Mar 28, 2020
Transcript: Donald Trump Gives Speech Sending off Hospital Ship to NYC – Considers Quarantining New York
Donald Trump gave a speech to send off the USNS hospital ship to New York City on March 28, 2020. Trump said in the speech that he is considering a quarantine of New York and the surrounding area. Read the full transcript of his speech here.
Mark Esper: (00:09)
Good afternoon everyone, and thank you Mr. President for being here today as the United States Naval Ship Comfort prepares to set sail for New York. On behalf of the men and women of the Department of Defense, I want to thank you for your leadership during these difficult-
Mark Esper: (00:31)
The United States military is all in on this national emergency, and the great sailors and medical professionals of this tremendous hospital ship are eager to get underway and start their very important mission.
Mark Esper: (00:47)
As the nation aggressively responds to the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Defense is focused on three priorities.
Mark Esper: (00:56)
First, protecting our service members, civilians, and their families. We are committed to taking all necessary measures to safeguard the wellbeing of our most important resource, our people.
Mark Esper: (01:10)
Second, remaining prepared to carry out our core national security missions and to defend the United States against any threat.
Mark Esper: (01:19)
And third, continuing to support President Trump’s whole of government, whole of nation response to the coronavirus.
Mark Esper: (01:28)
For several weeks, the Department of Defense has been surging personnel, capabilities, and equipment to help slow the spread of the virus. Thousands of National Guard troops are mobilized across the country conducting a variety of essential tasks ranging from planning to logistics to medical support. Active duty units are moving critical supplies and equipment and medical personnel to some of the nation’s most heavily-impacted areas.
Mark Esper: (01:57)
The Department’s world-class doctors and scientists are at the forefront of infectious disease research, working alongside our government and private sector efforts to accelerate a vaccine and therapeutics for this virus.
Mark Esper: (02:11)
Now, in this great time of need, the President has directed the deployment of our nation’s most powerful symbols of medical care and compassion, the Navy’s two hospital ships, the Mercy and the Comfort. Both ships have a tremendous history of humanitarian assistance and have provided care for people throughout the world. This exceptional legacy continues as they now take care of their fellow Americans.
Mark Esper: (02:40)
The skilled medical professionals who will set sail on the Comfort will play a critical role in freeing up capacity and hospital beds in the New York area. I’d like to thank them for their sacrifices and for their commitment to the wellbeing of the American people.
Mark Esper: (02:56)
Finally, I’d like to thank President Trump for his bold leadership and support to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. This is an unprecedented time for our nation, and your leadership, Mr. President, is uniting the American people to defeat this virus. I am confident we will get through this together. We will prevail. Thank you, and it is my great honor to now welcome the President of the United States and our Commander in Chief, President Donald Trump.
Donald Trump: (03:32)
Thank you very much, Mark.
Mark Esper: (03:33)
Thank you [inaudible 00:03:33]
Donald Trump: (03:33)
Thank you very much, Mark, and you’re doing a fantastic job. Our country appreciates it very much.
Donald Trump: (03:42)
Thank you everybody for being here today. I’m deeply honored to be at Naval Station Norfolk, the largest naval base anywhere in the world and the home to the most powerful fleet that has ever sailed the seas. I just passed some of the most beautiful and, frankly, the most highly-lethal ships that I have ever seen in my life, and there are a lot of them, and they’re in better shape now than they have been for many, many decades with what we’re doing.
Donald Trump: (04:13)
We’re grateful to be joined by Commander of the US Fleet Forces, Admiral Christopher Grady, and Commander of the US 2nd Fleet, Vice Admiral Woody Lewis. Thank you both for being here. We appreciate it very much.
Donald Trump: (04:28)
As we gather today, our country is at war with an invisible enemy. We are marshaling the full power of the American nation, economic, scientific, medical, and military to vanquish the virus, and we will do that.
Donald Trump: (04:47)
Today, I’m here to express my profound gratitude to the dedicated service members who will soon be on the front lines of this fight. In a few moments, the crew of the Navy Hospital Ship USNS Comfort, which is really something, will embark for New York City, where they will join the ranks of tens of thousands of amazing doctors, nurses, and medical professionals who are battling to save American lives.
Donald Trump: (05:20)
This great ship behind me is a 70,000-ton message of hope and solidarity to the incredible people of New York, a place I know very well, a place I love. We’re here for you, we fighting for you, and we are with you all the way, and we always will be. You have the unwavering support of the entire nation, the entire government, and the entire American people.
Donald Trump: (05:53)
After being rushed out of maintenance with historic speed, it was supposed to be here for four weeks, and they did it in four days, the Comfort will arrive at Pier 90 in Manhattan on Monday, three weeks ahead of schedule. Its crew will begin treating patients on Tuesday. It will be met in New York Harbor by Governor Cuomo, who I just spoke with. He’s very excited, and they need the help.
Donald Trump: (06:25)
The skilled sailors and civilian mariners aboard this ship will provide a critical surge capacity for the New York metropolitan area. Their mission will be to care for New Yorkers who do not have the virus but who require urgent care. In other words, they’ll be using this. People will be coming out of hospitals who don’t have the virus, and they’ll be on the ship where they have great operating rooms and great facilities. The places inbound, on land, will be where people that have the virus will be. So the people with the virus will not be on ship. The ship will be used for people having operations and other things other than that. By serving these emergency patients away from the hospitals, beds will be opened up all over the city for those who are infected.
Donald Trump: (07:22)
This ship can handle a lot of people, so it will open capacity all over the city, and it’ll be ready to address any life-threatening medical emergency. It is stocked, it’s stocked to the brim with equipment and medicines and everything you can think of. Importantly, by treating noninfected patients remotely on the ship, it will help to halt very strongly the transmission of the virus.
Donald Trump: (07:51)
The Comfort’s sister ship on the West Coast, the USNS Mercy, arrived ahead of schedule substantially in port yesterday. Governor Gavin Newsom was very thankful for it. They’re working very hard in California. It’s performing a similar mission for the people of Los Angeles and the people of California.
Donald Trump: (08:14)
As the USNS Comfort gets underway, it is fully loaded with 12 operating rooms and they are fully equipped, 1000 hospital beds, a medical laboratory, a pharmacy, an optometry lab, digital radiology, a CT scan, two oxygen-producing plants, and a helicopter deck, which will be used very actively. It also bears our military’s greatest weapon of all, a crew of nearly 1,200 outstanding members of the United States Navy, and I thank them very much.
Donald Trump: (08:52)
Among the sailors departing today are some of the finest doctors, nurses, technicians, orderlies, and medical staff anywhere in the world. These are true professionals, and no one performs better under pressure when lives are on the line. These are incredible people.
Donald Trump: (09:13)
We will stop at nothing to protect the health of New Yorkers and the health of the people of our country in their hour of need.
Donald Trump: (09:24)
I also want to remind everyone about the CDC’s latest guidance. If you are from the New York metropolitan area and you travel elsewhere, we need you to self-quarantine for 14 days to help us contain the spread of the virus. I am now considering and will make a decision very quickly, very shortly, a quarantine. Because it’s such a hot area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, we’ll be announcing that one way or the other fairly soon. This does not apply to people, such as truckers from outside the New York area who are making deliveries or simply transiting through. It won’t affect trade in any way.
Donald Trump: (10:17)
The Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA are racing to build temporary hospitals which are now completed, by the way, in record time. Four hospitals, four medical centers. In speaking with the Governor this morning, we’re giving them an additional four large tents which they need very badly. The emergency medical stations in New York are top of the line. You have them in not only New York, but in California and Illinois. We’ll be adding some to other states also.
Donald Trump: (10:53)
I’ve empowered our nation’s governors with the resources to call up the National Guard and authorized the activation of ready reserves. Two big words, ready reserves. FEMA has shipped or delivered 11.6 million N95 respirators, 26 million surgical masks, 5.2 million face shields, and a lot are being made of all of the things I just named right now. We have millions and millions of new medical items being made as we speak, and purchased. 4.3 million surgical gowns, 22 million gloves, and 8,100 ventilators. We have moved rapidly to mobilize every instrument of American power.
Donald Trump: (11:43)
This week, I invoked the Defense Production Act to compel General Motors to carry out federal contracts for ventilators, and I think they’re going to do a great job. I have to say that. We’re also working with the major ventilator companies in the United States. All big name companies, all companies that do ventilators, so they won’t need extra time. They’re gearing up, and they’ll be working 24 hours around the clock, and they have been, they’ve been doing a fantastic job, to accomplish a historic ramp-up and a ramp-up in the kind of numbers that we’re talking about.
Donald Trump: (12:22)
If we make too many, that’s going to be okay, because I spoke with the Prime Minister of the UK yesterday, Boris Johnson. He tested, as you know, positive. Before I even was able to get a word out of him, he said … I said, “How you doing?” He said, “We need ventilators.” The UK needs ventilators. A lot of countries need ventilators badly. It’s a tough thing to make. It’s a very complicated and expensive piece of equipment. I would say more so than a car. You’re talking about expensive, complicated equipment. So I hope we soon will have enough that we can help other countries with ventilators. A lot of countries need them.
Donald Trump: (13:04)
In the next 100 days, America will make or acquire three times more ventilators than we do in an entire year, we are so geared up. At Boeing, Ford, Honeywell, 3M, [Haynes 00:00:13:16], and other great American companies, factory floors and manufacturing lines are being converted to produce the respirators, protective masks, face shields, and other vital equipment. Those companies have been amazing. Boeing is giving us their cargo-moving planes. They’re the biggest cargo movers anywhere in the world, and we’re going to be using them to ship certain types of equipment to various states.
Donald Trump: (13:45)
Hundreds of millions of Americans are also making tremendous sacrifices on the home front in a historic drive to support our great workers and businesses. I signed into law the single largest economic relief package in American history. You saw that yesterday. The $2.2 trillion, and think of that $2.2 trillion, but it goes to $6.2 trillion depending on what we decide. This legislation delivers job retention loans for small businesses to help them keep workers on payroll, expanded unemployment benefits, and direct cash payments to American citizens. These are very substantial payments. A family of four will be getting approximately $3,400.
Donald Trump: (14:35)
This legislation also provides massive increases in funding for hospitals who need it for disaster relief fund and critical lifesaving medical supplies. We’re spending a tremendous amount of money on medical supplies. We’re trying to get it to the point needed directly, as opposed to our supply lines, so it can go directly to where they need it without having to go through a long process. I don’t want to say bureaucratic, but we have not … This group of people has worked so incredibly hard, and the energy and the speed with which they’re delivering everything has been really admired by everybody. Everybody’s talking about it, the job they’re doing.
Donald Trump: (15:20)
My administration has also taken action to dispend and suspend federal student loan payments, so we’re suspending, and that means suspending in every sense of the word, student loan payments so that the students that are not able to take advantage of what’s going on, obviously for obvious reasons, they will be, the payments suspended.
Donald Trump: (15:46)
We’ve temporarily stopped federal evictions and foreclosures. We’ve postponed tax day until July, which is a big thing, first time that’s happened, and waved regulations to speed new treatments to the market. We have new treatments coming on rapidly. We’re doing very well, we think, with vaccines, and we’re doing very, very well with, hopefully or potentially, cures. We’re looking at a lot of different alternatives, a lot of different medicines that would be game changer.
Donald Trump: (16:19)
The battle in which we’re now engaged has inflicted many hardships on our nation and our families, tremendous hardship on some families, and much death, much death. But through it all, the world has witnessed the unyielding resolve of our incredible American people. We are not only a country of vast resources, we’re a nation of colossal strength, towering spirit, soaring patriotism, and exceptional character, and you’re showing it to the entire world.
Donald Trump: (16:54)
At this moment, there are 151 countries throughout the world that are under attack by this horrible, invisible enemy. 151 countries, and we’re in touch with a lot of them. Our professionals are the best in the world. But who would ever think 151 countries are under attack?
Donald Trump: (17:19)
We are one family bound together by love and loyalty, the eternal traits so perfectly embodied by the extraordinary men and women aboard this ship, and the men and women at this beautiful, scenic, but really tough base. This base is something. Thank you very much. This base is something very, very special.
Donald Trump: (17:44)
With the courage of our doctors and nurses, with the skill of our scientists and innovators, with the determination of the American people, and with the grace of God, we will win this war, and we will win this war quickly with as little death as possible.
Donald Trump: (18:05)
When we achieve our victory, this victory, your victory, we will emerge stronger and more united than ever before. We are going to be at a level of preparedness in case something like this should ever happen again. And God willing, it won’t. But we are prepared. What we’ve done in building systems, we’re now the number one tester anywhere in the world by far. We’re testing more in one day than other countries are testing in weeks and months.
Donald Trump: (18:42)
We’ve learned a lot, and I cannot be more thankful to the American people. I can say this, and I can say this from the bottom of my heart, I am very proud to be your President. Thank you very much, and God bless you all. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you.