Apr 29, 2020

Donald Trump & Louisiana Governor Edwards Meeting Transcript

Trump John Bel Edwards Meeting
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Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards met with Trump at White House to discuss Louisiana’s response to COVID-19 on April 29. Read the full transcript of their meeting.

 

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Dr. Anthony Fauci: (00:00)
Versus 11% in the placebo group. It has not yet reached statistical significance, but the data needs to be further analyzed. The reason why we’re making the announcement now is something that I believe people don’t fully appreciate. Whenever you have clear cut evidence that a drug works, you have an ethical obligation to immediately let the people who are in the placebo group know so that they could have access. And all of the other trials that are taking place now have a new standard of care. So we would have normally waited several days until the data gets further, dot the I and cross the T. But the data are not going to change. Some of the numbers may change a little, but the conclusion will not change.

Dr. Anthony Fauci: (00:45)
So when I was looking at this data with our team the other night, it was reminiscent of 34 years ago in 1986 when we were struggling for drugs for HIV and we had nothing. And there was a lot of anecdotal reports about things that maybe they work, maybe not. People were taking different kinds of drugs. And we did the first randomized placebo controlled trial with AZT, which turned out to give an effect that was modest. But that was not the end game because building on that every year after, we did better and better. We had better drugs of the same type and we had drugs against different targets. This drug happens to be blocking a enzyme that the virus uses and that’s an RNA polymerase, but there are a lot of other enzymes that the virus uses that are now going to be targets for this. This will be the standard of care.

Dr. Anthony Fauci: (01:40)
And in fact, when we look at the other trials we’re doing, we were going to do trial with another antiviral. Actually, it isn’t an antiviral, it’s an anti-inflammatory, a monoclonal antibody. We’re going to now compare the combination of remdesivir with this. So as was drugs come in, we’re going to see if we could add on that. So bottom line, you’re going to be hearing more details about this. This will be submitted to a peer review journal and will be peer reviewed appropriately. But we think it’s really opening the door to the fact that we now have the capability of treating. And I can guarantee you, as more people, more companies, more investigators get involved, it’s going to get better and better. So I’ll stop there, but I’d be happy to answer any questions.

Donald Trump: (02:23)
Why don’t you go first and then you go?

Speaker 1: (02:29)
Does today’s data change the timeline and the development of a vaccination?

Dr. Anthony Fauci: (02:32)
No, this has nothing to do with vaccines. This is treatment for people who were already infected. Vaccines is to prevent infection in those who are at risk.

Speaker 1: (02:40)
Do you have new data on the vaccine?

Dr. Anthony Fauci: (02:42)
No, nothing more than that. But I continue at the press conferences that we have regularly, keep you up to date that everything is on track with the phase one study. We’re in the third part of it, we’re going to go into phase two in the summer. But nothing has changed that anything I’ve said when we had press conferences.

Donald Trump: (02:55)
They’re writing a lot about Oxford. We know Johnson and Johnson as well.

Dr. Anthony Fauci: (02:59)
Yeah, it’s another candidate, another one of several candidates that are moving along because we’re going to have a lot of shots on goal when it comes to vaccines.

Donald Trump: (03:06)
That’s good. That’s good. Yeah. Please go ahead.

Speaker 2: (03:08)
How does this news influence your thought process on states reopening their governments? Do you think people should be more comfortable knowing that there is a drug that is proven effective?

Donald Trump: (03:20)
Well, I think it’s a beginning. I thought Tony explained it really well. It’s a beginning. It means you build on it. I love that as a building block, just as a building block, I love that. But certainly, it’s a positive. It’s a very positive event from that standpoint. And we’re going to be very careful as we open. A lot of people, a lot of governors are opening. I know you’re very advanced. You’re going to be very advanced in getting it going. But we’re doing it very carefully. We’ve learned a lot over the last couple of months. And if there’s a fire, we’re going to put it out. If there’s a little ember burning, we’re going to put it out. We’re going to put it out very quickly. And I think we’ve learned how to do that. There have been some areas that have really started up and we put it out very quickly. So we’ve learned a lot. Yeah, please.

Speaker 3: (04:07)
Mr. President, the stop the spread guidelines expire tomorrow. Do you intend to extend those?

Donald Trump: (04:12)
Well, I’ll let Mike, do you want to explain what we’re doing on that?

Mike Pence: (04:15)
I think, Mr. President, we’ve issued the guidelines now, it was actually 45 days ago. First 15 and then 30 days to slow the spread. And frankly, every state in America has embraced those guidelines at a minimum or even done more. And now our focus is working with states as governors like Governor John Bel Edwards unveil plans to open up their states again. And the new guidance that we’ve issued is guidance for how they can do that safely and responsibly. And so, not only the gating criteria for when we believe it’s appropriate for states to enter phase one are included, but also the very specific guidelines for when States open and how they can open in, as the President said, in a safe and responsible way are included in the President’s guidelines for open up America again.

Speaker 3: (05:12)
So the current guidelines will not be extended after tomorrow?

Mike Pence: (05:15)
The current guidelines, I think you can say, are very much incorporated in the guidance that we’re giving states to open up America again, but maybe Mr. President-

Donald Trump: (05:25)
Yeah, I think a way of saying it, they’ll be fading out because now the governors are doing it. I’ve had many calls from governors, governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, many, many governors, Tennessee, Arkansas. We’re speaking to a lot of different people and they’re explaining what they’re doing and I am very much in favor of what they’re doing. They’re getting it going and we’re opening our country again. Do you want to explain that please?

Deborah Birx: (05:50)
Yeah, I think you could see from California they made slow the spread the phase one of their four phases. So every governor is adapting, both currently where we are and moving forward, of how to move through phase one, phase two, phase three. So if a governor feels like they haven’t met the grading criteria, some of them have made that their own first phase one and some of them made up phase zero. So we’ve been very encouraged to see how the federal guidelines have help informed or at least provide a framework for governors in moving forward all the way through from what they now call either phase zero all the way through phase three.

Donald Trump: (06:29)
And Ron DeSantis, as you know, Governor of Florida was here yesterday. And he gave, I thought, a really good presentation of how he’s doing it, what he’s doing, how he’s opening. You might have seen it.

John Bel Edwards: (06:38)
I did.

Donald Trump: (06:38)
And he did a very good job, I thought.

John Bel Edwards: (06:41)
Mr. President, I would say that if you look at the plan that you all had put out for 30 days to stop the spread, the mitigation measures that you promoted in that plan are carried forward in the guidelines for reopening. And so, it’s sort of a seamless way to do it by keeping those mitigation measures in place that you need to as you reopen, especially for the vulnerable population. So really, I would agree with the Vice President that it is carried forward, not just theoretically, but expressly in the document that you gave us. And I thank you.

Deborah Birx: (07:13)
And thank you for mentioning the vulnerable people because we’ve made it clear from over the last eight weeks that there was certain risk groups that were particularly vulnerable to serious disease. That has held up. We see in most of reports about 95% to 96% of the individuals with serious disease and hospitalizations are still in those groups. I think, in a way, that’s reassuring, but it also should be a message to all of our vulnerable populations. As we have said for the last eight weeks, in phase one and in phase two, as well as in slow the spread, we’ve been very clear about them continuing to shelter and those families protecting them from becoming infected.

Speaker 3: (07:52)
Mr. President, what are you hoping to learn about China and the World Health Organization with this investigation you’ve commissioned with the intelligence agencies?

Donald Trump: (08:00)
Right. It’s coming in and I’m getting pieces already and we’re not happy about it and we are by far the largest contributor to WHO, World Health. And they misled us. I don’t know. They must have known more than they knew because they came after what other people knew that weren’t even involved. We knew things that they didn’t know and either they didn’t know or they didn’t tell us. Or right now, they’re literally a pipe organ for China. That’s the way I view it. So we’re seeing and we’re looking and we’re watching. And again, we give $500 million, we have over the years, from 400 to 500 for a long time, for many years. And China is giving $38 million and yet they seem to work for China. And they should have been in there early, they should have known what was going on, and they should have been able to stop it at the … You talk about stopping the spread or stopping the embers, that could have been stopped there-

Donald Trump: (09:03)
… there, and then why did China allow planes to fly out, but not into China? But they allow planes to come out, and planes are coming out of Wuhan, and they’re coming out, they’re going all over the world. They’re go into Italy very, very big time to Italy, but they’re going all over the world, but they’re not going into China. What was that all about? So, we had-

Speaker 6: (09:24)
What specifically do you want to know?

Donald Trump: (09:25)
You’ll hear, we’re coming up with a very distinct recommendation, but we’re not happy with it. We’re not happy with it. Even today, I’ve heard some statements that are very positive. There’s nothing positive about what happened in China having to do with this subject, nothing positive at all. And I finished a number of months ago with a trade deal, and you would’ve thought it would’ve been like somebody would have said, “Hey, they could have stopped that at the source. They didn’t have to let airplanes fly out, and loads of people come out.” And we’re lucky. As Tony said, we’re lucky that we stopped it in January, flowing into our country from China, outside of our citizens.

Donald Trump: (10:08)
People now say, “Oh, well, you shouldn’t have let our citizens back in.” Let’s forget about that one. We’re lucky we stopped in January. A lot of people, long after that date, as you know, thought that the measure that I took was much too strong. John Bel, we’re lucky we stopped it then. We put a border, we put a ban on people coming in from China. So we’ll have a recommendation pretty soon, but we are not happy with the World Health Organization.

Speaker 6: (10:38)
But just to clarify, a recommendation on what, on the World Health Organization or a recommendation on China? What do you mean?

Donald Trump: (10:43)
On World Health with China to follow.

Speaker 7: (10:46)
Mr. President?

Speaker 8: (10:47)
Can I ask a question of Dr. Fauci? There was also a study out of China, [inaudible 00:01:53], that came out today but didn’t find a statistical significance with the treatment. I’m wondering if you saw that. It was a Lancet study and why [crosstalk 00:11:00].

Dr. Anthony Fauci: (11:01)
Yeah, it’s an underpowered study and it’s not the kind of study we’re … That’s the reason why I was very explicit in saying this is a randomized controlled placebo controlled trial that’s powered to the tune of over 1000 in hospitalized patients. And the endpoint was a clear endpoint, the time that you essentially are discharged and the secondary end point to death. So even though, I mean I don’t like to poo poo other studies, but that’s not an adequate study and everybody in the field feels that.

Speaker 7: (11:28)
Mr. President, what can you do to help businesses with liability issues as workers come back in states that have opened up?

Donald Trump: (11:36)
Well, as you know, we just worked with the meat processors and, if you think about it, a form of delivery, we have tremendous product, we have ample supply, but there was a bottleneck caused by this whole pandemic and it was potentially pretty serious. And I just got off the phone with the biggest in the world, I mean, the biggest distributors there, the big companies that you’ve been reading about, they are so thrilled, they’re so happy. They’re all gung ho and we solved their problems. We unblocked some of the bottlenecks and I’m sure you’ve seen it, I’m sure you’ve heard, I spoke to them about two hours ago, signed something very important last night in terms of Defense Production Act and it was very important. They were so happy it’s like a new business for them. They were being very unfairly treated, very unfairly treated.

Donald Trump: (12:31)
So the farmers are very happy and the ranchers and the companies that we’re talking about, you know the ones I’m talking about because they’ve all become very well known. They were well known anyway. They’re big companies but they’re now being treated fairly. They’re thrilled and that whole bottleneck is broken up.

Speaker 7: (12:51)
So the Defense Production Act protects them?

Donald Trump: (12:53)
We used it. That’s what we did, we used it, and it helps them greatly, greatly to do what they have to do because they’re ready to do it but they needed some help.

Speaker 9: (13:02)
How do you protect the workers though in those plants? What are you doing to protect them?

Donald Trump: (13:05)
Well we’re doing that. We’re going to have a report on that probably this afternoon. We’re going to have a good form of protection and through quarantine when we find somebody that’s not. They’re going to be very careful, they are, as to who’s going into the plant and the quarantine is going to be very strong and we’re going to make people better when they have a problem. We’re going to get them better. Hopefully, they’re going to get better. We have a very good record of having people getting better. A lot of people don’t talk about that John Bel, where people go in statistically, but you don’t read about the tremendous success we’ve had. We’re just about number one in the world in terms of success. Germany’s doing well. We’re doing well. A couple of countries are doing okay, but we’re doing very well. So the statistics are very good on that. So we’re going to get them better. Yeah, Steve?

Steve: (13:55)
Just a quick followup to Dr. Fauci. When might we see Remdesivir on the market? How soon might we see that? Yesterday. When might we see?

Dr. Anthony Fauci: (13:58)
Well, right now, it’s happening that the FDA, literally as we speak, is working with Gilead to figure out mechanisms to make this easily available to those who need it. With regard to getting it to the market, will obviously have to be approved by the FDA for licensure and the FDA is very well aware that this is something that is very important. So I’m sure they’re going to be moving very expeditiously. But I can’t give you a date.

Steve: (14:22)
Thank you, sir.

Donald Trump: (14:23)
Tony, would this should be used in the earlier phases or in the late phases?

Dr. Anthony Fauci: (14:26)
And thank you for that question, because there are a lot of different permutations. This is in hospitalized patients and the end point was the time to discharge. So it’s unclear yet right now from this study whether or not it would be better for early. We don’t know. It could be, but we only make statements about what we’ve proven and the only thing it’s improving now is in hospitalized patients. So good question, but we don’t have the answer.

Donald Trump: (14:52)
Thank you.

Speaker 10: (14:53)
Mr. President, for fiscally speaking, GDP, [inaudible 00:14:57], curious your reaction on that, and what if anything you want to see out of another possible stimulus package?

Donald Trump: (15:04)
So if you look at what’s going on in the market where the market’s at 24,000, and this came from us blind, we never knew, we had the greatest economy ever in the world, in the history of the world, we had the best economy. I say it openly, nobody even challenges it, and they would if they thought it was wrong. We had the best economy ever and we’re going to have it again. What happened is, look at the market today, 24,000, above 24,000 I think Kevin, in fact, I’ll ask you to say a couple of things about that. But if you would have said that we would have had the worst pandemic since 1917 over 100 years ago with the disturbance to 184 countries at least, because that was as of last week, that a market would be where we’re at 29,000 and now we’re going to be at 24,000, and we were at a low, I think we’re having one of the best weeks.

Donald Trump: (15:57)
We’re having one of the best periods in terms of stock market, which to me is jobs and future. I don’t view it as a stock. I view it as jobs and future. If you would have said to me that we’d be at 24,000, and we started off when I was elected, the number was much lower, much, much lower as you know, it’s called in the teens, but if you would have said we would have been at 24,000 with what we’ve gone through as a country, John Bel, it’s pretty amazing, and I think I read where this is one of the best weeks in the stock market, this last short period of time, that we’ve had since the 1950s or 1940s. So I think there’s a tremendous feeling of optimism in this country. I can only say that there’s going to be a tremendous feeling of optimism.

Donald Trump: (16:46)
I think the third quarters transitional, we’re transiting into, but it’s a very transitional period. I think it’s going to do good, but I think the fourth quarter is going to be fantastic. I think next year all of the fruits of what we’ve all done together between the doctors and the business people and yourself, thank you very much, of course, you’re a doctor, but all of the work from the Task Force, all of the people that have worked so hard, we’re going to have a tremendous year next year and you’re going to start to see that I think in the fourth quarter. Maybe even in pieces of the third quarter, but that’s again, very transitional.

Speaker 11: (17:27)
Mr. President, that spending though, is there a day of reckoning coming, with over $2 trillion spending?

Donald Trump: (17:32)
No, it’s about growth. It’s about growth, we’re going to be in great shape because we’re growing and we could have done it the other way. You don’t spend anything and your flat for years There are ways of looking at it. You have to throw money at it, but we’re throwing money at the people that lost their job unfairly. You saw some of the people yesterday in the White House where they were down and out and we came along and help them. So we could have been flat for a long time as a country or we could grow. I think you’re going to see tremendous growth.

Donald Trump: (18:03)
It’s a stimulus and it’s a great stimulus. Now, they want more stimulus and they’re pushing for things though, but I don’t know that we should be working with states that have been suffering through bad leadership or bad management for 25 years, and we’re supposed to fix that. So we’re going to have to talk about that. Maybe they should have brought that up sooner.

Speaker 12: (18:26)
[crosstalk 00:18:26] Captain Crozier, would you like to see him returned [crosstalk 00:00:31].

Donald Trump: (18:31)
I don’t know him. I’ve never spoken to him. I think he’s a very, very good man who had a very bad day and then he wanted to be Ernest Hemingway, he starts writing long memos. You can’t do that when you’re a captain of a ship, especially that ship. That’s the ultimate nuclear aircraft carrier, the best in the world, 5,000 crew members. And he decides to become Ernest Hemingway, you can’t do that. Can’t do that. With that being said, I said he had a bad day. We all have bad days.

Speaker 12: (19:08)
Has Secretary Esper asked for your advice on how to proceed?

Donald Trump: (19:09)
Well, I don’t want to comment, but I have my feelings on it and I just think he’s a very good man who had a bad … and I think the acting secretary is a very good man also, and he had a bad day. They both had bad days, you want to know the truth? They both had bad days and that can happen. They were under a lot of pressure because it went very public and so they’ll be seeing me at a certain point, but I think he’s a very good man. I think they’re both very good men. But when you talk about spreading, so it started with two people, then it went to 12 people. Then it went to …

Donald Trump: (19:43)
I got a report yesterday, it was 851 people. Now they have 5,000 people. So it starts with a little group and then a few weeks later, how long has that, four weeks? 800 and some odd people and they’re sailors, they’re young. There is one death as you know, there’s one death. About 10 people in the hospital right now, but we expect all to get better. But there is one death out of it, but that spread like wildfire, right? Think of that, it was two and 12, we thought it ended at 41. You didn’t think so, I don’t think you thought so.

Anthony Fauci: (20:28)
Just the right environment for spread like that.

Donald Trump: (20:30)
It was a tough environment.

Speaker 13: (20:33)
Mr. President, on testing yesterday, you said that we will very soon be testing five million people-

Donald Trump: (20:37)
Well, I don’t know where it came up.

Speaker 13: (20:37)
Five million, between five million, when you said that.

Donald Trump: (20:40)
I’d like to refer to these two people because I don’t know where it came up. Everyone kept saying, you said they’ll be five. That was a study that came out. Somebody came out with a study of five million people. Do I think we will? I think we will, but I never said it. We’re testing millions of people. We’re testing more people than any country in the world by far, by double, by much more than double, more than everybody else combined, we’re testing. But somebody started throwing around five million. I didn’t say five million. Somebody said five million. I think it might’ve been the Harvard report. There was a report from Harvard and they said five million. [crosstalk 00:21:18] Well, we will be there, but I didn’t say it. I mean I didn’t say it, but somebody came out with a report saying five million.

Donald Trump: (21:25)
It sounds like a lot. Yesterday, I looked at Deborah, I said, what’s with the five million? I think that was from the Harvard report, but we are going to be there at a certain point. We’ll be there. But we’re more advanced than any country in the world on testing. And not only that, the testing is the best at, not only the most, we’ve not only done the most. Even when you look at so many people, they love the Abbott Laboratories test. You might have had it, did you have it today?

John Bel Edwards: (21:51)
Yes sir, I did.

Donald Trump: (21:52)
He’s okay, he got a test out of this deal.

John Bel Edwards: (21:54)
I did.

Donald Trump: (21:55)
But everybody comes in, they give them the test, in five minutes they know they’re okay or they’re not okay. So far we haven’t found anyone not okay. But it’s a great test. Nobody even thought of that two months ago or three months ago, that was developed over a very short period of time, brilliantly developed by Abbott. So no, we’ll be at whatever number it is, but we’re so far advanced over … And it’d be really good if the press would give credit for it to the people that have done such a good job.

Donald Trump: (22:22)
Because they always say, well, you’re doing millions, but what about five million? I’m saying where did that number … I keep asking where does it come from? I really learned this morning, I think it was probably the Harvard said that’d be nice [crosstalk 00:22:37] And sure it would be nice and would be there, but again, we didn’t say it. Who said it, is a report. We have other reports talking about a much lower number, but we’re doing better than anybody in the world by far. The people that have worked on it have been incredible. And you know John Bell is testament to it, testing is one of the great reasons that you’ve been successful in Louisiana.

John Bel Edwards: (22:57)
Yes sir, and with a lot of help from our federal partners and the best news that we got as a state, quite frankly and all states got it, was on Monday when Admiral Giroir said that our plans had all been received last Wednesday and they were going to be able to resource the testing kits. So I don’t know about five million for the country, but Louisiana is going to do our part with 200,000 per month. And I think if you extrapolate that out, that comes close to five million-

Donald Trump: (23:20)
Yeah, pretty much.

John Bel Edwards: (23:21)
But I don’t know what time period you’re talking about.

Speaker 14: (23:24)
Admiral Giroir said to Time magazine at five million tests per day is simply not possible. Do you agree with that?

Deborah Birx: (23:31)
So what we have talked about and what was in the blueprint in talking with states, and you can see, I mean this is Louisiana’s curve. They got to this curve of mitigation and containment across the state with about 26,000 tests per million. Or about 26 yeah, 26,000 tests per million, million of their population. So these tests, and I’ve been very clear about it, these are RNA tests, which means you take the virus out of there, your nose, you’ve got to crack the virus open, extract out the RNA, amplify the RNA, and then get an answer. And you can see that’s happening inside a machine. Sometimes lab directors and lab technicians have to [inaudible 00:24:17] physically mix all of those reagents. That’s when you hear about extraction reagents and why they’re needed. And so what we had in the blueprint is really a call to action to really work on developing antigen tests like we use for flu.

Deborah Birx: (24:32)
Because when you’re using an antigen test in a doctor’s office, then you can get to potentially that number. I’m not sure we need that number. I don’t want to validate that number, but I’m saying is with this current test and the complication of how it has to be run, that’s not physically possible. And I think that’s what Admiral Giroir was speaking to. But as we’ve talked about ID NOW we continue to develop more testing and different platforms. But I think we do need that kind of new breakthrough to a new technique, a new measurement to get to the kind of numbers that Harvard’s talking about. But I think we’ve made it clear all along that states have controlled and mitigated with the current number. And as you heard from the governor, he didn’t shut everything down. He has a curve like this with still a significant number of Louisianans working.

Deborah Birx: (25:23)
So I think what every governor is working on is how do I get the most people I can back to work and still maintain high level of safety. And I think what’s the roadmap and the criteria and the testing come together to create that. This will not be a testing alone piece. And as you just heard about the Roosevelt, and I bring this up every time, this asymptomatic spread will be important. And we just heard about 800 cases, 10 or less than 10 in the hospital, or 10 to 15 in the hospital. 800, 10 or 15 in the hospital. If you’re only diagnosing symptomatic cases, you may be missing a large part of the spread. And I think that’s why strategically using testing in a new way, a monitoring way, a monitoring way to proactively find asymptomatic individuals, particularly when they surround our most vulnerable groups, whether it’s Native Americans or long term care facilities.

Deborah Birx: (26:20)
We want governors to simultaneously work on finding the cases as they did so superbly. And then work on a proactive measurement to find the asymptomatic cases. And I think those two pieces have to come together. And I think that’s what’s in the blueprint. That’s what we’re having the calls with the states with and really see how do we effectively use our current testing capacity to ensure we’re both monitoring and diagnosing.

Donald Trump: (26:47)
And you know, interesting about that number is that I remember when we did a million, we said we just did a million, and the media said, “Oh, when are you going to do two million?” I said, “Well, soon, pretty soon.” Then we do two million. And then they said, “When are you going to do five million?”

Donald Trump: (27:03)
In other words, it’s sort of a setup because no matter what … And by the way, when we hit five million, when are we going to hit 10 million? It’s a little bit of a trap, it’s called the media trap. It pertains to me. It doesn’t pertain to other people, but it’s what I’ve had to experience for five years.

Speaker 15: (27:21)
[inaudible 00:27:23]?

Donald Trump: (27:23)
I don’t know, I heard the five billion is totally unnecessary. Now that doesn’t mean we’re not going to hit it pretty easily. But again, I think it’s a media trap. I think the number, I’ve just … All I know is this, President Moon of South Korea, because we’ve heard a lot of good things about South Korea have good relationship. He called me to congratulate me on the testing. He said, “Your testing is the greatest in the world. How did this happen?” I kept hearing about South Korea, South Korea, and he said, “I want to just tell you that what you’ve done with testing is incredible.” Okay?

Donald Trump: (27:57)
So our people should be congratulated. And what they’ll do is no matter what, if we test, as they say, 325 million people, they’re going to say, “When are you going to test them twice?” Okay. So you know, it’s a trap. It’s really a media trap. But that’s okay. Look, we are better than anybody in the world on testing. We have tested more than anybody in the world and we have the best tests in the world. And that’s been all developed over the last couple of months because we started off with nothing. We had nothing, we had absolutely nothing. And that included ventilators. And that included … I always say the cupboards were bare, they were bare in the military and they were bare medically in terms of pandemics or epidemics or whatever you want to call it. So our people have done an incredible job. Yeah.

Speaker 16: (28:50)
Mister president, [inaudible 00:28:51] WHO. Do you think that China has [inaudible 00:01:54].

Donald Trump: (28:56)
Say it again?

Speaker 16: (28:57)
Do you think China is playing a bitter game in terms of influence of power in the WHO?

Donald Trump: (29:04)
Well, they’ve been known for years and they play the game and I guess we’ve had people over the years that never really focused on that game, who would think you’d have to play the game. And it’s to a large extent public relations, public relations or whatever. But China’s not to be congratulated for what happened, just so you understand it. They’re not to be congratulated for what took place, and WHO is essentially congratulating them. And when they start doing that, we’ve got problems.

Donald Trump: (29:37)
Again, the United States pays almost 500 million and they pay 38 million a year, 500 million versus 38 million a year. So there are lots of different people that we can give this to. We can give this money to lots of different incredible groups, there are a lot of groups out there. Doesn’t have to go to the WHO, we can give it to groups that are very worthy and get much more bang for your buck. But we’re going to make a decision in the not too distant future. If I could, I’d just like to have John Bell finish up by talking about the great success in Louisiana. And you worked with two great senators and they were-

John Bel Edwards: (30:13)
Absolutely.

Donald Trump: (30:14)
John Bel, and they were really calling me a lot and saying, “We’ve got to take care of Louisiana. So you had a great relationship with them.”

John Bel Edwards: (30:23)
I know Senator Kennedy worked on the respirator … I’m sorry, the ventilator issue in Senator Cassidy and I worked last night, we’re talking about testing and what we can do going forward with the blueprint, because he and Dr. Redfield had discussed that. But we’ve obviously turned the corner in Louisiana. We’re in a much, much better place than we thought was even possible five or six weeks ago, I will tell you. And that’s because of our local partners and our federal partners and hard work. We’ve had a lot of lessons to learn because there’s no blueprint for this. There’s a blueprint for testing now, but there’s no blueprint for a governor, how do you respond to it? To a pandemic.

John Bel Edwards: (30:57)
So we’ve had a steep learning curve, but I will tell you when we’re in a much better place. The field medical stations that you provided, the Navy medical personnel that you sent to Louisiana, the testing that we had early was the key and that has informed our testing strategy going forward. And we’re excited about the opportunity to have the test kits that we need allocated starting in the month of may to get to the 200,000. We’ll do 43 persons per 1000 that’s what we’re going to get to in Louisiana and we’re going to, we’re going to be in much better shape after that, mister president. We look forward to getting past this. Returning to a newer sense of normalcy, which I don’t think will come officially and fully until we get the vaccine. But we’re looking forward to moving ahead, and just appreciate your work and your contributions to our efforts, they’ve been very helpful.

Donald Trump: (31:50)
It’s an honor working with you and the people of Louisiana, great people that have really gone through a lot.

John Bel Edwards: (31:55)
Well, I’ll just say they’re the best. I’ll tell you what, they’re right there.

Donald Trump: (32:00)
I agree. They’re great people.

Speaker 17: (32:02)
Do you feel like you have enough test kits and supplies to run as many tests as you think you need?

John Bel Edwards: (32:06)
Well, what I believe is that with the commitments that were made this past Monday by Admiral Gerard, that having looked at all 50 state plans for testing going forward, that they’ve committed to resourcing Louisiana’s request for 200,000 test kits per month. That gets us to 43 out of every 1,000 tested every month. We believe that that’s sufficient for us to move forward as we are able to start reopening the economy. We know the lab capacity is there. We have Dr. Beu here with me. He’s done a phenomenal job. He’s responsible in large measure for that curve coming down. And so we feel pretty good at that level. And that’s one of the reasons I wanted to be able to come up here today at the president’s invitation to thank him for that commitment because this … I’m only speaking for myself, but having been part of all the calls with the governors, this is the big piece that we’ve been looking for. And with that commitment, we really feel much better about going forward.

Donald Trump: (33:00)
That’s great. Great job. Would you like to say something doctor?

Speaker 18: (33:05)
We know the importance of testing. We can’t treat what we don’t find. And early on we knew that we had a problem and we knew that we needed to surge our testing. And so we were grateful to have that support, especially in the epicenter in New Orleans, in the parishes right around there so that we could get a sense of, of what’s going on with COVID. And then we’ve continued that pattern through the rest of the state.

Donald Trump: (33:25)
It’s been great. And all of that is coming. Everything went and now it’s coming. And you’ll be in a position, I think you said 43 that’s a big number. That’s a great number. If you could do that, that’d be a fantastic number. One thing I think I’d like to just finish by saying, so we reached a million cases and that’s a tremendous amount. And the reason is because the testing, because other countries don’t test. So if you don’t test, you’re not going to find cases. The reason we have a million, take a look at number two, number two is a fraction of that because they don’t test, they don’t have the ability to do what we’re doing.

Donald Trump: (34:03)
So it’s a number that in one way sounds bad, but in another way is really actually an indication that our testing is so superior. I mean, to think that we have more people, more cases than China. Does anybody really believe that? But the testing is different. And I think also the transparency is much different. Transparency is like from day and night we are totally transparent. Whatever it is, it is. But because of our great testing and because of what we’ve done and the amount we’ve done, we are able to point out far more cases than anybody else has. If other countries did the kind of testing that we had, now we’re a much bigger country than most also in terms of people, but if other countries did this kind of testing, you’d see numbers that would be much different. Okay? Thank you all very much.

Speaker 19: (34:51)
All right guys, thank you. Governors.

Speaker 20: (34:55)
[crosstalk 00:34:55] mister president, how essential is it to you that these states wait 14 days?

Speaker 19: (35:00)
Come on guys.

Speaker 21: (35:02)
Thanks guys. [crosstalk 00:35:03].