re-open Obamacare TRANSCRIPT: 4/1/20, The Beat w/ Ari Melber

Transcript:

 

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  We`re building thousands. We

will fairly soon be at a point where we have far more than we can use, even

after we stockpile for some future catastrophe, which we hope doesn`t

happen.

   

We`re going to be distributing them, the extras around the world.

 

We`ll go to Italy, we`ll go to France, we`ll go to Spain, which is, you

know, very hard hit.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On that note, is there any truth on reporting that

your administration is stopping shipment of USAID stockpiles of PPEs

abroad?

 

TRUMP: No, no truth whatsoever. No.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, your administration is not –

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

TRUMP: And we want – I would love China and other countries if they have

additional supplies – medical supplies to give to other countries.

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How the U.S. is still shipping to USAID?

 

TRUMP: 151 – 150, why would I stop that? Wouldn`t it be terrible to stop

that?

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, I mean, is the U.S. stopping shipments of our own

stockpile through USAID to other countries?

 

TRUMP: No, whatever we have, whatever we`ve committed to, we commit. But we

also need a lot for ourselves. So, we`re very focused on that until we get

over this. So, obviously, we`re not going to be shipping too much. Until

now, we do have excess of certain things, and we don`t have enough of

others.

 

I just had a great talk today with the Doug McMillon from Walmart. And I

gave him a very, very big order to – for gowns, for protective gear for

the doctors, for the nurses for everything. And he`s actually very excited

about it. He`s the biggest purchaser of this kind of thing.

 

I mean, of anything, probably in the world, and he is very excited about

it. And he said, what size? I said it`s almost an unlimited.

 

When you look at these hospitals, the amount that they order, you almost

say, how could they possibly use so much whether it`s masks or the

protective gear, but we are supplying a tremendous amount, and we just

ordered a lot from Walmart.

 

And he`s taken this on personally. And I said let it go ship – let it be

shipped not to a warehouse, directly to the side of the hospital, or

wherever they need it because we save a lot of time when we do that.

 

So, Walmart, in addition to many other companies and people is now involved

at the highest level. Please.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The announcements that were made today are aimed at

curbing the flow of narcotics into the country. Are you concerned that

we`re possibly losing ground on the drug crisis while we`re –

 

TRUMP: I don`t think we`re losing ground, but we don`t want to lose ground

that`s why we`re doing it. I don`t want to lose ground. It`s a big fight.

I`ve seen many families where they`re wiped out because they lost a son or

a daughter or a husband or a wife or whatever. Where we`re all of them.

 

And we don`t want to lose ground and we are heavily focused on the virus,

very heavily focused. And with this, we have never – after this goes into

effect, which essentially is now we will never have been so focused on

drugs coming into our country as we are right now.

 

And remember, as that wall gets bigger, that really helps us a lot. Really

helps us a lot. Yes, please.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is the Mexican government or any other Latin American

government working in conjunction with this operation to help that drug?

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

TRUMP: Many of the governments are. In Mexico, in particular, is in Mexico

right now is we have 27,000 Mexican soldiers on our southern border,

keeping people out of our country.

 

And were – very few people are coming into our country right now. And as

we complete, again, the wall, in addition to the 27,000 soldiers, it`s,

it`s a very – it`s a very tough place to come into.

 

When I – when I took over, people were coming in and they were bringing

whatever they wanted. They were bringing drugs of any type. And now it`s

very hard for them and it will get harder and harder.

 

But, the president of Mexico is a great guy, who`s really helped us a lot.

27,000 soldiers – 27,000 Mexican soldiers. And you remember when I first

took over, they had all of the caravans coming up with 10,000, 15,000,

people in the caravans they were marching through Mexico. That`s not

happening anymore. Please, on the back.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, are Norco Militants such as the FARC

57th, front of Colombia or the Maduro regime, do you know if they`re

working in conjunction with the Mexican cartels? Is there any intelligence

indicating that?

 

TRUMP: I cannot tell you that. I can – I know the answer to that. I

believe I do. But I cannot tell you that. We have information that would

lead us to believe something very powerfully, but I cannot tell you the

answer.

 

Yes, please, Jeff.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, have U.S. forces in Iraq taking the

precautions?

 

TRUMP: Yes, sure, sure.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And because of this particular attack. And that you –

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

TRUMP: We`re taking precautions and we watching it very closely. And if

something bad happens, it`s going to be very painful for the other side.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you been in touch with the Iraqi government about

this?

 

TRUMP: They know about it. Yes, they know.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are they offering additional protection.

 

TRUMP: And we`ll see – we will see what happens. But, you know, we`re down

to a small force now over the years. Since I got, we`ve been bringing

smaller and smaller, and we`re down right now to a small number, but we

have very powerful airpower there. We have the big base.

 

And, which will – and you know, I mean, nobody can get near it. And nobody

can even get near that. But we`ve really largely left. You know, we`ve

taken tremendous amounts out. And we`ve deployed them elsewhere, including

bringing some back home.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And do you think tweeting about it will help prevent

that from happening, or perhaps –

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

TRUMP: – social media. It`s social media, it gets out. I have, you know,

hundreds of millions of people, number one on Facebook. Did you know I was

number one on Facebook? And I just found out, I`m number one on Facebook, I

thought that was very nice for whatever it means. It represent something

and what I can explain to people just don`t do it, you know? It`s going to

be bad if you do, it`s going to be really bad and they don`t need to do it,

they have enough problems.

 

Iran has enough problems without doing that. But we`ve been pulling back

very substantially over the last year in Iraq, and, so, you know, that`s

the way it is.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said before you don`t want to give the enemy whoever

that is, in this case, a heads up. Do you feel like maybe you did?

 

TRUMP: No, I`m just giving them a warning. It`s not a heads up. I`m giving

them a warning, there`s a big difference. I`m saying if you do anything to

hurt our troops, they`re going to – they`re going to pay a price.

 

Now, they did last time, you know, ask for the question, they did last

time. We didn`t make a big deal out of it, but we hit very, very hard. Five

massive major ammunition sites.

 

And a lot of people went with it. A lot of bad people. A lot of enemy went

with it. And we didn`t want to make a big deal out of it, but they`re

paying a big price. They`ll pay a much bigger price this time if they do

anything.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President –

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes – we

get Admiral Gilday here, perhaps, we could ask the question about what the

plans are for the Roosevelt, sir?

 

ADM. MICHAEL GILDAY, UNITED STATES CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS: Sure.

 

In terms of Roosevelt, we`re making great progress in terms of testing and

also moving, moving people off the ship. So, in the past day or so, we`ve

moved over 1,000. That number will increase to more than 2,700 by Friday.

 

And as we continue to increase the testing as well and fly those samples

off. So, again, after pretty, pretty quickly.

 

ROBERTS: And will the ship remain fully operational?

 

GILDAY: It is fully operational now.

 

ROBERTS: And will – and will remain some?

 

GILDAY: And will remain some.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I ask to follow up to that? What protocols are you

putting in place to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus among

servicemen and women who`ve been working –

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

GILDAY: Across the fleet, before we have any ships getting underway for

training exercises for deployments, they`re spending for – those sailors

spending 14 days in quarantine before they underway. We`ve increased the

amount of testing equipment as well as physicians on warships at sea.

 

So, we`ve taken additional steps since the beginning of the COVID crisis.

 

TRUMP: We`re not (INAUDIBLE) people of going to be getting off at various

ports anymore. Right?

 

GILDAY: Correct.

 

TRUMP: I think we – and we`ve probably have decided on that.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That means, civilians?

 

TRUMP: No, military people.

 

MARK ESPER, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I want to add – I`d like

to add one thing to that. There seems to be this narrative out there that

we should just shut down the entire United States military and address the

problem that way. That`s not feasible.

 

We have a mission. Our mission is to protect the United States of America

and our people. And so, we live and work in cramped quarters, whether it`s

an aircraft carrier, a submarine, a tank, a bomber, it`s the nature of our

business.

 

But the chain of command has very clear guidance and I`m confident between

the commanding officers and the senior non-commissioned officers that

they`re taking every reasonable precaution to make sure we practice as best

we can, social distancing, sanitizing environments, et cetera, consistent

with that mission.

 

And that`s what I trust Admiral Gilday, Acting Secretary Modly, and all the

other service chiefs and service leaders to do. And I`m confident we`ll do

that because, keep in mind, we have a job to do and we will continue to do

it, defend the United States of America.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, you mentioned the stockpile earlier. The

Washington Post reported today that U.S. stockpile is nearly depleted of

PPE. Is that the case? And if so, how –

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

TRUMP: Yes, it is because we`re sending it directly to hospitals. We don`t

want it to come to the stockpile because then we have to take it after it

arrives and bring it to various states and hospitals.

 

Now, one of the things, and again, we ask the states to do this as much as

possible. Many of the states have people that whether it`s that or

clothing, they make clothing, lots of clothing in many of the different

states.

 

We said, see if you can get it directly from those manufacturers, make a

deal. We`ll use the Purchase Act if we have to on them. They won`t – by

the way, so many people are – the spirit is incredible what they are

doing.

 

But we`ve asked states where they have large manufacturers of different

types of equipment. To use those local factories, those local plants, and

have it made directly, ship it right into the hospitals.

 

We`re shipping things right and we have, as you know, almost 10,000

ventilators which we need for flexibility. It`s a lot. It sounds like a

lot, but it`s not because as you see on the board from yesterday, as this

scourge, as this plague, as this virus moves, it moves very fast, and we

don`t know yet whether we`re going to need it in Louisiana, in New York,

and we`d – you know, wherever it may be.

 

So, we`re ready for it, we`re totally ready for it. We`re going to be

shipping out, we`ve already agreed to ship out over a thousand today to

different sites, different locations. But we have to have the flexibility

of moving the ventilators to where – to where the virus is going.

 

And we`ll be able to see that – you know, we`ll be able to see that from

charts a couple of days in advance. So, right now, we have a nice pile of

ventilators. We have a lot more coming in. We have a lot of – I think we

have 11 companies are making ventilators right now. Very good companies and

they`re making them.

 

You know about Ford, you know about General Motors, but we have a lot of

companies making the ventilators right now. So, now, the question is, and

when you make one, it doesn`t get made in 15 minutes.

 

It`s not a mask can go quickly. A ventilator takes time to build, it`s

very, very, as we discussed, it`s complex, it`s big, it`s expensive, you

know, et cetera. But we`ll be able to move, we have great flexibility.

John?

 

ROBERTS: I was just going to say, sir, if you want to move on to slow the

coronavirus or stick with –

 

TRUMP: Yes, I think, if does anybody have any other questions for this

great group of brilliant people. Yes, please.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Mr. President. Question for Secretary

Esper. Is the military personnel that`s been fanned out across the country

to help combat the virus. Is there any chance that they`re planning to see

at some point, happen to military personnel, treat, foreseen, COVID-19

patients.

 

ESPER: Well, excuse me, as you know, we have the hospital ships currently

deployed, one in L.A. and one in New York City. So, they are – they will

be, they could be treating patients as they come in, we`re taking

precautionary measures to screen them beforehand to make sure that they`re

not – they`re not exposed if you will.

 

Same with the military hospitals that we are – we are deploying certainly,

again, to New York, Seattle, and other places. But the one thing we got to

be careful of, were is that these are deployable assets, they are unique.

 

So, if we want to retain the ability to deploy military doctors,

expeditionary military hospitals around the country, we`ve got to preserve

and protect them as best we can. That said, we remain completely available

to assist as need be, as directed by FEMA, as the vice president, and the

president asks us.

 

That`s what we commit to do to the American people to help safeguard them

and protect them through this – through this virus.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, as part of that they – will they be seeing

coronavirus patients or will they strictly be seeing other patients and

helping to –

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

ESPER: They could have called upon. I think the best use for them is based

on their training and how they`re structured and organized is for trauma.

We can take the load off of hospitals with regard to their trauma patients.

Thereby, freeing up rooms and other doctors, particularly doctors who are,

you know, respiratory nurses or doctors who deal with infectious disease to

treat those type of patients. So, I think, it`s the best use of our

resources.

 

But again, if push comes to shove, we`re prepared to do what we have to, to

assist the American people. At the same time, preserving the Medicaid –

medical capability we need to support our operation deployed forces abroad.

 

TRUMP: We`re looking at doing two additional brand-new hospital ships,

because these ships have really – I mean, they really struck a blow, very

positive blow for what they`re doing. Going here in Los Angeles, going into

New York. So, we`re looking very seriously at building two additional ships

of about the same size.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Building two new ones, or deploying two ones?

 

TRUMP: It will either be – well, building. But we`re looking at building

either two new ones, we`re doing the renovation of another large ship. But

this has really worked out well. So, probably two brand new ones.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, Mr. President – Mr. President –

 

TRUMP: Isa this concerning the gentlemen or do want them – do you want

them to get back to work and capture all those bad people?

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Follow up, Mr. President or Mr. Secretary.

 

TRUMP: Go ahead. Sure, go ahead.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know that Secretary Wilkie has said he`s on standby

waiting to hear if V.A. hospitals need to be opened – the door need to be

open to civilians.

 

TRUMP: True.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you talking about that?

 

TRUMP: Yes, we are.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Could we see that – how soon could that happen?

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

TRUMP: In fact, certain hospitals – yes, certain – can move very quickly.

He`s a very capable man, and we`re ready to move very quickly. As an

example, in Louisiana, they have a very big hospital. So, we`re looking to

move very quickly if we need them.

 

You know, hopefully, we won`t need them.

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: – people need that soon?

 

TRUMP: And we`re going to find out pretty soon. We`re only going to know

when at the time it happens. We prepare for the worst. We are preparing for

the worst. Unfortunately, that`s the way we have to look at it.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just to follow-up on the purpose of these naval ships.

You mentioned something about treating trauma patient. And I`m just

curious, what about things like, you know, giving birth? Would mothers be

expected, in New York, for example –

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

TRUMP: Well, this is to understand they`re not doing that on the ship.

That`s the one thing they`re not doing outside of the COVID-19. They are

not doing that. The birth of a baby not being done on the ships.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Can I have a follow-up question with Attorney

General Barr, please? This has to do with the visa restrictions on

immigrant doctors. Is the administration considering easing the

restrictions or waiving restrictions for doctors with J1 or H1B visas, so

they can help other doctors during this crisis?

 

WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: Actually, the

immigration laws are no longer under the administration of the Department

of Justice and I haven`t been participating any of those discussions.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, what about you, Mr. President? Can you respond

to that question, President?

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

TRUMP: (INAUDIBLE) please, one more. One more for this –

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To you, Secretary Esper. The WHO, this is on the topic

of coronavirus in Iran. The WHO confirms that Iran is vastly under-

reporting its coronavirus cases, not just cases but fatalities. According

to on-the-ground estimates, that it might be as high as 15,500 deaths.

 

32 commanders in the military in Iran are now confirmed either in dire

condition or dead. You have eight percent of the parliament now down with

coronavirus. So, is Iran`s soundings of aggressions today that President

Trump, just tweeted about, do you think, strategically, is that a bluff on

their part or is this a sign of very clear desperation? Where are you

strategically on that?

 

ESPER: Well, first and foremost, we empathize for the Iranian people. I

mean, they clearly have been hit hard. As you know, I think the president

spoken about it. Certainly, Secretary Pompeo, we`ve offered assistance,

we`ve offered medical supplies, et cetera, they have refused that.

 

I think if the Iranian regime put more interest in terms of taking care of

their people and in the context of this virus they would be better served.

Instead, the Iranian regime continues to want to spread its malign

activities throughout the region. They want to continue to send out the

Kurds force and others to cause problems throughout the region.

 

We know that in one-way shape, or form, they are the resourcing, directing,

approving of whatever operations for Shia militia groups in Iraq that are

targeting American forces. So, I think at the end of day, again, I feel a

deep concern for the Iranian people.

 

The important thing is the Iranian government should focus on them and stop

this malign behavior that they`ve been conducting now for over 40 years. I

think the entire region and certainly the Iranian people would be better

off for it.

 

TRUMP: And I happen to think they want to make a deal, they just don`t know

really how to start. And they`ve been given some bad advice by former

Secretary Kerry. It`s a very bad advice. And I really think they want to

make a deal which is the Logan Act.

 

But we`d have to look at the Logan Act, all you have to do is take a look.

I think they`ve had given very bad advice by Secretary Kerry. I think that

– I think they`re dying to make a deal.

 

Look, their country is in trouble, their economics are shot, they`re in –

they`ve got a lot of bad things going, I think they`d like to make a deal,

they can get it settled very quickly.

 

No nuclear weapons, no nuclear weapons. They can`t have nuclear weapons.

It`s very simple.

 

OK, let`s – let these folks get back to work, is that OK? Thank you all

very much.

 

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST:  And we just heard – I guess this was part one of

the daily briefing. And I guess that`s what we should call it.

 

This was less on coronavirus. I think we`re going to get the coronavirus

daily briefing in a minute.

 

But I want to bring in Courtney Kube, our Pentagon correspondent, because I

want – you know Secretary Esper better than our viewers do. He created a

straw man that I had not heard of, which is this idea , some people want us

to shut down the whole military to deal with coronavirus.

 

And I`m like, I don`t know who that is. I don`t think anybody was

suggesting that.

 

It struck me as a bit defensive. Any reason? Is there – is there criticism

coming in that we haven`t seen?

 

COURTNEY KUBE, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  It`s – I mean, I imagine it`s

mainly the fact that the Theodore Roosevelt, the Teddy Roosevelt, the U.S.

aircraft carrier in Guam…

 

TODD:  Yes.

 

KUBE:  … there`s so much pressure to take all of the 4,800 sailors off of

there.

 

And what you hear from the Navy leaders, what we heard from him today, in

fact, Admiral Gilday, who was sitting – who was standing there, and from

the acting secretary of the Navy, Thomas Modly, is that they need to leave

a certain number of sailors on that ship just to keep it safe, so to run

the nuclear reactor, to make sure that the weapon systems all remains safe

and that there`s there`s no kind of actual problem.

 

They don`t want to turn the ship into a problem. And – but there has been

– there have been increasing, growing calls by people to take all the

sailors off the ship, and then just scrub the whole thing down top to

bottom before you put anyone else back on it.

 

TODD:  Right.

 

KUBE:  It`s – the reality is, social distancing is nearly impossible on a

ship like that.

 

It`s – the sailors live together. Most of them share rooms with numerous

other sailors. Most of them work in close quarters.

 

TODD:  Right.

 

KUBE:  So people are saying, if you want to really eliminate the threat of

coronavirus to these individuals, you got to get them all off and clean the

whole ship down.

 

TODD:  We heard the president pledge two new hospital ships coming out of

the military.

 

And he seemed to think, either they`re going to retrofit two other

battleships to become hospital ships or two new ones.

 

What`s the like – what`s – what does something like that take? Is that

years away, months away?

 

KUBE:  So, it depends on what – I don`t know what ships he`s talking about

that they would try to retrofit, because if you look at the Mercy and the

Comfort, they really are remarkable ships.

 

You step onto them, and you feel like you`re stepping into a hospital. They

are not – they`re not set up – it`s not like you can take an aircraft

carrier, which has a relatively extensive medical bay in it and medical

capability, don`t get me wrong, but you can`t take a destroyer a frigate or

something and somehow retrofit it without a lot of work.

 

It`s certainly – it`s certainly possible, but I can`t imagine you could do

that in less than a matter of months.

 

TODD:  And building a new ship – yes, building a new ship.

 

KUBE:  I – that`s the first – candidly, Chuck, that`s the first I have

heard of talk of that, adding additional ships.

 

TODD:  Yes. Yes. All right.

 

Thought we`d do a little reality check on that.

 

KUBE:  Yes.

 

TODD:  Courtney Kube, our Pentagon correspondent, being very helpful to try

to separate sort of the urgency from the less urgency there on that front.

 

Thank you.

 

Let`s go back to the briefing now, which is supposed to be focused on the

coronavirus response itself.

 

Here we go.

 

TRUMP:  … million gowns, 2.2 million gowns.

 

Think of what that is, 2.2 million, to the Strategic National Stockpile

from Ohio-based Cardinal Health. Cardinal Health, we appreciate it and

they`re making much more than that and different types of things.

 

We`re profoundly grateful for their contribution to protect the lives and

safety of our healthcare professionals. Cardinal has been working with us

very well. FEMA and HHS formed a historic partnership with the private

sector called Project Airbridge to bring supplies from other countries to

the United States, including gloves, gowns, goggles, and masks. These

supplies will soon be distributed around the country.

 

We have large cargo planes coming in from various parts of the world. Every

day, new planeloads are landing in cities such as New York, Miami, Chicago,

Los Angeles. Additional flights have been scheduled and we`re adding more

and more. And they were actually coming in ahead of schedule.

 

A lot of these flights are coming in with a lot of material ahead of

schedule. The amount of usage, the amount of need is something that

nobody`s ever seen before. We are getting so much, but no matter how much

we get, they seem to use it up very quickly.

 

More than 17,000 National Guard personnel have now been activated all

across our country. On Tuesday, the vice president sent a letter to the

governors, calling on them to have plans in place to use the National Guard

to move medical supplies from warehouses to hospitals.

 

So, a lot of times we`ll deliver supplies to a warehouse in a state.

Someplace in New York, or in New Jersey, or in Connecticut, or wherever it

may be. And they`re having difficulty getting it move.

 

So, what we`re doing if we don`t bring it directly to the hospital is we`ve

authorized, it was a special authorization. The National Guard to go into

that facility and to move it for the state.

 

So, the National Guard is moving a lot of this equipment and medical

supplies into a hospital or into an area where it`s needed by the state.

 

As I said yesterday, difficult days are ahead for our nation. We`re going

to have a couple of weeks, starting pretty much now, but especially, a few

days from now that are going to be horrific.

 

But even in the most challenging of times, Americans do not despair, we do

not give in to fear, we pull together, we persevere, and we overcome, and

we win. This week, every American heart is joined with the people of New

York as they continue to bear the brunt of the pandemic.

 

Every New Yorker, please know that we are by your side. I love New York,

and every day we will be with you. And it could very well be that others

take over from New York. There are some areas, some hotspots in other

states that are really exploding. Some like Louisiana were very late, and

then, all of a sudden, it was like an explosion.

 

In confronting this deadly plague, America is armed with capabilities never

dreamed of in past centuries. You look at 1917, the pandemic, it was

something ravaged parts of this country, but ravaged Europe, ravaged.

 

They say, 75 to 100 million. Some people say 50 to 75 million people died.

Think of that. And that was a long time ago, over 100 years ago. Very, very

– many books written about the 1917-1918 pandemic.

 

Our doctors are poring over the virus genetic code, designing potential

therapies, and vaccines. Our planes are airlifting supplies from every

corner of the earth. We`re watching other countries and they`re watching us

to see whether or not, and who`s going to be the first to come up with a

cure or a remedy of some kind. Or even a help, if it can help. And of

course, a vaccine.

 

We`re looking very strongly for a vaccine. Johnson & Johnson is doing well

and other companies are doing very well. But our most powerful asset, our

greatest weapon in this effort is the spirit of our people. And we want to

keep away, keep a distance, keep away. If you don`t get it, it solves a lot

of problems. If you don`t get it, and you can`t get it if we keep the

distance.

 

American spirit is unyielding, unwavering, and unbreakable. It`s

incredible. I`ve never seen anything like it. The way – the way the people

have pulled together, the unity of this country.

 

So, together we`re going to win this war and the sooner we do, the sooner

we can begin to rebuild, and we`re ready to rebound and return to normal

lives. We won for the best economy in the history of the world, the best

economy that this country has ever seen, the best employment numbers we`ve

ever had. 160 million people working, almost 160 million.

 

To a point where the professionals came to me, and they say, sir, you`re

going to have to shut the country down. I said what does that mean? They

said, sir, you`re going to have to shut it down, and we`re going to build

it up, and I think we`re going to build it up fast. I think we`re going to

have a tremendous rebound. There`s a great energy and a great pent-up

demand.

 

And as you know, phase three was terrific, and phase four, what passed in

Congress. And phase four, if that happens will be great. I already proposed

a paying almost zero interest on bonds, and I proposed a $2 trillion

infrastructure plan, which would not only fix our roads, and highways, and

bridges, and tunnels, and other things, but will also do something very

good, it`s called, the jobs.

 

I`m also asking that restaurants and entertainment facilities go back to

the old deductibility from corporations where corporations can buy because,

otherwise, a lot of these restaurants are going to have a hard time

reopening. It takes a long time, and they`re going to have a hard time

reopening.

 

So, we`re asking for going back to deductibility, where corporations can

buy, and corporations can go out to lunch and they pay and they get a

deduction what they eat. They get a deduction on the bill.

 

And same with the entertainment, it`s going to bring a lot of people back.

I think it will open up the restaurant business. People forget that years

ago they had that. And when they got rid of it, when they ended it for

whatever reason, but they ended it. Many, many restaurants went out of

business, many entertainment type facilities went out of business, and now

is a great time to bring it back.

 

It was – it was a terrible time for that business after they ended it. But

this is a great time to bring it back. It will keep our restaurants going.

In fact, I think the restaurant business will be actually bigger and better

than it is right now. So, we`re also talking about that.

 

And now, what we`ll do is we`ll take some questions. And I see Mike is back

with some of the folks. That`s great. Dr. Fauci. And we will – oh, how are

you? Thank you, Deborah.

 

So, we`ll take some questions and we make progress day by day please.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, yesterday, you were talking about a

friend you had who was in a coma.

 

TRUMP: Yes.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Started here, your friends going through that. But you

said this is no flu. There`s still some people who kind of think of this as

the flu, and over the past month, you`ve compared it to the flu sometimes.

Saying, treat it like the flu, or you know, what treated hail, we handle

the flu.

 

So, what changed your thinking on that – when you (INAUDIBLE) with all

that?

 

TRUMP: I think the severity. I think also in looking at the way the

contagion, it is so contagious. Nobody`s ever seen anything like this where

large groups of people, all of a sudden, just by being in the presence of

somebody have it. A flu has never been like that, and there is – a flu is

contagious but nothing like we`ve ever seen here.

 

Also the violence of it. If it hits the right person, and you know what

those stats are. If it hits the right person, that person is in deep

trouble. And my friend was the right person.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you heard about that with your friend like was

that a turning point?

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

TRUMP: Yes, well, I`m not at turning any point know before that I knew how,

because I`m seeing numbers and I`m seeing statistics that are, you know,

not exactly very good. So – but, it hit him very hard.

 

He`s strong. A very strong kind of a guy. But he`s older, he`s heavier, and

he is sort of central casting for what we`re talking about, and it hit him

very hard. I`ve never seen anything like it.

 

Yes, John.

 

ROBERTS: Mr. President, and maybe this question is well for Dr. Birx or Dr.

Fauci. Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted last night, and we checked today that

there are still flights that are running between hot spots like New York

and Detroit, New Orleans, as well. A number of flights were completed

today. Senator Graham`s point is, if you are going to declare mitigation,

should not be full mitigation and you stop people from traveling –

 

TRUMP:  We are thinking about doing that. At the same time, we just, to

start these airlines and to start this whole thing over again is very

tough, John. It`s very tough. And you have them going, in some cases, from

hot spot to hot spot. If you notice, they`re usually hot spot to hot spot.

Very few flights. New York to Miami, but we are thinking – we are

certainly looking at it. But once you do that, you really are clamping down

an industry that is desperately needed.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  But how do you make that calculation as to whether or

not you keep the industry or you risk spreading contagion?

 

TRUMP:  Yes, that is a calculation that we`re looking at right now. We`re

looking at a very strongly.

 

Please?

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  So let me follow-up to that, Mr. President. Not every

governor has issued a stay-at-home order. All of you have made it very

clear how important it is to stay home, that we are in a dire situation

here, and that is how you stop the spread is staying home. Why not take the

power out of the hands of the governors and you just issue a stay-at-home

order for every state in this country?

 

TRUMP:  Because states are different, states are different. And I

understand that the governor of Florida, great governor, Ron DeSantis,

issued one today. And that`s good, that`s great. But there are some states

that are different. There are some states that don`t have much of a

problem. They don`t have the problem. They don`t have thousands of people

that are positive, or thousands of people that even think they might have

it, or hundreds of people in some cases.

 

So you have to look at states. You have to give a little bit of

flexibility. If you have a state in the Midwest, or is Alaska, as an

example, doesn`t have a problem, it`s awfully tough to say close it down.

So we have to have a little bit of flexibility.

 

Look, we are helping governors, we`re really here to help governors. They

are the front line of attack, and that includes in purchasing, by the way.

We are here and we`re backing them up, and there`s never been a backup like

we have given them. We have given them billions of dollars worth of things,

medical supplies and ventilators, thousands and thousands of ventilators.

We have thousands under contraction right now. We have thousands ready to

go in case they need it. There`s never been anything like this.

 

They have done, really, the people have done incredibly. We are building

hospitals all over the country. We are building hospitals right now at a

rate that has never even been contemplated before. Their mobile hospitals,

but they`re really not mobile. They`re incredible structures, but we are

building many hospitals, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York we just finished a

massive hospital complex. Then we also have medical centers built in New

York. We are building hospitals at the rate that this country has never

done before. And hopefully it`s all going to work out.

 

Go ahead.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Mr. President, I just want to make sure we are clear.

On the planes, are you looking at just curtailing routes between certain

hot spots, or is it broadly?

 

TRUMP:  We are looking at the whole thing because we are getting into a

position now where we want to do that, we have to do that. And so we`re

looking at the whole thing. And we may have some recommendations.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  My second question on economics, just with oil, oil

prices are very low. The Saudis have increased production. I know you have

spoken about liking low oil prices, but then there is also the industry

aspect.

 

TRUMP:  Like from 1950, these oil prices. That`s when they had big dollars,

big beautiful dollars.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Do you advocate cuts, do you advocate cuts to

production?

 

TRUMP:  Look, we have a great oil industry, and the oil industry is being

ravaged. And as you know, Russia, and I spoke to President Putin, we had a

great call. Russia, Saudi Arabia, I spoke with a Crown Prince, we had a

great call. But I think that they will work it out over the next few days.

If you ask me, I think it`s just too simple not to be able to. They both

know what they have to do. So I have confidence in both that they`ll be

able to work it out.

 

But it has ravaged an industry worldwide. Not here, worldwide the oil

industry has been ravaged. So there was a lot of oil production to start

off with, and then on top of it, it got hit with the virus, and business

went down 35, 40 percent. So that business is a tough one. And they have

ships all over the sea. I told you yesterday, all over the sea, massive

tankers that are using for storage. They go out and they sit there. There

is no place to go. They have massive amounts.

 

Gasoline is going to be $0.99 a gallon and less. You know that? That`s

already starting. It`s popping up, $0.99. So that`s like giving a massive

tax cut to the people of our country. When we try to get the airlines

going, if fuel is costing much less, it helps with getting the airlines,

which is always a tough business, always has been a tough business.

 

But with that being said, look, I want to get that industry back where it

was. We were doing records in that industry also. We want to get back to

where it was. So I think that Saudi Arabia, Russia, they`re negotiating,

they`re talking, and I think they will come up with something. I`m going to

meet with the oil companies on Friday. I`m going to meet with independent

oil producers also on Friday or Saturday, maybe Sunday. But we are having a

lot of meetings on it. I think I know what to do to solve it, but if

they`re unable to solve it, then I think I know what to do to solve it.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Can you give us a glimpse – 

 

TRUMP:  We won`t mention it now, but it`s tough. I think I know what to do

to solve it. We don`t want to lose our great oil companies. We`re the

number one producer of oil in the world, and a month ago when you said

that, it was great. Today when you say it, it`s not so meaningful. But I do

believe there is a way that that can be solved, or pretty well solved. And

I would rather not do that.

 

I think that Russia and Saudi Arabia at some point, they`re going to make a

deal in the not-too-distant future, because it`s very bad for Russia, it`s

very bad for Saudi Arabia. It`s very bad. It`s bad for both. So I think

they`re going to make a deal. The free market is a wonderful thing. It`s

amazing how it can work. But I think they`re going to make a deal.

 

Yes?

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Mr. President, a couple of questions, one for you,

one more Mr. Wolf, if possible. Over 5 million immigrants in this country

do you pay taxes through their I.D. numbers, yet they will not receive any

money in their stimulus package. I know undocumented immigrants won`t

receive any aid from the government in this crisis. How do you suppose they

survive during the COVID-19?

 

TRUMP:  You know, you are saying undocumented, meaning they came in

illegally, and a lot of people would say, we have a lot of citizens right

now that won`t be working. So what are you going to do? It`s a tough thing.

It`s a very terrible, it`s a very sad question, I must be honest with you.

But they came in illegally, and we have a lot a people that are citizens of

our country that won`t be able to have jobs.

 

I do think once we get rid of the virus, I think we`re going to have a boom

economy. I think it`s going to go up rather quickly, maybe very quickly,

and maybe slowly, but it`s going to go up. And it will all come back. And I

think it`s actually going to come back stronger than what it was because of

the stimulus.

 

But it`s a really sad situation, and we are working on it. I will tell you,

I`m not going to give you a hard and fast answer because I just want to

tell you, it`s something I think about. And it`s something we are working

on.

 

Please?

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. Wolf?

 

TRUMP:  Go ahead.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Thanks, Mr. President. A question for Dr. Fauci.

Looking beyond on the other side of this curve, are we looking at living

with some sort of social distancing guidelines essentially until there is a

treatment or a vaccine? For example, people are looking forward to the

summer, talk about going to baseball games, going to concerts. We have

political conventions over the summer. Are things like that possible or

safe without a vaccine or a treatment in place?

 

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: 

I think if we get to the part of the curve that Dr. Birx showed yesterday

when it goes down to essentially no new cases, no deaths at a period of

time, I think it makes sense that you`re going to have to relax social

distancing. The one thing we hopefully would have in place, and I believe

we will have in place, is a much more robust system to be able to identify

someone who is infected, isolate them, and then do contact tracing, because

if you have a really good program of containment that prevents you from

ever having to get into mitigation, we are in mitigation right now. That is

what the social and physical distancing is where.

 

The ultimate, the ultimate solution to a virus that might keep coming back

would be a vaccine. In fact, I was on the weekly conference call with the

WHO sponsored a group of all the health leaders in the world who are

dealing with this. And we all came to the agreement that we may have

cycling with another season, we`ll be much better prepared. We likely will

have interventions. But the ultimate game-changer in this will be a

vaccine, the same way a vaccine for other diseases that were scourges in

the past that now we don`t worry about them.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  How are they doing with the vaccine?

 

FAUCI:  The vaccine is, as I said, it`s on target. We are still in phase

one. There were three doses that we had to test. We`ve been through the

first two doses. We`re on the highest dose now. When we get that data, it

will take a few months to get the data to feel confident to go to the phase

two. And then a few months from now we`ll be in phase two, and I think

we`re right on target for the year to a year-and-a-half.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  If you don`t mind me asking, you and Dr. Birx, have

either of you received threats of any kind, or have you been given a

security detail given that you`ve been out here every day on camera

speaking?

 

FAUCI:  Anything that has to do with security detail I would have to have

you refer that question to the inspector general of HHS rather than my

answer that.

 

TRUMP:  He doesn`t need security. Everybody loves them. They`d be in big

trouble if they ever attack. You know, he was a great basketball player,

did anybody know that. He was a little on the short side for the NBA, but

he was talented. He won a game, I read this, he won a game that was

unwinnable against a great team, and his whole team said, we can`t beat

this team, and he went in and they won the game. That was a couple of years

ago, but the head never changes. The attitude never changes.

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Can I ask Dr. Fauci?

 

TRUMP:  Yes, please.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I know he loves being up behind the podium.

 

TRUMP:  He does.

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It`s like going to the dentist. I don`t want to hit you

with everything that`s coming along, but a lot of people who are watching

television today heard from a researcher named Dr. Jacob Glanville who has

come up with a potential antibody therapy that he has given to USAMRIID. I

just wanted to know if you know anything about this, what you might be able

to tell people at home about it who have seen it?

 

FAUCI:  John, I don`t know specifically this individual, what they are

doing, but I can tell you there is a lot of activity that is centered

around a passive transfer of antibodies in the form of convalescent plasma,

one. The number is to get immune globulin that you precipitate out of the

plasma, and another is the monoclonal antibody. It`s based on the same

principle. If you have a protective antibody, passive transfer of that

could provide not only protection prophylactically, but also treatment.

 

This is an old concept. In fact, immunology was born decades and decades

and decades ago with the concept of giving passive transfers of serum to an

individual to protect them from an infection. I wouldn`t be surprised if he

and a number of other people are pursuing this. It`s the right thing to do.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Can I follow up on antibody testing, please, Dr.

Fauci? At what point can we as a country expect there to be a widespread

antibody testing so we know exactly what we`re dealing with here, as well

as other questions, such as when can people who are deemed to be healthy

donate blood, for example?

 

FAUCI:  OK, so when you talk about antibody testing, there are couple of

things that you want to do. You want to find out if someone has been

infected and whether or not they`re going to ultimately wind up being

protected. Anybody testing right now is not the first thing on our

priority. It`s something that we need to do is testing to see if someone is

infected.

 

It is very important ultimately to be able to get a feel for what the

penetrance of the infection was in society for number of reasons. You get a

better feel of what the impact have been, but also you get a better feel of

what the herd immunity would be. So I can foresee in the future that when

we get the facility, which we`ll have for sure, ultimately you can get a

test that can do this reasonably easy, and do the kind of what we call

sero-surveillance study.

 

This is very analogous that Dr. Birx and I were talking about that a lot,

and that is back in the day when she and I were both doing the HIV/AIDS

issues back when we first discovered the virus in 83 and we had an antibody

test and 1985. We found out by serial surveillance representative in

different population that we were dealing with the tip of the iceberg when

we saw individuals who were the ones who actually got infected. It gave us

a really good feel for how many people were infected, how many were doing

well, and how many are getting ill. I foresee that we will have that same

sort of information, which will be important information. But right now,

that is not our immediate problem.

 

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR:  Let me just follow up

with that, because I think, as I discussed before, we had great – I just

want to thank all the epidemiologists and scientists out there who worked

with us over the last four weeks on models. They really, many came forward

and really supported us.

 

Right now, we are in talks with a whole series of universities. We have the

most brilliant scientists in the world in our universities in state after

state, some of them public-health universities, some basic science. All of

them have received NIH grants for HIV or other development of assays in the

past. I have talked to a lot of them over the last few days to really ask

them to develop these ELISA tests that could be used rapidly in their

health care centers, because immediately, it`s easy to do. We`ve all

developed ELISAs. So in a day or two after development they could screen

their entire hospital. I think that would be very reassuring to the health

care workers who have been on the front line. We worry about them every

day.

 

And so I`ve really called on every university and every state to develop

ELISAs. You can buy the antigens and the controls online, and really work

to test entire health care communities in your states and support them that

way.

 

At the same time, we worked in sub Saharan Africa on what we called dried

blood spots. So we are looking at, could you use that in a community while

we work on the point of care tests, where you just dot blood onto this

paper, and then that can go into the lab and be analyzed. That would allow

us to look in nursing homes at other long-term care facilities immediately.

 

And then finally we`ve reached out to the developers of the rapid test, the

ones who developed it for malaria, the ones that developed them for HIV.

It`s exactly the same concept and process to ask them to rapidly develop

these tests, because I think we owe it to the frontline health care

providers, not only to provide them RNA tests, but many of them had been on

the frontline now for four weeks, may have been exposed. We now know

there`s asymptomatic, and I think really being able to tell them, the peace

of mind that would come from knowing you already were infected, you have

the antibody, you are safe from reinfection 99.9 percent of the time.

 

And so this I think would be very reassuring to our frontline health care

workers. And our universities can do that by Friday. So I am putting that

challenge out to them to really work on that and do that. That is what we

did in the early days. We had ELISAs up and running within days of having

the antigen. And so this is what is really possible. So we are not waiting.

We`re asking for help now.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  So potentially this could happen soon, even within

this month, if people –

 

BIRX:  It will happen soon, within this month, if the universities help us,

absolutely.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Mr. President, on Florida, Governor DeSantis says he

spoke with you before issuing his stay-at-home order.

 

TRUMP:  He did. He spoke with me this morning.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He has some loopholes in that.

 

TRUMP:  That I don`t know. He spoke to me this morning.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  For religious events for example, large religious

groups can meet together.

 

TRUMP:  Who can?

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Religious groups.

 

TRUMP:  He didn`t speak to me about that. But he did speak to me this

morning. We talked about it.

 

Please?

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Full mitigation, sir, does that go against your model,

because that`s not full mitigation?

 

TRUMP:  I don`t know. I`d have to look at what he did.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Back to the health care workers on the front lines,

following up with Dr. Birx as well, hazard pay, you have said you have

wanted that for the health care workers on the front lines. I know

Secretary Mnuchin has mentioned something about that possibly in the fourth

level of the stimulus.

 

TRUMP:  I like it.  I like it. 

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  But can you make it happen now? Do we have to wait

for a fourth –

 

TRUMP:  I think it`s something we are discussing in terms of bonus pay, or

bonus pay. It doesn`t have to be called hazard pay. It could be called – I

watched those people go into hospitals that I know. I talked about one of

them, right? But I watch them walk into the hospitals. And they walk in,

men, women, young, middle-aged, not so many older ones. And I watch them,

they`re almost like – and I think I can take the word “almost” out,

they`re like warriors. They`re going in.

 

People are cheering. Where there is a building across the street, the

people are screaming, they`re clapping. There like heroes.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  – the Empire State Building.

 

TRUMP:  I will tell you, I think it`s incredible. They`re like warriors.

There like soldiers. And we`re going to be doing something for them. So

whether it is a bonus, because we are hopefully going to be over this

relatively quickly. It`s going to be vicious for period of time, but

hopefully we`re going to be over this. You have a lot of questions today.

Look at you. Do know this young lady behind you?

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Never met her before in my life.

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We`re practicing social distancing. It keeps our

marriage strong.

 

TRUMP:  It`s good for a marriage.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  There are a lot of people who are worried about getting

sick and do they end up in a hospital, people who are insured, and will

they be crushed by medical bills. You were considering last month, last

month already in March, reopening the healthcare.gov exchanges. There has

been a determination not to do that. Could you tell us what the rationale

was behind that? And what would you have as an alternative?

 

TRUMP:  They took that out under the task force. And maybe Mike, you want

to say a few words about that?

 

MIKE PENCE, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Mr. President. What I can tell

you is that the president has made a priority from the outset of our task

for work to make sure every American knows that they can have the

coronavirus and they don`t have to worry about the cost. We were very

inspired as well because of the president`s engagement with the leading

health insurance companies in the country that now, so far, two of the top

health insurance companies in America have announced that they`re not only

willing to waive co-pays on testing, and now testing is fully covered

because of the bill the president signed for every American, but also these

two insurance companies have waived co-pays on all coronavirus treatment.

 

And I can assure you that as Congress and the president and the

administration begin to discuss the next piece of legislation, we`re going

to make sure that Americans have those costs compensated and covered. Our

priority right now is ensuring that every American takes 30 days to slow

the spread to heart. The best thing we can do for one another, for our

families` health, for the most vulnerable among us, is practice those

mitigation strategies that the president outlined yesterday for the next 30

days.

 

We are dealing with testing to make sure that every American can have a

test that needs one. We are dealing with supplies, and we are making great

progress in building personal equipment and ensuring that ventilators are

available, particularly for the communities most impacted.

 

But the American people can be confident that as we move into this, we`re

going to make sure that our health care workers are properly compensated

for their extraordinary and courageous work. And we will make sure that the

financial burden on those who end up contracting the coronavirus and

dealing with its most serious symptoms also can deal with those issues and

deal with those costs.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Understood, Mr. Vice President, but there will be

people who don`t have insurance who get sick before any of these mitigation

efforts are put into place. And without opening the health care exchanges,

where can they find insurance? People who aren`t insured by these companies

that are covering the costs of the co-pay, where can people go to now to

get health insurance if they get sick, before they get sick?

 

PENCE:  All across America we have Medicaid for underprivileged Americans.

And at the president`s direction, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare

Services has given unprecedented waivers for states to expand coverage for

coronavirus testing and treatment. We`ve also extended waivers for Medicare

administration to make sure that people have access to that coverage. But

we`re going to continue to bring opportunities to the president. The

traditional systems of Medicaid in particular for the uninsured in America

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Would you expend that to cover middle class people?

 

PENCE:  I think what we`re seeing health insurance companies do today,

John, is really inspiring. One of the things that`s characterized the

president`s approach here –

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Mr. Vice President, I`m sorry to belabor the point, but

that is for people who already have insurance.

 

PENCE:  One of the things that has animated and characterized the

president`s approach is the way he is engaged American businesses to step

up and do their part. And as the president said many times, we are inspired

by the spirit of American businesses. I was at a distribution center for

Walmart today in southern Virginia, and I saw the way this company that

literally has already hired thousands of people. These workers are coming

to work, the truck drivers are coming to work, farmers are working in the

field. Grocery stores made a commitment to the president a month ago that

no grocery store in America would close down.

 

The food supply is strong. We are getting food on the table of every

American. But it`s because the president went to these leaders and said we

need you to step up and do your part. We engaged health insurance

executives early on in this process to waive co-pays on coronavirus

testing. And because of the engagement, and frankly because of that

patriotic and compassionate spirit that`s been reflected, we have already

seen two of the largest insurance companies in the country announce that

they`re going to be providing full coverage, free of charge, for

coronavirus treatment.

 

I fully expect, I think as the president does, too, that we will see more

of that for people to have insurance. We will continue to provide

flexibility for Medicaid for people that don`t have insurance, and we will

make sure that Medicare has the flexible to meet this moment.

 

For seniors, we remember that seniors with underlying health conditions are

the most vulnerable to serious outcomes from the coronavirus. But we will

get through this using the full weight of the federal government and the

full strength of the American economy.

 

TRUMP:  John, I think it`s a very fair question, though, and it`s something

we`re really going to look at, because it doesn`t seem fair. If you have

it, you have a big advantage and at a certain income level you do. I think

that`s one of the greatest answers I`ve ever heard, because Mike was able

to speak for five minutes and not even touch your question. I said, that`s

what you call a great professional. Let me just tell you, you really are,

it`s really a fair question, and it`s something we`re looking at.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  In terms of a fair question, I always endeavor to ask

fair questions, but this is a huge worry for people in this country who

were in that doughnut hole. They don`t have commercial insurance, they

don`t qualify for Medicaid. What do they do?

 

TRUMP:  They`re a certain group, and it`s a pretty big group. We`re looking

at it.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We spent the entire 2000 election talking about the

doughnut hole, and it`s still there.

 

TRUMP:  I haven`t been up there yet. The other people have been talking

about it. And they haven`t spoken –

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This was 20 years ago we were talking about.

 

TRUMP:  But they are talking about it – I know, but they`re talking about

it in the 2020 election, too, and nobody has gotten to it. Nobody has

talked about it at all. I think we will.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We you get to it, Mr. President?

 

TRUMP:  I think we will, yes. I think we`re get to it. I think we`re going

to get to it. I don`t think the other group will get to it. They haven`t

even spoken about it. And it`s a big group of people.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Are you committing that there`s –

 

TRUMP:  No, I`m not committing, but it`s something we`re going to look at.

I can`t commit. I have to get approval from it. I` have a thing called

Congress. But it`s something we`re going to look at, and we have been

looking at it.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  But you mentioned in this congressional bill, the

phase four, you would like to see something?

 

TRUMP:  If there is a phase four. We are certainly looking at certain

things. We want to help restaurants, entertainment, we want to help,

because it`s jobs. It`s not just restaurants. It`s jobs, tremendous amounts

of jobs. So we are looking at that. We`re looking at infrastructure. Think

of it, we will have spent $8 trillion, way back, we`re way pulled back, but

we will have spent $8 trillion in the Middle East, and yet our roads are in

bad shape, our bridges, our tunnels, bad shape. And we`re going to be the

talk of the world again, soon.

 

But we want $2 trillion. We will have spent in the Middle East, and all we

got out of it was death and cost. But all we got out of it was death.

Millions of people, you have to look at the other side, too, millions and

millions of people killed, our great soldiers, thousands killed, so many

wounded, hurt. And yet when we want to go and fix a road someplace, we want

to do what we want to do in our country. It`s time that we spent money on

our country. That is what we`re going to do. It`s time that we start

spending on our roads and our bridges and our schools and all of the things

that we are supposed to be spending on.

 

And people are finally getting used to it. And you could look at all of

what we have done in the Middle East way back in so many different places,

way back in other countries too, by the way. And I have gone to other

countries that are very rich. I said, I`m sorry, you`re going to have to

reimburse us for our costs. They don`t even know what we`re talking about.

It takes them 20 minutes to figure it out because nobody has ever asked

them to do that, and they`re doing it. They`re doing it. And they have no

choice. They have to do it. So it`s time that we start spending on the USA.

 

OK, please?

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Mr. President, this is a question for the vice

president. On March 9th you said 1 million tests had been delivered and

another 4 million would be delivered by the end of the week. They clearly

did not happen. What happened with those projections? What went wrong?

 

PENCE:  I think the test kits were delivered, according to HHS. But the

difference is between receiving a test and the ability to rapidly produce a

result for that test. And frankly, because of the public-private

partnership that the president initiated, now more than a month ago, with

our massive commercial laboratories across the country, our team was

reported today that we are doing more than 100,000 tests a day, more than

1.2 million tests have been performed. States have established drive-

through sites all across the country. In fact, states have been so

successful with the community-based and drive-through testing that we are

working to transition over completely all of the federal work on drive-

through testing and have the states completely manage that process.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Are you saying 4 million tests were delivered by the

end of that week?

 

PENCE:  HHS was very busy from early in the year delivering test kits

around the country. But the difference was, as the president said many

times, we had an antiquated system where a state laboratory or CDC only

have the capacity to process 40 to 60 tests a day. Now with the commercial

labs, literally those labs are processing tens of thousands of tests every

day.

 

And so while we are continuing to distribute test kits around the country,

not because of the partnership with companies like Roche and Quest and

LabCorp, the American people are seeing the results of those tests more

rapidly than at any point in the past, and we expect that will continue to

expand.

 

 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY

BE UPDATED.

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