The Beat with Ari Melber, Transcript 3/27/2020
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I would like to maybe
ask, before I continue, Peter, to say a few words.
Please, Peter? Thank you very much.
PETER NAVARRO, DIRECTOR, WHITE HOUSE OFFICE OF TRADE AND MANUFACTURING
POLICY: Thank you, Mr. President.
And of course, you know the Harvard joke. You can tell a Harvard man, you
just can`t tell him much, right?
TRUMP: You can`t tell him.
NAVARRO: So anyway, on a serious note, let me just give you a little idea
of the Defense Production Act and why it is so important. We are engaged in
the most significant industrial mobilization since World War II. We have a
wartime president, fighting an invisible enemy and we have the full force
of government, coupled with the full power of private enterprise, bearing
down on this problem for the American people, sir.
What we had to do today, with President Trump`s order with respect to
General Motors, I want to give you a little background on that. We need
industrial mobilization to make adequate ventilators, particularly in the
very short run to help the people of New York, Detroit, New Orleans,
Chicago, Denver, Seattle, all around this country, as this virus bears
And the ventilators, really, are the most important thing for patients who
become most seriously ill. They`re literally the lifeline for people. And I
have personally been working with FEMA and I have been working with HHS and
over 10 ventilator companies, making sure we can get what we need as
quickly as possible.
And virtually every one of those companies have been cooperative,
patriotic, moving in Trump time – which is to say as soon as possible, sir
– but we did have a problem with GM and Ventec. On the one hand, we had
Ford and G.E. moving forward on a similar kind of project, patriotically
moving as fast as possible. Over the last several days, we ran into
roadblocks with GM.
We cannot afford to lose a single day, particularly over the next 30 to 60
days. So President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act as a way of
enhancing and accelerating this mobilization. I salute him for doing so.
It`s going to make my job so much easier. For the most part, we`ve had
tremendous cooperation from the private sector. Today, sir, was the right
day to do it. Thank you, sir.
TRUMP: Thank you very much. Thank you, Peter, and good luck.
My administration is marshaling the full power of the American government,
and we will do that and that`s what we`ve done. And we will continue to do
it until our war is won. Economic, scientific, medical military, and
homeland security, all of this to vanquish the virus.
We are working to sign contracts immediately with the major ventilator
companies in the country including G.E., Philips, Medtronic, Hamilton,
ZOLL, ResMed, Hill-Rom and Vyaire.
These are all companies that do this, great companies. The FDA will be
reducing and waiving unnecessary regulations in order to get this done.
We`re going to be getting rid of certain – let`s say barriers to speed. We
want them to get it done quickly, they`ve been doing it for a long time,
they`ve been making ventilators for a long time. Hopefully General Motors
will join in the fray.
Under the normal condition that you would be, regular times, 29,000
ventilators are distributed in the United States each year. In the next 100
days – well, first of all, we`ve already delivered thousands of them –
but within the next hundred days, we will either make or get in some form
over 100,000 additional units.
And I guess to put in other words, in the next 100 days, we`ll receive over
three times the number of ventilators made during a regular year in the
United States, and that doesn`t include all of the thousands and thousands
that we`ve – we`ve given to the various states, a lot of them.
We delivered thousands, as you know, to New York, and they didn`t know they
got them. And then we also had thousands put in a warehouse, and that was
also for New York. And they just found out that they were there, so we have
to make sure that when we deliver things, they get distributed.
Earlier today, I spoke to the CEO of Boeing, David Calhoun. And Boeing will
be producing and donating face shields to help our medical professionals on
the front lines. These are actually pretty intricate in terms of the
plastic and the quality of the materials, they`re important. They`ve got to
be top of the line, and they`re going to do thousands of these a week.
They`ve already tested the production, and they`re ready to begin producing
all of these shields. That`s the plastic shields that go over the face.
Boeing is also offering us the use of their – what they call the
Dreamlifter cargo plane. It`s the largest plane in the world, and this is
sort of a picture of it.
They called up just a little while ago. And that can sort of take anything,
that`s the biggest in the world. And they`re letting us use that for the
distribution of product all over the country, especially the heavy product
or large quantities of product. And Boeing will dedicate up to three planes
to the mission of flying medical anywhere we need it. Each plane can carry
63,000 pounds of cargo per flight, that`s a lot of cargo.
I also signed an executive order giving the Department of Defense and
Department of Homeland Security the authority to activate the ready reserve
components of the armed forces. This will allow us to mobilize medical,
disaster and emergency response personnel to help wage our battle against
the virus by activating thousands of experienced service members including
We have a lot of people, retirees, great, great military people, they`re
coming back in who have offered to support the nation in this extraordinary
time of need. And they come back in, they don`t say how much, they don`t
say what are we getting paid, they just want to come back in. It`s really
an incredible thing to see. It`s beautiful.
This afternoon I also signed into law $2.2 trillion in urgently needed
relief for our nation`s families, workers, businesses and Americans, every
race, color, religion and creed. And the $2.2 trillion goes to $6.2
trillion depending on need; so it`s the largest – it`s the largest bill
ever signed, and not just emergency relief, but of any kind. We`ve never
signed a bill of that magnitude.
You know, incredibly, it was 96 to nothing in the Senate and it was
essentially the same thing in Congress. They did it very quickly in the
House. They did it very, very quickly. So if you look at Congress, what
they`ve been able to do, the House was voice vote, I guess they would call
it, and something like that rarely takes place, and 96 to nothing in the
Senate for the largest bill in the history of our country. That`s pretty
And I want to thank Republicans, I want to thank Democrats for coming
together, for the whole of the nation, and this is a great thing, a great
victory, this is going to save companies that are incredible companies but
that are going to need some help because of what happened. A month ago they
were outstanding, they were having the best year they ever had and then we
got hit. We`ll help them out. It`s thousands and millions of jobs. It`s
millions of jobs.
And I just want to thank everybody for working so hard. That includes the
people standing with me right here. The legislation extends a vital
lifeline to American families and American workers with job retention loans
for small businesses and a big focus of the bill is small businesses.
They`re really the – they`re the energy, they`re whatever you want to call
it in terms of nation to push.
People have no idea how big a factor – Peter can tell the small businesses
are in this country from an economic standpoint, from a jobs standpoint. We
expand the unemployment benefits for workers very substantially and direct
cash payments will be going to American citizens, substantial.
This legislation provides a massive increase in funding for hospitals for
the disaster relief fund and critical supplies including masks, respirators
and pharmaceutical of all types. And speaking of pharmaceuticals, as you
know, we`re working on vaccines, we`re getting some good response and we`re
working on therapeutics and cures. And we have some very interesting things
This afternoon Apple launched a new tool created in partnership with our
task force, the CDC and FEMA. Any individual concerned they might have the
virus can now download the free COVID-19 app on their iPhone and answer a
set of simple questions about their symptoms and risk factors. It`s getting
to be a very modernized system, indeed. They will soon receive HHS
recommendations on what to do next, including whether they should get
tested or not. And again, we only want people to get tested if we think
they need it.
In a few moments, Secretary DeVos and Secretary Purdue will discuss new
partnerships with the private sector that are providing millions of meals
to students while schools are closed. They both have been incredible, the
job they have done, appreciate them very much. We`re grateful for the
assistance of Niren Chaudhary, CEO of Panera bread company, they`ve been so
incredible to us and the people of our country. And Denton McLane, chairman
of McLane Global Logistics, and they`ve joined us, they`re on stage with
me, they`re going to speak.
Throughout this ordeal, I have been awed and inspired by the American
people more than anything else, more than anyone else. Americans of every
walk of life have followed the guideline, shown compassion and sacrificed
greatly on behalf of their fellow citizens. I want every American to know
their selfless and heroic actions are saving lives, and I want them to know
and I have said it before, that I`m very proud to be their president. Very
proud of the American people.
My administration is actively planning the next phase in an all out war
against this horrible virus. We`re now testing 100,000 patients per day,
more than anybody in the world. And we have now, as of even a couple of
weeks ago, tested more than any other country in the world and our capacity
continues to grow. Widespread surveillance testing will allow us to monitor
the spread of the virus, and we`re doing that quite accurately, and Deborah
and Tony will be speaking about that. And coordinate with the state to
contain new hot spots as they arise with a targeted fact based and database
approach. It`s all data driven.
This surveillance testing will soon enable us to public updated guidelines
for state and local leaders. We want every county and region in the country
to have the on the ground evidence that they need to determine the
mitigation measures that are right for them. Each location is different.
Some are very, very different. Some are day and night. Some are in great
shape and some aren`t in great shape and we`ll be able to have very
accurate information very shortly. We already have a lot of that
America is greatly battling this pandemic through cutting edge signs,
medical innovation and rational, deliberate and determined vigilance. No
effort will be spared in winning this war. We`re going to win the war.
Hopefully we`re going to win soon and with as few lives as possible lost.
You see what`s going on all over the world. You see the lives, you Italy,
you see Spain.
You see all of these countries going through so much, going through such
hell, and we`re all in strong communication. I can tell you our
professionals are dealing with them every day, many of the countries – so
many countries. But many of the countries, we`re dealing very directly and
closely. And we`re going to be in very good shape in terms of certain
equipment that`s very hard to get, very hard to manufacture and at the
right time we`ll be distributing that equipment throughout the world to
Boris Johnson was asking for ventilators today. As you know, Boris, he`s
tested – unfortunately he`s tested positive and it`s a terrible thing. But
he`s going to be great. I`m sure he`s going to be totally great. But they
want ventilators, Italy wants ventilators, Spain wants ventilators, Germany
wants ventilators. They`re all calling for ventilators. Well we`re going to
make a lot of ventilators and we`ll take care of our needs but we`re also
going to help other countries.
So I just want to thank everybody. I want to thank our great American
citizens and lot of incredible things are happening. Really happening. And
it`s too bad, I was saying before we had the press conference when we
signed. We had a signing ceremony where we signed the largest bill in our
And I said think of it, 22 days ago, we had the greatest economy in the
world, everything was going beautifully. The stock market hit an all time
high again for the over 150th time during my presidency and the world was
And then we got hit by the invisible enemy, and now you have countries all
over the world reeling.
But we`re winning it, and we`ll be bigger and better and stronger that we
were even before. And we will also have apparatus in place that works. We
won`t have broken systems. We`ll have incredible systems, so if this should
happen again, hopefully it won`t, but if a thing like this should happen
again, we`ll be able to handle it very much, more easily. So with that I
will take a few questions. Steve, please?
QUESTION: Tell us a little about these negotiations with General Motors.
What were they reluctant to do and was it a debate over costs or profits or
TRUMP: Well, it got to be a debate over cost.
We don`t want to think too much about cost when we`re talking about this.
This is not cost. I wasn`t happy where General Motors built plants in other
locations over the years. Not so much during my term, but they built a lot
of plants in other countries. I won`t name them but you can imagine. And so
I didn`t go into it with a favorable view. I was extremely happy with
They left Lordstown, Ohio in the middle of an auto boom because we had 17
car companies coming in and then they were leaving within plant in Ohio. I
And what happens? That became the story, not that all these plants are
moving in, but that you had one plant they were leaving. And, frankly, I
think that would be a good place to build the ventilators, but we`ll see.
We`ll see how that all works out.
So I wasn`t too thrilled. And then we thought we had a deal for 40,000
ventilators, then all of a sudden it became 6,000 and then price became a
big object. But Peter Navarro is going to handle that and Peter will do a
very good job. We`ll see, maybe they`ll change their tune. But we didn`t
want to play games with them.
QUESTION: Mr. President, two questions for you, one on state quarantines
and the other one on this search for a treatment. The first one, over the
last 24 hours, governors in multiple states, including Florida, Rhode
Island, have issued quarantine orders for travelers coming from other
TRUMP: Quarantine orders.
QUESTION: … Quarantine orders, yes. And they are intercepting people on
highways, at airports. They say this is at the recommendation of your
administration. Is that true? And if so, why doesn`t the administration
TRUMP: Well, I think I`m going to let Tony speak to that a little bit
later. But we`re being very strong on quarantine. We`re being very strong
on people not leaving, especially certain states, and going to other states
where they have less of a problem. I mean…
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) But is that constitutional?
TRUMP: … you`re hearing constantly about people leaving New York and
going down to Florida. And New York obviously is a hot spot. And that`s why
we`re building all those hospitals in New York and all those medical
centers in New York. So we`ll let Tony answer that. But specifically, you
have to understand, we`re not playing games.
QUESTION: Mr. President, if I could head back to the – invoking DPA, this
morning you tweeted about it. And I`m told it was coincidentally not long
after that tweet Ventec and GM reached an agreement to, at their Kokomo,
Indiana, plant which is a clean facility that makes electronic equipment…
QUESTION: … produce up to 10,000 ventilators a month with the first ones
to be delivered in a couple of weeks. Why the need, after that, to invoke
TRUMP: It wasn`t after. It was before and we just weren`t getting there
with General Motors. We weren`t getting there. We were getting there with a
lot of other companies and we have the people that are doing it for me in
the room right here, and we can have – we can talk to you later about it.
But we have to get these people on board. We`re not looking to get into a
big deal on price. We`re not looking to be ripped off on price. We don`t
want prices to be double, triple what they should be. So General Motors –
we`ll see what happens, but now they`re talking. But they weren`t talking
the right way at the beginning and that was not right to the country.
QUESTION: And if I could just follow on that, Mr. President? Last night,
you told Sean Hannity you didn`t think that there was a need for 30,000 or
40,000 ventilators. Yet, today you basically federalized General Motors to
produce tens of thousands. What changed?
TRUMP: Well, I think there`s a very good chance we won`t need that many.
And I think, frankly, there`s a great chance that we`re not going to need
But you know what? There are a lot of other people that are going to need
them. We have countries all over the world that are friends of ours and we
will help those countries.
We`re in a position to do things that other countries can`t. So we have
sort of an interesting position. We can make them, because we`re going to
be making over 100,000 pretty quickly. So we can make them and if we don`t
need them, John, that`s OK because we can help Italy, and we can help the
U. K. – Boris Johnson specifically, I mean, when I say how are you feeling
and the first thing Boris said to me is we need ventilators.
QUESTION: So surplus will be…
TRUMP: Oh, absolutely. We`re not going to be keeping our – all over the
world, they want them. And we`re in a position to make them and other
countries aren`t. OK.
QUESTION: Mr. President, if I first can follow-up on that. Governor Cuomo
had said 30,000 to 40,000 is what he needed. He based that on the experts
that were advising him. What are you basing your assessment that he doesn`t
that many on?
TRUMP: Well, if you look – and I think you can ask that question best of
Deborah – but I think their estimates are high, I hope they`re high. They
could be extremely high. We`re doing even hospitals based on pretty high
estimates I`m doing them anyway.
And as I told John, if we do not need them that will be wonderful and we
can help a lot of great people all over the world. We can help them live.
But I think his estimates are going to be very high. We`re going to see.
Don`t forget, we sent thousands of ventilators to New York and they didn`t
know they go them. Then, we send thousands of ventilators to New York –
they have a warehouse, a New York warehouse, in Edison, New Jersey, which
is an interesting thing. And we went them to Edison, New Jersey. They were
in the warehouse, ready to go and New York never took them. So – they knew
they were there. So we have to get people lined up. But we`ve – we`ve
given – and I`m not blaming New York.
Look, this is something that`s of a magnitude that nobody`s ever seen
before. But I will tell you what. The federal government has done a hell of
a job. So we sent thousands of ventilators to New York and they didn`t know
about it at the time they were complaining, thousands. We had 2,000 and
then 2,000 and then 4,000, and they were going there in large numbers, and
then before that we sent many thousands.
We want to have so many that we do have more than we need because we can
send them to other great countries that – other countries that have been
our friends and they`ll never be able to do it themselves.
QUESTION: (OFF MIKE) also said that some of the governors are not
appreciative of – of what`s the federal government`s done, and you`ve
suggested that some of these governors are not doing everything they need
to do, like that these governors are at fault.
Can you be specific? What more in this time of a national emergency…
TRUMP: Well I think we`ve done a great job for the State of Washington, and
I think the governor is a failed presidential candidate, as you know, he –
he leveled out at zero in the polls, he`s constantly chirping and I guess
complaining would be a nice way of saying it. We`re building hospitals,
we`ve done a great job for the State of Washington.
Michigan, all she does is – she has no idea what`s going on and all she
does is say, oh, it`s the federal government`s fault, and we`ve taken such
great care of Michigan.
You know the care we`ve taken of New Jersey. I think if you ask Governor
Murphy of New Jersey how are we doing, I think he`d say great. I think.
He`s a Democrat.
Governor Cuomo has really said we`re really doing a great job. And I saw
the news conference where he was thanking the people from FEMA, the people
from Army Corps of Engineers this morning.
I mean, they built a hospital like three and a half days. And it`s a big
hospital in the Javits Center. And they`re building medical facilities in
different parts of New York. And Governor Cuomo`s been appreciative.
But you know, couple of people aren`t. We have done a hell of a job. The
federal government has really stepped up.
QUESTION: But what I`m asking is what more specifically do you want the
governor of Washington, the governor of Michigan…
TRUMP: All I want them to do – very simple, I want them to be
appreciative. I don`t want them to say things that aren`t true. I want them
to be appreciative.
We`ve done a great job, and I`m not talking about me, I`m talking about
Mike Pence, the Task Force, I`m talking about FEMA, the Army Corps of
Engineers – there`s no country in the world could have done what the Army
Corps of Engineers has done and is doing.
Now they`re going in and building – literal – they`re going into hotels
and renovating hotels. That should be for governors to do. That should be
for states to do.
We have the Army Corps of Engineers so teed up and so stocked up and
they`re really psyched and they`re incredible, and there`s no games with
these people. They`re in there screaming get it done, get it done, there`s
not like sitting around taking it easy. These are workers. These are
So I think the Army Corps of Engineers, when – when somebody for political
reasons wants to blame, I view that as blaming these incredible people.
Nobody`s ever seen it. I don`t know if you`ve been to the Javits Center.
Now, I have seen it, I would love to go there, but with all that we`re
doing, we will be tomorrow at the hospital boat.
There`s another – we have this incredible hospital boat, it was supposed
to be ready in three and a half weeks because it`s under maintenance, a big
maintenance contract. We were able to get it done quickly. We were able to
stock it up to the – you know, top. And it`s leaving tomorrow at 2:00.
It`s leaving Virginia, it`ll be in New York on Monday. Weeks ahead of
I think things – even the media – I think the media and governors should
appreciate it. And I have to say, the media`s been pretty good and the
governors have been really good except for a couple, and with them it`s
just political. How`s Trump doing? Oh, well, I don`t know, you know. Let`s
TRUMP: Because we have done – we have done a job the likes of which
QUESTION: So it`s the words they`re saying that you`re concerned about,
it`s not that they`re…
TRUMP: I think they should be appreciative, because you know what, when
they`re not appreciative to me, they`re not appreciative to the Army Corps,
they`re not appreciative to FEMA, it`s not right.
These people are incredible – they`re working 24 hours a day. Mike Pence -
- I mean, Mike Pence, I don`t think he sleeps anymore. These – these are
people that should appreciated. He calls all the governors. I tell him, I
mean, I`m a different type of person. I say, Mike, don`t call the Governor
You`re wasting your time with him. Don`t call the woman in Michigan. Most -
- it doesn`t make any difference what happens.
QUESTION: … call the governor of Washington?
TRUMP: No, no, you know what I say? If they don`t treat you right, I don`t
call. He`s a different type of person. He`ll call quietly anyway, OK? But
he`s done a great job. He should be appreciated for the job he`s done.
QUESTION: Given that older Americans are advised to stay at home and avoid
travel, is it absolutely necessary for you to go to Norfolk, Virginia
tomorrow to wave goodbye to the ship…
TRUMP: No, no, but I have spirit for the country. I mean, we have sailors,
we have doctors on that ship, we have everything. I mean, I`m not going to
be jumping around in a huddle, but yes,
I think it`s a great sign – the President of the United States, they got a
ship out of maintenance, completed all the work in a fraction of the time
it was supposed to be there for three and half additional weeks, they got
it done and it`s in great shape, and they`re sending it up.
So the answer – it`s a good question, it`s a fair question. I just feel
that as the leader of our country, when they can do work like they`ve done
– and they`ve been working all day, all night, medical supplies,
everything, loading up that ship – I don`t think it`s the worst thing in
the world, it`s right down the road practically, right, Virginia – and I
think it`s great if I go to Virginia. I guess I can take helicopter or
plane, it`s very – it`s like a tiny trip. And I think it`s a good thing
when I go over there and I say thank you.
It doesn`t mean I`m going to be hugging people and it doesn`t mean that I`m
going to be shaking people`s hands and everything.
But I think it sends a signal when the president is able to go there and
say thank you, so you know, we`ll be careful.
QUESTION: Mr. President, on the stockpile of supplies for a pandemic,
yesterday, from the podium, you blamed your predecessor, saying that when
you arrived as president, you said – quote – “We took over an empty
shelf.” You`ve been president now for more than three years, why didn`t you
and your administration fill that shelf?
TRUMP: I did, we did fill it, twice. We filled it twice, and we`ve been
distributing that for – for literally a year…
QUESTION: So why…
TRUMP: … we`ve been filling – we`ve been – nice question, Peter. Thank
you very much.
We`ve been filling it out, and we`ve been filling that stockpile many, many
times. It`s been filled many, many times. And now what we`re doing is
something different, because I think it`s better.
We`d fill it, so it comes from wherever the point of manufacture or
whatever is. We fill it, and then we go, now it`s – now we take it and we
distribute it around. Now what we`re doing is, we have an emergency. We`re
saying, go direct, go direct, go direct.
We fill it only where necessary, but now we`re trying to do direct. So they
drop it off in New York or they drop it off in Michigan, they drop it off
in Virginia, wherever it may be. Florida – well, Florida`s getting a lot
of things. And we`re finding it`s a much better system. But we filled and
we`ve stockpiled many, many times. Yeah, we ended up with an empty shelf.
QUESTION: You spoke to Chinese President Xi yesterday. What did he tell you
in terms of data that he`s going to share and how they got…
QUESTION: … the number of cases to go down?
TRUMP: So I had a great conversation with the president of China last
night, pretty late in the night. It was fascinating to me. You know, they
have a whole – it`s a different kind of a world, it`s a different form of
government, to put it mildly. We talked for a long time. We talked for at
least an hour, I guess.
And one of the things I was asking him is when did you notice that this was
happening – we talked about the whole concept, how it happened, when it
happened, what was the most effective use. I mean, was it the fact that you
know, distance, was distance the best thing. We talked about everything.
And he`s gotten and developed – because they`re ahead of us from the
standpoint of time, it happened there actually long before it happened
here. By the way, it would have happened here a lot sooner, had we not kept
those people out, the Chinese people, coming over to the country, had we
not kept them out.
But we talked about it because he`s had additional experience of having
been much earlier. And he`s – he`s developed some incredible theories. And
all of that information is coming over here, it`s – a lot of it`s already
come. The data, we call it data. And we`re going to learn a lot from what
the Chinese went through.
Our relationship with China`s very good. We also talked about the trade
agreement, but I must tell you, this whole invisible enemy has taken over
the world. Nobody cares about trade, nobody cares about anything. You want
to talk about trade, they immediately get back to this.
So we really – we talked about trade. You know, they`re starting to buy
very heavily from the farmers under the agreement, under the trade deal
that we just signed. But honestly, he, me, all of us, everybody`s talking.
You turn on television, you read the papers, it`s all about this. And you
know what, it probably should be mostly about this. It`s hard to talk
about, hey, how are you doing with buying from the farmers?
They have started very, very large buying, as you probably have read. But
what we really focused on was this.
QUESTION: Did he ask you…
TRUMP: I also said, how have you done with cures and how have you done with
respect to vaccines? We discussed that. And you know, they`re doing like
we`re doing, they`re working on it very hard, they think they have some
interesting – interesting things have been determined, and we`ll see what
But we talked a lot about vaccine, we talked a lot about possible cures,
what – how good would that be? I mean, that`s a game-changer, so we`ll
And by the way, we have various things happening right now, having to do
with cures and vaccines. And I think we`re doing – I think we`re doing
very well, especially…
TRUMP: On the vaccine thing, I think we`re very close. But as Tony will
tell you, that`s a long testing process. So we`ll see what happens.
QUESTION: Did he ask you to suspend tariffs?
TRUMP: He never asked me to suspend tariffs, no. We`re taking in billions
of dollars, he never did ask me that.
QUESTION: Mr. President, on Monday, it will be the end of the 15 Days to
Slow the Spread of the virus. Do you expect that you will simply renew the
guidelines, or do you expect that there could be some modification to
TRUMP: So, John, I will be sitting down with this brilliant woman and this
brilliant man, and lots of brilliant people that work with them I think –
right, Deborah, Tony? – and we`ll be sitting down on Monday or maybe
Tuesday, depending on which is the best for everybody, and we`ll be making
that determination, OK? We`ll be making it.
QUESTION: … early indications…
TRUMP: And by the way, obviously, we`re not doing it for New York. You see
New York is just coming into this really heated situation, we`re building a
lot of things in New York right now that nobody thought would ever be
built, a lot of things are happening in New York.
So obviously – but we are talking about possibly other parts of the
country, which really aren`t affected to any major degree, or maybe we
won`t do that because maybe, at the advice of a lot of very talented people
that do this for a living, they won`t want to do that, they won`t want to
expose anything, they want to do it all at one time. These are the kind of
things we`ll be talking about.
QUESTION: So for people – so for people at home who are wondering, how
long are we going to have to live like this? What advice would you give
TRUMP: Well, it depends. We do want to flatten the curve, we want to see
that curve start heading down in the other direction at a minimum. And we
really have to talk about areas of the country that have not been affected,
or certainly have had a very small effect. And we`ll see.
I certainly want to get it open as soon as possible, I don`t want it to be
long. But we also want it to open safe. Otherwise, what did we do?
QUESTION: So could it be months?
TRUMP: I hope not, I hope it`s going to be sooner, I hope it disappears
faster than that. I really think that the people of our country have done a
great job. I looked – last night, I was watching and I`m looking down
Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue.
John, there were no people in the street. I mean, normally, you wouldn`t be
able to see the sidewalk, there`d be cars all over, it`d be like rush hour
I`m looking at it, and I`m saying, I can`t believe it, there are no cars,
there are no people. There wasn`t one person on Fifth Avenue, walking down
the street. I have never seen that before. You know, I guess maybe at 1
o`clock in the morning, 4 o`clock in the morning, maybe, but I have never
seen that before.
The people have been incredible, they`ve really been – when you talk about
distancing, social distancing, I mean it`s – we don`t have a law, we`re
not going to put them in jail. And yet they`re really – I think there`s
two things. Number one, they are afraid. And number two, they really are
wanting to win this thing.
Yes, yes, please?
QUESTION: I wanted to ask you about – United Airlines said today that
they`re worried that there`s not enough money for them in the $2.2 trillion
bill that you just signed. And at the end of the sort of aid period, which
would be the end of September, where the restrictions on layoffs come off,
that they could be seeing…
TRUMP: Yeah, yeah. Sure.
QUESTION: … significant layoffs. And so I was wondering what your
reaction to that was, and what the administration might do to prevent…
TRUMP: So, yeah, sure, it`s a good question. We have brilliant people, we
have a tremendous amount of money. And we have brilliant people that I`m
taking from Wall Street, with Secretary Mnuchin, who`s done an incredible
job – a brilliant guy.
I`m taking from Wall Street. People that I have known, that you all know,
the top people in the world. They don`t want money, they don`t want – I
mean, will they get something? I guess maybe they`ll get – who knows,
peanuts, what they want, compared to what they would normally get.
I`m taking the smartest, the most brilliant people in the world in finance,
and they`re going to be dealing – I`m not going to hire, I`m not going to
hire somebody that`s never done it, that`s a political person or anything
else. We`re getting the most brilliant financial minds in the world – I
know all of them, you know all of them. I mean, you read about all of them,
I guess, some you don`t read about and they`re probably the smartest of
But the fact it, we`re taking these brilliant people, and they`ll be
dealing with United, and they want to help. Look, the airline business – I
will tell you right now, the airline business has always been a tough
business. It`s always been a very tough business, tough to make money with.
It`s got every – every barrier you could have, that business has.
But for our country, it`s very important. We have to take care of our
country. We need the airlines to stay. It`s also big for jobs. So we will
be able to handle United, and we`ll be able to handle Delta, and we`ll be
able to handle all of it. We have plenty of money.
Now, will we end up owning large chunks, depending on what these great
geniuses decide along with the executives of the different companies? You
know, it`s possible. And they`ll make a better deal on the loan, but the
taxpayer will then end up owning a big chunk of companies.
As an example, Boeing. Boeing, until a year ago, was the greatest company,
I think, in the world, by far. There wasn`t – to me, there wasn`t anything
close. I believe it was 1 percent of GDP, OK? Think of that, one company, 1
percent of GDP. It was flawless. Then it had the problems, and then it had,
on top of it, this whole thing with the virus.
So Boeing will probably need a hand, and we`re going to bring Boeing back
to health. But we have the smartest people in the world. We have the
smartest – I don`t even know if you know that, I think this could be the
first time you`ve heard it.
People like Larry Fink we`re talking to, and – that`s BlackRock, and we
have the smartest people. And they all want to do it, they all – I mean,
this to them, they love this country, they all want to do it. So we`re
speaking to people like that, and they`ll be able to work it out.
QUESTION: I guess my question is, there`s probably a tension between
bringing companies back to economic health and protecting people`s jobs,
I`m wondering if you`re going to intervene and ask Treasury Secretary
STEVEN MNUCHIN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: No, I think they`re the same
thing. I mean bringing people back to health and protecting people`s` job.
To me – and I`m OK at this stuff. That`s the same thing. That`s – I`m in
a much different position as president than if I were an investor or
But I want to bring them back to health because I want to preserve their
jobs. But I also want to preserve airlines. Because that`s preserving lots
of other jobs. That`s preserving the travel and leisure industry, which is
perhaps the largest industry in our country, if you add it all up. You add
up all the hotels and all the travelling and all the planes and everything
else, probably by far the largest industry in our country.
So saving the airlines is very important. And the airlines were all doing
well. You know, the airlines were doing record business a month before this
– today, let`s say. Even 22 days to be exact, right, when we first started
seeing some real signs of problems. They were at record levels. Last year
they had a record year, the biggest in the history of the airlines.
Everybody was doing well. I mean, I was presiding over the most successful
economy in the history of the world. And now we`re going to have to rebuild
And I think we`re going to have an absolute incredible fourth quarter. You
know, maybe it`s slightly after that to be honest. But it`s going to be in
that time period. As soon as we get rid of this I think we`re going to have
an explosion upward. It`s going to be incredible.
QUESTION: Mr. President, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has issued some of
the fewest restrictions in the country, and yet Florida has the highest
percentage of elderly in the country.
TRUMP: That`s true.
QUESTION: Do you believe Governor DeSantis is handling this well? Do you
TRUMP: I do, because he`s a very talented guy. He`s a very good governor.
Everyone loves him. He`s doing a fantastic job for Florida. He was not
happy with the people coming down from New York. You know, they`re flying
down from New York, and had a state, and has a state, with you know,
obviously a lot less problems. His Florida has been doing really well in
the sense of testing. The testing has shown much better results. I mean,
they`ll talk to you about that later. But no, he was very unhappy with the
people coming down from New York. And I understand that.
You know, Ron is a very tough guy. He`s a great governor. And I have
tremendous confidence in him. And you know, he had the beach situation. He
resolved that. He will get it all resolved.
QUESTION: I have two questions, Mr. President. First, yesterday in your
letter to the governors, you said that you want to categorize certain
counties of high risk, medium risk and low risk. Practically speaking, how
are you going to enforce that? How can you…
TRUMP: You have to be a little louder. You`re going have to speak louder.
QUESTION: Sorry, how are you going to stop people from going from high-risk
areas to low-risk areas. in your letters to the governors?
TRUMP: Well, we have some very, very strong restrictions. But you`re right,
I don`t like it. So we`re seeing how it works. The data is coming in on
Monday and Tuesday. And we`re going to see how it looks. But you know, can
we go to a tougher level? We can, but that causes other problems. We`re
going to see, and we`ll be reporting back very shortly after my meetings
with Tony, Deborah and others that we`re going to be meeting, and our vice
president. And we`re going to be reporting back to the media, OK.
QUESTION: Hi, Mr. President. Owen Jensen with EWTN News.
QUESTION: Millions of school kids across the country are home, including my
own bored, restless. Learning a little bit online, but it`s better in the
classroom, you know that.
And they`re – my kids they to crawl on the walls and climb on the walls,
and my wife is about to lose it, right. So many of them are watching right
now. What would you say to those kids right now, elementary school, middle
school, high school? What would you tell them right now who are watching
TRUMP: I would say you are a citizen of the greatest country anywhere in
the world. And we were attacked like nothing that`s happened possibly since
1917 – many, many years ago. We were attacked. And we`re winning the
battle, and we`re going to win the war. And it`s not going to take
hopefully that much longer. But we have to win the war.
And I would say that they have a duty to sit back, watch, behave, wash
their hands, stay in the apartment with mom and a dad. They look like
they`re lucky to have you as a father. And just learn from it.
But you know, they`re – the young people have been tremendous. They –
some of them are very happy not to go to school. You understand that.
Perhaps yours; perhaps not. But they`ve been – we literally had no
But again, they should just sit back and be very proud of our country
because we`re doing it for them. You know, ultimately we`re doing it for
them. More than anything else if you think about it.
The other thing that`s nice, and the one thing that has come out, and I
learned this – again, it was reaffirmed by President Xi last night in my
conversation, the young people are really – this is an incredible
phenomenon, but they are attacked – successfully attacked – to a much
lesser extent by this pandemic, by this disease, this whatever they want to
You can call it germ. You can call it a flu. You can call it a virus. You
know, you can call it many different names. I`m not sure anybody even knows
what it is. But the children do very well. It`s almost the younger they
are, the better they do. I guess the immune system is sadly, for some of
us, their immune system is stronger. But actually I`m very happy about
But they have been attacked. For instance, the Spanish flu – and if you
look at the H1N1, the swine – if you take a look at the swine flu, which
was, as you know, not so long ago, that attacked very strongly young
children, kids, middle-aged people, everyone. Age is – age is a factor
here, so your children should be in good shape, but just tell them to be
very proud of the country, OK?
QUESTION: Just to follow up real quickly, when does the risk become an
acceptable one to allow people to go back to their lives?
TRUMP: Well, we`re going to make that determination. And you`re going to
have something to do with that. And look, we`re going to be guided also.
You have some real strong feelings.
The media – I will tell you what, the media generally, I mean I`m
impressed – a lot of the media has been fair. I`m not used to fair
treatment in the media. And I don`t know how to handle it. But the media
has really been, overall, I think the media has been pretty fair. Some not.
I mean, I could tell you who but what`s the point. But the media has really
been fair. I mean, they view this as we`re all in a problem together, and
we`re going to win, we`re going to win.
QUESTION: Yes, thank you, President Trump. New York is currently the
epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S. with about half the cases. Yesterday
Kellyanne Conway laid a lot of the blame for that on the mayor, pointing
out that he told people to go about life as normal and he resisted closing
schools and businesses. I`m wondering if you agree.
And also if I could ask you your thoughts on the stimulus preventing aid to
your businesses. Do you think that`s fair? And what are your thoughts on
TRUMP: Well, that`s not happening. I mean, I think they wrote us out. And
that`s all right. But that`s not happening.
As far as the mayor of New York, I will be honest, I didn`t know him well.
He and I are, obviously, opposite persuasions. And we would go at it, but
we didn`t – -I don`t know if we ever spoke other than to maybe say hello a
couple of times.
I did down at the memorial, World Trade Center memorial, once a long time
ago. So I have spoken to him a lot, Mayor de Blasio, and we`ve really had
incredibly productive discussions. I have gotten him a lot of people. We`ve
gotten him a medical center.
He`s asked for – at Elmhurst, I know Elmhurst Hospital very well. I mean,
that was an area of Queens that grew up in. And boy, you talk about an
epicenter, that`s really the epicenter of the epicenter. That`s really
something. We talked about it, because that was very close to where I grew
up. And you know, knowing it, being so familiar with it, it`s incredible to
see where they have the trucks. I don`t have to go into great detail, the
refrigerated trucks coming up, and I have never seen anything like it.
I have spoken with Mayor de Blasio a lot in the last week. We`ve helped
him, I think, a lot, and I have really gotten to like him. I get along with
him very well.
Now he wants us to do certain things and we`ve produced. I mean, today I
spoke to him with the secretary of defense, Esper, and we had a great
conversation, and we`re helping them get some of the things he needs. I
don`t have to go into great detail. But he`s very happy about what we`re
able to do today. And he`s like us – he`s working very hard.
But I can`t say anything bad about Mayor de Blasio. I mean, my relationship
with him over the last couple of weeks has been excellent. And we`ve done a
good job for him too.
QUESTION: Mr. President…
QUESTION: … the governors.
QUESTION: There`s been a lot of talk about ventilators and PPE and that
kind of thing, but what about hospital capacity, and are you prepared for
the stories that are going to come…
TRUMP: So we`re doing that. Great question. We`re increasing capacities.
TRUMP: Right, we`re actually adding on through the Army Corps of Engineers.
This is a big job, and we`re doing it in many states, not just New York and
California. By the way Gavin Newsom has been terrific, I have to tell you,
the governor of California. We`re getting along really well. We`re working
hard for him. As you know, the hospital ship, the other hospital ship, and
they are incredible – that just arrived in Los Angeles, fully stocked.
TRUMP: But Gavin Newsom has been really good, and so many of the governors
have been good, and these are governors that I have been fighting with
about different things for a long time – the forest fires in his case and
the border, and all sorts of things. And here we are, getting along very
So – and I appreciate his nice words, I really do, I really appreciate it.
It`s – and the people with me appreciate it.
Do you have another question?
QUESTION: Well, I was going to say, on the issue of hospital capacity
QUESTION: … beds and being able to treat people and…
TRUMP: Oh, yeah, good – good question.
QUESTION: … not have them die because they can`t have a hospital…
TRUMP: Yeah, well, I mean, look, we just started this, you know? We were
just notified. And some of the governors have asked us to build hospitals
through extensions, through portable hospitals, through things.
And – you know, normally, this – in all fairness, this is done normally
through a local government, we don`t go into cities and expand a hospital
that`s existing. But we`re doing it now because we really are equipped to
do it. We have incredible people.
And we`re expanding hospitals, we`re building many portable hospitals, not
only Javits Center, where you have four – plus you have four medical
centers, but we`re doing it in New Jersey – Governor Murphy – we`re doing
it in other states, we`re doing it in California, we`re doing some in the
state of Washington, despite the fact that I`m not appreciative of the way
the governor speaks.
We`re doing it in a lot of different locations, and we`re doing a lot of
expansions. We`re also taking over buildings and the city will go in or the
state usually will go in, take over a building, and we go in and equip it
and make it so that it`s now hospital-functioning, they call it hospital-
functioning. We`re doing a lot of that.
Again, this is normally done by governors and then give it to the city to
do. You know, you bring it in to the point. But we`re doing a lot of that,
and they`re doing a great job, mostly done by the Army Corps of Engineers
QUESTION: A couple questions on those governors, you and your team
obviously have had classified briefings on the pandemic, I assume…
QUESTION: … for a while now. Were the governors included in those
briefings, that you would have got in January and February? When did you
warn the governors…
TRUMP: That I don`t know, that I don`t know.
QUESTION: … as you would have had the information first?
TRUMP: Yeah. Well, they say I had classified briefings a long time ago,
which wasn`t true. But – but we`ve had briefings. And as I know it, the
governors have also had many briefings by…
QUESTION: When did you first warn them…
TRUMP: … the federal government.
QUESTION: … I guess, to tell them this thing was coming, this was a…
TRUMP: Oh, I think we knew – I think we knew for a while. But if you take
a look, I was the first one to say to China – and I have great respect for
China, I will tell you that – but I was the first one, when they had the
problem, to say you can`t come in. And if you go back, that`s a long time
QUESTION: So if I can follow up…
TRUMP: Yeah, please?
QUESTION: Mr. President, on this question of ventilators, I understand you
have a question, whether or not New York needs as much as they want.
Governor Cuomo`s saying 21 days from now…
TRUMP: Here`s what we`re going to have, are you ready? We`re going to have
more than – we`re manufacturing a lot of them now, we`re accumulating a
lot, we`re taking a lot through the act, we`re taking a lot, we`re actually
And we`re going to have, in a very short period of time – and Peter`s
doing it along with some very talented people, some really talented people,
it`s very impressive actually – but we`re actually taking a lot. We`re
going to have plenty.
TRUMP: And if for some reason – Jon, if for some reason you`re going to
need even more, we`re going to be prepared.
As an example, we now – we`ve given out thousands and thousands, which I
think you`ll know. We accumulated thousands, we give them out. But we right
now, I think in the stockpile, we have over 10,000. The reason we don`t
want to distribute that is for exactly what you`re saying.
If there`s a mad rush in New York or maybe in Louisiana, or maybe someplace
else, we don`t want to have given out all of those units, the ventilators,
and then in those sections, we give them to Iowa but they didn`t have a
problem in Iowa. Give them to Idaho, we give them to lots of different
places, and now we have to try and get them back, which is very easy to
QUESTION: But here`s – here`s my question…
TRUMP: No, no, John, what I`m saying is this. We are prepared for things
that nobody has any idea that we`d be prepared. And you know what? When I
took this over, it was an empty box. We didn`t have testing, we didn`t have
anything. We had a broken system there, we had a broken system in the
stockpile, and we had a lot of broken systems.
And I`m not just blaming President Obama, you go long before that. But in
all fairness to all of the former presidents, none of them ever thought a
thing like this could happen.
But we have, right now, 10,000 ventilators in stockpile. We are ready to go
with those ventilators. What we don`t want is where we distribute the
ventilators – like we did in New York, and they didn`t need them or they
didn`t know or they didn`t use them. if we need them in New York, we`re
going to have plenty.
Now, we`re getting a lot of ventilators in the next short period of time, a
lot of ventilators are coming in the next short period of time. We`re
manufacturing. We went to all of the companies – I read their names – we
went to all of those companies. They are going to go – I would say, around
the clock, Peter, is that right? They`re going around the clock…
QUESTION: Is 100 days fast enough?
QUESTION: Is that fast enough, to get 100,000? Because some of these people
need it in three weeks.
TRUMP: Let`s – let`s put it this way, let`s put it this way. We
distributed thousands and thousands already. Normally, these would be
bought by states, just so you understand, normally these would be bought by
governors. They were – I don`t want to say unprepared, but nobody was
prepared for this.
What we`ve done, nobody can even imagine. and by the way, I have had
governors tell me, including Democrat governors, they said, we can`t
believe you`ve been able to do this. And you go to other countries, and
we`re not only competing against states because we don`t want to compete
We`ve had a couple of cases where states would buy, we were buying, and we
– I said specifically, because I heard about it, pull back, let the state
buy it. Immediately, the price goes way down and they end up buying it.
But we`re also competing against many countries because many countries need
the ventilators. That`s why I want to build more if possible.
TRUMP: Jon, maybe we`ll take one more question.
QUESTION: I guess the question I want…
QUESTION: … the question I was building up to is, are you able to
guarantee it, to assure these states, these hospitals that everybody who
needs a ventilator, will get a ventilator?
TRUMP: So here`s what I will tell you. I think we`re in really good shape.
This is a pandemic the likes of which nobody`s seen before. I think we`re
in great shape. I think that, number one, we`ve distributed – ventilator`s
a big deal. We`ve distributed vast number of ventilators, and we`re
prepared to do vast numbers.
I think we`re in great shape. I hope that`s the case. I hope that we`re
going to have leftovers so we can help other people, other countries.
QUESTION: Everybody who needs one will be able to get a ventilator?
TRUMP: Look, look, don`t be a cutie pie, OK?
QUESTION: … fundamental question.
TRUMP: You know, everyone who needs one.
Nobody`s ever done what we`ve done. Nobody`s done anything like we`ve been
able to do. And everything I took over was a mess, it was a broken country
in so many ways. In so many ways other than this. We had a bad testing
system, we had a bad stockpile system, we had nothing in the stockpile
system. So I wouldn`t tell me what you`re – what – you know, like being a
QUESTION: Mr. President, you have signed a bill today, the size of which
could choke an entire herd of horses. and before you even had a chance to
put pen to paper, people were already talking about the need for a phase
QUESTION: Do you see a need for a phase four, and where do think the
priorities would lie?
TRUMP: Well – yeah, well, there may be something where we`re going to have
to help states. Because the states have been hurt very badly. And the
beautiful thing about our country is, $6.2 trillion – because it is $2.2
plus $4 – it`s $6.2 trillion, and we can handle that easily because of who
we are, what we are. It`s our – it`s our money, it`s our – we are the
ones, it`s our currency.
We can handle it, and we can handle – I watched Jerome Powell the other
day, and he did a good job. He said, we`ll do whatever we have to do. John,
we have to do whatever we have to do.
QUESTION: Where do you see the priorities being?
TRUMP: The priority is life and safety, and then the economy. Life and
QUESTION: Is the Easter goal – is the Easter goal stick? It seems like the
– earlier in the week, you said we love Easter…
TRUMP: We`ll see. No, no…
QUESTION: … but now it seems like it could be longer.
TRUMP: … we`ll see. A lot of things can…
QUESTION: … long weekend.
QUESTION: … what do you tell those folks who think they`re going to have
to wait this out for a while?
TRUMP: I would tell them, if it`s your life, then it`s your safety. And if
we need more time, they`re not going to have a problem waiting it out. It`s
life, it`s safety and it`s our country. But we have to take care of people.
At the same time, we want to get them out. They want to get out. Our
country was built on that. But we have to make sure it`s safe, and everyone
OK, one more question. Please?
QUESTION: Mr. President, sir…
TRUMP: Go ahead.
QUESTION: … thank you. Both the World Health Organization, as recently as
today, and your own health officials have said that any treatments that we
use for coronavirus should be scientifically demonstrated to be effective.
But at the same time, you`ve said that – chloroquine as an example could
be used as a cure very soon. So is the WHO and your health officials wrong
on this point? Are they…
TRUMP: So hydroxychloroquine, which is supposed to be the better of the
two, seems to have some good backing. We`re going to see. Look, Governor
Cuomo, we`ve given him 10,000 units – it`s a lot – and they`re testing
It`s a malaria drug, it`s also a drug for arthritis. But it – and it`s
phenomenal for those two things, as you probably know, especially for
But we`re going to find out soon. I hope it works. It – it…
TRUMP: … there are signs that it could be doing well. They are testing
10,000 units. It`s a lot.
TRUMP: And I tell you what, I want to thank the FDA because they approved
it immediately, based on the fact that it was already out for a different
purpose, they approved it immediately. So, look, hydroxychloroquine is a
very powerful drug for certain things, and it`s a very successful drug.
There`s reason to believe that it could be successful here.
Now, the reason I disagree with you – and I think Tony would disagree with
me – but the reason I disagree with you is that we have a pandemic. We
have people dying now. If we`re going to go into labs and test all of this
for a long time, we can test it on people right now who are in serious
trouble, who are dying. If it works, we`ve done a great thing. If it
doesn`t work we tried. But this is not something that`s going to kill
people. So, we can go in and we can test, and we can take our time.
When I was with the FDA, they indicated well, we will start working on it
right and it could take a year. I said, what do you mean, a year? We have
to test it tonight. If we don`t have it tonight – I want to test it
immediately because it`s on the market in a different form. So we know
that. So from a safety standpoint, at least we know that. But you`re
talking about giving it to people who are in many cases are dying. So, we
want to do it the way – this is sort of like right to try. We have right
to try approved.
For 44 years or more, they couldn`t get it approved. We have the best labs,
best doctors they couldn`t – I got it approved. Now, if somebody is
terminally ill and if we think we have something that`s going to work, we
can actually use it. They can use it. And I will tell you what you ought to
do when his is over, you have to do a story on that, because we have had
some tremendous results.
QUESTION: Just before you go, can I ask you something that just popped on
Wall Street Journal. The head line, the Trump administration plans to
suspend the collection of import tariffs for three months, according to
administration officials. true or not true.
TRUMP: It`s not even talked to me – more fake news, John. Look, not even
talked to me. They are talking about – the only one I have heard that
from, like as an example. China pays 25 percent interest on $250 billion
worth of product that they send in. It`s a lot. Everyone keeps saying,
you`re going to suspend the tariffs, the answer is no, but President Xi
never even brought it up last night, it wasn`t even discussed. It`s fake
Tell the Wall Street Journal. you know, the Wall Street Journal does a lot
of fake news too. It`s pretty amazing. So I want to leave you by saying I
want to thank you for being here, I want to thank the American public and
all of the people that helped so much and we`re going to give the podium to
Vice President Pence who has been incredible.
And if he`s tired and if he`s not answering questions like he should, we
have a great reason, because he has not slept in about four weeks. But I
want to thank him because he has dedicated – I mean, he is a dedicated
person. Long before this, but the job he`s done has been fantastic. So I
want to thank Mike, all the people on the task force, and FEMA and Army
Corp, everybody, you`ve been fantastic. Thank you very much.
PENCE: Thank you.
TRUMP: Thank you.
PENCE: Well, good evening everyone.
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: If and when Drs. Fauci and Birx do end up
addressing the public here.
I have got NBC White House correspondent Kristen Welker with me.
And, Kristen, you know, we took the president`s entire hour there. And
there`s always a lot of questions about, you know, when you take all of the
president, what do you learn and all of that stuff?
And I will just say this, there were – there`s a few things that were
revelatory. But there`s a few specific things that I think do matter to the
Number one, if you look at the president`s language from four days ago and
look at it today, it is clear we are not going to let up on the guidelines
in two days. It seems pretty clear the president has been convinced by the
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Right.
TODD: … by all of his advisers that his idea of opening up next week or
even opening up by Easter, or even doing that county idea is starting to
How is – it clear that the president has been sort of restrained here by
his – by the science community?
That`s our sense of this, Chuck.
And I thought that that was absolutely the headline coming out of what we
just heard from President Trump.
And you heard him get pressed on the timeline over and over again,
including by Peter Alexander, in the final moments of the president being
at the podium. And he would not commit to not only reopening the government
and the economy on Monday, but to that Easter timeline.
He didn`t even mention the Easter timeline. And based on our reporting,
aides, top officials within his task force have been urging him not to set
a hard and fast date, because, clearly, this Monday deadline is not going
And so they don`t want to – twice to have to back away from a deadline.
And you have heard a number of officials, Anthony Fauci, the vice president
even, saying, look, that Easter date was always aspirational.
Now, President Trump has said, I`m going to sit and talk to my advisers.
We`re always reevaluating.
WELKER: But his shift in tone was certainly notable during that briefing,
TODD: Very notable.
WELKER: And so it`s an indication that this stay-at-home order that a lot
of people are under right now could be in place for quite a bit longer,
TODD: I was just going to say, I think, when you hear from your own local
mayors or governors, and you hear the end of April, it sounds like that`s
where the federal government`s mind-set is too.
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