earlier today I spoke to the CEO of Boeing, Dave Calhoun, and Boeing will be producing and donating face shields to help our medical professionals on the front lines. These are actually pretty intricate in terms of the plastic and the quality of the materials. They’re important. They’ve got to be top of the line and they’ll go into do thousands of these a week. They’ve already tested the production and they’re ready to begin producing all of these shields. It’s the plastic shields that go over the face. Boeing is also offering us the use of their, what they call the dream lifter cargo plane.
Donald Trump: (09:59)
It’s the largest plane in the world and this is sort of a picture of it. They called up just a little while ago and that can sort of take anything, that’s the biggest in the world and they’re letting us use that for the distribution of product all over the country, especially the heavy product or large quantities of product, and Boeing will dedicate up to three planes to the mission of flying medical supplies anywhere we needed. Each plane can carry 63, 000 pounds of cargo per flight. That’s a lot of cargo.
Donald Trump: (10:35)
I also signed an executive order giving the Department of defense and Department of Homeland Security the authority to activate the ready reserve components of the armed forces. This will allow us to mobilize medical disaster and emergency response personnel to help wage our battle against the virus by activating thousands of experienced service members, including retirees. We have a lot of people, retirees, great, great military people, they’re coming back in who have offered to support the nation in this extraordinary time of need. And they come back in. They don’t say, “How much?” They don’t say, “What are we getting paid?” They just want to come back in. It’s really an incredible thing to see. It’s beautiful.
Donald Trump: (11:19)
This afternoon I also signed into law 2.2 trillion dollars in urgently needed relief for our nation’s families, workers, businesses, and Americans of every race, color, religion, and creed. And the 2.2 trillion goes to 6.2 trillion depending on need. So it’s the largest bill ever signed and not just emergency relief, but of any kind. We’ve never signed a bill of that magnitude, and incredibly it was 96 to nothing in the Senate and it was essentially the same thing in congress, they did it very quickly in the house. They did it very, very quickly.
Donald Trump: (12:01)
So if you look at Congress, what they’ve been able to do, the house was a voice vote, I guess they would call it, and something like that rarely takes place, and 96 to nothing in the Senate for the largest bill in the history of our country. That’s pretty good. And I want to thank Republicans, I want to thank Democrats for coming together for the whole of the nation and this is a great thing, a great victory. This is going to save companies that are incredible companies, but that are going to need some help because of what happened. A month ago, they were outstanding. They were having the best year they ever had and then we got hit and so we’ll help them out. It’s thousands and millions of jobs, millions of jobs. And I just want to thank everybody for working so hard. And that includes the people standing with me right here.
Donald Trump: (12:55)
The legislation extends a vital lifeline to American families and American workers with job retention loans for small businesses, and a big focus of the bill is small businesses. They’re really … They’re the energy, they’re whatever you want to call it in terms of our nation that push … People have no idea how big a factor Peter can tell you, the small businesses are in this country from an economic standpoint, from a job standpoint. We expand the unemployment benefits for workers very substantially and direct cash payments will be going to American citizens. Substantial. This legislation also provides a massive increase in funding for hospitals for the disaster relief fund, and critical supplies including masks, respirators, and pharmaceuticals of all types. And speaking of pharmaceuticals, as you know, we’re working on vaccines. We’re getting some good response and we’re working on therapeutics and cures and we have some very interesting things happening. This afternoon, Apple launched a new tool created in partnership with our task force, the CDC and FEMA. Any individual who is concerned that they might have the virus can now download the free C-O-V-I-D dash 19 app on their iPhone and answer a set of simple questions about their symptoms and risk factors. It’s getting to be a very modernized system indeed. They’ll soon receive HHS recommendations on what to do next, including whether they should get tested or not. And again, we only want people to get tested if they … If we think they need it. In a few moments. Secretary Devoss and Secretary Perdue will discuss new partnerships with the private sector that are providing meals to millions of students while schools are closed. They’ve both been incredible, the job they’ve done. I appreciate them very much. We’re grateful for the assistance of Niren Chadhaury, CEO of Panera Bread Company, they’ve been so incredible to us and to the people of our country. And Denton McClain, chairman of McClain Global Logistics, and they’ve joined us. They’re on stage with me. They’re going to speak.
Donald Trump: (15:14)
Throughout this ordeal, I’ve been ordered and inspired by the American people more than anything else, more than anyone else. Americans of every walk of life have followed the guidelines shown incredible compassion and sacrifice greatly on behalf of their fellow citizens. I want every American to know that their selfless and heroic actions are saving lives and I want them to know, and I’ve said it before, that I’m very proud to be their president, I’m very proud of the American people. My administration is actively planning the next phase in an all out war against this horrible virus. We’re now testing nearly 100,000 patients per day, more than anybody in the world and we have now, as of even a couple of weeks ago, tested more than any other country in the world, and our capacity continues to grow.
Donald Trump: (16:05)
Widespread surveillance testing will allow us to monitor the spread of the virus and we’re doing that quite accurately, and Deborah and Tony will be speaking about that and coordinate with the States to contain new hotspots as they arise with a targeted, fact-based and data-based approach. It’s all data driven. This surveillance testing will soon enable us to publish updated guidelines for state and local leaders. We want every county and region in the country to have the on-the-ground evidence that they need to determine the mitigation measures that are right for them. Each location is different. Some are very, very different. Some are day and night, some are in great shape and some aren’t in great shape, and we’ll be able to have very accurate information very shortly. We already have a lot of that information. America’s bravely battling this pandemic through cutting edge science and medical innovation and rational, deliberate and determined vigilance.
Donald Trump: (17:07)
No effort will be spared in winning this war. We’re going to win the war. Hopefully we’re going to win soon and with as few lives as possible lost. You see what’s going on all over the world, you see the lives, you see Italy, you see Spain, you see all of these countries going through so much, going through such hell and we’re all in very strong communication. I can tell you our professionals are dealing with them every day. Many of the countries, so many countries, but many of the countries we’re dealing very directly and closely, and we’re going to be in very good shape in terms of certain equipment that’s very hard to get, very hard to manufacture, and at the right time will be distributing that equipment throughout the world to other countries.
Donald Trump: (17:51)
Boris Johnson was asking for ventilators today, as you know, Boris is … He’s tested … Unfortunately he’s tested positive and it’s a terrible thing, but he’s going to be great. I’m sure he’s going to be totally great, but they want ventilators, Italy wants ventilators, Spain wants ventilators, Germany wants ventilators, they’re all calling for ventilators. Well, we’re going to make a lot of ventilators and we’ll take care of our needs, but we’re also going to help other countries.
Donald Trump: (18:20)
So I just want to thank everybody. I want to thank our great American citizens and a lot of incredible things are happening, really happening, and it’s too bad … I was saying before we had the press conference when we signed, we had a signing ceremony where we signed the largest bill in our history. And I said, “Think of it, 22 days ago, we had the greatest economy in the world. Everything was going beautifully. The stock market hit an all time high again for the over 150th time during my presidency, and the world was looking good. And then we got hit by the invisible enemy.” And now you have countries all over the world reeling. But we’re winning it and we’ll be a bigger and better and stronger than where we were even before. And we will also have apparatus in place that works. We won’t have broken systems, we’ll have incredible systems. So if this should happen again, hopefully it won’t. But if a thing like this should happen again, we’ll be able to handle it very much more easily. So with that I’ll take a few questions [inaudible 00:19:33].
Speaker 3: (19:33)
Tell us a little bit about these negotiations with General Motors. What were they reluctant to do? Or was it a debate over cost or profit?
Donald Trump: (19:40)
Well, it got to be a debate about cost, and we don’t want to think too much about cost when we’re talking about this. This is not cost. I wasn’t happy where general motors built plants and other locations over the years, not so much during my term, but they built a lot of plants in other countries. I won’t name the countries, but you can imagine. And so I didn’t go into it with a very favorable view. I was extremely unhappy with Lordstown, Ohio, where they left Lordstown, Ohio in the middle of an auto boom because we had 17 car companies coming in and then they were leaving one plant in Ohio. I love Ohio.
Donald Trump: (20:15)
And what happens? That became the story. Not that all these plants are moving in, but that you had a one plant, they were leaving. And frankly I think that would be a good place to build the ventilators. But we’ll see. We’ll see how that all works out. But so I wasn’t too thrilled. And then we thought we had a deal for 40,000 ventilators and all of a sudden it became six and then price became a big object. But Peter Navarro’s going to handle that and Peter will do a very good job. We’ll see, maybe they’ll change their tune, but we didn’t want to play games with them.
Two questions for you. One on state quarantines and the other one on this search for treatment. The first one over the last 24 hours, governors in multiple States, including Florida, Rhode Island, have issued quarantine orders for travelers coming from-
Donald Trump: (21:01)
The quarantine orders.
Quarantine orders, yeah. And they are intercepting people on highways, at airports. They say this is at the recommendation of your administration. Is that true? And if so, why doesn’t-
Donald Trump: (21:12)
I think I’m going to let Tony speak to that a little bit later. But we’re being very strong on quarantine. We’re being very strong on people not leaving, especially certain states and going to other states where they have less of a problem. I mean, you’re hearing constantly about people leaving New York and going down to Florida, and New York obviously is a hot spot and that’s why we’re building all those hospitals in New York and all those medical centers in New York. So we’ll let Tony answer to that, but specifically you have to understand, we’re not playing games. John?
Mr. President, if I can come back to the invoking DPA, this morning you tweeted about it and I’m told it was coincidentally not long after that tweet, Vintech and GM announced that they had reached an agreement to at their Kokomo, Indiana plant, which is a clean facility that makes electronic equipment, produce up to 10,000 ventilators a month with the first ones to be delivered in a couple of weeks. Why the need after that to invoke DPA?
Donald Trump: (22:08)
It wasn’t after, it was before and we just were not getting there with General Motors. We weren’t getting there. We’re getting there with a lot of other companies and we have the people that are doing it for me in the room right here and we can talk to you later about it, but we have to get these people on board. We’re not looking to get into a big deal on price. We’re not looking to be ripped off on price. We don’t want prices to be double, triple what they should be. So General Motors, we’ll see what happens. But now they’re talking, but they weren’t talking the right way at the beginning and that was not right to the country.
Last night you told Sean Hannity you didn’t think that there was a need for 30 or 40,000 ventilators, yet today you basically federalized General Motors to produce tens of thousands.
Donald Trump: (22:50)
I think there’s a very good chance we won’t need that many. And I think frankly there’s a great chance that we’re not going to need that money. But you know what, there are a lot of other people that are going to need them. We have countries all over the world that are friends of ours and we will help those countries. We’re in a position to do things that other countries can’t. So we have a sort of an interesting position we can make them, because we’re going to be making over 100,000 pretty quickly. So we can make them. And if we don’t need them, John, that’s okay because we can help Italy and we can help UK, Boris Johnson specifically. I mean when I say, “How you feeling?” And the first thing Boris said to me is, “We need ventilators.”
Donald Trump: (23:29)
We’re not going to be keeping them. All over the world, they want them, and we’re in a position to make them and other countries aren’t. Okay?
Speaker 4: (23:35)
First can follow up on that. Governor Cuomo had said 30 to 40,000 ventilators is what he needed. He based that on the experts that were advising him. What are you basing your assessment he doesn’t need that many on?
Donald Trump: (23:46)
Well, if you look, and I think you can ask that question best of Deborah, but I think their estimates are high. I hope they’re high. They could be extremely high. We’re doing even hospitals based on pretty high estimates, I’m doing them anyway and as I told John, “If we do not need them, that’ll be wonderful. We can help a lot of great people all over the world. We can help them live.” But I think his estimates are going to be very high. We’re going to see. Don’t forget, we sent thousands of ventilators to New York and they didn’t know they got them. Then we sent thousands of ventilators to New York, they have a warehouse a New York, warehouse in Edison, New Jersey, which is an interesting thing. And we sent them to Edison, New Jersey. They were in the warehouse, ready to go, and New York never took them.
Donald Trump: (24:32)
So they knew they were there. So we have to get people lined up, but we’ve given the … And I’m not blaming New York. Look, this is something that’s of a magnitude that nobody’s ever seen before. But I’ll tell you what, the federal government’s done a hell of a job. So we sent thousands of ventilators to New York and they didn’t know about it at the time they were complaining. Thousands. We had 2,000 and then 2,000 and then 4,000, and they were going there in large numbers. And then before that we sent many thousands. We want to have so many-
Donald Trump: (25:03)
And then before that we said many thousands. We want to have so many that we do have more than we need, because we can send them to other great countries, other countries that have been our friends and they’ll never be able to do it themselves. Yeah, please?
Speaker 5: (25:12)
You also said that some of the governors are not appreciative of what the federal government’s done, and you’ve suggested that some of these governors are not doing everything they need to do, like these governors are at fault. Can you be specific, what more in this time in this time of a national emergency-
Donald Trump: (25:25)
Well, I think we’ve done a great job for the State of Washington and I think the governor, who is a failed presidential candidate as you know, he leveled out at zero in the polls, he’s constantly chirping, and I guess complaining would be a nice way of saying it. We’re building hospitals. We’ve done a great job for the State of Washington. Michigan, she has no idea what’s going on. And all she does is say, “Oh, it’s the federal government’s fault.” And we’ve taken such great care of Michigan. You know the care we’ve taken of New Jersey.
Donald Trump: (25:54)
I think if you ask Governor Murphy of New Jersey, “How are we doing?” I think he’d say great. I think. He’s a Democrat. Governor Cuomo has really said we’re really doing a great job, and I saw the news conference where he was thanking the people from FEMA, the people from Army Corps of Engineers this morning. I mean, they built a hospital like in three and a half days, and it’s a big hospital in the Javits Center. And they’re building medical facilities in different parts of New York, and Governor Cuomo has been appreciative. But a couple of people aren’t. We have done a hell of a job. The federal government has really stepped up.
Speaker 5: (26:28)
But what I’m asking is, what more specifically do you want the governor of Washington, the governor of Michigan-
Donald Trump: (26:32)
All I want them to do, very simple, I want them to be appreciative. I don’t want them to say things that aren’t true. I want them to be appreciative. We’ve done a great job, and I’m not talking about me. I’m talking about Mike Pence, the Task Force, I’m talking about FEMA, the Army Corps of Engineers. There’s no country in the world could have done what the Army Corps of Engineers has done and is doing. Now they’re going in and building literal… They’re going into hotels and renovating hotels. That should be for governors to do. That should be for states to do.
Donald Trump: (27:04)
We have the Army Corps of Engineers so teed up and so stocked up and they’re really psyched and they’re incredible, and there’s no games with these people. They’re in there screaming, “Get it done, get it done.” There’s not sitting around taking it easy. These are workers. These are incredible people. So I think the Army Corps of Engineers… When somebody for political reasons wants to blame, I view that as blaming these incredible people. Nobody’s ever seen it. I don’t know if you’ve been to the Javits Center.
Speaker 5: (27:32)
Donald Trump: (27:32)
Now, I’ve seen it. I would love to go there, but with all that we’re doing, we will be tomorrow at the hospital. We have this incredible hospital boat. It was supposed to be ready in three and a half weeks, because it’s under maintenance, a big maintenance contract. We were able to get it done quickly. We were able to stock it up to the top and it’s leaving tomorrow at 2:00. It’s leaving Virginia. It’ll be in New York on Monday, weeks ahead of schedule. I think things, even the media, I think the media and governors should appreciate it.
Donald Trump: (28:05)
And I have to say, the media has been pretty good and the governors have been really good, except for a couple. And with them, it’s just political. “How’s Trump doing?” “Oh, well, I don’t know.” Because we have done a job the likes of which nobody’s seen.
Speaker 5: (28:20)
So, it’s the words they’re saying that you’re concerned about? It’s not that they’re-
Donald Trump: (28:22)
I think they should be appreciative. Because you know what? When they’re not appreciative to me, they’re not appreciative to the Army Corps, they’re not appreciative to FEMA, it’s not right. These people are incredible. They’re working 24 hours a day. I mean, Mike Pence, I don’t think he sleeps anymore. These are people that should be appreciated. He calls all the governors. I tell him… I mean, I’m a different type of person. I say, “Mike, don’t call the Governor of Washington. You’re wasting your time with him. Don’t call the woman in Michigan.” It doesn’t make any difference what happens-
Speaker 5: (28:52)
You don’t want him to call the Governor of Washington?
Donald Trump: (28:54)
You know what I say? If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call. He’s a different type of person. He’ll call quietly anyway, okay? But he’s done a great job. He should be appreciated for the job he’s done. Yes, ma’am?
Speaker 6: (29:07)
Given that older Americans are advised to stay at home and avoid travel, is it absolutely necessary for you to go to Norfolk, Virginia tomorrow to wave goodbye to the ship?
Donald Trump: (29:17)
No, but I have spirit for the country. I mean, we have sailors, we have doctors on that ship. We have everything. I mean, I’m not going to be a jumping around in a huddle, but yeah, I think it’s a great sign, the President of the United States. They got a ship out of maintenance, completed all the work in a fraction of the time. It was supposed to be there for three and a half additional weeks and they got it done, and it’s in great shape and they’re sending it up.
Donald Trump: (29:43)
So the answer… It’s a good question. It’s a fair question. I just feel that as the leader of our country, when they can do work like they’ve done, and they’ve been working all day, all night, medical supplies, everything loading up that ship, I don’t think it’s the worst thing in the world. It’s right down the road practically, right? Virginia. And I think it’s great if I go to Virginia. I guess I can take helicopter or plane. It’s a tiny trip. And I think it’s a good thing when I go over there and I say thank you. It doesn’t mean I’m going to be hugging people and it doesn’t mean that I’m going to be shaking people’s hands and everything, but I think it sends a signal when the president is able to go there and say thank you. So, we’ll be careful. Peter?
Mr. President, on the stockpile of supplies for a pandemic, yesterday from the podium you blamed your predecessor, saying that when you arrived as president, you said, “We took over an empty shelf.” You’ve been president now for more than three years. Why didn’t you and your administration fill that shelf?
Donald Trump: (30:38)
Yeah, I did. We did fill it twice. We filled it twice and we’ve been distributing that for literally a year. We’ve been filling it [crosstalk 00:30:46]. That’s a nice question, Peter. Thank you very much. We’ve been filling it out and we’ve been filling that stockpile many, many times. It’s been filled many, many times. And now what we’re doing is something different, because I think it’s better. We’d fill it so it comes from wherever the point of manufacturer or whatever is, we fill it and then we go, “Now it’s full.” Now we take it and we distribute around. Now what we’re doing is, we have an emergency. We’re saying, “Go direct, go direct, go direct.” We fill it only where necessary, but now we’re trying to go direct.
Donald Trump: (31:16)
So they drop it off in New York or they drop it off in Michigan. They drop it off in Virginia, wherever it may be, Florida. Florida is getting a lot of things. And we’re finding it’s a much better system, but we’ve filled and we’ve stockpiled many, many times. Yeah, we ended up with an empty shelf. Yes, please?
Speaker 7: (31:34)
You spoke to Chinese President Xi yesterday. What did he tell you in terms of data that he’s going to share, and how they got the number of cases to go down?
Donald Trump: (31:42)
So, I had a great conversation with the President of China last night, pretty late in the night. It was fascinating to me. They have a whole… It’s a different kind of a world. It’s a different form of government, to put it mildly. We talked for a long time. We talked for at least an hour, I guess. And one of the things I was asking him is, “When did you notice that this was happening?” We talked about the whole concept, how it happened, when it happened, what was the most effective use? I mean, was it the fact that distance… Was distance the best thing? We talked about everything.
Donald Trump: (32:21)
And he’s gotten and developed… Because they’re ahead of us from the standpoint of time. It happened there actually long before it happened here. By the way, it would have happened here a lot sooner had we not kept those people out, the Chinese people coming over to the country, had we not kept them out. But we talked about it, because he’s had additional experience of having been much earlier. And he’s developed some incredible theories and all of that information is coming over here. A lot of it’s already come. The data, we call it data, and we’re going to learn a lot from what the Chinese went through.
Donald Trump: (32:59)
Our relationship with China is very good. We also talked about the trade agreement, but I must tell you, this whole invisible enemy has taken over the world. Nobody cares about trade, nobody cares about anything. You want to talk about trade, they immediately get back to this. So we really did, we talked about trade. They’re starting to buy very heavily from the farmers under the agreement, under the trade deal that we just signed. But honestly, he, me, all of us, everybody’s talking. You turn on television, you read the papers, it’s all about this.
Donald Trump: (33:33)
And you know what? It probably should be mostly about this. It’s hard to talk about, “Hey, how you doing with buying from the farmers?” They have started very, very large buying, as you probably have read. But what we really focused on was this-
Speaker 7: (33:48)
Did he ask you-
Donald Trump: (33:49)
I also said, “How have you done with cures? And how have you done with respect to vaccines?” We discussed that. And they’re doing like we’re doing. They’re working on it very hard. They think they have some interesting things have been determined, and we’ll see what happens. But we talked a lot about vaccine. We talked a lot about possible cures. How good would that be? I mean, that’s a game changer. So, we’ll see.
Donald Trump: (34:14)
And by the way, we have various things happening right now having to do with cures and vaccines. And I think we’re doing very well, especially in the vaccine thing. I think we’re very close. But as Tony will tell you, that’s a long testing process. So, we’ll see what happens.
Speaker 7: (34:32)
Did he ask you to suspend tariffs?
Donald Trump: (34:33)
He never asked me to suspend tariffs, no. We’re taking in billions of dollars. He never did ask me that. John?
Mr. President, on Monday will be the end of the 15 days to slow the spread of the virus. Do you expect that you will simply renew the guidelines, or do you expect that there could be some modification to those guidelines?
Donald Trump: (34:52)
So John, I’ll be sitting down with this brilliant woman and this brilliant man, and lots of brilliant people that work with them, I think. Right, Deborah and Tony? And we’ll be sitting down on Monday or maybe Tuesday, depending on which is the best for everybody, and we’ll be making that determination. Okay? We’ll be making it.
Are there any early indications-
Donald Trump: (35:09)
And by the way, obviously we’re not doing it for New York. You see New York is just coming into this really heated situation. We’re building a lot of things in New York right now that nobody thought would ever be building. A lot of things are happening in New York, so obviously… But we are talking about possibly other parts of the country which really aren’t affected to any major degree. Or maybe we won’t do that, because maybe at the advice of a lot of very talented people that do this for a living, they won’t want to do that. They won’t want to expose anything. They want to do it all at one time. These are the kinds of things we’ll be talking about.
So for people at home who are wondering, how long are we going to have to live like this, what advice would you give them?
Donald Trump: (35:47)
Well, it depends. We do want to flatten the curve. We want to see that curve start heading down in the other direction at a minimum. And we really have to talk about areas of the country that have not been affected or certainly have had a very small affect. And we’ll see. I certainly want to get it open as soon as possible. I don’t want it to be long, but we also want it to open safe. Otherwise, what did we do?
So could it be months?
Donald Trump: (36:13)
I hope not. I hope it’s going to be sooner. I hope it disappears faster than that. I really think that the people of our country have done a great job. Last night, I was watching and I’m looking down Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue, John, there were no people in the street. I mean, normally you wouldn’t be able to see the sidewalk. There’d be cars all over, it’d be like rush hour stuff. I’m looking at it and I’m saying, “I can’t believe it. There are no cars, there are no people.” There wasn’t one person on Fifth Avenue walking down the street. I’ve never seen that before. I guess maybe at 1:00 in the morning, 4:00 in the morning maybe. But I’ve never seen that before. The people have been incredible.
Donald Trump: (36:55)
When you talk about distancing, social distancing, I mean, we don’t have a law. We’re not going to put them in jail. And yet, they’re really… I think there’s two things. Number one, they are afraid. And number two, they really are wanting to win this thing. Yes, please?
Speaker 8: (37:14)
I wanted to ask you about, United Airlines said today that they’re worried that there’s not enough money for them in the $2.2 trillion bill that you just signed, and that at the end of the sort of aid period, which would be the end of September, where the restrictions on layoffs come off, that they could be seeing significant layoffs.
Donald Trump: (37:34)
Speaker 8: (37:34)
And so, I was wondering what your reaction to that was, and what the administration might do to provide some sort of-
Donald Trump: (37:38)
Sure. That’s a good question. We have brilliant people. We have a tremendous amount of money, and we have brilliant people that I’m taking from Wall Street with secretary Mnuchin, who’s done an incredible job, but brilliant guy, I’m taking from Wall Street people that I’ve known, that you all know, the top people in the world. They don’t want money. I mean, will they get something? I guess maybe they’ll get, who knows? Peanuts what they want compared to what they would normally get. I’m taking the smartest, the most brilliant people in the world in finance and they’re going to be dealing.
Donald Trump: (38:12)
I’m not going to hire somebody that’s never done it, that’s a political person or anything else. We’re getting the most brilliant financial minds in the world. I know all of them, you know all of them. I mean, you read about all of them. I guess some you don’t read about, and they’re probably the smartest of them all. But the fact is, we’re taking these brilliant people and they’ll be dealing with United and they want to help.
Donald Trump: (38:35)
Look, I’ll tell you right now, the airline business has always been a tough business. It’s always been a very tough business, tough to make money with. Every barrier you can have, that business has. But for our country, it’s very important. We have to take care of our country. We need the airlines to stay. It’s also big for jobs. So, we will be able to handle United and we’ll be able to handle Delta and we’ll be able to handle all of it. We have plenty of money.
Donald Trump: (39:00)
Now, will we end up owning large chunks, depending on what these great geniuses decide along with the executives of the different companies? It’s possible, and they’ll make a better deal on the loan, but the taxpayer will then end up owning a big chunk of companies. As an example, Boeing. Boeing until a year ago was the greatest company, I think in the world by far. To me, there wasn’t anything close. I believe it was 1% of GDP. Okay? Think of that. One company, 1% of GDP. It was flawless. Then it had the problems and then it had on top of it, this whole thing with the virus. So Boeing will probably need a hand, and we’re going to bring Boeing back to health.
Donald Trump: (39:41)
But we have the smartest people in the world. I don’t even know if you know that. I think this could be the first time you’ve heard it. People like Larry Fink we’re talking to, that’s BlackRock, and we have the smartest people and they all want to do it. I mean, this to them, they will… They love this country. They all want to do it. So, we’re speaking to people like that and they’ll be able to work it out.
Speaker 8: (40:04)
I guess my question is, there’s probably a tension between bringing companies back to economic health and protecting people’s jobs. And I’m wondering if you’re going to intervene and ask the Treasury Secretary Mnuchin-
Donald Trump: (40:14)
No, I think they’re the same thing. I mean, bringing people back to health and protecting people’s jobs. To me, and I’m okay at this stuff, that’s the same thing. I’m in a much different position as president than if I were an investor or something, but I want to bring them back to health, because I want to preserve their jobs. But I also want to preserve airlines, because that’s preserving lots of other jobs. That’s preserving the travel and leisure industry, which is perhaps the largest industry in our country if you add it all up. You add up all the hotels and all the traveling and all the planes and everything else, probably by far the largest industry in our country.
Donald Trump: (40:51)
So saving the airlines is very important. And the airlines were all doing well. The airlines were doing record business a month before this today, let’s say. Even 22 days to be exact, right? When we first started seeing some real signs of problems, they were at record levels. Last year they had a record year. The biggest in the history of the airlines. Everybody was doing well. I mean, I was presiding over the most successful economy in the history of the world. And now we’re going to have to rebuild it, and I think we’re going to have an absolute incredible fourth quarter. And maybe it’s slightly after that to be honest, but it’s going to be in that time period. As soon as we get rid of this, I think we’re going to have an explosion upward. It’s going to be incredible. Please?
Speaker 9: (41:42)
Mr. President, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has issued some of the fewest restrictions in the country, yet Florida has the highest percentage of elderly in the country.
Donald Trump: (41:49)
Speaker 9: (41:50)
Do you believe governor DeSantis is handling this well?
Donald Trump: (41:54)
I do, because he’s a very talented guy. He’s a very good governor. Everyone loves him. He’s doing a fantastic job for Florida. He was not happy with the people coming down from New York. They’re flying down from New York, and he had a state and has a state, with obviously a lot less problems. Florida has been doing really well in the sense of testing. The testing has shown much better results. Maybe they’ll talk to you about that later.
Donald Trump: (42:20)
But no, he was very unhappy with the people coming down from New York, and I understand that. No, Ron’s a very tough guy. He’s a great governor and I have tremendous confidence in him. And he had the beach situation. He resolved that. He will get it all resolved. Yeah, please?
Speaker 10: (42:37)
I have two questions, Mr. President. First, yesterday in your letter to the governors, you said that you want to categorize certain counties of high risk, medium risk, and low risk. Practically speaking, how are you going to enforce that? How can you stop people from-
Donald Trump: (42:52)
You have to go louder. You’re going to have to speak louder.
Speaker 10: (42:54)
Sorry. How are you going to stop people from going from high risk to low risk areas, in your letters to the governors?
Donald Trump: (43:05)
We have some very, very strong restrictions. But you’re right, I don’t like it. So, we’re seeing how it works. The data is coming in on Monday and Tuesday, and we’re going to see how it looks. But can we go to a tougher level? We can, but that causes other problems. We’re going to see, and we’ll be reporting back very shortly after my meetings with Tony, Deborah, and others that we’re going to be meeting with, and our vice president. And we’re going to be reporting back to the media. Okay? Please, corner?
Owen Jensen: (43:35)
Thank you. Hi, Mr. President. Owen Jensen with EWTN news.
Donald Trump: (43:39)
Owen Jensen: (43:40)
Millions of school kids across the country are home, including my own, bored, restless learning a little bit online, but it’s better in the classroom, you know that. And my kids, they’re climbing the walls and my wife is about to lose it, right? So, many of them are watching right now. What would you say to those kids right now, elementary school, middle school, high school? What would you tell them right now, who are watching from home?
Donald Trump: (44:03)
I would say that you are a citizen of the greatest country anywhere in the world. And we were attacked like nothing that’s happened possibly since 1917, many, many years ago. We were attacked, and we’re winning the battle and we’re going to win, and it’s not going to take hopefully that much longer, but we have to win the war. And I would say that they have a duty to sit back, watch, behave, wash their hands, stay in the apartment with mom and dad. They look like they’re lucky to have you as a father. And just learn from it.
Donald Trump: (44:41)
But the young people have been tremendous. Some of them are very happy not to go to school. You understand that. Perhaps yours, perhaps not. We have literally had no problem. But again, they should just sit back and be very proud of our country, because we’re doing it for them. Ultimately, we’re doing it for them more than anything else if you think about it.
Donald Trump: (45:06)
The other thing that’s nice and the one thing that has come out, and I learned this, again it was reaffirmed by president Xi last night in my conversation, the young people are really, this is an incredible phenomenon, but they are attacked, successfully attacked to a much lesser extent by this pandemic, by this disease, this whatever they want to call it. You can call it a germ, you can call it a flu, you can call it a virus, you can call it many different names. I’m not sure anybody even knows what it is, but the children do very well. It’s almost the younger they are, the better they do. I guess the immune system is… Sadly, for some of us, their immune system is stronger. But actually, I’m very happy about that.
Donald Trump: (45:52)
But they have been attacked. For instance, the Spanish flu, and if you look at the H1N1, if you take a look at the swine flu, which was as you know not so long ago, that attacked very young children, kids, middle age people, everyone. Age is a factor here, so your children should be in good shape, but just tell them to be very proud of the country. Okay?
Owen Jensen: (46:19)
Just to follow up real quickly, when does the risk become an acceptable one to allow people to go back to their lives? Maybe Dr. Fauci could-
Donald Trump: (46:24)
Well, we’re going to make that determination. And you’re going to have something to do with that. I mean, look, we’re going to be guided also. You have some real strong feelings, the media. I’ll tell you what, the media generally… I mean, I’m impressed. A lot of the media has been fair. I’m not used to fair treatment in the media. I don’t know how to handle it, but overall I think the media has been pretty fair. Some not. I mean, I could tell you who, but what’s the point? But the media has really been fair. I mean, they view this as we’re all in a problem together and we’re going to win. We’re going to win. Please?
Speaker 11: (46:59)
Yes. Thank you, President Trump. New York is currently the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., with about half of the cases. Yesterday, Kellyanne Conway laid a lot of the blame for that on the mayor, pointing out that he told people to go about life as normal and he resisted closing schools and businesses. I’m wondering if you agree. And also if I could ask you your thoughts on the stimulus bill preventing aid to your businesses. Do you think that’s fair, and what are your thoughts on that?
Donald Trump: (47:24)
Well, that’s not happening. I mean, I think they wrote us out and that’s all right. But that’s not happening. As far as the Mayor of New York, I’ll be honest, I didn’t know him well. He and I are obviously opposite persuasion and we would go at it, but we didn’t… I don’t know if we ever spoke to other than to maybe say hello a couple of times. I did down at the World Trade Center Memorial once a long time ago.
Donald Trump: (47:52)
So, I’ve spoken to him a lot, Mayor de Blasio, and we’ve really had incredibly productive discussions. I’ve gotten him a lot of people. We’ve gotten him a medical center he’s asked for at Elmhurst. I know Elmhurst Hospital very well. I mean, that was an area of Queens that I grew up in. And boy, you talk about an epicenter. That’s really the epicenter of the epicenter. That’s really something. We talked about it, because that was very close to where I grew up. And knowing it, being so familiar with it, it’s incredible to see where they have the trucks. I don’t have to go into great detail. The refrigerated trucks coming up, and I’ve never seen anything like it.
Donald Trump: (48:37)
I’ve spoken with Mayor de Blasio a lot in the last week. We’ve helped him, I think a lot, and I’ve really gotten to like him. I get along with him very well. Now, he wants us to do certain things and we’ve produced. I mean, today I spoke to him with the Secretary of Defense Esper, and we had a great conversation and we’re helping him get some of the things he needs. I don’t have to go into great detail, but he’s very happy about what we’re able to do for him today. And he’s like us. He’s working very hard. But I can’t say anything bad about Mayor de Blasio. I mean, my relationship with him over the last couple of weeks has been excellent and we’ve done a good job for him too. Yeah, please?
Speaker 12: (49:22)
There’s been a lot of talk about ventilators and PPE and that kind of thing, but what about hospital capacity? And are you prepared for the stories that are going to come-
Donald Trump: (49:33)
So, we’re doing that. Great question. We’re increasing capacities-
Speaker 12: (49:36)
When hospitals can?
Donald Trump: (49:37)
Right. We’re actually adding on through the Army Corps of Engineers. This is a big job and we’re doing it in many states, not just New York and California. By the way, Gavin Newsom’s been terrific. I have to tell you, the Governor of California, we’re getting along really well. We’re working hard for him. As you know, the other hospital ship, and they are incredible. That just arrived in Los Angeles, fully stocked. But Gavin Newsom has been-
Donald Trump: (50:03)
In Los Angeles, fully stocked. But Gavin Newsom has been really good, and so many of the governors have been good, and these are governors that I’ve been fighting with about different things for a long time. The forest fires in his case, and the border, and all sorts of things. And here we are getting along very well. And I appreciate his nice words. I really do. I really appreciate it. And the people with me appreciate it. Do you have another question?
Speaker 13: (50:28)
Well, I was going to say on the issue of hospital capacity and beds, and being able to treat people-
Donald Trump: (50:32)
Yeah. Good question.
Speaker 13: (50:34)
And not have them die because they can’t have a hospital bed.
Donald Trump: (50:37)
I mean, look, we just started this, we were just notified. And some of the governors have asked us to build hospitals through extensions, through portable hospitals, through things. And normally, in all fairness, this is done normally through local government. We don’t go into cities and expand a hospital that’s existing, but we’re doing it now, because we really are equipped to do it. We have incredible people, and where expanding hospitals, we’re building many portable hospitals. Not only Javits Center, where you have four, plus you have four medical centers, but we’re doing it in New Jersey. Governor Murphy. We’re doing it in other states. We’re doing it in California. We’re doing some in the state of Washington, despite the fact that I’m not appreciative of the way the governor speaks. We’re doing it in a lot of different locations, and we’re doing a lot of expansions. We’re also taking over buildings, and the city will go in, or the state usually will go in, take over a building, and we go in and equip it and make it so that it’s now hospital functioning. They call it hospital functioning. We’re doing a lot of that. Again, this is normally done by governors, and then give it to the city to do it. You know, you bring it into the point, but we’re doing a lot of that, and they’re doing a great job, mostly done by the Army Corps of Engineers, and FEMA.
Speaker 14: (51:57)
Couple of questions on those governors, you and your team obviously have had classified briefings on the pandemic, I assume for a while now. Were the governors included in those briefings that you would’ve got in January and February?
Donald Trump: (52:07)
That I don’t know.
Speaker 14: (52:07)
Why didn’t you warn the governors as you would have had the information first?
Donald Trump: (52:10)
Yeah. Well they say I had classified briefings a long time ago, which wasn’t true. But we’ve had briefings, and as I know it, the governors have also had many briefings by-
Speaker 14: (52:21)
When did you first warn them? To tell them this thing was coming?
Donald Trump: (52:25)
I think we knew for a while, but if you take a look, I was the first one to say to China, and I have great respect for China, I will tell you that. But I was the first one when they had the problem, to say you can’t come in. And if you go back, that’s a long time ago. Jon, please?
Mr. President, on this question of the ventilators, I understand you have a question whether or not New York needs as much as they want. Governor Cuomo’s saying 21 days from now.
Donald Trump: (52:47)
Here’s what we’re going to have. Are you ready? We’re going to have more than, we’re manufacturing a lot of them now, we’re accumulating a lot. We’re taking a lot, through the act, we’re taking a lot. We’re actually taking them. And we’re going to have in a very short period of time, and Peter’s doing it along with some very talented people, some really talented people. It’s very impressive actually, but we’re actually taking a lot. We’re going to have plenty. And if for some reason, Jon, if for some reason you’re going to need even more, we’re going to be prepared.
Donald Trump: (53:17)
As an example, we’ve given out thousands and thousands, which I think you’ll know. We accumulated thousands. We give them out. But we right now, I think in the stockpile, we have over 10,000. The reason we don’t want to distribute that is for exactly what you’re saying. If there’s a mad rush in New York, or maybe in Louisiana, or maybe someplace else, we don’t want to have given out all of those units, the ventilators, and then in those sections we give them to Iowa, but they didn’t have a problem in Iowa. We give them to Idaho. We give them to lots of different places, and now we have to try and get them back, which is never easy to do.
Here’s my question.
Donald Trump: (53:52)
No Jon, what I’m saying is this, we are prepared for things that nobody has any idea that we’d be prepared. And you know what? When I took this over, it was an empty box. We didn’t have testing, we didn’t have anything. We had a broken system there. We had a broken system with stockpiling, we had a lot of broken systems. And I’m not just blaming President Obama, you go long before that, but in all fairness, all of the former presidents, none of them ever thought a thing like this could happen. But we have right now, 10,000 ventilators in stockpile. We are ready to go with those ventilators.
Donald Trump: (54:29)
What we don’t want is where we distribute the ventilators like we did in New York, and they didn’t need them, or they didn’t know, or they didn’t use them. If we need them in New York, we’re going to have plenty. Now, we’re getting a lot of ventilators in the next short period of time. A lot of ventilators are coming in the next short period of time. We’re manufacturing. We went to all of the companies, I read their names, we went to all of those companies. They are going to go, I would say ’round the clock, Peter, is that right? They’re going round the clock.
Is 100 days fast enough? You said, is that fast enough? To get 100,000? Because some of these people need them in three weeks.
Donald Trump: (55:02)
Let’s put it this way. Let’s put it this way. We’ve distributed thousands and thousands already. Normally these would be bought by states, just so you understand. Normally these would be bought by governors. They were… I don’t want to say unprepared, but nobody was prepared for this. What we’ve done, nobody can even imagine. And by the way I’ve had governors tell me, including Democrat governors, they said, “We can’t believe you’ve been able to do this.” And you go to other countries, and we’re not only competing against states, because we don’t want to compete against states. We’ve had a couple of cases where states were buying, we were buying, and I said specifically, because I heard about it. Pull back. Let the state buy it. Immediately, the price goes way down, and they end up buying it. But we’re also competing against many countries, because many countries need the ventilators. That’s why I want to build more if possible. Jon, maybe we’ll take one more question.
The question I was building up to is, are you able to guarantee, to assure these states, these hospitals, that everybody who needs a ventilator, will get a ventilator?
Donald Trump: (56:02)
So here’s what I’ll tell you. I think we’re in really good shape. This is a pandemic, the likes of which nobody’s seen before. I think we’re in great shape. I think that number one, we’ve distributed… ventilators are a big deal. We’ve distributed vast numbers of ventilators, and we’re prepared to do vast numbers. I think we’re in great shape. I hope that’s the case. I hope that we’re going to have leftovers, so we can help other people, other countries.
Everybody who needs one will be able to get a ventilator?
Donald Trump: (56:31)
Look, look. Don’t be a cutie pie. Okay? Everyone who needs one.
It’s a fundamental question.
Donald Trump: (56:35)
Nobody’s ever done what we’ve done. Nobody’s done anything like we’ve been able to do. And everything I took over was a mess. It was a broken country in so many ways, in so many ways other than this. We had a bad testing system. We had a bad stockpile system, we had nothing in the stockpile system. So I wouldn’t tell me what you’re, you know, like being a wise guy. Go ahead.
Speaker 15: (56:58)
Mr President, you signed a bill today, the size of which could choke an entire herd of horses. And before you even had a chance to put pen to paper, people were already talking about the need for phase four. Do you see a need for phase four, and where do you think the priorities would-
Donald Trump: (57:12)
There may be something where we’re going to have to help states, because the states have been hurt very badly. And the beautiful thing about our country is, 6.2 trillion, because it is 2.2 plus four, it’s 6.2 trillion dollars, and we can handle that easily, because of who we are, what we are. It’s our money, it’s our… we are the ones. It’s our currency. We can handle it, and we can handle… I watched Jerome Powell the other day, and he did a good job. He said, we’ll do whatever we have to do. Jon, we have to do whatever we have to do.
Speaker 15: (57:53)
Where do you see the priorities being?
Donald Trump: (57:55)
The priority is life, and safety, and then the economy. Life, and safety.
Could the Easter goal stick? It seems like earlier in the week you said we’d love Easter, but now it seems like it could be longer.
Donald Trump: (58:06)
We’ll see. No, no, no, we’ll see. A lot of things can-
These people are heading into a long weekend. What do you tell those folks who think they’re going to have to wait this out for a while?
Donald Trump: (58:10)
I tell them, if it’s your life, then it’s your safety, and if we need more time, they’re not going to have a problem waiting it out. It’s life, it’s safety, and it’s our country, but we have to take care of people. At the same time, we want to get them out. They want to get out. Our country was built on that, but we have to make sure it’s safe, and everyone knows that. Okay. One more question, please.
Speaker 16: (58:32)
Has your thinking changed over the last 30 days-
Speaker 17: (58:34)
Mr. President, sir, thank you. Both the World Health Organization as recently as today, and your own health officials have said that any treatments that we use for Coronavirus should be scientifically demonstrated to be effective. But at the same time you’ve said that Chloroquine as an example could be used as a cure very soon. So is WHO and your health officials wrong on this point?
Donald Trump: (58:55)
So Hydroxychloroquine, which is supposed to be the better of the two seems to have some good backing. We’re going to see. Look, Governor Cuomo, we’ve given him 10,000 units. It’s a lot. And they’re testing it. It’s a malaria drug. It’s also a drug for arthritis, and it’s phenomenal for those two things, as you probably know, especially for malaria. But we’re going to find out soon. I hope it works. There are signs that it could be doing well, they are testing 10,000 units. It’s a lot. And I tell you what, I want to thank the FDA, because they approved it immediately, based on the fact that it was already out for a different purpose. They approved it immediately. So look, Hydroxychloroquine is a very powerful drug for certain things. And it’s a very successful drug. There’s reason to believe that it could be successful here. Now, the reason I disagree with you, and I think Tony would disagree with me, but the reason I disagree with you is that we have a pandemic.
Donald Trump: (01:00:02)
We have people dying now. If we’re going to go into labs and test all of this for a long time, we can test it on people right now, who are in serious trouble, who are dying. If it works, we’ve done a great thing. If it doesn’t work, we tried. But this is not something that’s going to kill people. So we can go in, and we can test, and we can take our time. When I was with the FDA, they indicated that, “Well, we’ll start working on it right away, and it could take a year.” I said, “What do you mean a year? We have to have it tonight. If we don’t have it tonight, I want to test it immediately. Because it’s on the market in a different form.” So we know that. So from a safety standpoint, at least we know that, but you’re talking about giving it to people, who in many cases are dying. So we want to do it the way… this is sort of like Right-To-Try. We got Right-To-Try approved.
Can I ask you-
Donald Trump: (01:00:56)
Jon, for 44 years or more, they couldn’t get it approved. We have the best labs, the best doctors. They couldn’t get it… I got it approved. Now, if somebody’s terminally I’ll, and if we think we have something that’s going to work, we can actually use it. They can use it, and I’ll tell you what you ought to do when this is over. You’ve got to do a story on that, because we have had some tremendous results.
Just before you go, can I ask you something that just popped on Wall Street Journal? Says headline, The Trump Administration plans to suspend the collection of import tariffs for three months according to administration officials. True, or not true?
Donald Trump: (01:01:27)
It’s not even talked to me about, just more fake news Jon. Look, not even talked to me. They’re talking about… the only one I’ve heard that from, like as an example, China pays 25% interest on $250 billion worth of product that they send in. That’s a lot. Everybody keeps saying, “Oh, are you going to suspend the tariffs?” Well, the answer’s no, but President Xi never even brought it up last night, it wasn’t even discussed. It’s fake news. Tell the Wall Street Journal. The Wall Street Journal does a lot of fake news too. It’s pretty amazing.
Donald Trump: (01:01:59)
So I want to leave you by just saying, I want to thank you for being here. I want to thank the American public, and all of the people that have helped so much, and we’re going to give the podium to vice president Pence, who has been incredible, and if he’s tired, and if he’s not answering questions like he should, we have a great reason, because he hasn’t slept in about four weeks. But I want to thank him, because he has dedicated, I mean he is a dedicated person long before this, but the job he’s done has been fantastic. So I want to thank Mike, all the people on the task force, and FEMA, and Army Corps, everybody. You’ve been fantastic. Thank you all very much.
Thank you Mr. President.
Speaker 17: (01:02:37)
Thank you Mr. President.
Mike Pence: (01:02:49)
Well, good evening everyone, and thank you Mr. President, White House Coronavirus Taskforce have met today. We continue at the president’s direction to focus on slowing the spread of the Coronavirus through mitigation, expanded testing, and ensuring that our healthcare workers have the supplies that they need. With cases now in all 50 states, and more than 50% of cases in the New York area. It’s more important than ever to adhere to the guidance of state and local authorities. And for every American, the best thing that you can do, young or old is put into practice the President’s Coronavirus Guidelines For America. It is the way that each of us can do our part. Since we last spoke, as you all know, the president signed the Coronavirus Aid Relief Economic Security Act. This makes direct payments available to American families. The average family of four would receive a direct payment of some $3,400. It also covers payroll for small businesses across the country for a period of several months, so that even if the business is closed, they can continue to have a loan which would be completely forgiven if they keep their whole team on the payroll.
Mike Pence: (01:04:13)
There’s support for critical industries, for hospitals, and for states as well. As of this evening, the president has issued 12 major disaster declarations most recently for the states of Maryland, and Missouri. And on the subject of vaccines, Emory University in Atlanta today began enrolling volunteers in a phase one clinical trial of another possible vaccine for the Coronavirus. On the subject of testing, testing is available in all 50 states, and as a great credit to our partnership with commercial laboratories across the country, this morning it was reported that more than 685,000 tests have already been performed, and we are particularly grateful to the American Hospital Association, whose members are now reporting in to the CDC and FEMA in realtime, giving our experts more visibility on those that have contracted the disease around the country.
Mike Pence: (01:05:18)
The president mentioned this, but it’s worth mentioning again, Apple has a new app out. It is a screening tool that’ll help Americans determine whether they should be tested. It has a easy format, question and answer. If you have issues about whether or not a test is appropriate for you, you can use the new Apple app to accomplish that as well. On the subject of supplies, the president spoke about the priority that we’re placing on personal protective equipment, and especially ventilators, and I will not add to that. I can tell you that this weekend, we’ll be reporting on aggressive efforts that our Supply Stabilization Task Force at FEMA is taking to import medical supplies from around the world. We’re working as we speak on an air lift from a number of countries around the globe, to deliver very important medical protective equipment to the United States. At the present moment, you’ve heard the numbers, but from the strategic national stockpile, we distributed more than seven million N95 respirators, or masks, almost three million face shields, more than 8,000 ventilators, and donations to the Strategic National Supply.
Mike Pence: (01:06:42)
We’ve mentioned Apple donating some nine million masks that can be used by healthcare workers, but Merck recently announced plans to donate 500,000 masks, USPAS, 500,000 masks. And a little company called Puritan in Maine is actually in the business now of manufacturing swabs, so businesses large and small all across America are rising to the challenge. As the president noted, he will attend the embarkation of the US Navy ship Comfort tomorrow from Norfolk, the US and Navy ship Mercy arrived in Los Angeles today. We will continue to focus resources and supplies on those areas around the country that have seen significant outbreak. But let me send a word to hospital workers around the country. We continue to hear anecdotally, and occasionally see in media reports people who have concerns that their hospital may be running short on personal protective equipment in the days ahead. We just encourage you to alert your hospital administrator. Hospital administrators, please alert your state health director.
Mike Pence: (01:07:53)
Tonight, administrator Gaynor at FEMA will be speaking to all of the state emergency directors in America to talk about the availability of resources, but also encouraging them to have a plan to perhaps even use their National Guard to move medical equipment from storehouses to hospitals. We’ll be working very closely with state emergency managers on issues of logistics. But today, we’re fortunate to be joined by two members of the cabinet who have been very busy making sure that the children of America have the meals that they need while school has been suspended in so many places around the country. Secretary Devos and secretary Perdue are going to share some exciting news, and progress that we’ve made in feeding children who need nutrition assistance while schools are closed. The truth is, many underprivileged kids would not be getting school meals, apart from the fact that as we stand here today, our administration has approved waivers for all 50 states to give them flexibilities to work with local partners to get meals to children that are in need, and also a nationwide waiver to allow parents to pick up meals.
Mike Pence: (01:09:05)
But what’s most exciting today, as our two cabinet secretaries will reflect, we have private sector partners, a few of whom are with us today, who are helping us speed important meals to children, and to families around the country. You’ll hear in a few moments from the chairman of McLean Global Logistics, and also the CEO of Panera Bread about the work that they are both doing to literally deliver millions of meals to American families. It’s truly an inspiring story, and I look forward to hearing it from them, and sharing it with you. But it’s just one more example, as President Trump said, that we’ll get through this, and we’ll get through this together. Not only a whole of federal government approach, working with all of our state partners, working with healthcare authorities at the local level, but also working with businesses that have been willing to step up, and stand at the point of the need, and be there for the most vulnerable and help us meet the needs of our children, and of our families. And on behalf of the president, a grateful nation, we thank you.
Speaker 18: (01:10:06)
Sec. DeVos: (01:10:07)
Thank you so much Mr. Vice President, and I just want to begin by thanking President Trump for his clear-eyed leadership during these challenging times for our country, and for our world, and vice president Pence for your tremendous leadership of the task force, and for truly making a difference. Making a difference that’s certainly true for America’s students and teachers as well, most of them, as Owen said a moment ago, experiencing unprecedented disruptions in learning, and in their lives. I want each of them to know that President Trump and his administration are taking decisive action, to keep them safe and healthy, so they can continue learning. We must rise to the challenge of educating all children from all walks of life, who all of a sudden are in many, many different learning environments. And they’re counting on all of us to find solutions. I’m really pleased to be here today for the announcement of another terrific solution initiated under the president’s leadership.
Sec. DeVos: (01:11:14)
Secretary Perdue is going to share details of this public private partnership, but before that, I’d like to provide a few additional comments, and talk about the work that the Department of Education has been doing on behalf of students, parents, and teachers during this national emergency. My team and I are in contact daily with governors, state school chiefs, college presidents, superintendents and local education leaders. We are quickly responding to their needs, so they can do the next right thing for their students. Most governors have decided to close some or all schools in their states for a period of time. As a result, students may not be able to take federally mandated standardized tests this spring. And the president took action to make sure they didn’t have to. We made the process to delay these tests for a year fast and painless. As of today, 47 States have requested the delay, or the waiver, and 46 have been approved within a 24-hour period. We also released additional information making clear the expectation that education will continue for all students.
Sec. DeVos: (01:12:25)
The transition to distance and online learning needs to happen quickly, and it needs to include meaningful instruction, and supports for children with disabilities. Learning should not stop or be denied because schools fear federal regulators, or fear doing something different. Distance learning is happening. States like New Hampshire and Florida have implemented phased and tiered approaches to meet the needs of students in their states. Other schools and states are implementing creative approaches and working through practical realities to help students continue learning. In remote Colorado mountain towns without internet connectivity, teachers are putting weekly learning packets together, and they’re holding office hours by phone to help their students when they’re stuck. South Carolina’s deploying 3,000 buses with mobile wifi hotspots, to help kids in remote areas access learning that way. This national emergency gives all of us an opportunity to come together to educate all students out of principle. It’s simply not an acceptable option to educate none of them out of fear. So we stand ready to assist educators, and their students. We’re compiling all of the tools we have produced, along with the great resources that states are offering to help keep learning going.
Sec. DeVos: (01:13:44)
There are already many existing online learning platforms, and many states were already offering a robust menu of courses virtually. We will be adding that information to our website on an ongoing basis, and that site is Ed.gov/ Coronavirus. We’re using every tool possible to extend flexibility to states and communities. This includes funding flexibility. Where we don’t have the latitude, we’re working with Congress on solutions. One area is providing direct financial support to students, families and teachers. We will propose Congress provide micro grants to help students continue to learn. These would be focused toward the most disadvantaged students in our states or communities where their school system has simply shut down. I’ve always believed education funding should be tied to students, not systems, and that necessity has never been more evident. We’ll also support micro grants to teachers, to help them pivot to supporting all of their students in a different environment than they’ve been used to. We know they are dealing with an unprecedented situation, but it’s been truly inspiring to hear story after story of teachers rising to the occasion, and meeting the unique needs of each of their students. Ultimately, we know everyone’s grappling with the challenge of keeping students safe and healthy, while also building…
Betsy DeVos: (01:15:03)
… with the challenge of keeping students safe and healthy while also building capacity for remote learning. It’s an important moment to realize that learning can and does happen anywhere and everywhere. I think of the Texas dad who started a daily webinar interviewing friends and acquaintances in wildly different careers and helping students understand what it takes to work in that chosen career, or the history teacher in Virginia who connects with his students through a livestream every morning. I think of the art teacher in Tennessee who’s broadcasting her lessons over social media, or of Second Lady Karen Pence, who prepares packages of art materials and projects for her students to pick up with their school lunches, or the principal in Alabama who’s going online daily, giving morning announcements, leading the Pledge of Allegiance and a moment of silence. I think of the many schools that have distributed laptops and tablets to students who don’t have them so they can continue learning over video conference and the ones that just don’t have that option currently, like the remote Colorado towns.
Betsy DeVos: (01:16:03)
Joy Hoffmeister, the school chief in Oklahoma, may have put this best. She told me, “School isn’t a building. It’s students, teachers, and families working together to advance learning.” She’s right, and that’s our shared mission.
Betsy DeVos: (01:16:19)
Let me also touch very briefly on how we’re supporting students pursuing higher education. At the beginning of this outbreak, we immediately gave institutions of higher education regulatory flexibility so learning could go online, and it did. In many cases, it was a seamless transition, and learning continues. We’re continuing to cut federal bureaucracy and let schools rise to meet this challenge. We’ve vastly improved distance learning policies, which we’re working quickly to enact for traditional higher education.
Betsy DeVos: (01:16:52)
Shorter-term programs, and apprenticeships also need to grow and thrive, and as the President has so effectively championed, workers need these options as they look to come back stronger than ever from these momentary setbacks.
Betsy DeVos: (01:17:05)
The President promised to defeat this invisible enemy and keep our economy strong. He took immediate action and provided student loan relief to tens of millions of borrowers. We set all federally held student loans to 0% interest rates and deferred payments for 60 days. Now with the CARES Act that he signed just earlier today, Mr. President, those actions will extend to six months.
Betsy DeVos: (01:17:32)
We hope these actions and others we’ve taken for those who’ve become delinquent on payments or have had other issues with their student loan payments will help alleviate the financial burden and anxiety students and their families are feeling during these tough times. These are tough times, but we the people are tougher.
Betsy DeVos: (01:17:52)
So in closing, let me offer just a few words of encouragement. To our students, your educations can and should continue. Learning can happen anywhere, and we will help make sure it does. We believe in you. To our teachers, we will support you and help you. You are doing great work. Keep it up.
Betsy DeVos: (01:18:16)
To every parent and family, we know these are challenging times, but it’s in the face of great challenges that Americans have always risen to the occasion and embraced greatness, and I know we’ll do that once again. I thank, again, the President and the Vice President for their leadership on behalf of America’s students and on behalf of all of us. Now we’ll turn to my friend Secretary Sonny Perdue to share more on how we’re working together to help support student nutrition.
Sonny Perdue: (01:18:48)
Thank you very much. Mr. Vice President, while our dedicated educators are out there trying to continue to fill our kids with knowledge, even when they’re not in a school site, the USDA is working very hard to continue to fill their tummies. You may know that many of these children receive breakfast and lunch at their school sites, and our federal government participates with our dedicated school nutritional and lunch professionals throughout the country. We have issued waiver after waiver to make this flexibilities available for things that make sense when children cannot congregate in a singular location.
Sonny Perdue: (01:19:23)
That’s one of the first waivers we did, we issued, and when Congress gave us the authority to issue more, we are turning those waivers around in rapid speed, really less than 24 hours. So we’re very fortunate that we’ve got a great team and our food nutrition consumer services team working 24/7 to make sure that our kids continue to be fed. It’s a great partnership that’s happening out there.
Sonny Perdue: (01:19:49)
I want to mention one other simple but very important point about another matter that your listeners and readers may be very interested in. That’s the food supply chain. USDA, obviously, is integrally involved, intimately involved in the food supply chain. We’ve worked with all of those producers, even the ones who provide the equipment and materials for our farmers and cattlemen and producers out there to make sure they have what they need. They’re a part of the critical and essential workforce there to continue, and the good news is those folks are staying on the job. Those who’ve grown it, those who are processing it, our inspectors who are grading it just the same way they always had, those folks who are delivering it, packing it, delivering it, stocking those shelves, and checking out those customers.
Sonny Perdue: (01:20:39)
That’s the great news about our food supply chain, and it’s a great American story. Mr. Vice President, under your leadership, the President’s leadership, this is that whole of America approach. Federal government can’t do it all, but we’ve got great partners out there in the food supply chain as well as our food nutrition services and our partners in our school nutrition services, doing a great job to continue to get these meals to kids there.
Sonny Perdue: (01:21:06)
Two of our private sector partners are here with us today. I’d like for them to tell their story, because it’s a great story. Denton McLane with McLane Global here has partnered with Baylor, a collaborative on poverty and hunger, along with PepsiCo in order to pack a million meals a week to deliver to rural kids, who might not can get to town to these drop-off sites, where the other kids are picking up meals. Again, Niren Chaudhary of Panera Bread, CEO of Panera Bread, their company is also participating in Columbus, Ohio with the Children Hunger Alliance there to deliver food meals that meet the regulations of USDA under flexible conditions there to get food meals there. Panera is looking to expand that to nationwide as well. So Denton, why don’t you come and tell us your story? Thank you very much.
Denton McLane: (01:22:12)
Thank you, Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, Secretary Perdue, and Secretary DeVoss. Right now, there’s a lot of focus on our large cities and the enormous challenges that they face, but imagine this. You live in Iberia Parish, Louisiana, or you live in the Nome Borough in Alaska. Your schools are closed, and normally, your children get two meals a day at school. Both parents are working from home, but Mom and Dad just can’t get to town, where meals are being offered for pickup.
Denton McLane: (01:22:46)
That’s about to change and change for the better. Because of this USDA program, McLane Global will source, secure, receive, organize, assemble, package, label, and then deliver boxes straight to a child’s home. Here’s another big difference. For the first time, we’ll be able to offer shelf-stable meals that will last two weeks. That’s a true game-changer for rural families. It’s happening because of the President’s order to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Everyone knows that tons of paperwork can be like lighter fluid for a great idea, and this is a great idea. We field tested it in 2019, and it worked.
Denton McLane: (01:23:26)
You’ve heard today about the administration’s work on this project. Here’s some other important partners in this effort. We have Baylor University. They will provide sponsorship and oversight. In addition, we are deeply appreciative to UPS and the United States Postal Service, and we are joined by PepsiCo company to help get this accomplished.
Denton McLane: (01:23:47)
Because of this collaboration and our tireless employees, I can report to you the boxes are ready to ship. After all, this is all about the children who must be fed during this crisis. We stand ready to serve. Thank you, Mr. President and Mr. Vice President, for caring about the specific needs for the children who live in rural America. Thank you.
Sonny Perdue: (01:24:11)
I want to welcome Niren Chaudhary, CEO of Panera Bread.
Niren Chaudhary: (01:24:20)
Good evening. Thank you, Mr. President and Mr. Vice President, for your leadership. It’s an honor to be here, and I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity. This is an extraordinary time, and I passionately believe that, at such times, we must all come together and do our very, very best to contribute and make a difference.
Niren Chaudhary: (01:24:45)
At Panera, our mission is simple. It is about ensuring that good food is accessible to everyone, especially those who are the most vulnerable, such as children, and especially at a time like this. We are absolutely determined to make a difference in this regard.
Niren Chaudhary: (01:25:05)
Today, we are announcing a partnership with USDA and Children’s Hunger Alliance to serve freshly prepared, wholesome meals to children in the entire state of Ohio to begin with, and hopefully, after that, we’ll expand that program across many of the states in the country.
Niren Chaudhary: (01:25:25)
I do believe that the human experience, indeed, life is all about having resilience in the face of adversity and also having the tenacity to just keep going, to just keep going. At Panera, our associates and our franchise partners live that spirit every single day. They’re resilient, and they’re tenacious. On their behalf, I pledge that we are committed to do the right thing for the country and help serve those who need it the most. At this very important time, we are ready to serve. Thank you very much.
Mike Pence: (01:26:09)
Outstanding. Thank you so much. Thank you so much. Thank you for your business’s incredible generosity, and I’ll actually allow the two business leaders to step out, if you’d like. We appreciate you so very much, on behalf of the President and a grateful nation.
Mike Pence: (01:26:27)
Before we go to questions, I’m going to invite Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauchi to step forward with a few reflections on what we’re seeing in the data. As you all are aware, over the next several days, our team will be assembling recommendations for the President to give further guidance to the American people, to states around the country, and they can both share with you the importance of ongoing efforts of mitigation by every American, the need to support what state and local leaders’ guidance is to every American community, but also, as Dr. Birx continues to work carefully with the modeling, analyzing the data, she’ll reflect on the progress that’s been made in that. Deborah?
Deborah Birx: (01:27:12)
Great. Thank you, Mr. Vice President. Just to pick up on some of the questions that you had earlier, so the issues that we discussed with the modeling yesterday was to ensure that the models were adjusted for the great work that every citizen is making in doing the mitigation efforts and to see if that was reflected in the requests specifically for ventilators.
Deborah Birx: (01:27:36)
So we wanted to make sure that, with a limited number of ventilators and the issues that we saw in Detroit and Dearborn, in Cook County, and now in New Orleans, that we were balancing and projecting correctly, based on both what the models had predicted and then whether they were adjusted for the incredible mitigation work ongoing in New York City.
Deborah Birx: (01:27:59)
We understand that this week and next week will not reflect that mitigation, whether it’s New Orleans or whether it’s New York and the New York metro area. We know that the hospital admissions that we are seeing this week and next week will be infections that occurred before the mitigation started, but we wanted to make sure, going forward, that the needs reflected that.
Deborah Birx: (01:28:23)
That was what was adjusted in the Ferguson model for the UK, and I know you’re following that very carefully. They believe strongly that the mitigation methods that were put into place that informed our mitigation methods, we all were working off of that same model, and I want to make it clear that those models, those flu models have been incredibly helpful to really predict what would layering of these different mitigation efforts, from social distancing to staying home if you’re sick, the staying in that household, the quarantine everybody in the household if anyone is positive.
Deborah Birx: (01:28:57)
Now, there are other countries that took different approaches, and I want to be clear, because we did hear from both China and South Korea. But it’s always important that you adopt and adapt and adapt it to your community and the reality of your country. We do this around the world. You can’t ever just take an off-the-shelf approach and then put it into action in your community. You have to understand your communities.
Deborah Birx: (01:29:23)
So, although both China and South Korea removed people who were positive from their households and segregated them away from their families, we did not think that our Americans would adopt and adapt to that situation. So that’s why, in our guidelines, we asked people, if there is a family member, to try to self-isolate in the household so that that person is still there in the household.
Deborah Birx: (01:29:48)
So I just wanted to be clear that, yes, we all heard about what China and South Korea did. As much as we could, we adapted them to the American situation, as the UK has done also. We just wanted to make and really ensure that all of the requests for the stockpile reflected the great work that the American citizens were doing in each of these areas to ensure health.
Deborah Birx: (01:30:15)
Then, finally, there was the question about requiring quarantine. I want to make sure that everyone understood when we talked about New York residents who had gone to other places, it was for them to voluntarily self-isolate and take care of themselves, because we felt like they could be exposed, and we really wanted to alert them that the rates in New York City were high and were increasing and that they were probably exposed during some of the most exposure time period before the mitigation efforts went in.
Deborah Birx: (01:30:46)
So this was really about the health of our New York citizens that then chose to go to other places, both to protect themselves and to protect others. So, hopefully, that’s clear to everyone about those issues. We continue to look at the data every day. We really want to applaud the laboratory testing that is helping us. It will help us very much when we can get full surveillance up in many of our communities and surveillance around those most vulnerable, particularly in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, so that we can more rapidly test both the workers and the occupants in those communities. Thank you.
Anthony Fauci: (01:31:24)
Thank you very much, Mr. Vice President. Today, just a few hours ago, I had the opportunity to get on a telephone call with the people who are on the front lines, the people who are actually in the ICUs or in the hospitals from all of the areas that are being hardly hit, including New York.
Anthony Fauci: (01:31:46)
I’m not a supply person. I’m a physician, a scientist. I do vaccines and I do drugs, but I am a member of the task force, and I do take very seriously the responsibility that we have to those individuals to get them the material that they need. We’ve heard discussions about the ventilators, personal protective equipment, masks, and things like that.
Anthony Fauci: (01:32:05)
They are doing an amazing job up there, and I just want to have a message to them, which I told them over the phone, that, as a member of the task force, with my colleagues here, we’re going to do everything we can to make sure that they get everything they need at the time that they need that, because they are doing an amazing job up there, and I salute them. Thank you.
Mike Pence: (01:32:24)
Great. We’ll take a few questions.
Just a quick one to Dr. Birx, please. I asked you, I think it was about eight or nine days, about the data from all these tests, and you had suggested that there would soon be a website where we would see all the data. Are we closer to that? When do you expect that? Do you have any data to give us tonight? As far as I can tell, this has not been publicly released yet.
Deborah Birx: (01:32:47)
Yeah. No, thank you. I’ve learned, and as Tony has described, we’ve learned that when a community is educated, we all do better together, and so it’s important to get that information out when we start talking about where the virus is, what the percent positives are, and really inform communities so that they can make decisions, so that people can take protective measures for themselves and for their families.
Deborah Birx: (01:33:12)
I find that it’s important, yes, for us to have the data, but it’s equally important for the state and local governments, as well as the communities. We are still, because we worked very hard to get it into the first bill, but it was changed to state and local labs, and, obviously, 95% of all the tests are being done in the commercial labs. So in this recent bill that was just approved, it is mandated that all commercial labs need to report. So you’ll have that data when we get the data comprehensively from all the commercial labs. Well, it was passed today, so hopefully we’ll expect it tomorrow.
One more question.
Dr. Fauci … [inaudible 01:33:55] Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci, whomever, I guess what is the testing standard here? Are you going to need to test people who are well or only people who are symptomatic? Obviously, let’s say in Omaha, ten people walk into a hospital. Five come in. They’re all tested positive. Five go home. They may still be positive. What is your standard in order to make these recommendations?
Deborah Birx: (01:34:13)
So I’m glad you asked, because the important thing about testing, it only tells you if you’re positive or negative that day. You could become positive the next day. So testing should be used intentionally as a surveillance tool or a diagnostic tool, and I think what we are going to work on over the weekend is to weave together both a testing strategy for surveillance, which you have brought up in that key point, while maintaining a strong testing for diagnosis, because our first obligation is still to ensure that patients get diagnosed, both so that the personal protective equipment for those who are negative doesn’t have to be utilized, but also to give those patients the opportunity to have optimal care. I think Dr. Fauchi mentioned this a few minutes ago. The things we have learned over the last just three months was a lot of information about how best to ventilate patients. I think that has been shared across communities and across clinicians around the globe. We’d never previously had an experience where a lot of people had to be ventilated prone.
Deborah Birx: (01:35:23)
So this kind of information that has been shared has been critical to improve the survival of the patients that we have in the United States of America, and we really want to applaud the countries who have been giving all of us that information and sharing it across the clinical network.
I’d like to put it to Dr. Fauci, if I could. Dr. Fauci, Sunday will mark one month since the first death from this new disease. I wanted to ask you a bit of a philosophical question. I’ve known you for 25 years. You’ve been through HIV/AIDS, MERS, SARS, West Nile virus, Ebola, all of that. How has this nation changed since that first death one month ago?
Anthony Fauci: (01:36:00)
Well, this is truly an unprecedented situation that we’re going through. As you mentioned correctly, John, I have been through everything from the very beginning of the very uncertain days with HIV/AIDS. Cumulatively, if you look at what’s happened with HIV/AIDS over the 37 and a half, 38 years that we’ve had it, the burden and the suffering and the death has been enormous, historic, but it came over a period of time. There was the fright in the beginning.
Anthony Fauci: (01:36:31)
What we’re seeing now, in actual, real time, is something that’s unprecedented. This is something that we have never seen before, at least in our generation. They’ve seen something maybe like this back 100 years ago, and we’re really being challenged to not only learn in real time, to be able to respond in a way that is helpful and effective, but we’re also in uncharted waters. I think that’s the thing that I find different, is that the waters are uncharted so that it isn’t as if we have an example of how to do it. We have an extraordinary confrontation on the health and the welfare of the globe, particularly for us here in the United States. So as somebody who has been through all of those outbreaks, this truly is unprecedented. So from the first day to now, the first death, we’ve been through something that no one has ever experienced in our generation.
Mike Pence: (01:37:34)
Let me say good evening to each one of you. I trust this was helpful. We’ll continue to keep you informed. Over the course of the weekend, the President will be traveling to Norfolk for the embarkation of the US Navy ship Comfort. Our task force will be meeting through the course of the weekend, and we’ll be reviewing the data and preparing recommendations for the American people, going forward. But thank you all for your time and attention.