Apr 10, 2020
Donald Trump Coronavirus Task Force Press Conference Transcript April 10
Donald Trump and the Coronavirus Task Force held their April 10 briefing on COVID-19. Trump said he would not open the country “until we know this country is going to be healthy.” Some people found a quote from Surgeon General Jerome Adams offensive, where he said for communities of color to avoid drugs & alcohol, call friends and family, and to “Do it for your abuela, do it for your grandaddy, do it for your big mama, do it for your pop pop.” Read the full transcript here.
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Donald Trump: (00:24)
Thank you very much everybody, and good afternoon. Today’s Good Friday and this Sunday, millions of Christians celebrate Easter and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. At this holy time, we pray that God will heal the sick and comfort the heartbroken and bless our heroes. As American families look forward to Easter, we’re reminded that our story ends not in despair, but in triumph and renewal.
Donald Trump: (00:58)
Very appropriate, isn’t it? I’d like to provide Americans an update on our ongoing efforts in the war against the invisible enemy. Before I do that, I’ll have a couple of notes. The United States in discussions last night with Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and in dealing with OPEC nations, we are trying to get Mexico, as the expression goes, over the barrel, and Mexico is committing to do a hundred thousand fewer barrels. President and I spoke last night, we have a great relationship, great friendship. They’re helping us very much at the border.
Donald Trump: (01:40)
They have 27,000 soldiers, Mexican soldiers on our border right now, stopping people from coming into our country as our wall goes up. We’re up to about 168 miles of wall. And in speaking with the president, they have a limit. The OPEC nations have agreed to a different limit reduction of about 23%. So what I thought I would do, and I don’t know that it’s going to be accepted, we’ll find out, the United States will help Mexico along and they’ll reimburse us sometime at a later date when they’re prepared to do so.
Donald Trump: (02:19)
And we had a great conversation, but we’ll find out how that all works out. As you know, they’re trying to get rid of the glut of oil. There’s a tremendous glut of oil and we don’t want anything to hurt our incredible industry, actually the largest producer in the world now. So we don’t want anything to hurt those jobs, those great jobs in Texas and North Dakota and Oklahoma and everywhere.
Donald Trump: (02:43)
We have a tremendous energy, New Mexico, tremendous energy business, and we want to keep those jobs. So we’re working on it. I think eventually it’s going to work out, may work out quicker than what most people thought possible and maybe it won’t, but it’ll work out eventually. Our experts are monitoring the data from every part of our country having to do with the topic that we’re here to discuss.
Donald Trump: (03:13)
In the midst of grief and pain, we’re seeing clear signs that our aggressive strategy is saving countless lives. A tremendous progress is being made. Although when you look at some of the numbers, I just spoke with Governor Cuomo, we had a good talk. When you look at those numbers, the numbers of death, people that have died, it’s so horrible. Now, on the other side, you have the numbers of beds being used. We’re just saying are substantially reduced.
Donald Trump: (03:48)
That’s usually the sign that it’s heading in the downward curve. So New York, we know where that is, but in the midst of all this grief and this pain, we’re seeing these signs and we’re seeing them very strongly, and a lot of that has to do with the aggressive strategy in saving so many lives. We’re saving so many lives compared to what it could have been. So nobody knows what the number is, but we had a number of 100,000 lives, as many as that is, it’s impossible to even think of it. And that was the low end with a tremendous amount of work and a tremendous amount of… you can call it many different things. Our people had to be extremely strong and brave to be able to put up with what they’ve put up with. But the minimum, if you did this social distancing and every other aspect, and I think I can say 90% maybe even more than that were able to do it.
Donald Trump: (04:55)
The minimum number was 100,000 lives and I think we’ll be substantially under that number. Hard to believe that if you had 60,000, you can never be happy, but that’s a lot fewer than we were originally told and thinking. So they said between 100,000 and 220,000 lives on the minimum side and then up to 2.2 million lives if we didn’t do anything.
Donald Trump: (05:22)
But it showed just tremendous resolve by the people of this country. So we’ll see what it ends up being, but it looks like we’re headed to a number of substantially below the 100,000 that would be the low mark and I hope that bears out. The situation in Detroit and New Orleans appears to be stabilizing. Detroit is really started to go up and now it is stabilizing and New Orleans is a great place. I have so many friends there. They can’t believe what’s happening, but it’s really stabilized.
Donald Trump: (05:58)
I spoke with the governor of Louisiana and as you know, we’re building them additional beds right now, the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA. And that is going to be done and I hope they’re not going to be very well used because I think they’ve really… I don’t think they’re going to need them or certainly not very many of them. We built them a big hospital of a thousand beds and now we’re in the midst of doing another thousand. I don’t think they’re going to be using very many of them and that’s a good thing.
Donald Trump: (06:29)
There was a time, two weeks ago when we said, that’s not going to be nearly enough. We’re going to have to build more, but we wanted to wait to see, and I’m glad we waited. It just looks like they’re doing really well. Louisiana and state of Michigan is doing really much better than we thought. In Washington State, we’ve made enough progress that the governor’s now able to return an army field hospital, so we’re going to take that hospital. We don’t think we need any more hospitals. We built thousands of beds all over the country and we think we’re probably not going to need that hospital anywhere.
Donald Trump: (07:07)
If we do, we’re ready to move it to a different location. In New York, we’re seeing hospital admissions declining very substantially. As I said in nationwide, the number of new cases per day is flattening, substantially suggesting that we’re near the peak and our comprehensive strategy is working. Over time, our guidelines to slow the spread are decreasing the rate of new cases very substantially and will result in fewer hospital admissions and we’re seeing that. It’s incredible.
Donald Trump: (07:39)
I think with no exceptions, it’s looking like it’s lower. And again that’s because of the people doing what they had to do. Great people and working with elected representatives and the doctors, the nurses and everybody. I mean just everybody has been so amazing.
Donald Trump: (08:04)
I was told this morning again, please mention all of those people working in the grocery stores and it’s true, the checkouts and the clerks and the people that are really… and a number of those people have become infected. So we want to thank them and a shout out to them. With the tireless devotion of American doctors and nurses and all of the medical people, we’ve kept our fatality rate very, very low compared to other countries.
Donald Trump: (08:35)
My administration’s closely monitoring the data on the viruses impact on our cherished African American communities because they’ve been hit hard and the surgeon general will be sharing more of that information right after we’re finished here. He’ll be coming up and saying exactly what’s happening because it’s really, it’s very troublesome I will tell you that. I’d also like to provide clarity on the important point for many Americans on elective surgeries. Well, we’ve asked hospitals to cancel surgeries and procedures that do not take place at this time, just not to do them now.
Donald Trump: (09:15)
The choice to delay any treatment still remains between the patient and their doctor. We’re not advising Americans to postpone medical treatment that their doctor believes should occur now, so it’s different kinds of surgery obviously, but we’re really getting to the point where you can start to think about doing that surgery if necessary, pretty soon, I think pretty soon.
Donald Trump: (09:39)
Yesterday I directed Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue to expedite aid to American farmers and Secretary Perdue will be using all of the tools at his disposal to develop a program and very quickly of at least $16 billion to provide relief for farmers, ranchers, and producers impacted by the coronavirus. In this time of crisis, we must keep our supply chains moving from the beginning, right from beginning to end and we’re committed to supporting the amazing men and women who produce supply. I did last night a statement on social media and I said, “I have directed Secretary Sonny Perdue to expedite, help to our farmers, especially to the smaller farmers who are very, very badly hurting right now.
Donald Trump: (10:31)
I expect Secretary Perdue to use all of the funds and authorities at his disposal to make sure that our food supply is stable and safe and our great farmers are prosperous and continue to be prosperous. We’re working very hard to make sure our food supply chain is sound and plentiful, but we all know that that begins with our farmers, cattlemen, ranchers and producers.”
Donald Trump: (10:56)
So we’re going to be working with these small farmers, the big farmers, the cattlemen, the ranchers, all of the producers. We’re going to take care of them. We’re working with them right now. We have a lot of money that was put there through our use of tariffs and other means and we’re going to help out our farmers. And I don’t think… I’ll tell you, I’ve been helping our farmers for a couple of years because they were targeted as you know, by China and others and I think they’re very grateful for what we’ve done. On the medical front, the FDA has issued 47 emergency use authorizations for advancements and testing, new ventilator designs, innovations and personal protective equipment and experimental medicines. And Dr. Hahn’s going to be talking about that. We’ve cut through the red tape to give doctors and patients unprecedented freedom to make their own healthcare decisions, granting access to potential therapies and drugs. Since Monday, we’ve deployed two major shipments of Hydroxychloroquine from our national stockpile and it’s going to various cities. And we are also disposing and getting as quickly as we can, portions of it to the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense. And speaking of the Department of Defense, they’re going to be sending us 10,000,095 masks that they had and we’re in great shape in every way. We’re in great shape with ventilators. We’re in great shape with protective clothing. We have additional plane loads coming in, but we’re not getting any calls from governors at this moment. I can speak, I think for Vice President Pence will be talking in a little while.
Donald Trump: (12:48)
We’re getting very few calls from governors or anybody else needing anything. They’re in great shape for this surge that’s coming in, certain areas in particular and that’s a good job. You’ve done a great job on that, Mike, really a great job. I appreciate it. The whole country appreciates it.
Donald Trump: (13:06)
More than 2 million coronavirus tests have now been completed and we’re conducting approximately 100,000 more every day. We’re also working to bring blood-based Serology tests to the market as quickly as possible so that Americans can determine whether or not they have already had the virus and potentially have immunity. They have immunity if they’ve had the virus. A lot of them don’t even know if they’ve added. Sometimes it’s brutal. You see the Prime Minister seems to be doing well now I hope, he had a rough go of it and still is, but he’s doing better.
Donald Trump: (13:43)
And then some people don’t even know they had it. It could be sniffles, it could be they don’t feel perfect, but they’ve had it and they’re the lucky ones. The NIH, CDC and FDA are currently validating these antibody tests to ensure that they’re accurate and they’re doing that at breakneck speed. I think we can say that doctor, and we’re going to get them approved very quickly, Dr. Hahns.
Donald Trump: (14:09)
When validated, we’re confident that the production will scale up to tens of millions of tests very quickly. We are leading the world now in testing by far and we’re going to keep it that way. Other countries are coming to us and they’re wanting to know about our tests and can they buy the tests and can they do whatever they have to do to get the test. And we’re going to make that very soon. We’ll be in a position to make that possible because it’s important for them to have it.
Donald Trump: (14:38)
And we’re going to have an announcement on the World Health Organization sometime next week. As you know, we given them approximately $500 million a year and we’re going to be talking about that subject next week. We’ll have a lot to say about it. We’ll hold it. Every American should be proud of what our country is achieved in just a short period of time. The US Military has deployed thousands of personnel to build 23 temporary hospitals with more than 16,000 beds. And we have the potential to build many more if we needed them. We’re all ready to go, but I don’t think we’re going to need them, which is great. Great news. And we built those hospitals in 12 states and the District of Columbia using the Defense Production Act and we used it like a hammer. A lot of the media said, “Oh, we weren’t using it.”
Donald Trump: (15:30)
We used it like a hammer to a point where all we had to do is say the words and everybody gave us max and they’ve done a good job. They really have done a good job with few exceptions. And we’ve harnessed the full power of American industry to produce ventilators and other essential supplies. Right now we’re making thousands of ventilators, many of which we won’t need, but we’ll use them in our stockpile and we’ll build that up. We’ll also help build up the stockpiles, which they should have had in the states.
Donald Trump: (16:04)
And so we’re working with governors on that and we’ll also help other countries or countries that are calling us for help. They need ventilators and there are no position to build ventilators. We are, we have Ford and General Motors and many, many companies are building ventilators. So we’re going to be helping at a not too distant point, we’re going to be helping quite a few of the countries.
Donald Trump: (16:29)
Now we’ve launched Project Airbridge to deliver nearly 300 million pieces of personal protective equipment from and around the globe. We’re also shipping out 60 sterilization systems to 10 different cities that can each sterilize up to 80,000 masks each day and I’m even hearing it can go up to 120,000 masks a day, certain equipment with certain additions. It’s a company in Ohio that makes it, it’s a great company. Great, I hear it’s a great product. Works very well. I asked that question. I said, “How come we have to buy so many masks? Why can’t we sterilize the masks that are being used?” And the answer was, you can. In this case, they say up to 20 times, so we can take a mask, certain types of masks, the N95s in particular, we can sterilize them, make them very clean up to 20 times. That’s a great thing.
Donald Trump: (17:22)
In addition, we passed the largest Emergency Economic Relief Package in American history to save the US economy and protect the American worker. As you know, this past week, which was four active days on the stock market, Good Friday today is not included, the markets are closed. In four days, we had the biggest market increase, stock market increase that we’ve had in 50 years. That tells you that there’s a pent up demand, that tells you they want to get back. There’s something good going to happen. I really believe that, there’s something very good going to happen. We have to get back.
Donald Trump: (17:59)
So think of it in this horrible period, this horrible, dark period where this monster came in and worked it’s horrible, horrible spell over the world. 184 countries as of this morning, 184 countries. We’ve done well and I guess the market thinks we’ve done well because we had the biggest stock market increase without one day.
Donald Trump: (18:28)
We’re talking four days instead of five that we’ve had in 50 years, 50 years. Think of that, more than 50 years actually. In short, the American people have launched the greatest mobilization of our society since World War II, deploying every scientific, governmental, medical, and military resource to defeat the virus. So I want to just start then with, we’re going to answer questions later. We’ll have time, if we have a lot of time today. A lot of people are off as they should be, Good Friday, but so I’ll stick around. We’ll answer questions later. I want to start with Deborah Birx, please. Dr. Birx and you can go over some of the numbers we just looked at and that’d be great. Thank you very much, Deborah.
Dr. Birx: (19:11)
Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for outlining how well we are doing in a series of metro areas. What also has been encouraging for those of you who are watching epidemic curves every day, and I’m sure you are, and watching them in log phase because that’s how epidemiologists like to look at their curves. You can see for the first time that in the United States we’re starting to level on the log rhythmic phase like Italy did about a week ago.
Dr. Birx: (19:38)
And so this gives us great heart that not only in specific places but we’re starting to see that change. Obviously, a lot of that is driven by the improvement in New York city, remember for a long time they were over 50% of our cases and 50% of our new cases. That has dramatically changed because of the impact of what the citizens of New York and New Jersey and across Connecticut and now Rhode Island are doing to really change the course of this pandemic and really change the trajectory of new cases.
Dr. Birx: (20:14)
We’re seeing that what many states and metro areas were experience as two-fold and four-fold, four-fold increases that went to two-fold that now those are going to eight days between the doubling rate. Watching this every day gives us hope across these metro areas from New York and New Jersey and all through Denver and of course through New Orleans.
Dr. Birx: (20:38)
We still see cases occurring in the Boston area and in Chicago, but their rate of increase seems to be stabilizing and we really want to call out the work of the mayors of Baltimore and the District and Philadelphia who have really brought all of their health experts together and working with their communities are starting to really change the curves in those areas. What we’re seeing is we’re united in social distancing and that’s been very encouraging to all of us and it should be encouraging to the healthcare providers that are on the frontline, many of which are serving our Americans with such dignity and respect in ensuring that everybody gets optimal care.
Dr. Birx: (21:22)
And as the President noted, our mortality in the United States is significantly less than many of the other countries when you correct them for our population. And that is really solely the work of our frontline healthcare providers. And so working with… You can really… hopefully you get the theme today that we are incredibly proud of our public health leaders at the city level, at the state level, at the federal level who are working together to really change the course of this pandemic, working with their citizens in their communities to make these changes and the American public who have really taken all of this to heart and stayed home.
Dr. Birx: (22:01)
I know last week we really asked a lot of people in the Washington and Baltimore area to consolidate, not go out frequently to grocery stores or pharmacies. You can really see that that’s having a huge impact. So it’s really about the encouraging signs that we see, but as encouraging as they are, we have not reached the peak.
Dr. Birx: (22:23)
And so every day we need to continue to do what we did yesterday and the week before and the week before that because that’s what in the end is going to take us up across the peak and down the other side. We continue to really applaud the work of California and Washington State and Oregon. We’re learning from all three of those states, from their public health officials about how they were able to keep the virus from ever becoming logarithmic. And I think that’s an important lesson for all of us on how they did that, what the timing was in case we ever have to face this issue in the future. Thank you, Mr. President.
Donald Trump: (22:59)
Thank you very much, Deborah. Tony, doctor, please.
Dr. Fauci: (22:59)
Thank you very much, Mr. President. So again, just keeping on the theme that Dr. Birx had mentioned, this is the end of the week, that famous week that we spoke about last weekend in which we would actually was predicted to happen happened. We’re starting to see the leveling off and the coming down that Dr. Birx had mentioned, but it’s important to remember that this is not the time to feel that since we have made such important advance in the sense of success of the mitigation, that we need to be pulling back at all.
Dr. Fauci: (23:37)
I was actually hearkened by the fact that we’ve been talking about the New York, New Jersey, New Orleans, and other areas where they have really big spikes, but there’s other parts of the country, and the middle parts of the country where they’re concerned to make sure they don’t get those spikes. And I really want to salute the governors of states throughout the entire United States, but particularly in the central part of the country because the governor’s awfully see us in these press conferences, and I’ve had calls over the last several days from several of the governors from Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Utah, just about an hour and a half ago.
Dr. Fauci: (24:11)
I spoke with the governors of Arkansas and Wyoming who are really committed to make sure that they don’t get into the situation where they’re going to have spikes in their state. And they’re doing the kinds of things that they don’t get recognized because people don’t talk about them much. But we have a big country, we have 50 States, and it’s not only the big cities, so if we’re going to pull out of this, we’re going to pull out of it in the big cities and we’re going to pull out of it in those areas that aren’t as densely populated.
Dr. Fauci: (24:39)
And I just want to give a shout out to them, they’re doing an extraordinary job. I was really pleasant… I wouldn’t say surprised because I expect it of this country, but to hear what they’re doing and the commitment that they’re putting in to making sure that we don’t have the kinds of situations that we’ve experienced unfortunately in other areas. This is very important. I just want to close by one other thing, something I mentioned yesterday and the day before, that there are a lot of candidate interventions that are going into clinical trials.
Dr. Fauci: (25:09)
For those of you who are interested in it, I recommend you go to clinicaltrials.gov and you’ll see the design of a clinical trial. And you’ll see that many of them are the randomized controlled trials that are the really gold standard of how you find out whether something really is safe and effective. And as the weeks and months, and it’ll probably be months sometime in the summer, we’ll start to see which are working, which are not, and to focus on those that are we developing and real working. I’ll be happy to answer questions later. Thank you.
Dr. Hahn: (25:44)
Thank you, Mr. President. The White House Task Force has been very focused on increasing the supply of personal protective equipment for our great providers. I was one of those providers a few months ago and I can tell you nothing is more important than making sure they have what they need. So in order to increase the supply of N95 masks, FDA has worked with industry and has now authorized two companies who will supply machines to sterilize N95 masks.
Dr. Hahn: (26:13)
Admirable Polowczyk and FEMA are purchasing on behalf of US government 60 sterilization machines, as mentioned by the president. And they will be positioned around the country to increase the amount of supply of N95 masks. Each machine will be able to sterilize 80, 095 masks and 95 masks per day and we hope to actually increase that further. The Vice President and the White House Task Force challenged us yesterday and we responded as a team, FDA issued revised guidance regarding the laundering of gowns because gowns are another issue in terms of supply that we’re looking forward on.
Dr. Hahn: (26:51)
This is not something that normally happens around the country, but issued this guidance, it’s on our website now at FDA. So there’s information about how hospitals can do that to increase the supply. We’ve heard concerns that maybe hospitals might not want to do that because of regulations. And I can happy to tell you that [inaudible 00:27:07] and I have worked on this.
Dr. Hahn: (27:10)
Certified providers and suppliers who follow FDA guidance as posted on the website will be compliant with Medicare and Medicaid requirements. And then finally, last week, FDA provided guidance to manufacturers on manufacturing specifications for cloth gowns. This is another attempt to increase the number of gowns, typically it’s plastic or other types of materials.
Dr. Hahn: (27:35)
And this guidance, if followed, can be used by manufacturers to actually make these gowns and no further regulatory red tape will be unnecessary. They can go into circulation. Thank you.
Jerome Adams: (27:52)
Thank you, Mr. President. Good afternoon everyone. I started off the week talking about the challenges that lie ahead and I want to finish the week just by reiterating what you’ve heard. Mitigation works. It definitively and quantitatively is working and I want to say thank you to America for your efforts to help flatten the curve and to save lives.
Jerome Adams: (28:13)
But at the President’s direction, yesterday, I met with 2,000 Hispanic leaders from their communities. And today, the Vice President led a phone call that I was on with hundreds of African American leaders, including the Reverend Jesse Jackson, including Derek Johnson of the NAACP, including the National Medical Association and the Black Nurses Association to talk about some of the alarming trends we’re observing regarding the impact of COVID-19 on communities of color. And you’ve heard the stats in New York City, Hispanics represent the majority of deaths in Milwaukee County. Blacks are 25% of the population, but almost 50% of the cases and 75% of the deaths.
Jerome Adams: (28:55)
So what’s going on? Well, it’s alarming, but it’s not surprising that people of color have a greater burden of chronic health conditions. African Americans and Native Americans… Excuse me, develop high blood pressure at much younger ages. It’s less likely to be under control and does greater harm to their organs.
Jerome Adams: (29:13)
Puerto Ricans have higher rates of asthma and black boys are three times as likely to die of asthma as their white counterparts. As a matter of fact, I’ve been carrying around an inhaler in my pocket for 40 years, out of fear of having a fatal asthma attack. And I hope that showing you this inhaler shows little kids with asthma all across the country that they can grow up to be surgeon general one day. But I more immediately share it so that everyone knows it doesn’t matter if you look fit, if you look young, you are still at risk for getting and spreading and dying from coronavirus.
Jerome Adams: (29:47)
The chronic burden of medical ills is likely to make people of color, especially less resilient to the ravage of COVID-19 and if possibly, in fact likely that the burden of social ills is also contributing. Social distancing and teleworking we know are critical. And you’ve heard Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci talk about how they prevent the spread of coronavirus, yet only one in five African-Americans and one in six Hispanics has a job that lets them work from home.
Jerome Adams: (30:12)
People of color are more likely to live in densely packed areas and in multi-generational housing situations, which create higher risk for spread of a highly contagious disease like COVID-19. We tell people to wash their hands, but a study showed 30% of the homes on Navajo Nation don’t have running water. So how are they going to do that? And some people of color experience both more likely exposure to COVID-19 and increased complications from it.
Jerome Adams: (30:38)
But let me be crystal clear. We do not think people of color are biologically or genetically predisposed to get COVID-19. There is nothing inherently wrong with you, but they are socially predisposed to coronavirus exposure and to have a higher incidence of the very diseases that puts you at risk for severe complications of coronavirus.
Jerome Adams: (30:56)
But as the Vice President shared on the call this morning, this history, and I want you to hear me say this, it does not have to be our nation’s future. We’re taking steps now in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic to reach, protect and strengthen all communities impacted by this disease and especially our communities of color. More details will be forthcoming, but we are actively working as the Vice President and the CDC director laid out today, data collection, targeted outreach to communities of color and increasing financial employment, education, housing, social and health supports so that everybody has an equal chance to be healthy.
Jerome Adams: (31:32)
And I want to close by saying that while your state and local health departments and those of us in public service are working day and night to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and to protect you regardless of your color, your creed, or your geography, I need you to know you are not helpless and it’s even more important that in communities of color, we adhere to the task force guidelines to slow the spread. Stay at home if possible. If you must go out, maintain six feet of distance between you and everyone else and wear a mask if you’re going to be within six feet of others.
Jerome Adams: (32:04)
Wash your hands more often than you ever dreamed possible. Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and drugs and call your friends and family, check in on your mother. She wants to hear from you right now. And speaking of mothers, we need you to do this, if not for yourself then for your abuela, do it for your granddaddy, do it for your big mama, do it for your pop-pop. We need you to understand, especially in communities of color, we need you to step up and help stop the spread so that we can protect those who are most vulnerable.
Jerome Adams: (32:36)
This epidemic is a tragedy, but it will be all the more tragic if we fail to recognize and address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 and an array of other diseases and risk factors on communities of color. The task force and this administration are determined not to let that happen. The President, the Vice President has said, “We will not let that happen.” We can’t fix these issues overnight, but I promise you we will work with your communities to quickly and meaningfully move the needle in the right direction. Nothing less than the fate of our families and friends. My family and friends depends on it.
Donald Trump: (33:15)
Thank you very much. Good job, thank you. Mike, please.
Mike Pence: (33:20)
Thank you, Mr. President. Today, the White House Coronavirus Task Force met and heard from the President the gratitude that he and I, and I know all the American people feel for all the dedicated workers at FEMA, HHS, US Public Health Service, FDA, and all those that are literally working on your behalf around the clock to partner with states, to partner with local health officials. And Mr. President allow me to add my thanks and admiration to all of the entire team here at the federal level. On this Good Friday, we remember those who’ve lost their lives to the corona…
Mike Pence: (34:03)
Today we remember those who’ve lost their lives to the coronavirus. We remember their families, our dedicated healthcare workers and our first responders. And we do well on this special day for Christians across this country to remember them in our prayers.
Mike Pence: (34:19)
But as you just heard from Dr. Birx and from the experts, it’s also a good day to remember that Good Friday is always followed by Easter Sunday, and there is hope. There’s hope in this moment that thanks to what the American people are doing every day, adhering to the president’s coronavirus guidelines for America. Thanks to the fact that Americans are listening to state and local leaders and putting the health of their family members and neighbors first.
Mike Pence: (34:47)
We’re getting there, America, we’re making progress. But it’s imperative that we all continue to implement all of the guidance in the 30 days to slow the spread. As the surgeon general just just attested at the president’s direction, we engaged more than 400 leaders in the African American community today and allow me to express my appreciation for their leadership and their efforts in communicating to African Americans and other minority population some of the unique challenges that those communities face in the midst of this epidemic. And the CDC as the surgeon general said, is working on not only studying the issue but very rapidly issuing new guidance, and we’ll be communicating that new guidance to all of those great leaders.
Mike Pence: (35:31)
On the subject of testing and supplies. The president gave a great amount of detail, more than 2.1 million tests have been performed. We continue to work very, very closely with FDA and suppliers around the country to expand the ability of testing and you just heard Dr. Huang reflect on the fact very soon we will have an antibody test that Americans will be able to take to determine whether they ever had the coronavirus.
Mike Pence: (35:59)
I spoke today to the governor of Colorado, Jared Polis. We’ve been in contact with Senator Cory Gardner about an outbreak at a particular meatpacking facility in the Colorado area. And at this time our team is working with the governor and working with the senator to ensure that we flow testing resources. At this point, there are some 14 people hospitalized, maybe 200 to 300 of the workforce have been impacted, and we spoke about providing those resources this weekend. And I want to encourage people in Colorado that we will work to support that effort. But I also want to emphasize that all the people that are working in food supply from farmers to meatpackers, to distributors, to truckers, to grocers, continue to have our gratitude, as President Trump said just a few moments ago.
Mike Pence: (36:56)
On supplies, more than 5 billion have been to the States. 29, 600 National Guard had been activated and at the president’s direction, more than 4,700 active duty military personnel have been deployed. Medical military personnel in nine States focusing on the areas of the most significant epidemic. Airbridge, 26 flights have been completed. Four flights are scheduled to arrive today, bringing a quarter million gowns, 25 million pairs of gloves. 54 more flights are scheduled, literally bringing in supplies from around the world.
Mike Pence: (37:33)
Finally, let me say as we go into this very special weekend into Easter services. I know I speak on behalf of the president when I say how grateful we are to all of the churches that have been there and their ministries have been working under great difficulty to continue to provide for the needs of your members. There’ve been food drives, there have been phone calls and ministry has continued and we are grateful for the role on this Holy Week that our churches, our synagogues and all of our houses of worship have played. On their behalf, allow me to remind you that even if you’re not in the pew this Easter Sunday, if you are able, it’s still a good idea to give because those ministries continue to go forward and we encourage you to continue to support them.
Mike Pence: (38:27)
We also want to say very respectfully to all the church communities around this country and all the places of worship to continue to heed the guidelines issued in the president’s coronavirus guidelines for America. We know it’s difficult in this time of year, particularly Mr. President, to avoid gatherings of more than 10. But we’re grateful that so many churches, synagogues, and places of worship have done just that and we urge you to continue to do it. And to my Christian brothers and sisters across the country, let me encourage you with the words that we should all remember that Jesus said, wherever two or more are gathered, there he is also. And so you can worship, you can celebrate Easter and know that you’ll be blessed in so doing and you’ll be serving the nation. Thank you, Mr. President.
Donald Trump: (39:20)
Great job. Thank you. Okay. It’s Good Friday. Let’s be nice. Okay, let’s be real nice. Yeah, please go ahead.
Speaker 2: (39:28)
Thank you Mr. President, can you clarify a little bit what the US offer to Mexico in order to agree to that oil deal? And then also go into detail about what you spoke about on oil with President Putin this morning?
Donald Trump: (39:39)
All of the OPEC nations met and others and they’re all agreeing to cut back because there’s a tremendous glut. We don’t even… We’re filling up our strategic reserves. We don’t even have room to store it and in fact they are using ships to store oil. There’s never been anything like this. It was being overproduced to start off with and then you had the virus and that took off 40% right there. There’s a glut of oil like nobody’s ever seen before. It’s good in many ways and depending on where you are, who you are it’s bad.
Donald Trump: (40:10)
We have a tremendous energy business with hundreds of thousands of jobs. We’re doing great. Number one in the world. So they all got together and they said we’re going to cut it because we have to get rid of this tremendous supply. Now the good news is gasoline prices, I’m seeing 90 cents, 85 cents in different parts of the country, a gallon. Nobody’s ever seen that. I guess you have to go back to the 1950s for that. The big large dollar bills. Remember? You don’t remember, you’re too young. But the fact that you have to go back a long ways to see it.
Donald Trump: (40:43)
So there’s some good, the airlines are trying to come back, having low fuel costs is good for them and other reasons. Steel manufacturing, but a lot of the steel goes to building what we do for the oil and engineering firms. So that’s a double edged sword. But we want to keep our energy, we want to remain independent. We will remain independent I think regardless, but we want to get rid of this tremendous overflow. There’s no place to even store it.
Donald Trump: (41:11)
So the OPEC nations met, they’ve been meeting and I’ve hated OPEC over the years. Absolutely hated them, but obviously it broke down and we potentially have years worth of supply, long time before it ever can catch up even if they do reduce it. And they agreed. But Mexico didn’t agree. It was one of the few countries that didn’t agree. This OPEC plus, these are OPEC plus countries outside. Do you understand? And Mexico didn’t agree. And I understand the president very well. He has a level when he came in and he wanted to keep it at that level. Oil is important for Mexico. The problem is, and I explained it very strongly, you’re going to be selling it for $5 or $10 a barrel, so in the end it’s bad. But he did have some political difficulty with it frankly, and I understand that too. And it’s a small amount for us, it’s a larger amount from Mexico, but it’s a very small amount for the United States being the biggest producer.
Donald Trump: (42:08)
So I agreed to pick up some of the slack. So he was going to reduce it by a 100,000 barrels, reduces output by a 100,000 barrels. And I was going to pick up the slack and they would make it up to us at a later date. They would make up what we’re doing at a later date. It could be in a different form. And I don’t know whether or not that’s going to… If Mexico was acceptable, I don’t know whether or not that’s going to be acceptable to the other oil producing nations. We’ll find out. But it’s something that would certainly be acceptable to me to get it over the back.
Donald Trump: (42:38)
So Mexico is going to reduce by a 100,000 barrels and that would mean that there are 250 to 300 barrels short. We’d make up the difference. They would reimburse us at a later date.
Speaker 2: (42:51)
You mean make up the difference by cutting US production?
Donald Trump: (42:53)
By cutting some United States. Now the US production had already been cut because we’re a market driven economy and oil is very market driven. They’ve been cutting oil all over the place. We’re cutting it back. And what does it mean really? It means that we have it in the ground, we can use it now. Now we have a lot of ground with a lot of oil in it. I think we’re number one in that too. We’re probably number one, especially with ANWR as I got ANWR approved IN Alaska. That’s one of the biggest finds anywhere in the world. So when you add it all up, I think we’re probably number one even in what we have under.
Donald Trump: (43:26)
We’re very lucky. We grew up in a land that was rich in a lot of ways, but it’s also rich because it has a lot of oil underneath, oil and gas. And as natural gas, LNG is all over the country now at a very low price. And our carbon, our atmosphere, the level of environmental cleanliness is at it’s all time best right now. All time best. Because we are using a lot of natural gas.
Donald Trump: (43:55)
But we have many forms of energy including some of the newer forms that people want to see us go to. We have a lot of different forms of energy. We’re number one in the world. We want to keep it that way. So we’re helping Mexico out. We will be reimbursed in a form sometime in the future.
Mr. President I want to ask you about the new federal projections in a moment. But first today you tweeted “the invisible enemy will soon be in full retreat.” Given it’s invisible without widespread testing how would you know?
Donald Trump: (44:24)
I think that we’re going to have it in retreat. Will it be today? No. Tomorrow? No, but it will be at a certain point in the not too distant future it will be gone.
And how do you do that without the widespread testing, specifically my question.
Donald Trump: (44:36)
We’ll know because people aren’t going to go to the hospital. People aren’t going to get sick. You’re going to know that with that, but we’re going to do very substantial testing. We’re doing more testing right now than any other country in the world by far. And if you’d like to have that question answered, I’ll have the professional answer it. Deborah, perhaps you could come up. We are doing tremendous testing. But you’ll know. You’re going to know before anybody because you’re going to see nobody’s getting sick anymore. It will be gone and it won’t be that much longer.
I’ll ask you about the projections after. Thanks Mr. President.
Dr. Birx: (45:04)
Thank you Mr. President. So the testing. I want to reemphasize about what kind of testing we’re talking about. This is RNA diagnostic testing. That is the platform that was built to respond to this epidemic. It is the same platform that we utilize for HIV viral loads. And so many HIV clients have also given up their space on the machines to have these tests run for all of Americans.
Dr. Birx: (45:29)
This assay is complicated. It’s not like an assay that you have for your other diseases, your strep test or other diseases like that. This is a very complicated assay that requires a lot of technical oversight and it’s part of the reason why not all 100% of machines are running at full capacity. But we had great discussion with the lab directors about that. Every day more are brought online, but I think we have to create expectations of what the daily test rates will be.
Dr. Birx: (46:02)
Last year we probably did 3 million HIV viral loads or 4 million HIV viral loads as a country. We’ve done almost 2.2 million in four weeks. So this is unprecedented in what we have to do. I think that’s why we’re working very hard for two pieces and I want to make sure that people understand testing is just part of our strategy. The other part of the strategy has to be this syndromic and influenza like illness where there’s an alert to an illness. And so that we’re surveying where we know the most vulnerable cases have appeared, and the great call that I had with the mayors and with the health officials yesterday and mayors today. A lot of the rural areas, their primary and as it was in Washington and California was at the nursing homes.
Dr. Birx: (46:51)
So the issue is to build a testing strategy that speaks to our strengths of laser focusing a strategic approach to testing when we know what our volumes are. And they increase every day, but we have to be realistic about what the volumes will be a week, two weeks, three weeks from now. And combine that with strategic surveillance so that we’re testing symptomatic people and their contacts very quickly to go back to contract tracing, utilizing our complete strategy. And I think we’re very much interested, and it’s why the president three weeks ago really put us on getting an antibody test.
Dr. Birx: (47:28)
I called from the podium for our university colleagues and hospitals to begin an ELISA based test because that’s a blood draw. But we really wanted a finger prick to make it easy and deployable. That’s what’s being worked on now. Of course we don’t want to promise until we have it because I think we deserve that. The American people deserve that. To have a test that is efficient, to let people know who’s been positive for immunity. That’s critical to epidemiologists and public health officials, to know what the penetrance of a virus was into a community when all you’re seeing are the serious cases and testing the most symptomatic. And so that’s a question that we still have.
Dr. Birx: (48:09)
Is this the tip of the iceberg or is this half the iceberg or three quarters of the iceberg? What we have seen to date. And we have, I just want to complete the thought by saying in the areas where we had an outbreak, these large metros, Louisiana, Denver, Detroit, Chicago, New York, New Jersey, by per capita we’ve done more tests than any other place in the world. That was intentional. We focused the tests where the need was the greatest and the burden of disease the greatest, and now we’re trying to really see how strategically that very valuable resource can be utilized around the countries to create a mosaic of testing combined with surveillance.
Can I ask you about the new federal projections? There’s new reporting today, the new federal projections suggest-
Donald Trump: (48:57)
Want to ask who?
I’d like to ask you if I can about the new federal projections that suggest lifting the 30 day shelter in place orders would lead to a spike in infections. Have you seen those new projections from your Department of Homeland Security and HHS?
Donald Trump: (49:14)
When did they say this would take place? When?
They said that it would take place if the 30 day shelter in place were to be removed. There are three different examples.
Donald Trump: (49:21)
We’ll talk about that. Doctor, would you like to talk about that.
Is that your thinking, though that those-
Dr. Birx: (49:24)
We haven’t seen [crosstalk 00:49:25].
Donald Trump: (49:26)
They haven’t seen it. I guess they leaked it to NBC.
They didn’t leak it to us. It’s being reported by others.
Donald Trump: (49:31)
But nobody’s seen it and they’re the ones are doing it.
It’s your administration, so I asked. It’s from the HHS and DOJ. I’ll circle back-
Donald Trump: (49:38)
We’ll with find out about it. They don’t know about it. Do you want to say something?
Dr. Fauci: (49:44)
First of all, Peter, I haven’t seen that, so I can’t quote on that.
The New York Times just reported it within the last [crosstalk 00:49:49].
Dr. Fauci: (49:49)
That’s okay. I still haven’t seen it, I’ve been in here all day.
I’m just telling you what I [crosstalk 00:49:54].
Dr. Fauci: (49:54)
What I think that they’re talking about is that whenever you pull back, you would expect that you might start seeing cases. And what we’ve been talking about, what Dr. Birx has just mentioned, is that when you see that, that’s where you want your resources to be able to very efficiently in real time, identify, isolate and contact trace. So don’t let anyone get any false ideas that when we decide at a proper time when we’re going to be relaxing some of the restrictions, there’s no doubt you’re going to see cases. I would be so surprised if we did not see cases. The question is how you respond to them. I think that’s what they were referring to.
I guess the question, Mr. President, should Americans have to decide between staying healthy and going back to work?
Donald Trump: (50:37)
I think we’re going to do both. We’re going to go back to work and we’re going to stay healthy, and staying healthy is also a proportion. If you look at what we’re doing, we’re looking at a date. We hope we’re going to be able to fulfill a certain date, but we’re not doing anything until we know that this country is going to be healthy. We don’t want to go back and start doing it over again, even though it would be in a smaller scale. Yeah. Jeff, go ahead.
Thank you, sir. Just a follow up on the oil question. The president of Mexico said that you had agreed that the US would cut production by 250,000 barrels per day. Is that what you agreed to?
Donald Trump: (51:09)
Yes, which we’ve already done by the way. But we would agree to a reduction cut. They would agree to do something to compensate us in the future.
Do you make any assurances to Saudi Arabia that you, the United States would not bail out oil drillers here?
Donald Trump: (51:27)
We didn’t discuss that with Saudi Arabia. We just discussed the numbers and we discussed who’s opposed and who’s not, and pretty much everybody is in favor of it because they’re getting clobbered, they’re all getting clobbered. All of those countries are having problems. If you look at Saudi Arabia, that’s their source of income. Primary source of income by far. So they want to do it. Russia wants to do it. The OPEC nations want to do it. They All want to do it. So we’ll see what happens. There’s a difference between wanting to do it and doing it. Yeah, go ahead. OAN, in the back.
Speaker 3: (51:57)
Thank you Mr. President. This is a national security question back to Venezuela and China. Your administration has placed a $15 million bounty on Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro, and we have news this morning that president Xi is talking with Nicholas Maduro expressing his financial support for Maduro. So two questions. One, have you discussed with President Xi the US policy on Maduro; and two, how does this affect US policy with regards to it’s war on anti [crosstalk 00:00:52:33]?
Donald Trump: (52:32)
We will not be happy if that takes place. I have not spoken to President Xi of China about Venezuela, about that aspect of Venezuela, but if that took place, we will not be happy. Okay. I will not be happy.
Speaker 3: (52:44)
Are you concerned that he’s opening up another financial avenue?
Donald Trump: (52:48)
I’m concerned about everything. That’s why I don’t sleep a lot. I get myself concerned about everything, but I would not be happy about that. Go ahead.
Speaker 2: (52:57)
Mr. President, getting back to Peter’s question, a variation of that question., Your doctors who are gathered here seem to be in doubt as to whether or not the country could reopen on May the 1st, if they come to you before May the 1st and say the country is not ready or huge parts of the country are not ready to reopen on May the 1st will you listen to them?
Donald Trump: (53:18)
I listen to them about everything? I think they’re actually surprised. I have great respect for these people. All of them. [crosstalk 00:53:25] And others that are working with us. I have great respect for this group. In fact, I told Tony Fauci, I said, “Why don’t you move to New York? Run against AOC. You will win easily.” So he decided that he’s not going to do that? I kid, by the way. You know this.
Speaker 2: (53:41)
Some of your allies have been bashing these doctors, would you tell them to cut it out?
Donald Trump: (53:47)
I can only say this. I have tremendous respect for these people and we’ve done very well and when you look at us compared to others, we’re a big nation. When you look at us compared to others, when you see how we’ve taken testing from a broken system that I inherited to having the best tests that anyone’s made anywhere in the world and other countries are calling us wanting to use our technology. I have great respect for these people. I’m never saying bad about this.
Speaker 2: (54:13)
If they come back to you sir and say “Before may the 1st we can’t open on May the 1st, do you listen?
Donald Trump: (54:19)
I will certainly listen, I will certainly listen. There are two sides. Remember I understand the other side of the argument very well because I look at both sides of an argument. I will listen to them very carefully though. Please go ahead.
Speaker 2: (54:32)
Thank you. Mr. President, you may have seen this, but JP Morgan came out with a forecast about GDP growth in the second quarter and they’re saying a 40% decline in the second quarter of this year. Do your economic advisors share that view?
Donald Trump: (54:46)
I think my economic advisers are interested in the third quarter and really the fourth quarter. And I think we have a chance to do record fourth quarter numbers because there’s a tremendous pent up demand. And you see it this week. What reason would there be other than faith in us and in this country, faith in this group and me and our vice president and everybody, governors perhaps, you can add them into it also. What reason would there be in a shortened week, four days instead of five to have the biggest stock market gain in over 50 years? So I think that to me there’s a sign.
Donald Trump: (55:24)
Look with all we’ve been down, we’ve never been hit, I don’t know, has this country ever been hit like this? Probably not. 1917 but that was different. It was a different time and frankly Europe took the brunt of it. We didn’t, but it was a terrible time also, but probably never been hit like this. Somebody was saying.
Donald Trump: (55:44)
In fact, I was speaking with Governor Cuomo about it because we were in New York City, a place we love New York State with the World Trade Center, and that was approximately 3,000 people. Well we’ve doubled that in this same area. We’ve doubled that, more than double it. Substantially more. And it’s obviously going. We had our highest number yesterday and the day before.
Donald Trump: (56:07)
With all of this news, what would lead you to believe that we’re going to have the best stock market week, shortened week, in 50 years. Almost broke the all time record. You know what that is? That’s a pent up demand now. That’s my opinion. The other thing is we’re doing tremendous stimulus plans and despite what you reading, there’s back and forth, but we are getting along with the Democrats. They want to see something happen. We have to help our workers, we have to help our small businesses. We have to help our restaurants. I think deductibility will be great for entertainment, restaurants, all of that.
Donald Trump: (56:40)
Look, I think with the stimulus, with the people, with what we’ve got going with all of the things, we’re going to be meeting with the airlines over the weekend. We have a great plan for the airlines. We’ve got to keep the airlines going. It’s never been a great business, but it’s a very vital business for the country. We’re going to be meeting with Boeing, we’re going to be meeting with a lot of companies that are great companies and were great companies a short while ago. We can’t let anything happen to Boeing. It’s got so much potential. You talk about potential, can anything have more potential than that?
Donald Trump: (57:15)
So we have a lot of very exciting things taking place. We have tremendous plans, we have tremendous stimulus. And I think we have a chance to do really well. So this quarter isn’t the quarter I’m looking at. Third quarter we start to think about it, and I think fourth quarter is going to be at a level that maybe we haven’t seen before. I think our country, with the stimulus, with all that we’ve been through, we’ve learned a lot. Don’t forget, we’ve about pandemics and epidemics. We’ve learned a tremendous amount, and with all that we’ve learned… As an example, we’re making ventilators. We have thousands of them being delivered in the very near future. We have countries calling us. ” Can we have ventilators?” That would’ve been an unthinkable call. I wouldn’t know what to say. They have people dying, but we needed them for ourselves.
Donald Trump: (58:08)
We have plenty before the surge. In New York, they need far fewer hospital rooms or far fewer hospital beds in particular than we thought. And I have to say, Dr. Birx told me that four weeks ago, six weeks. I remember you said “That number is too high. We don’t need that many.” And based on what she said and others, we did what we had to do. We actually gave the maximum. We built Javits, we sent the ship in. We then made the ship COVID because there weren’t a lot of people on the roads. You didn’t have the accidents that we thought, other unrelated accidents, nobody driving. Normally you have a lot of car accidents, you have a lot of motorcycle accidents. You have people going to the hospital. We didn’t have that. We had almost none of it, so a lot of things have happened.
Donald Trump: (58:55)
I think we have a chance to be stronger than before. I really do. I think the stimulus is very important to what we’re doing. I think it’s very, very important. Please, go ahead.
Speaker 4: (59:05)
Mr. President may I ask you about credit and debt as well. Many American individuals and families have had to tap their credit cards during this period of time and businesses have had to draw down their credit lines. Are you concerned, Mr. President, that that may hobble US economy, all of that debt, number one? And number two, would you suggest to credit card companies to reduce their fees during this time?
Donald Trump: (59:29)
Well, it’s something that we’ve already suggested. We’re talking to them. Business interruption insurance. I’d like to see these insurance companies. You have people that have paid, when I was in private I had business interruption. When my business was interrupted through a hurricane or whatever it may be, I’d have business where I had it. I didn’t always have it. Sometimes I had it. Sometimes I have a lot of different companies. But if I had it, I’d expect to be paid.
Donald Trump: (59:54)
You have people, I speak mostly to the restaurateurs where they have a restaurant they’ve been paying for 25, 30, 35 years. Business interruption, they’ve never needed it. All of a sudden they need it. And I’m very good at reading language. I did very well in these subjects. And I don’t see the word pandemic mentioned. Now some cases it is, it’s an exclusion, but in a lot of cases I don’t see it. I don’t see a reference and they don’t want to pay up. I would like to see the insurance companies pay if they need to pay if it’s fair. And they know what’s fair and I know what’s fair. I can tell you very quickly.
Donald Trump: (01:00:31)
But business interruption insurance, that’s getting a lot of money to a lot of people and they’ve been paying for years. Sometimes they just started paying. But you have people that have never asked for business interruption insurance and they’d been paying a lot of money for a lot of years for the privilege of having it and then when they finally need it, the insurance company says we’re not going to give it. We can’t let that happen. Please, go ahead.
Speaker 5: (01:00:55)
Thank you, Mr. President. On March 6 you said anyone who wants tests can get a test. Now you’re saying that you would be open to reopening the government without having a national testing system. How do you square those two statements given that there are still issues with testing going forward and how can you tell people [crosstalk 01:01:14]?
Donald Trump: (01:01:13)
There are not a lot of issues with this. I got it. There’s not a lot, and it’s a good question. There’s not a lot of issues with testing. Certain sections of the… We go to Iowa, we go to Nebraska, we go… And interestingly Idaho is very interesting because they had a few breakouts, small breakouts, but they are very, very capable states, and they’re big distances. A lot of land, a lot of opening.
Donald Trump: (01:01:38)
You don’t need testing there. Where you have a state with a small number of cases, some states with almost none. West Virginia hung in for a long time, as with none for a long time. So when you have that, you don’t need testing. You don’t have to test every person in the state of Iowa as an example. You don’t have to test every single person to say, “Let’s open up and let’s get the tractors moving and let’s get the corn” and let’s open up all of the different things they do in that great state. You don’t need that.
Donald Trump: (01:02:11)
With that being said, if there’s a little hot corner someplace, we’ll be testing, but I think Deborah speaks to this very well. Same thing in New York. That’s what we talked to Governor Cuomo about this morning. We have the Abbott test, which is very quick and very easy. It goes very fast. Then we have a lesser test that we talked about where we can talk about a larger area. So we’re going to do testing, but you don’t need to test 325 to 350 million people because, number one, it’s unnecessary. Vast numbers, vast areas of our country don’t need this. I think you agree with me on that. You just don’t need it.
Donald Trump: (01:02:53)
Now we have certain hotspots, so Louisiana’s a hotspot, New York’s a hotspot, Detroit’s a hotspot. And then you have certain areas in certain hotspots that you have to even go more so. And we’re doing all of that. Remember this, we’ve done more testing than any country in the world and we have the best test and we developed this over a very short period of time. Please.
Speaker 5: (01:03:12)
Can I ask you also about the African American disparity? I have a question for you and a question for the Surgeon General. For you, Mr. President, we know that these health disparities have existed for a long time among African Americans, Latinos, and other people of color. Why did the administration possibly have a plan directed at those communities to prevent high death rates knowing that the health disparities were there?
Donald Trump: (01:03:34)
Well we do have a plan and one of the things I’m most proud about is what I’ve been able to do for the African American community. The lowest job numbers in the history of our country.
Speaker 5: (01:03:45)
[crosstalk 01:03:45] the virus.
Donald Trump: (01:03:46)
Just before the virus came. Well, I’m just saying, because this has been here for three weeks. So just before, African American community had the lowest unemployment, the best employment numbers, more African American people and communities have been thriving. If you look at our opportunity zones and what we did, Tim Scott, who is a fantastic Senator, came to me, opportunity zones. More jobs for African Americans than ever before. Better healthcare than they’ve ever had before. All of these things. The surgeon general spoke to it and he spoke to it, I thought really brilliantly. I found it very interesting what he said. And I’d love you to come up and answer the second part of her question because I think you would do a much better job than I would please.
Speaker 5: (01:04:33)
Thank you Mr. Surgeon General. I have a quick question for you. You said that African Americans and Latinos should avoid alcohol, drugs and tobacco. You also said do it for your abuela and do it for big mama and pop pop. There are some people already-
Jerome Adams: (01:04:46)
I said granddaddy too.
Speaker 5: (01:04:47)
There are some people online that are already offended by that language. And the idea that you’re saying behaviors might be leading to these high death rates. Could you talk about whether or not people… Could you I guess have a response for people who might be offended by the language that you used?
Jerome Adams: (01:04:59)
Well I used that language because that’s the… I had been meeting with the NAACP, with the National Medical Association, with others. I actually talked with Derek Johnson multiple times this week, the head of the NAACP. And we need targeted outreach to the African American community. And I used the language that is used in my family. I have a Puerto Rican brother-in-law. I call my granddaddy granddaddy. I have relatives who call their grandparents big mama.
Jerome Adams: (01:05:29)
So that was not meant to be offensive. That’s the language that we use and that I use and we need to continue to target our outreach to those communities. It is critically important that they understand it’s not just about them and I was very clear about that. It’s not just about what you do, but you also are not helpless. We need to do our part at the federal level. We need people to do their parts at the state level and we need everyone black, brown, white, whatever color you are to follow the president’s guidelines, the coronavirus guidelines, and do their part because when I talked to the NAACP three weeks ago, it’s important to note that one of the things they asked me was can you help dispel the myths in this community that people actually can’t get coronavirus if they’re black. That was a myth that was out there that’s actually very important for us to squash here.
Speaker 5: (01:06:15)
So you recommend that all Americans avoid tobacco, alcohol and drug use at this time?
Jerome Adams: (01:06:21)
Absolutely. Yeah. It’s especially important for people who are at risk and with co-morbidities, but yes, all Americans. So thank you. And I will clarify that. All Americans need to avoid these substances at all times. I put out a smoking cessation report in January. I put out an advisory against youth and pregnant women using marijuana last year and that was not directed towards any one race. That’s everybody needs to do everything they can to be as healthy as possible at this critical time. Dr. Fauci, can you add anything?
Dr. Fauci: (01:06:46)
I think you said it perfectly, Jerome. Thank you.
Donald Trump: (01:06:49)
Would you like to add anything to it because you expressed it very beautifully before.
Dr. Fauci: (01:06:56)
Jerome, you did it beautifully. I can’t do it any better than that. And I know Jerome personally and I can just testify that he made no, not even a hint of being offensive at all with that comment. I thought that was appropriate. Thanks.
Donald Trump: (01:07:12)
And I can tell you Jerome has done a fantastic job. Our surgeon general, I just hope nobody steals him and he goes to one of these big companies for a fortune. Don’t leave us. Don’t leave us Jerome.
Jerome Adams: (01:07:23)
Happy serving the people, sir.
Donald Trump: (01:07:24)
He’s doing a great… You are happy and you’re doing a great job. And everybody tells me that too, so we appreciate it. Please.
Speaker 6: (01:07:32)
Thank you. So Google and Apple have announced that they are jointly enabling contact tracing on their mobile phone operating systems. And I’m wondering if this is something that you would consider or maybe the doctor would consider?
Donald Trump: (01:07:45)
[crosstalk 01:07:45] problems and a lot of other things. Is it something we’re going to look at it, certainly, and we know they’ve done that. And it’s highly, it’s very new, new technology. It’s very interesting. But a lot of people worry about it in terms of a person’s freedom. We’re going to take a look at that, a very strong look at it. We’ll let you know pretty soon.
Speaker 6: (01:08:02)
And I have another question.
Donald Trump: (01:08:03)
Brand new. Yes?
Donald Trump: (01:08:03)
… had a very strong look at it. We’ll let you know pretty soon. Brand-new. Yes, please.
Speaker 7: (01:08:04)
So can you explain why it is appropriate in the middle of a pandemic to be talking about cutting or eliminating funding for the World Health Organization?
Donald Trump: (01:08:14)
Well, we’re going to talk about the WHO next week, in great detail. I didn’t want to do it today, Good Friday. I didn’t want to do it before Easter. I also didn’t want to do it before we have all the facts. But over the years, many years, we’ve been paying them from 300 to 500 and even more million dollars a year. China’s been paying them less than 40 over the years. So we’re paying them more than 10 times more than China. And they are very, very China-centric, as I said during the weeks, China-centric. China always seems to get the better of the argument and I don’t like that. I really don’t like that. I don’t think that’s appropriate. I don’t think it’s fair to the American people. I’d tell that to President Xi. I’d tell that to Dr. Tedros. I spoke to him one time. I think he’s a very nice man. I liked him, but we’re going to be talking about that next week, in great detail. We’re looking at it very, very closely.
Donald Trump: (01:09:18)
We want to make sure money is properly spent. But again, why is the United States paying $500 million a year? That’s a lot. That’s a lot. And why is China paying last year, this year, $42 million? But generally under 40, so it’s in the 30s. So we’re at 500, 452, 400, 401, different amounts, different years, and they’re at 40, 38, 36, 35, 32, 31.
Speaker 7: (01:09:49)
Donald Trump: (01:09:54)
No, no. But you have to ask yourself that question and then the answer always turns out to be in China’s favor. Well, I have the same thing with the World Trade. Isn’t that interesting? World Trade. So we have World Health and we have World Trade, so we have the World Trade Organization. And until I came along we were losing cases, so many cases, it was ridiculous. We were always losing these cases. I mean, almost every case. And now we’re winning cases. We just won $7 billion because they know I’m not going to put up with it.
Donald Trump: (01:10:25)
China has been unbelievably taken advantage of us and other countries, since they’re considered a developing nation. I said, well then make us a developing nation too. They get big advantages because they’re a developing nation. India, a developing nation. The United States is the big developed nation. Well, we have plenty of development to do. Okay? And now we’re winning cases because they know that if we’re not treated fairly, I’m going to pull out. Now, you never heard this before because nobody ever talked about the World Trade Organization, but the World Trade Organization has treated us very unfairly. But they know I’m not going to put up with it because all of these countries are taking advantage of the United States.
Donald Trump: (01:11:09)
Now, in the courts, and the court system, we’re not approving new judges, over the last year and a half. We’re not going to approve them. And Bob Lighthizer is working very hard on that. But we had always a minority position, meaning numbers of judges. So we’d have a minority number of judges. I said, how do you win with a minority number of judges? But all of a sudden we’re winning and the reason we’re winning is they know if they don’t treat us properly… And we won $7 billion just this very recently, and the money is pouring in. And we won other cases too. We want a lot of cases.
Donald Trump: (01:11:44)
But you know from covering it, I know you know, that the United States was taken advantage of by the World Trade Organization. And by the way, speaking of China, if you look at the history of China, it was only since they went into the World Trade Organization that they became a rocket ship with their economy. They were flatlined for years and years, frankly for many, many decades. And it was only when they came into the World Trade Organization that they became a rocket ship because they took advantage of all those. I’m not even blaming them. I’m saying, how stupid were the people that stood here and allowed it to happen? But we don’t allow that to happen. And if they don’t treat us fairly, we’ll leave. But now we’re starting to win cases.
Donald Trump: (01:12:29)
How about somebody new for a change? Come on. Go ahead.
Speaker 8: (01:12:32)
As many schools and school districts are closing across the country, Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis has not ruled out opening up schools in May, saying that many kids are not vulnerable to this disease. Do you agree with that assessment and would you recommend that schools open up to those states that have-
Donald Trump: (01:12:56)
Well, I have a lot of confidence in Ron DeSantis, a lot of faith in Ron DeSantis to make the right decision. He’s doing a great job as governor. Ron DeSantis, I had read where he’s thinking about opening up the schools earlier than the date, the end of the month. I’d have to look at the numbers, but again, I like to allow governors to make decisions without overruling them, because from a constitutional standpoint, that’s the way it should be done. If I disagreed, I would overrule a governor, and I have that right to do it. But I’d rather have them, you can call it Federalists, you can call it the constitution, but I call it the constitution. I would rather have them make their decisions. But he’s made a lot of good decisions and he hasn’t said he’s going to, but he’s thinking about it, so I’ll take a look at it.
Speaker 8: (01:13:44)
I was wondering if I can ask a follow-up to one of the doctors. If you allow children back in the schools, wouldn’t that pose a threat to spreading the virus even further to some of those vulnerable people?
Donald Trump: (01:13:55)
I think the answer is obvious, but if you want, either, would you want to just talk about that, maybe? Tony? I think I know the answer to that.
Dr. Fauci: (01:14:07)
I mean, from fewer public health issues is that if you have a situation in which you don’t have a real good control over an outbreak and you allow children to gather together, they likely will get infected. And if they get infected, the likelihood that they will bring the infection home, so that really is a risk. I don’t know the situation at all in any detail, and I’m not specifically speaking about Florida, I’m just speaking generically about what happens when you have infections in the community and you have a congregation of people, such as in classrooms that that’s a risk.
Has anyone under 25 died, Dr. Fauci, in the country?
Dr. Fauci: (01:14:41)
The governor said that no one under 25 has died. I guess you could clarify that people under 25 can die as a result of this.
Dr. Fauci: (01:14:50)
I’m not sure. Again-
… in the country.
Dr. Fauci: (01:14:53)
Okay, let’s do that because I don’t want to have to be answering for a particular state. Yes. People under 25 have died of coronavirus disease in the United States of America.
If you reopen the country in May and there was a new outbreak, or a spike in infections, are you open to the idea of shutting the country down again?
Donald Trump: (01:15:17)
Depending on the outbreak, yeah. And that’s happened as you know, with a couple of countries. You know what I’m doing? I’m watching the other countries, in many cases, they’re ahead of us from the standpoint that it attacked them before us. It hit them first. And I’m watching what’s happening with respect to certain other countries. Some of them obvious, some of them less obvious and what they’re doing and the success of having. And that’s going to play a large part of the role.
Donald Trump: (01:15:44)
We’re also setting up a council of very, very great doctors and business people. We’re going to be announcing it on Tuesday. Some great people.
As a second task force?
Donald Trump: (01:15:59)
This is beyond economic. This is really, I call it the Opening our Country Taskforce, or Opening our Country Council, so we don’t get it confused with Mike’s task force, which has done so great. And we’re going to have the great business leaders, great doctors. We’re going to have a great group of people. We’ll probably do it by teleconference because we don’t really want them traveling in for their own purposes. I don’t think it would look good also, but we don’t want them traveling in, so we’ll do teleconference. We did one the other day with the banks and it was very successful, the teleconference itself. And we’ll be announcing names on Tuesday, who’s on that, and that’ll play a role. But ultimately, I have to make that decision and then I’ll have to make a decision, do we close a little area that’s a hotspot?
Donald Trump: (01:16:43)
I do say this, Jim, I want to get it open as soon as possible. This country was meant to be open and vibrant and great. Not where people are staying in-
Donald Trump: (01:16:55)
I would love to open it. I’m not determined to anything. The facts are going to determine what I do, but we do want to get the country opened. It’s so important. So I have a task force, I’ll have a council. It’s going to be announced on a Tuesday with the names that you have a lot of respect for, a lot of great names, different businesses, different people. Top-
Donald Trump: (01:17:18)
Bipartisan. I didn’t even ask. I mean honestly, I think it’s bipartisan. The one thing I didn’t ask, are you Republican or a Democrat? Hard to believe, but I didn’t ask. So it would be, and I want their views on what they think. Also very important, different parts of the country. Because you go to the Midwest, it’s different than perhaps the East Coast or the West Coast. Now, the West Coast, those numbers are really pretty amazing on the West Coast. Very interesting. So we’re going to be announcing that in a very short while, probably Tuesday. Go ahead, you.
Speaker 12: (01:17:48)
Thank you, Mr. President. Government officials in Latin American and Caribbean nations, Bahamas, Cayman Islands have been saying that US authorities are blocking the shipment of PPE in certain cases. And I’m wondering if you could speak to that, as well as-
Donald Trump: (01:18:04)
Well, what we’re doing, we have a tremendous force out there, Naval force, and we’re blocking the shipment of drugs. So maybe what they’re doing is stopping ships that they want to look. We’re not blocking. What we’re doing is we’re making sure… We don’t want drugs in our country, and especially with the over 160 miles of wall, it’s getting very hard to get through the border. They used to drive right through the border like they owned it, and in a certain way, they did. They could drive, right? They had human trafficking. All of a sudden they have a powerful wall up and they’re not driving through that wall. That wall is tough and it’s also loaded up with equipment, cameras and sensors and everything you can think of. On top of that, we have drones flying back and forth over it, so it’s a very powerful barrier between Mexico and the United States.
Donald Trump: (01:18:55)
A lot of people though, what they’re doing now is they’re trying to come in through the waterways, whether it’s the Gulf or the ocean itself. And what we’re doing is we’re being very tough and we’re being tough because of drugs and also human trafficking. And remember, the human trafficking is mostly females. It’s mostly females. It’s horrible and what we’re seeing is horrible. We have a human trafficking problem worldwide, the likes of which, you think of it as an ancient thing. It’s not ancient. It’s bigger now than it’s ever been before, over the last 10 years, because of the internet. The internet made human trafficking to the extent that it is now, which is massive. The internet made it so big. We have a big Naval force that’s stopping, so maybe when you mentioned that, maybe their ships are getting caught. But we are stopping a lot of ships and we’re finding a lot of drugs. Yeah, please.
Speaker 13: (01:19:54)
Thank you, sir. On the additional money for small-
Donald Trump: (01:19:57)
I meant you, but that’s okay. Go ahead, we’ll do this.
Speaker 13: (01:19:59)
Donald Trump: (01:19:59)
Speaker 13: (01:20:00)
On the additional money for small business apparently, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, speaking with the Democrats in Congress, are you allowing-
Donald Trump: (01:20:07)
Are you talking about the new-
Speaker 13: (01:20:09)
Yeah, on the new $250 billion-
Donald Trump: (01:20:10)
Speaker 13: (01:20:11)
Are you willing to give in to the democratic demands for additional money for hospitals, states and cities in that interim round of-
Donald Trump: (01:20:17)
I’d rather have that be in phase four. I don’t deny it. I think it’s fine, but I think it should be in phase four and I think we should have infrastructure. And I think we should have a payroll tax moratorium because that’s something that over a period of time the workers get sort of semi-immediately. It’s over that period of time. It starts immediately, but it’s over a period of time. I mean, there are a lot of people, I’m one of them, that would have liked to have seen the payroll tax cut as a permanent cut. But we should do the double-edged, meaning business-employee payroll tax cut. So we’re talking about that and I’m certainly okay with helping the States and helping the hospitals. I just think, because look, the hospitals need help. You see what they’ve gone through and the States need help. Some states in particular need help. They need big help.
Donald Trump: (01:21:08)
I’m willing to look at that very strongly, but I like looking at it in phase four. The 251 is actually, the plan is working out well, the banks are getting started with the distribution. They’ve taken thousands and thousands of applications. The numbers aren’t even believable, the number of applications. They’re swamped, with Bank of America and Wells Fargo and I guess Citi Bank is just now kicking in. And also what nobody’s talking about, the commercial banks, the community banks, everyone’s talking commercial banks. The community banks are doing tremendous volumes and they’re probably doing them faster, from what I understand. I hear the community banks frankly are the easiest ones in terms of getting the money out. So the money is getting out. The applications are far beyond what we ever anticipated and that’s why we’re going… Because this is money that goes essentially, to the workers. We want the businesses to hold onto their workers because once they lose the workers, they’re never opening again. It’s not going to happen. Okay. In the back.
Gordon Lubold: (01:22:10)
Yes, sir. Gordon Lubold from The Wall Street Journal. I wondered if you could expand a little bit on the form that Mexico would take the reimbursements. What form would that take? You essentially add it to the tab for the wall that you mentioned. And I have a second question about that.
Donald Trump: (01:22:26)
Well, there’s no real cost because we’re agreeing to produce a little bit less. So number one, it’s staying in the ground, you have it, you have it for another day. It’s actually cheaper than storing it where you take it out and you deliver it to a massive well, like the strategic reserves, our national strategic reserves, where it has to be brought there. That’s an expensive process in itself. But oil is getting to a point where, I mean, there are some areas, some people would say the water is more valuable than the oil. You never thought you’re going to see that. You never thought, having covered, I know you cover it, you never thought you’d be seeing oil at $20 a barrel, but how about $ 10 a barrel? That, you’d never thought you’d see. So we are looking at it very strongly. There is no real cost.
Donald Trump: (01:23:06)
I want to help Mexico out. We have a great relationship with Mexico, great relationship with the president. I really like him a lot. He’s been terrific to us in the border because he stopped. You don’t see the caravans coming up anymore. You don’t see all the problems. When I took office, it was unbelievable what was going on. And they have been helping us a lot and we’ve been helping them a lot. They make product for us, they sell it to us and it’s fine. It’s a good relationship. Sometimes it’s a great relationship.
Donald Trump: (01:23:38)
He could not have done any more than that. And I think there was political reasons for that for him, that other nations don’t have. They don’t have that. The nations that we’re talking about, the 22 other nations that we’re talking about, they just don’t have that problem. So it doesn’t cost us anything and yet, it’s very valuable. We will be reimbursed in the future, maybe in the near future, maybe in the more distant future, but we’ll be reimbursed by Mexico in a certain way and it’ll be fine. But we get Mexico over the hump.
Donald Trump: (01:24:10)
Now, with all of that being said, that doesn’t mean the deal is going to happen anyway because they still have a lot of different stakes. But this was one of the stumbling blocks. Okay, go ahead.
Gordon Lubold: (01:24:19)
If I may. China and some other countries have been particularly active, seen as maybe taking advantage of the US during this period. China, particularly active in the South China Sea. You got a carrier down, obviously. What’s your message to some of these adversaries and competitors?
Donald Trump: (01:24:37)
Well, look, the way I view it is this. China has taken advantage of the United States for 30 years. I mentioned the World Trade Organization. China has taken advantage of us through that and using rules that are unfair to the United States and they should have never been allowed. This should’ve never been allowed to happen. When China joined and was allowed to join under those circumstances, the World Trade Organization, that was a very bad day for the United States because they had rules and regulations that were far different and far easier than our rules and regulations. Plus, they took advantage of them down to the last, and you know China and you study China, and you know what I mean. They took advantage of them like very few people would even think to take advantage of them.
Donald Trump: (01:25:28)
Again, they are considered a developing nation. We are not considered a developing nation. They’re given advantages. Okay. For many years, China has ripped off the United States, and then I came along. And right now as you know, China is paying 25% and we’ve taken in billions and billions and billions of dollars in tariffs from China. And I know a lot of the people kept saying, “Oh no, we’re paying.” Well, we’re not paying. Countries are different, not every country is China. But China would devalue their currency and then also pour out money. And they essentially were paying most of those tariffs, not us. And as you know, we’ve taken in tens of billions of dollars. They targeted our farmers, but we took in so much money that I was able to give back, one year it was 12 billion, one year it was 16 billion. I was able to give back our farmers the money that they were targeted, hurt,
Donald Trump: (01:26:21)
China bought $12 billion and bought $16 billion, one year 12 one year 16. I was able to give them back the 12 and then give them back the 16, the farmers and they weren’t targeted and they’re all in business. Now, we’re doing it because they got targeted in a different way. Now, I’m going to be very interested to see. So we signed a deal with China and under that deal, they’re supposed to buy substantially in excess of $200 billion from us. That’s not only foreign product, it’s manufacturing product, it’s lots of different things. They’re going to buy a lot. I just want to see if they live up to that deal. I know President Xi. I would say he would live up to the deal. But remember this, I never took off the tariff. It’s still 25%, 25% of $250 billion. So for the first time and you saw also…
Donald Trump: (01:27:10)
Now again, I’m going before the virus, because that’s sort of like, “Let’s start all over again.” I can’t tell you that yet because that chapter hasn’t been written yet. But go up a few weeks ago, the deficit with the United States and China was coming way down. Nobody’s ever seen that before. But the deficit has come way down. So now, we start a new chapter. And I can only tell you if a smart person is standing where I’m standing, we’re going to do very well with China. I have to also say this, I think our relationship and having the relationship I have with China is a good thing. But for the first time, we’re benefiting instead of being the sucker that got taken advantage, for years. I said to China, “How did this ever happen?” I got to know them very well. I said to them, representatives of China, at the top level… You know who I’m talking about. I say, “How did this ever happen?” They looked at me and they said, “But nobody ever called us.”
Donald Trump: (01:28:19)
We didn’t have a deal. It’s not like we had a bad deal. We had worse, we didn’t have any deal at all. So they just took advantage. Think of it, $500 billion a year deficit. $500 million is a lot of money, right? Everyone thinks I’ve made a mistake when I say $500 trillion. No, you mean $500 million. No. I said $500 billion a year deficit with China, for a long time. But it 200, it was 300, it was 400, it was 500, $556 billion, $507. $500 billion plus a year deficit with China. Now, I’m charging them tariffs. It’s very interesting, a lot of people that don’t want to do that, they all agreed. Because China has taken advantage of this country like nobody has ever taken. We have built China with the money we gave them. Now, I give them a lot of credit. I give them a lot of credit. They did it, but you know what? We made it a hell of a lot easier. We gave them a fortune.
Donald Trump: (01:29:24)
Go ahead. How about you, in the back? Yes.
Deborah Saunders: (01:29:26)
Well, thank you. Mr. President. I’m Deborah Saunders of the Las Vegas Review Journal and I’m here today as a print reporter, a print pooler. So I’d like to ask you a question and then ask a question from one of the reporters who couldn’t be here because of social distancing.
Donald Trump: (01:29:40)
Sure, go ahead.
Deborah Saunders: (01:29:40)
Donald Trump: (01:29:40)
A little louder, please.
Deborah Saunders: (01:29:42)
Thank you. I was wondering if you have been tested for antibodies, if you’ve taken the antibody test?
Donald Trump: (01:29:48)
Have I been tested?
Deborah Saunders: (01:29:49)
Donald Trump: (01:29:50)
Not that I know of. I’ve had some tests.
Deborah Saunders: (01:29:51)
Has anybody else been tested?
Donald Trump: (01:29:54)
No. They tell me no. I’ll accept that.
Deborah Saunders: (01:29:54)
Has anybody else on the task force been tested for antibodies?
Speaker 14: (01:29:57)
We don’t have a test. We don’t have the test.
Donald Trump: (01:29:59)
That’ll come out. They’ve just developed those tests. It’s sort of new.
Deborah Saunders: (01:30:03)
Okay, good to know. So this question is from Andrew Feinberg with Newsweek. A significant amount of federal aid was made available to Boeing in the recently signed Cares Act relief package. But according to sources, Boeing executives are still planning a round the layoffs. Should Boeing or any company that accepts federal aid, to stay in business during this pandemic be penalized for laying off workers after doing so?
Donald Trump: (01:30:27)
Yeah. Well, the aid hasn’t been given yet, but they will be asking in my opinion. They haven’t even asked yet. Boeing has not asked for aid yet, but I think they probably will. Now, at the same time, they do have to run a company. This isn’t a great time to sell airplanes, let’s not kid ourselves. If you’re a business person, Boeing makes airplanes. They had a big problem with one, but they make the greatest airplanes. They make the best airplanes in the world. They had the problem with one, they got it too complex. It becomes so complex, you have to be number one in your class at MIT to be able to fly it. It’s a mistake. Every two years they want to make it more and more. I mean, they had great success with the 737, the Boeing 737. Then all of a sudden they do the Max and they say, “Let’s make it more complicated. Let’s put on different engines. Let’s do this. Let’s do that.” It was not exactly a good decision. Bad decision, very horrible decision.
Donald Trump: (01:31:23)
Number one, human lives and number two horrible what’s happened to the company. Here’s a company, from a business standpoint, it was probably the greatest company in the world, in my opinion. I think it amounts to 1% of GDP. Some people say it’s a half, I think it’s 1. But here’s one of the greatest companies anywhere in the world, maybe the greatest and boom. Now, on top of what happened there with the two planes, and they say they have that fixed, that’s good. They say they have it fixed, indisputably. In fact, somebody said, they gave me something. I said, “You should say it that way.” They said, “Sir, this is now the safest airplane in the air.” I said, “That’s what you should say. That’s a very good statement. It’s the safest airplane in the air. That’s a very good statement. You should use it.” I said, “By the way, are you changing the name? But whether you do or not, you should use that.” But he said that. A Boeing person said to me, “It’s the safest airplane in the air.” that’s a great thing.
Donald Trump: (01:32:23)
But we know they’re going to need help. Now, does that mean they’re going to need help and they should keep people that they absolutely don’t need? That business is a very cyclical business, like many businesses, frankly. That determination hasn’t been made. They have not spoken to us yet. I think they will be. Maybe they won’t need help. That’ll be great. Look, Boeing made so much money. Who would have thought, they had all of those planes that are parked all over the place, in many cases, I guess, payments not made. But who would’ve thought they could do that and they’re still a solvent company? I mean, what a tragic thing happened in numerous ways, but also economically. So when they see us, making sure that Boeing is strong again is very, very powerful and very important and we’ll do whatever is necessary to do. Please.
Thank you. A quick one and then a longer one. First of all-
Donald Trump: (01:33:18)
Should we keep this going, everybody?
Speaker 9: (01:33:20)
You’re the President.
Donald Trump: (01:33:21)
Jim wants to leave. No, I’m only kidding. Keep it going for a while, yes? I mean, we have time, if you want. You’re not going to criticize me, that the conference was too long? If I leave short, yesterday I left short, “It was too short.” If I stay too long they say it was too long. Some day we’re going to get it just right. Okay. Should we continue? Should we continue? Yes?
Well, at least answer my questions, yeah.
Donald Trump: (01:33:45)
Okay. At least for your question.
Have you had a chance to speak to-
Donald Trump: (01:33:47)
It’s not a bad point.
Have you had a chance yet to speak to Boris Johnson since it came out-
Donald Trump: (01:33:51)
I have not. No. I have a call just to wish him well, to his group. No, I don’t want to be calling him now. I want him to get better. He’s a great guy. He’s become a friend of mine, real friend of mine. He has a great feeling for our country. Obviously, for his country, he loves it. He’s a tremendous guy.
Slightly more complicated one-
Donald Trump: (01:34:13)
I think he’s probably right now… He was very high… I think he might be 100% popularity right now. When they talk about approval polls, right? You ever hear that term? I’m sure you’ve never heard that. I hear it all the time. His approval rating must be about 300%. but he’s a great guy. He was a great guy before and I think people see what he’s been through. What he’s been through is incredible. And they say, a big turn, so let’s see what happens. Let’s hope.
If I may, where do you see the use of something like immunity certificates or documents or passports? When we get to anti-
Donald Trump: (01:34:48)
Something like? Excuse me.
Immunity certificates, once we get antibody testing, whether this will be a useful way-
Donald Trump: (01:34:54)
Yeah. I see a lot of different things. We’re going to be very careful for who comes into the country. Look, my opposition party wants to have open borders. This is a case where I’m very glad that my position is, I don’t want to open borders. I want very strong borders. That includes not only on this Southern border, our Southern border with Mexico, and you could also say our Northern border with Canada, but we want to have strong borders. And I think this is maybe one of the learning points. We learned something about borders. We need borders. The country needs borders to be a great country and I think this is a great point. Go ahead. You have something else?
Yeah. I wasn’t just thinking about that for borders. I just thought for ordinary Americans who are currently stuck at home, if they’re tested for antibodies, it turns out they’ve had the disease and therefore, shouldn’t be infected again. Some sort of documentation that would allow them to go back to work safely.
Donald Trump: (01:35:50)
You mean once they get better?
Donald Trump: (01:35:53)
Okay. So they have the disease and they’re better and they have the immunity now. Supposedly, according to what I’m hearing, it could be for a long period, could be for a lifetime, it could also be for a year or two, I’m hearing Tony. Nobody’s told me yet, if it’s for a year, if it’s for two years or if it’s for a lifetime. Like chickenpox, they say if you have chickenpox, you have immunity, they say for a lifetime. I hope that’s true. But nobody’s actually told me with certainty, maybe because they don’t know yet.
Speaker 10: (01:36:22)
They don’t know yet.
Donald Trump: (01:36:23)
You don’t know yet. Because it’s new. This came upon us. Nobody knew. They do know you have it for a period of time and it’s strong for a period of time. They don’t know. That’s hence the antibodies that we’re making.
Donald Trump: (01:36:37)
I saw somebody who was really sick and he got better, a young person, relatively young person, 35 and physically fit and he got better. He made it barely, but he made it. His first thing that he did when he was better is, “I want to give whatever I can give to help other people because nobody should go through.” It’s a tough thing. So we don’t know yet how long… If you’d like to add anything to that, but we don’t know yet. Is it a year? It will be a year, but is it more than a year? And only time is going to tell. Okay, thank you.
One more question.
Donald Trump: (01:37:11)
Go ahead. We’ll try one more.
Speaker 7: (01:37:13)
Will you have governors, mayors, members of Congress on the Open the Country Council that you talked about?
Donald Trump: (01:37:19)
Yeah. I think so. I think we’re going to put some governors. I’ve gained great respect for governors, both Republican and Democrat. I’ve actually become friends with some of the Democrat governors that I wouldn’t have really had the privilege of getting to know. And Governor Murphy of New Jersey is a very liberal guy. I’m not. But we’ve had a great relationship. John Bell, as you know, I call him John Bell, but John Bell Edwards, people call him John Bell, sort of a cool name, from Louisiana. I have a very good relationship with him.
Donald Trump: (01:37:54)
Gavin Newsom, honestly, I think… Hey, we’re fighting right now. I want automobiles to be made cheaper and safer and stronger. But you save three, $4,000 per… and environmentally equal, or better maybe. And we’re fighting on that. We’re fighting a lot of different things. We fight on the border. He wants open borders. I want people to come into our country illegally. But I’ve gotten very friendly with Gavin Newsome. He’s done a very good job here.
Donald Trump: (01:38:28)
I think I’ve gotten very friendly, I mean, he’s been sort of a friend of mine for a long time, don’t get to see him much, but Governor Cuomo of New York. We talk all the time. I told you I spoke to him literally, the last call just before walking in here. I’ve really developed a lot of good friendships with the governors. And including the governors, I think Mike DeWine, Republican, but I think he’s done a great job in Ohio. So yeah, I want to put on both parties. I want to have some governors. Am I going to have all of the governors? But I’d like to put some representative governors on the council. Yes, I would like to do that.
Speaker 7: (01:39:06)
Any to serve?
Donald Trump: (01:39:06)
I have, I’ve asked a couple of them. They’ve all said yes. So far, everyone said yes. I think everybody would like to be on that council. That’s a very important council. Go ahead in the back, you haven’t gone yet.
Speaker 11: (01:39:18)
Thank you, Mr. President. Two questions, if I may. Do you have a message to those pastors who are still planning to have Easter services, defying the public health guidelines?
Donald Trump: (01:39:28)
You’re going to have to say it louder. To those what?
Speaker 11: (01:39:30)
To those pastors who are still planning to have Easter services, in-person.
Speaker 10: (01:39:37)
Donald Trump: (01:39:37)
Oh, the pastors. I didn’t understand your word. You have a very nice voice but it’s a little bit low and you’re far back. I’ve had talks with the pastors and most of the pastures agree. This is a very complex subject. Let’s face it, for the obvious reasons I don’t have to go into it. Most of the pastors agree that they are better off doing what they’re doing, which is distancing. They feel that, let’s get this over with and they want to get back to church so badly. I mean, can you imagine we have Easter Sunday and I’m going to be watching Pastor Robert Jeffress, who’s been a great guy. Did I tell you? He’s been a great guy and I’m going to be watching on a laptop.
Donald Trump: (01:40:20)
Now, a laptop is not the same as being in his church or being in another church. It’s not and no matter what you say, you don’t get to say, “Oh, isn’t wonderful.” But I’ve done this for three weeks and they’ve had tremendous… I let people know who it is. They’ve had the biggest audiences they’ve ever had. They have millions of people now watching and people are really liking what they’re hearing. I’m going to be with, on Easter, Pastor… I don’t even know if he knows it yet, but he will soon. I think he will in about two minutes. Pastor Robert Jeffress and he’s a terrific guy, a terrific man. I’ve gotten to know him very well. He’s a man of great compassion. He loves our country and I’m going to be with him on Easter, meaning, I’m going to be with him watching on a laptop. Doesn’t sound good, but it’s one of those things.
Donald Trump: (01:41:08)
It can not be church, and I’m not going to get into it. It cannot be church. Most pastors and most people of faith, people that we’ll listen to and respect and admire. Franklin Graham is a person I have great respect for and who’s done an incredible job in New York on Central Park where they put up Samaritan’s Purse. He’s done an incredible job. The son of the late great Billy Graham. His family is incredible. He’s incredible. Franklin Graham, the job he’s doing, I mean, he loves to do it. He has such a passion and that’s why he’s so good at it. He does it with incredible love. And he will tell you, we’re all saying, we’ve got to get our country cured. I know there are some pastors and ministers and others that want to get together and I have great respect for them. Two of them I know, but I would say for…
Donald Trump: (01:42:03)
And I have great respect for him. Two of them I know, but I would say first heal … I’m a Christian, heal our country. Let’s get healed before we do this and there’s time to do that. We’ll do it for hopefully the rest of our lives. Please.
Speaker 15: (01:42:17)
Thank you. The Mercy and the Comfort seem to be underutilized in Los Angeles and New York.
Donald Trump: (01:42:23)
Speaker 15: (01:42:24)
Is there any consideration either to sending the medical units into the cities to help the hospitals there or to moving the hospital ships?
Donald Trump: (01:42:33)
So the Mercy and the Comfort were sent when projections were much higher. And I say, Tony backed it up. Debra’s made the statement, they said, “You’re not going to need these many rooms.” But we wanted to be prepared. I mean, we had the ship, they did an incredible job with … The Comfort was supposed to be in maintenance for a period of four weeks and they had it done in three and a half, four days and it came up. And so we had it there. If there was a disaster from the standpoint of you needed all of the … I tell you, the Javits Center, Andrew will tell you we were ready to go. It’s incredible the job they did, but they’re using less beds. This is a good thing, not a bad thing. They’re using less beds.
Donald Trump: (01:43:20)
Now, Javits has been pretty busy over the last couple of days and the death numbers are horrific, but you go back now and you’re finding they’re going to start to come down very substantially just based on the fact that the bed usage, the number of beds are much, much less, much, much less. So the Mercy and the Comfort were there in case they needed them. Los Angeles, where you have the one, and New York where you have the other, they just don’t … Fortunately, we haven’t hit numbers where they would have needed, they would have been used. There are always going to be sort of overflow because they’re on the edges, they’re not as convenient as certain places, but the people were ready, willing, and able. They were ready to go. They were going to do a great job. But fortunately we don’t need, just like we didn’t need as many ventilators, when they were asking in New York for 40,000 ventilators. I had experts, these people, I listened to them, they said, “You’ll never need that many.” And they were right.
Donald Trump: (01:44:21)
New York now has … And I dealt really well with Mayor de Blasio. We got him a lot of ventilators. We got Andrew a lot of ventilators, but we never felt you needed the numbers that you were talking about and we were right on that. Now, with all of that being said, we have a lot of ventilators ready to go. We have almost 10,000 in the stockpile. That 10,000 can move rapidly. We can be within 24 hours almost anywhere, and hopefully we’re not going to have to be, but it’s just … It’s really … This has been a great military operation. It hasn’t all been military, because we’re dealing with great companies. We’re have companies that are making masks and we’re all set up in the masks too.
Donald Trump: (01:45:01)
I just told you, we have an order coming in soon. 500 million masks, 500 million. We have companies, you know the story with GM or 3M, also GM, but 3M is doing a great job. I spoke to the CEO the other day. We settled it out. We had a dispute with them and it’s now all settled and I think they’re trying to show the country something. Maybe me, but the country something. So we’ve done … And not me. I’m not talking about me. This country, our country, the people that are doing it, Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA, these people sitting right here, people that we have in the back that are watching every word that we’re saying, they’ve done a fantastic job. They really have done a fantastic job. Please.
Thank you, mister president. I wanted to ask you a question about testing. You’ve mentioned the impossibility of testing the entire American public, so has-
Donald Trump: (01:46:01)
Well what do we have?
The surgeon general-
Donald Trump: (01:46:03)
Hold on. What do we have? 350 million people? You want to do 300-
That’s not what I’m getting at and what I’m getting at is priorities. And Dr. Birx has mentioned how there have been priorities in certain regional parts of the country, and I wanted to ask you specifically about one industry in particular, and that’s food processing plants. Is there a priority to get testing at food processing plants all across the country?
Donald Trump: (01:46:26)
You’re asking that because of what happened? It’s a fair question too, what happened in Denver. Because in Denver I’ve never seen, I said, “What’s going on?” We’re looking at this graph where everything’s looking beautiful and it’s coming down and then you’ve got this one spike. I said, “What happened to Denver?” And many people very quickly, and by the way, they were on it like so fast. You wouldn’t believe it. They knew every aspect. They have people going, not only testing, who did you see? Where were you? How many people did you meet? Were you out to dinner in somebody else’s home? Where were you? Where did this number of people come from? How did … They are totally on it now this just happened. I just saw it this morning. I’m looking at everything smooth going down, topping out. Then you have this one spike in Denver. It’s like, “Where did this come from?”
Donald Trump: (01:47:18)
So we’ll be looking at that and we don’t want cases like that happening. This was … But this is the kind of thing can happen. This is very complex. It’s a very brilliant enemy. It’s a brilliant enemy. They develop drugs like the antibiotics, you see it. Antibiotics used to solve every problem. Now, one of the biggest problems the world has is the germ has gotten so brilliant that the antibiotic can’t keep up with it. And they’re constantly trying to come up with a new … People go to a hospital and they catch … They go for a heart operation, that’s no problem. But they end up dying from problems. You know the problems I’m talking about. There’s a whole genius to it. We’re fighting … Not only is it hidden, but it’s very smart. Okay? It’s invisible and it’s hidden. But it’s very smart. And you see that in a case like a Denver. But I think we’re doing well and they’re on Denver like you wouldn’t believe. I came in this morning, it was a flurry. I said, “What’s going on?” They said, “Denver.” I said, “What happened in Denver?” Because Denver was doing pretty well and they’ve got that under control. But yeah, that would be a case where you do some very big testing. Peter?
Mister president, we learned that more than 16 million Americans filed for unemployment over the past three weeks. It’s good Friday, it’s payday. We are seeing troubling, paralyzing lines at food banks around the country. What do you say to those Americans in need right this moment?
Donald Trump: (01:48:47)
Number one, I love them. Number two, we’re working really hard. It wasn’t their fault what happened. Sometimes they don’t do a good job and they lose their job. That’s one thing. This is a case where we take the strongest economy in the history of the world, which is what we had. More people working in the United States, Peter, than ever before. Almost, I mean, look at the numbers. 160 million people, almost just short of 160. Excuse me. So we have the greatest economy we’ve ever had, and by the way, black unemployment, Hispanic unemployment, Asian unemployment, the best numbers we’ve ever had in virtually every way. And then you get hit like this and it’s dramatic. People that had great jobs that went out to dinner and they didn’t have any problems, they take their family, they were making good salaries. All of a sudden, you use the term cold turkey, it’s cold turkey. They go from that to having no money and waiting for their checks, which are being processed very rapidly, but they still … They have to go out and look for money. It’s a terrible thing. All I say is we love them, we’re working so hard, and they’re going to be back, and I hope they’re going to be back even stronger than before.
Let me ask you about that, if I can, just to follow up then. You chose not to do a national stay at home order. Now that you say you want to reopen parts of the economy, what authority do you have to do that? Is it ultimately up to the states to do that?
Donald Trump: (01:50:13)
Yeah, no, it’s really … The states can do things if they want. I can override it if I want, but the national stay at home, just so you understand, 95% of the country is stay at home. Like as an example, I was speaking with the great governor of Texas, Greg Abbott the other day. He has a stay at home. A lot of people didn’t even know it, but he had to stay at home. Some people reported Texas wasn’t. He had a very strong, actually a very strong state at home, 95 to 96%. South Carolina, as you know, has it, which at one point, we could go, they didn’t have South Carolina, another great governor, McMaster. No, 95% of the country is covered. Now, the states that aren’t, and again, constitutionally from a Federalist standpoint, if I thought there was a problem, if I saw a state with a problem, I would absolutely demand it. But they’re doing great. And the states that aren’t, are states that have not had a big problem.
What authority do you have to reopen right now? The same way that’s up to the states to shut it down, it’s up to them to reopen.
Donald Trump: (01:51:19)
I have great authority if I want to use it, I would rather have the states use it. I would rather … And this is so shocking for me, a lot of people are saying, “Wow, he’s really very [inaudible 01:51:27].” A lot of people are shocked. They think I’d do it. I have absolute authority to use it, but so far our relationship with governors and the job they’re doing, I haven’t had to do it. Would I do it? If I saw a state that was out of control and they didn’t have the stay at home policy, I would do it in a heartbeat. Jeff?
Speaker 16: (01:51:45)
Mister president, there’s obviously a lot of interest in how you’re going to make that decision. What-
Donald Trump: (01:51:51)
It’s a very big decision.
Speaker 16: (01:51:52)
Donald Trump: (01:51:52)
I don’t know that I’ve had a bigger decision than that, when you think, right, I mean, think of that decision. Somebody said it’s totally up to the president, I saw it this morning, it’s totally up, and it is. I don’t know that I’ve had a bigger decision, but I’m going to surround myself with the greatest minds. Not only the greatest minds but the greatest minds in numerous different businesses, including the business of politics and reason, and we’re going to make a decision and hopefully it’s going to be the right decision. I will say this, I want to get it open as soon as we can. We have to get our country open, Jeff.
Speaker 16: (01:52:26)
Can you say sir, what metrics you will use to make that that decision?
Donald Trump: (01:52:28)
The metrics right here. That’s my metrics. That’s all I can do. I can listen to 35 people. At the end, I’ve got to make a decision and I didn’t think of it until yesterday. I said, “This is a big decision.” But I want to be guided. I’m going to be guided by them. I’m going to be guided by our vice president. I’m going to make a decision based on a lot of different opinions. Some will maybe disagree, and some I’d love to see it where they don’t disagree. Will there be risks? It’s always going to be a risk that something can flare up. There’s always going to … Look, look at what’s happening where countries are trying to get open and there’s a flare up and they’ll go, but I’d like the flare up to be very localized so that we can control it from a local standpoint without having to close. There’s always a risk.
Donald Trump: (01:53:17)
This is genius that we’re fighting, we’re fighting this hidden enemy, which is genius. Okay? It’s genius. The way it’s attacked so many countries at so many different angles. I mean, you take a look at what’s going on and the greatest doctors in the world, I think they’re close, by the way, but they haven’t figured it out yet. Look what it’s done to some people. I mean, some people it’s grabbed and it’s a horrible way to go. You want to know the truth. It’s a horrible … And then other people that hardly has an impact. We talked about it, it’s sniffles, it’s less. They don’t even know they had anything. And some people … I looked at New York this morning and I look at what’s happening in the amount of people that are dying. And dying, violently dying. It’s a very tough adversary, but we’re going to win and we’re going to win it very decisively. I’m going to have to make a decision, and I only hope to God that it’s the right decision. But I would say without question, it’s the biggest decision I’ve ever had to make.
Speaker 16: (01:54:28)
A quick follow up to the doctors if I may, for Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx, the models as I understand them, are based on social distancing, continuing through May. Is that correct? And if you were to open the economy on May 1st or sometime during that month, would that impact the models in terms of the deaths that you expect?
Donald Trump: (01:54:52)
Want to answer that?
Dr. Birx: (01:54:55)
We’re taking turns today. Good, it’s good. So the model, the IHME model does state that it’s through May. Every … We’ve had these model discussions, haven’t we? For weeks now. So the models are informed by the data and you can see how much that model has shifted on the amazing work of the American people. So I think that’s what we’re evaluating right now. Remember, when I talked yesterday, I’ve been in public health a long time. I have never … Except for Ebola where we worked very closely with the communities about specific issues. We’ve never taken a country wide or a global wide approach to mitigation. This is unprecedented. I will tell you there is nothing in the literature about specifically what to expect, and I think that’s why the models continue to modify themselves based on what actually has happened with social distancing and hand-washing and all of the pieces that the American people are doing.
Dr. Birx: (01:56:00)
The decreasing, the closing of the bars, the closing of the restaurants, no communal eating. That was thought to be a very big issue in many of the other cultures that went through this virus. The models continue to evolve based on the impact and so therefore it makes it very difficult to interpret each component of social distancing, and which ones are absolutely critical. Now there’s a way to do that in multivariate analysis potentially, and I want everyone to understand there are states that are testing, there are states that are doing contact tracing. So I mean, I think sometimes we get … We look at what New York is doing and Detroit, we forget that there’s a Utah and New Mexico and a North and South Dakota and a whole series of states that have been doing testing and contact tracing and have been testing at rates higher than that per capita rate that we all have discussed.
Dr. Birx: (01:56:53)
So we’re looking at that. What did they do? Where are the most vulnerabilities? Where are the outbreaks most likely to occur? That’s why I’ve been talking about nursing homes, because we do believe that there’s a relationship between age and seriousness of disease. Not to say that there can’t be young people with serious disease, but proportionally it’s a smaller piece with serious disease. So when you have that kind of spectrum where the older and the more complicated, the higher the severity, you have the impression that there may be more asymptomatic in younger age groups. And that’s where the antibody test comes in.
Dr. Birx: (01:57:31)
So when you put all these pieces together, you’re trying to understand where would be the first signals, so we have surveillance out there right now with the CDC’s influenza like illness. I hope you’re all tracking that. It is showing these small changes. I think we can believe in that as a surveillance tool married with their syndromic piece, giving us the insight about where to test and then where to proactively test, in nursing homes and other vulnerable groups, because that has been the signal in a series of the states that have very, very low prevalence and incidence of disease.
Dr. Birx: (01:58:07)
So that’s the kind of factors we’re putting all together to really define the best way forward. And we have superb roadmaps. I hope you all have seen them. There’s been about six different roadmaps to opening that people have put online and, again, there’s no literature that you can cite and say, “Well, we did this 20 years ago and what really worked.” There’s isn’t that, there’s brilliant public health people giving us their insights.
Speaker 16: (01:58:35)
I guess more of the question is because those are the models you’ve been using. If you do go with opening up … Starting to open up the economy again on May 1st, doesn’t that lead to more deaths?
Dr. Birx: (01:58:46)
Well, look at how much it changed with mitigation and now we’re looking at those state by state, and there’s some states in there that are still in contact tracing. So we’re looking at the impact of that model, what that model predicted based on the type of contact tracing, less mitigation, more contact raising. Are you getting what I’m talking about? Okay. So there are states that didn’t stay at home orders, but we’re doing contract tracing from outbreak. So we’re looking at them and how they have done and we’re looking at certainly what’s happened in the big metro areas and we’re integrating all of that data together to make a plan going forward.
Dr. Birx: (01:59:29)
So I can’t tell you … Because look at how much the model has changed in just a week. Remember just a week ago, it was 80,000 now it’s 60,000, and the curves, I’m sure you’re all watching it, the curves are getting much broader confidence intervals. There is still the dotted line, but the confidence intervals around the dotted line are getting bigger. When you see that, you know the model has a bit of an instability. And so that’s why Tony and I base a lot of our decision and discussion on cases and what physically is happening in that county and that state at the same time, not ignoring the models, but integrating the models as one piece of our thought process. Do you want to come up here and say what you think about models? Okay.
Donald Trump: (02:00:16)
I just want to say that you’ve talked about couldn’t it lead to death, meaning you open up could lead to death and you’re right, but you know what? Staying at home leads to death also. And it’s very traumatic for this country, but staying at home, if you look at numbers, that leads to a different kind of death perhaps, but it leads to death also. So it’s a very big decision. As I say, it’s the biggest decision I’ll ever make. All right. We’ll do a couple of more and we’ll go. Thank you.
Thank you, mister president, before you came out here, you said one of the last people that you talked to was Governor Cuomo.
Donald Trump: (02:00:53)
And at his news conference today, he said that he was asking you to use the Defense Production Act to require companies to make more tests to streamline testing. Is that something that you would consider? Because you’ve considered it with ventilators-
Donald Trump: (02:01:10)
The other side seems to keep using that, and I have used it. I’ve enacted it, and I’ve used it, some people thought viciously, just ask a couple of companies if you want, you can just look up the names. And I’m surprised that he would’ve said that. We actually have great tests. We have others under development. You don’t need full testing, as the doctors have been talking about ad nauseum. So I would be surprised that he would’ve said that meaning it that way. If he did, I’d have a much different type answer. Go ahead.
Speaker 16: (02:01:43)
[inaudible 02:01:43] didn’t talk about it on the phone.
Donald Trump: (02:01:44)
We talked about testing. Yeah, we did talk about testing and one of the things I did was I put the two doctors in charge of that call. I said, “You know what Andrew? I have two very talented people standing here. We’re getting ready to go on. Let me put them and let me have them talk to you.” And they talked to him really at length and I think by the time they finished he understood what he was, what we were saying. He understood it very clearly.
One more question please. You’ve talked a lot this week about holding the World Health Organization responsible for its response to the coronavirus. I’m curious if you’ve given any more thought to holding China financially responsible for the part that it played and the economic toll that it’s taking on the American people.
Donald Trump: (02:02:31)
I understand the question very well. Nobody has done to China or treated China as strongly as I have, used the word strongly. As you know, you’ve reported on it. Billions and billions of is flowing into our treasury because of what I’ve done with China. I think it’s a very sad thing that happened, and I think if people knew, including the World Health Organization, and I do believe they knew, but they didn’t want to tell the world, and we’re going to get to the bottom of it, and we’ll have reports on all of this and we are … We’re not happy about it, but I wanted to leave the world health war later and I can tell you that we’re constantly in touch with China. We’re talking to China, and we’ve expressed how we felt. We’re not happy about it. We’re not happy about it at all, Kristen. Okay. One or two more. Yeah?
Mister president, we hear from a lot of people who see these briefings as sort of happy talk briefings and-
Donald Trump: (02:03:36)
No happy talk today.
And you and some of the officials paint a rosy picture of what is happening around the country. If you look at some of these questions, do we have enough masks? No. Do we have enough tests? No. Do we have enough PPE? No.
Donald Trump: (02:03:50)
Why would you say no?
Do we have enough medical equipment?
Donald Trump: (02:03:53)
I think the answer is yes. Who said no to that?
I’m saying this is-
Donald Trump: (02:03:56)
No, no, you’re saying no, but who said no? You’re asking me do we have enough masks? Yes.
We hear from doctors, we hear from health experts-
Donald Trump: (02:04:02)
No, you didn’t say that. You said, do we have enough masks? Do we have enough tests? Yes. Plus we developing new tests. Do we have enough ventilators? Yes. Do we have enough hospital beds? Yes. We’ve built 20,000 hospital beds. We have enough hospital beds. Go ahead Jim. Let’s go.
What do you say to … I mean, you watch the coverage-
Donald Trump: (02:04:22)
You know what I say.
You’ve been watching a lot of the coverage.
Donald Trump: (02:04:23)
Well, a lot of it’s fake news.
No, it’s not.
Donald Trump: (02:04:24)
A lot of it’s fake news-
When the doctors and the medical experts come on our air and say-
Donald Trump: (02:04:29)
The governors reported-
… We don’t have enough tests, we don’t have enough masks.
Donald Trump: (02:04:34)
Yeah, depending on your air, they always say that because otherwise you’re not going to put them on. Let me just tell you. The governors have said last night, they had a group of governors, 14 governors. They went together someplace and they said, “It’s been unbelievable what’s happened. We’ve been totally responsive. Ventilators. Everyone has the ventilators they need.” To a point where we’re getting calls from foreign countries saying, “You have all the ventilators. Can we get some?” And we’re going to try and help some of these countries. These people have done an incredible job. This is not happy talk. Maybe it’s happy talk for you. It’s not happy talk for me. We’re talking about death. We’re talking about the greatest economy in the world, one day I have to close it off and we did the right thing because maybe it would have been two million people died instead of whatever that final number will be, which could be 60, it could be 70, it could be 75, could be 55.
Donald Trump: (02:05:25)
Thousands of people have died, there’s nothing happy about it, Jim. This is sad talk. This is the saddest … These are the saddest … These are the saddest news conferences that I’ve ever had. I don’t like doing them. You know why? Because I’m talking about death. I’m talking about taking the greatest economy ever created, we had the greatest numbers we’ve ever had in almost every aspect of economics, from employment to companies. Look at the airlines, they were having the best year. Now all of a sudden we have to save them. Okay, there’s no happy talk, Jim. This is the real deal and I’ve got to make the biggest decision of my life, and I’ve only started thinking about that. I mean, I’ve made a lot of big decisions over my life. You understand that. This is by far the biggest decision of my life because I have to say, “Okay, let’s go. This is what we’re going to do.”
You have doctors or you have hospital administrators-
Donald Trump: (02:06:18)
Sure. But you have many doctors that say unbelievable job. I watched this morning and I watched a certain network and it wasn’t Fox and you had doctors saying that we’ve done an incredible job. You just read off these no, no, no. Well, we have ventilators, we have equipment, we have beds. How about beds? I mean, Governor Cuomo just told me a little while ago, he’s got plenty of beds. In fact, they are having a hard time filling Javits Center. We built them 2,900 beds. So that’s not a fair question.
When you’re sanitizing masks, and you’re talking about reusing PPE, obviously you don’t have enough-
Donald Trump: (02:06:57)
No, no. Excuse me. We have masks, we have everything, and we were trying to get ready for the search and a lot of people said, “It will never happen.” Deborah said it, you’ll never need that many beds. They said we needed 40,000 ventilators, 40,000 it’s like building a car. 40,000 ventilators. People said, I felt it too, you’ll never need that many. Guess what? We have tremendous … We’re the envy of the world in terms of ventilators. Germany would like some, France would like some, we’re going to help countries out. Spain needs them desperately. Italy needs them desperately. Mexico needs them desperately.
Donald Trump: (02:07:38)
He asked me last night, “Would it be possible to get 10,000 ventilators” within a short period of time, I’ll be able to help out Mexico. No Jim, just the opposite of your question. It’s not, no, no, no. It’s yes, yes, yes. We’re in great shape and you know what? What’s happening now is those numbers are horrible, but take a look at the number of beds. We have beds available all over New York, New York really being the epicenter. New York has experienced something that has been absolutely horrific. I saw Hart’s Island yesterday. I saw those people being buried yesterday.
Donald Trump: (02:08:14)
Fortunately, we have the beds and you can speak to Mayor de Blasio. You can speak to Governor Cuomo. People can’t even believe the job we’ve done. They can’t even believe it, and I give tremendous credit to the military .. There’s been a military operation with private people, but wait a minute, wait, wait. I give tremendous credit to our military, to the Army Corps of Engineers, to FEMA, to these people. The job they’ve is incredible, and you shouldn’t be asking that kind of a question, Jim, honestly-
Donald Trump: (02:08:50)
I really don’t believe you’re that bad a guy, you shouldn’t be asking that kind of a question. You should say, “You know what? It’s been really incredible what’s been happening.” Jim. Nobody’s asking. What governor … Let me ask you this. What governor? We have more tests than anybody in the world. We have every … We have virtually every country in the world calling us, asking us, “How do we get these tests that you have? Your testing is the best in the world. How do we get it?” They’ve done a fantastic job. And when you ask a question like that, it’s very insulting to a lot of great people. Okay, one more, please. Please Doug.
Thank you mister president. You may have seen how Sweden has responded to the pandemic. The schools are open, bars and restaurants are open.
Donald Trump: (02:09:34)
Sweden’s is different.
Do you regret not following that approach? Is that approach working-
Donald Trump: (02:09:39)
I could’ve followed that approach. And if we did follow that approach, I think we might have two million people dead and Sweden is having a lot of difficulty. Look, I’m very friendly with the leadership in Sweden. They took a different approach. They’re a very disciplined country to start off with, but they did take it different, and other places tried it, UK tried it, the herd approach. Okay? Herd, and they tried it and you saw what happened in UK. It set them back a lot. A lot of time, it’s been having a tough time. Other countries have tried it and Sweden is suffering greatly. I mean, Sweden’s suffering greatly. If we did the herd, if we went with the herd as they say, we would have had potentially … I mean, you see the charts. Nobody knows. Nobody will ever know fortunately because we’re going to be substantially less than the minimum. I certainly hope, unless something happens that would be tragic.
Donald Trump: (02:10:39)
So they had a minimum number. If we did … One of the reasons were so far below that number is because nobody thought the American people could be so disciplined. Nobody thought it was possible. And I guess when they watched us up here every day and they watched other people and they listened to their representatives and governors, nobody thought that the American people could be so disciplined. They’ve been unbelievable. And because of that, so you have a minimum number of 100,000, and then you had the 2.2 number that if we did nothing, if we just kept working, everybody go to work, people would be dropping dead on the subways. No. If we would have lost a million people … Take the 2.2 million and cut it in half, make it … Cut it in more than half, make it a million people.
Donald Trump: (02:11:28)
Okay? Now take that number and cut it in half. Make it 500,000 people. That’s if we did nothing. Right? It’s unacceptable. It’s too many people. So we spent more money on stimulus. Who cares by comparison? You take 2.2 you cut it in half, you cut it in half, you cut it in half, you keep cutting it in half. I don’t care what number you choose. 500,000, 400,000. Well, we’re going to have, we were talking 50, 60, 65 maybe, maybe. But if we would’ve done what one country tried and it has been very tough for them, you know that, very, very nasty, very tough. But if we would have done that here and again, you’ve got to remember UK tried it, and I was a little surprised and I watched it … They were going about what, two weeks? And they said, “We’ve got to stop.” Because it was … They were going to have a whole country infected.
Donald Trump: (02:12:25)
So with all of that being said, we’ve got to get back to work. We’ve got to get our country open, but we could have lost two million people. We could have lost one million people. We could have lost a half a million people if we would’ve lost 500,000 people … Now I’ll say this also from the standpoint of being president and vice president, and we’re up there and we’re doing that herd and we’re going to bullet through it. Do you honestly think people like Jim and yourself and other people would have … Jeff would’ve put up with it? As people are dying all over, they would have said, “This man is crazy.” Because the numbers, Tony, at a minimum would have been many, many times greater than the numbers we’re talking about.
Donald Trump: (02:13:07)
So I’m very honored by our decisions, all of us. We talk about it all the time. I said, “Do you want to let them just, you just ride it, you just ride it right through.” We would have lost potentially millions of people. Now it would have been unsustainable. It would have been impossible to do, and the American people have been so disciplined. It’s been my honor to be their president. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, I’ll say it always. It’s been my great honor to have been their president and I have a big decision coming up, and I only hope to God that it’s the right decision, but it’ll be based on the input from a lot of very talented people, very smart people, and people that love our country. Thank you all very much. Thank you.