Trump responds to NYT report TRANSCRIPT: 4/13/20, The Beat w/ Ari Melber

Anne Rimoin





Seven cases were on January 31. Now, on January 21, there was a case. Not

one person had died.


You heard that, Steve, right? Not one person.


So, we have this massive country, the United States of America. We have the

greatest economy in the world, bigger than China’s by a lot, right, because

of what we have done over the last three-and-a-half years, prior to the

virus, but including the virus. So we have the biggest economy, the

greatest economy we have ever had, the highest employment numbers, the best

employment numbers, best unemployment numbers, also, the best of



So, on January 31, think of it, not one person has died. Not one. Nobody

died. Not one, Jon. You – I don’t think you will find any. This is

reported by CDC, confirmed by the news, which doesn’t mean anything to me,

because they don’t tell the truth.


But CDC reported. January 31, not one person has died. And I issued a

travel restriction from China. Think of it. So, nobody died, and I issue

it. You can’t get earlier than that.


So we have nobody died. And I said, China, you can’t come in, I’m sorry,

because I saw what was going on. It wasn’t so much what I was told. It was

that I saw what was going on. And I didn’t like it.


But I didn’t speak to Tony about it. Didn’t speak to very many people about

it. I didn’t like it.


So, what did I do? Ready? January 31, in the United States, not one person

had died because of the – again, the Wuhan virus. So, I issued travel

restrictions on that date, even though nobody died, and I got brutalized

over it by the press, because I was way too early. I shouldn’t have done

it. Brutalized by the press.


But sort of I have been brutalized for the last four years. I used to do

well, before I decided to run for politics. But I guess I’m doing OK,

because, to the best of my knowledge, I’m the president of the United

States, despite the things that are said.


So, then, first mandatory quarantine in more than 50 years, we did, first

mandatory in 50 years, the same restrictions that the Democrats and the

media called xenophobic. Now, Joe Biden said, he’s a racist. He called me a

racist because I said we’re shutting down entry from China. We’re shutting

it down. He called me xenophobic, and he called me a racist and other



Since then, on a Friday night two weeks ago, Joe Biden issued a statement -

- it wasn’t him. He didn’t write it. I’m sure he doesn’t even know that it

was issued.


But the people from his campaign, who are smart – people that write those

little P.R. releases are pretty smart, reasonably good, not the best, but

they’re not bad.


But they issued a statement saying that Joe Biden agrees that the president

– that President Trump was right to close it down to China.


Now, he did that. Now, he issued on a Friday night. We have all heard about

that, Jon, Friday nights, right? In fact, his later was Friday night than I

ever released mine on Friday nights.


So, he did – he did it pretty late, I mean, like at 11:00 in the evening

or something. It’s pretty late.


Anyway, so Joe Biden issued. And it’s one of those things.


But, in February, Nancy Pelosi said we should come to Chinatown. This is

late February. Come to Chinatown. We think it’s very safe. Come here. Let’s

all have the big parade, Chinatown parade, probably referring to San

Francisco. And that’s it.


But I took this action early. And so the story in “The New York Times” was

a total fake. It’s a fake newspaper, and they write fake stories.


And, someday, hopefully in five years, when I’m not here, those papers are

all going out of business, because nobody is going to want to read them.

But now they like them, because they write about me.


Now, with that, I have a couple of interesting – we have a few clips that

we’re just going to put up. We could turn the lights a little bit lower. I

think you will find them interesting. And then we will answer some

questions. I’ll ask you some questions, because you’re so guilty, but

forget it.


But, most importantly, we’re going to get back onto the reason we’re here,

which is the success we’re having. OK?


Please, you could put it on.






UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People should be more concerned right now with the flu

in this country.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of people are concerned about the coronavirus

because they’re hearing a lot of news about it right now. But the reality

is, comparing it to the flu, for example, it’s not even close to being at

that stage.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: What if it is worse? Is this a moment where maybe

countries put politics aside, a little bit of pride aside? And do we have

U.S. officials? Should U.S. professionals such as yourself get involved?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How worried should Americans be about coronavirus?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coronavirus is not going to cause a major issue in the

United States.


TRUMP: Well, we have asked them to accelerate whatever they’re doing in

terms of a vaccine.


We will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the

next 30 days.


To unleash the full power of the federal government in this effort, today,

I am officially declaring a national emergency.


Medicare patients can now visit any doctor by phone or videoconference at

no additional cost.


MARK ESPER, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: The first one million masks will be

available immediately.


MAGGIE HABERMAN, “THE NEW YORK TIMES”: As there were more cases, and it was

clear that it was spreading out of China, where it originated, the

president took this move that he was widely criticized for by Democrats and

even some Republicans at the time, which was, he halted a number of flights

from China into the U.S.


The idea was to halt the spread of the disease, keep transmissions to a

minimum. He was accused of xenophobia. He was accused of making a racist

move. At the end of the day, it was probably effective, because it did

actually take a pretty aggressive measure against the spread of the virus.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): His team is on it. They have been responsive late

at night, early in the morning, and they have thus far been doing

everything that they can do. And I want to say thank you. And I want to say

that I appreciate it.


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): He returns calls. He reaches out. He’s been

proactive. We got that Mercy ship down here in Los Angeles. That was

directly because he sent it down here; 2,000 medical units came to the

state of California, these FMS, these – these field medical stations.


And that’s been very, very helpful.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): The president has been outstanding through all

this. The vice president’s been outstanding, members of the Coronavirus

Task Force very responsive.


GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): We had asked if we could have, New Jersey could

have access to a piece of the beds that are on the USNS Comfort. And the

president came back, called me a short few minutes before I walked in here,

to say, indeed, they would grant that to New Jersey. So that’s a big step

for us, in addition to all the other capacity.


That news is literally hot off the press, and I thank the president and

vice president, who are on the call together.


GOV. DOUG DUCEY (R-AZ): President Trump approved Arizona’s request for a

presidential major disaster declaration. I want to thank the president for

a quick turnaround. We requested this on a Wednesday, and we had approval

by Saturday morning. And we are grateful to the administration for their

continued support and responsiveness.


GOV. LARRY HOGAN (R-MD): Well, first of all, I want to thank the president

and the vice president for doing a really good job of communicating with

all the governors.




ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: We are cutting into what was not a White House

Coronavirus Task Force briefing.


I am Ari Melber. Our special coverage continues.


We are going to avoid airing any more of this White House briefing, until

it returns to what it was supposed to be, which was the Coronavirus Task

Force providing medical information.


What we just saw, I want to be very clear with viewers, was a video the

White House put out, which suggests they are spending their precious time

right now making videos that defend the president’s record and tenure,

rather than provide the much-needed emergency medical information that was

promised at these daily briefings.


I want to bring in Professor Anne Rimoin, an infectious disease expert at

UCLA, virologist and NBC science contributor Joseph Fair. Howell Raines,

former editor of “The New York Times,” is with me as well.


And, Howell, I begin with you because you ran “The New York Times.” You

know your way around journalism.


I’m curious, as a journalist, what you think it’s important that viewers

know, when the White House basically takes over what was promised to be a

Coronavirus Task Force briefing and does some kind of backward-looking

edited video propaganda instead.


HOWELL RAINES, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Ari, I think this is one of the most

astonishing acts of disinformation we have seen from a White House since

the Vietnam era and the 5:00 follies of Lyndon Johnson’s administration.


And the news today – and this is one of those days, as a journalist, when

you have to put on your analytical hat and hack your way through what’s

really happening.


What really happened today is that some smart, serious governors, Governor

Newsom on the West Coast, Governor Cuomo and Governor Lamont on the East

Coast, took action to prevent the president from making a thunderous

blunder that would further endanger the health of the American people.


What we’re seeing here, I think, is a kind of imploding presidency. And,

with an implosion, you have to have a black hole at the center. And I think

what we have here is a black hole that consists of two elements, President

Trump’s extremely fragile ego and his distrust of expertise and government



And when I watched Dr. Fauci just now, I was reminded, as I am often by he

and the other doctors who come out, they remind me of nervous parents

trying to cope with a 3-year-old on a sugar high.


This is a very grim moment.


MELBER: Well, you mentioned Dr. Fauci.


And that was the other big piece of news here that I want viewers to know.

We cut away from the White House because it was not a coronavirus briefing.

It was not providing any facts or medical information, which is the purpose

of these stated briefings.


But, Dr. Fair, it did begin with very unusual remarks by Dr. Fauci. I want

everyone to have the full context.


There’s been a lot going on, a blockbuster, lengthy “New York Times”

investigative report that called the administration, and specifically

President Trump, to the carpet with voluminous detail.


There was also Dr. Fauci’s statements. And he’s known to be a straight

shooter. Let’s play for context what he said that set up this conflict



Here was Dr. Fauci Sunday.




DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NIAID DIRECTOR: We look at it from a pure health

standpoint. We make a recommendation. Often, the recommendation is taken.

Sometimes, it’s not.


But we – it is what it is. We are where we are right now.


I mean, obviously, you could logically say, that if you had a process that

was ongoing, and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved

lives. Obviously, no one is going to deny that.


Obviously, if we had, right from the very beginning, shut everything down,

it may have been a little bit different.


But there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down back then.




MELBER: Quote: “No one is going to deny that.”


Dr. Fair, moments ago, as we just cut out from the White House, Dr. Fauci

took the lectern and did something, as a journalist, I haven’t seen him do

in the whole pendency of this of – this tough time for the United States,

which is say basically what Donald Trump apparently wanted him to say, that

the criticism we just aired, you just saw, was – quote – “a poor choice

of words.”


What do you see here on the medical facts, Doctor?



worked – I had the fortune to work with him a number of times over my

career. And he’s very much a straight shooter.


I think, generally, everything that he has said in these conferences can be

trusted. And I think everybody in the community, Dr. Rimoin and myself,

would agree on that, that he is trusted entirely by our community and

globally as a figure.


So I think maybe he had to do a little bit of political backstepping today,

just because you can’t have one of your top generals maybe saying certain

things that you’re sensitive about.


But, otherwise, scientifically and facts-based information, he’s still

giving that every day.


MELBER: Dr. Rimoin, I think anyone could understand the pressure of the

situation, That Dr. Fauci, from what we know about his long public service

record, cares a heck of a lot more about staying on the job, so he can do

this work during the pandemic, than the Washington games of a boss who

demands a level of loyalty and fealty that has been well-documented.


We have covered it on this show and others.


Your view of where that fight, that conflict is, now that Dr. Fauci has

apparently tried to give Trump some cover for, as Mr. Raines put it, his –

quote – “ego.”


DR. ANNE RIMOIN, UCLA EPIDEMIOLOGIST: Well, Dr. Fair and I have worked

together over many, many years and seen much a lot of different politics

play out in epidemics.


So, politics and epidemics are unfortunately inextricably bound. And I

think that the key here is, we, standing on the other side of it, do not

know what is going on behind closed doors. And, really, I think what we –

our job is right now is to keep the discussion on what needs to be done,

what needs to go forward.


Where is the – where are we on the curve? Where is the testing? Where are

we on national response? And I think that that’s really the best thing that

we can be doing right now. We know that there are politics. We don’t know

exactly what’s happening behind closed doors.


What we can do is keep…




MELBER: Well, we know – I appreciate your – I appreciate your rigor and

your diplomacy.


We know a great deal. I mean, I have got a 16-page printout of “The New

York Times” ’ story that’s a blockbuster. And I understand that some of our

medical experts are – there’s only so far you’re going to go.


But, Howell, I would ask for your view of what we know about “The New York

Times” putting the president on blast with facts and e-mails that date back

to January of people saying: This is coming. This is unavoidable. There are

things we can do to save lives, and “The Times” reporting – and I spoke to

one of those reporters on our broadcasts earlier today – reporting out

that the president didn’t want to hear, wouldn’t deal with it.


And they say, the experts quoted in “The Times” say, that cost lives. That

is, I think, the larger tension about whether there is accountability and

this stuff gets fixed, because that pressure is playing out in the ongoing

response, Howell.


RAINES: It was a stunning piece of journalism.


RIMOIN: Well, I think that we can go to the science.


MELBER: Let me go to – Doctor, let me go to – I’m sorry. That’s my bad.


Let me go to Howell and then back to Dr. Rimoin for a response.




RAINES: Ari, I was saying, it’s a stunning piece of journalism that landed

like a blockbuster in the foxhole of an embattled White House.


And the theme, what it showed beyond dispute was that the president was

asleep at the wheel and wasted two or more months before getting to the

three things that have to be done, shut down the economy, tests, as the

governors are begging for today, and progress on a vaccine.


There’s no – the reason that we saw this extraordinary disinformation from

the White House is because that report defined exactly the situation of

this president. He is not in touch with the reality that the country is



And I want to add something about those governors who spoke out today. This

is a reverse spin of the traditional debate on states’ rights. There’s

hardly a more pernicious term in American history than states’ rights.


Today, we saw responsible governors asking the White House to emphasize the

role of the federal government in putting a sheltering hand over the nation

on problems that require a strategic response from the White House.


And this is an abdication of responsibility. And I was really impressed

with the delicacy with which Governor Cuomo and the others made the two key

points. You can’t shut down without killing people, and we are begging you

just give us the testing we need to decide when to began to reopen our

cities and states.


MELBER: Well, and you mentioned Governor Cuomo. We have some new sound from



But, first, Dr. Rimoin, your view.


RIMOIN: I agree entirely.


I think that the bottom line is, is the politics have gotten in the way of

public health. And I really I think that this is our big point here. Public

health is critical right now, not politics.


And we have seen, in epidemics over and over again politics overshadowing

public health. I think that this is the key point that we see over and over

and over again.


And, of course, that’s what we saw happen here today. And this “New York

Times” report is just documenting those facts. But this is not new to

epidemics. We have seen this happen over and over again. I would say that

that’s number one.


Number two, what I would like to see is to be sure that, going forward,

that we do not see – that we see some sort of national strategy, we see

the testing we need, and we see the focus on what needs to happen going



I just – I think that this is where we’re all at, and this is what’s

happening to everybody.


MELBER: Yes. Sure. That makes a lot of sense.


For viewers who are just joining us, I’m Ari Melber. This is THE BEAT.


And, at this hour, often, on many news channels, you would be watching the

White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing.


We have ceased carrying it because, even by the standards of the Trump

administration, which has had long and wide-ranging briefings, this

basically devolved into a complete political attempt to defend the

administration, including what seemed to be a hastily arranged, edited

interview of selective quotes of different news broadcasts and other

coverage, all designed not to inform, not to update, not to do what this

briefing is supposed to do, but, rather, to defend the president against

what our guests and I have just been discussing, a mountain of evidence,

including a blockbuster “New York Times” report, that the president made

fundamental mistakes and errors in the coronavirus response.


In addition, this briefing, as mentioned, included these remarks from Dr.



For Dr. Fair on the other side, for viewers who are joining us, this was a

significant and unusual statement.


Let’s listen again to a selection of Dr. Fauci just moments ago.




FAUCI: I was asked a hypothetical question. And hypothetical questions

sometimes can get you into some difficulty, because it’s what would have or

could have.


The nature of the hypothetical question was if, in fact, we had mitigated

earlier, could lives have been saved?


And the answer to my question, as I always do, and I’m doing right now,

perfectly honestly, say, yes.


I mean, obviously, if you – mitigation helps. I have been up here many

times telling you that mitigation works. So, if mitigation works, and you

instigate it and you initiate it earlier, you will probably have saved more





MELBER: Dr. Fair?


FAIR: Yes.


No, I – I still think he’s going back to kind of what he initially said,

and he’s not saying anything wrong. It’s true. The mitigation is actually -

- if you think about this kind of like a forest fire, I’d say that was

probably the closest natural disaster analogy I can give you to an



So, if you think about outbreaks and epidemics as forest fires, it’s the

mitigation efforts early on, and before you let it grow very large and then

grow into multiple epicenters, those are the efforts that save the lives.


The social distancing, including – as long as – I’m sorry – in addition

to testing, public service announcements, there’s a whole toolkit that we

take with us to kind of mitigate these epidemics. And that mitigation early

on is what leads to flattening the curve earlier, which leads to a lower

total overall number of cases.


So, he’s – I don’t think he’s changing anything he said. If we had

mitigated early on, it’s absolutely true we would have saved more lives. If

this was taken seriously back in January, yes, absolutely true. More lives

would have been saved.


We could have ordered things that we knew were going to take time, such as

the PPE, the reagents, the diagnostic tests, for example. The commercial

sector could have been engaged much earlier on, because it takes time.

These aren’t widgets that are made in a factory.


So, even with things like the Defense Production Act for like the

diagnostic tests, it’s still going to take a significant amount of time to

ramp those up for a nationwide supply, not just for the United States, but

for the global supply of those kind of tests.


MELBER: Yes. All of that makes a lot of sense.


And you’re emphasizing…




MELBER: Howell, I’m going to get to you one sec. I’m going to play

something actually for you.


But what Dr. Fair, I think, is emphasizing is important for everyone to

keep in mind, which is that, according to Dr. Fair – and now we have

played it – people can hear with their own ears – it’s not that Dr. Fauci

is walking back the points he made about the response, about mitigation,

about the approach to public health, but, rather, he did go to the lectern,

and in front of the head of the federal government today, and say something

that Donald Trump could also seize on at this moment of profound weakness.


With that said, Howell, you raised the point on something else we wanted to

cover today, which is the way that these states are dealing with that

somewhat personalized response from the president out here declaring, well,

he’s in charge, he will make the call, this and that.


Governor Cuomo has been front and center in New York. I spoke with him just

a little while ago here on live television in our coverage.


I want to play a clip of that for you, Howell. Take a look.




GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): No one has had a more fractious relationship, no

governor has had a more fractious relationship with this president than I

have, but not now.


You want to now say the federal government is in charge, which, by the way,

is a shift, because the federal government didn’t close down the economy,

right? They left it to the states.


But now the federal government says it can open it. Well, then why didn’t

you close it, if you can open it?




MELBER: Why didn’t you close it?


I mean, Howell, Governor Cuomo making it very clear there that Donald Trump

talks a lot of mess on Twitter alone in his room on his phone, but when it

was time to make that hard call of closing down, he didn’t do it



And it took the NBA and the NHL and different states to rise to the

occasion of the seriousness of this, before we got to the new normal we

live in now, Howell.




Well, like every senior editor of “The New York Times,” I have from time to

time crossed swords with the Governors Cuomo, but no one has ever faulted

them for not putting the hay down to where the goats can get it, as the

Southern politicians say.




RAINES: Governor Cuomo (AUDIO GAP).


Earlier this week, yesterday, as I recall, the president said the governors

have got to get busy and carry out the testing. He was openly abdicating

the federal responsibility for a national health care strategy.


And, today, he comes out tweeting that he is in charge, and the governors

have to step back. I think, in a constitutional sense, we have seen an

important moment of a group of these state leaders coming of age and really

filling up their jobs, at the time when we have got an amazing shrinking



And I know our medical experts can’t be as blunt as – in saying that as I

can, as an old-time editorialist, but this is a remarkable failure of

national strategy.


MELBER: Right.


RAINES: And the core of the White House – the core of…


MELBER: Well, Howell, stay – stay with me, Howell.


RAINES: Right.


MELBER: I’m jumping in because I want to keep viewers apprised of what’s

going on.


We cut out of this briefing for the reasons stated. We are seeing

journalists now questioning the president on this dramatic day.


We’re going to listen in to that portion and bring you more fact-checking

and coverage as we continue.


QUESTION: or this rant supposed to make people feel positive in an

unprecedented crisis?


TRUMP: I just went over it.


Nobody thought we should do it. And when I did it…


QUESTION: But what did you do with the time that you bought the month of



TRUMP: You know what we did?


QUESTION: That video has gaps, the entire month of February.


TRUMP: You know what we did? What do you do – what do you do when you have

no case in the whole United States, when you…


QUESTION: You had cases in February.


TRUMP: Excuse me. You reported it. Zero cases, zero deaths on January 17.




QUESTION: January. February – the entire month of February.


TRUMP: January – I said in January.


QUESTION: Your video has a complete gap.




TRUMP: On January 30…


QUESTION: What did your administration do in February with the time that

your travel ban bought you?


TRUMP: A lot.




TRUMP: A lot.


And, in fact, we will give you a list, what we did. In fact, part of it was

up there. We did a lot.




QUESTION: … had a gap.


TRUMP: Look, look – you know, you’re a fake. You know that. Your whole

network, the way you cover it, is fake, and most of you – and not all of

you, but the people are wise to you.


That’s why you have a lower – a lower approval rating than you have ever

had before times probably three.




TRUMP: And when you ask me that question…


QUESTION: Twenty million people are unemployed, tens of thousands of

Americans dead.


TRUMP: Let me ask you this. Why didn’t Biden – why didn’t – why did Biden

apologize? Why did he write a letter of apology?




QUESTION: … cares about why Joe Biden didn’t apologize to you…




TRUMP: No, that’s very important.


Why did the Democrats think that I acted too quickly? You know why? Because

they really thought that I acted too quickly. We have done a great job.




TRUMP: Now, I could have – I could have kept it open.


And I could have done what some countries are doing. They’re getting beat

up pretty badly. I could have kept it open. I thought of keeping it open,

because nobody’s ever heard of closing down a country, let alone the United

States of America.


But if I would have done that, we would have had hundreds of thousands of

people that would right now be dead. We have done this right. And we really

– we really have done this right.


The problem is, the press doesn’t cover it the way it should be.


Go ahead, one more question.


Steve, go ahead.


QUESTION: There’s a debate over what authority you have to order the

country reopened.


What authority do you have?


TRUMP: Well, I have the ultimate authority. But we’re going to get into

that in a minute.


We’re going to just finish this up. We’re going to tell you about other

things that we have done right. But I will say this. Had we said, let’s

just keep going and let’s not do a closing, whether it’s 2.2 that they at

one point predicted as an outside, or 1.6 at a lower number, you cut it all

the way down to 600,000 or 700,000 or 800,000, take just a fraction of the

number that could have happened, it literally would have been more than the

Civil War.


It would have been a disaster. So, the minimum number was 100,000. And I

think I feel pretty good that we’re going to be substantially below,

Anthony, the 100,000. And I hope we will.


All right, so, today, the Department of Health and Human Services

announcing five new contracts to procure large numbers of additional

ventilators, under the Defense Production Act, which we used a lot, by the

way, which you didn’t like to talk about, in addition to the 1,300 we

received today.


We received today 1,300 additional ventilators. Now, we’re probably not

going to need them, but we can add that to our stockpile, which is very

big. And we can move it around, should the surge take place and should it

be a very substantial surge. We’re ready to – we’re ready to rock.


The contracts are with General Electric, Hill-Rom, Medtronic, ResMed, and

Vyaire, combined with the DPA contracts that we announced last week with

General Motors and Philips, and two other contracts with Hamilton and ZOLL.


We’re 6,190 ventilators to the Strategic National Stockpile, of which we

have a lot already, thousands, close to 10,000. But this will be added by

May 8, another 29,000 by the end of May. And more than 120,000 total, we

will have by the end of the year.


Now, we’re going to help other countries. We’re going to help states if

they need it. We may help some states stockpile.


They’re supposed to buy their own stockpile. They have state stockpiles.

They’re supposed to be using that. And, unfortunately, most of the states

weren’t there. And a lot of people didn’t want to talk about it, but they

weren’t there. We will talk about it at the right time, if you want to.


I – I, at this point, I’m more focused on getting past this nightmare of

the epidemic or a pandemic, anything you want to call it. We got to get

past it.


No one who has needed a ventilator has not gotten a ventilator. Think of

that. You know, you heard all about ventilators, ventilators, we need

ventilators, because they didn’t have them, because the states should have

had them.


No one who has needed a ventilator has not gotten a ventilator. No one who

has needed a hospital bed has been denied a hospital bed. That’s not even

really our responsibility.


If we can help, we’re going to do it, but that’s where the Army Corps of

Engineers did such a great job. We built over 20,000 beds. In fact, we

built thousands more than we’ve actually needed to be safe. We wanted to be

safe and we really – they rose to this incredible occasion. We built more

beds than we thought. We thought in Louisiana we were going heavy, and

again, when I called the governor, I said maybe we shouldn’t build that

second hospital because we don’t want to build it if you don’t need it. He

called back. He said I don’t think we’re going to need it. They had 1,000

rooms, 1,000 beds, and they used a lot of them, but they didn’t need the

other ones, so we stopped it because we don’t want to waste. But we are

prepared to build thousands more should we need it. I don’t think we’re

going to need it because it looks like we are plateauing, and maybe even in

many cases coming down.


In addition, we’ve ordered a total of 16 mobile decontamination systems. So

the decontamination system from Battelle in Ohio is an incredible thing

because it takes the masks, and up to 20 times you can decontaminate a

mask. And I’ve been asking from the beginning, why can’t we sterilize or

sanitize these masks? And it turned out we can. And there was a great

company in Ohio. They sent us some great equipment, and they are doing that



And now we are going to have more than 33 million N95 masks per week will

be cleaned, decontaminated, and it will be great. It’s something that,

frankly, I think people should have thought of a long time ago. Five more

flights landed today as part of the project air bridge. Our massive airlift

operation to bring personal protective equipment into the United States

which has now delivered nearly half a million N95 masks, 370 million

gloves, 25 million surgical masks, and 4.9 million gallons. So we have

millions of gowns, gloves, masks, all surgical equipment coming in should

the states need it.


The states are supposed to be buying their own stuff, but should they need

it, we are ready to give it, because we are building up our stockpile again

like crazy. Remember, and you saw the stories, I inherited, this

administration, Mike, myself, the whole administration, we inherited a

stockpile where the cupboards were bare. There was nothing. And I say it,

and I’ll say it again, just like we didn’t have ammunition, we didn’t have

medical supplies. We didn’t have ventilators. We didn’t have a lot of

things that should’ve been had, and you can read your own stories on that

because you know what happened. They didn’t want to spend the money. But we



To date we have facilitated the supply of more than 38 million N95 masks

nationwide. This week we’ll be sending 2 million N95 masks to the

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The vice president will go into more detail.

He’s got great detail on that, and I think it’s a pretty amazing story. We

have a lot of masks already in stock, and we have more coming.


We are further expanding hospital surge capacities in key areas of the

opening, and we have a portion of certain V.A. hospitals and nonveteran

coronavirus patients, including at the East Orange, New Jersey, medical

center as well as facilities in Manhattan and Brooklyn. They’re ready.

They’re able. They’re beautiful. Hopefully we won’t need to many of them

because, frankly, we built everything the governors wanted, and in many

cases it’s too much. We told them it was too much, but we wanted to err on

the side of caution.


The United States has conducted nearly 3 million tests for the virus, 3

million, the most of any nation. We are performing approximately 115,000

tests every single day, and our rate of testing is especially high in areas

hardest hit by the virus. If you look, and that’s really, it hit some

areas, the virus, very, very hard. For example, per capita testing in New

York is higher than the rest of the world. the NIH, CDC, and FDA are also

currently validating several antibody tests that will allow us to determine

whether someone has already had the virus and potentially become immune to

infection. We’re looking at that. The antibody tests are going to be very

interesting over the next short while. A lot of things are being developed

as we speak.


In the race to develop effective treatments, the drug company Gilead

announced its drug Remdesivir has shown very promising results, very

promising, in compassionate use settings. In addition, the FDA has just

granted emergency authorization for a device that removes certain proteins

from the bloodstream, possibly preventing a patient’s immune system from

overreacting to the virus and damaging vital organs, which is a big



Furthermore, over the last seven days my administration has deployed

roughly 28 million doses of hydroxychloroquine from our national stockpile.

We have millions of doses that we bought, and many people are using it all

over the country. And just recently, a friend of mine told me he got better

because of the use of that drug. So who knows? And you combine it with Z-

Pak, you combine it with zinc, depending on your doctor’s recommendation,

and it’s having some very good results, I’ll tell you. You think if anybody

recommended other than me it would be used all over the place, to be honest

with you. I think the fact that I recommended probably set it back a lot.

But a lot of good things are happening with it, a lot of good tests.


Scientists are also pursuing a blood therapy known as convalescent plasma,

convalescent plasma. This therapy uses antibodies from the blood of

recovered patients to treat those who are sick. And this is something that

actually is a very old procedure, but it’s done in a very modern way.

During this difficult time, we are also working to ensure that the 2020

census is completed safely and accurately. We may be asking for an

extension, because obviously they can’t be doing very much right now. They

wouldn’t even be allowed to do it, so the census, we are going to be asking

for a delay, a major delay. I think how can you possibly be knocking on

doors for a long period of time now?


The Census Bureau recently made the decision to temporary suspend its field

operation data collection activities to help stop the spread. In addition,

while millions of Americans continue to complete their questionnaire

online, the Census Bureau has asked Congress for a 120 extension. I don’t

know that you even have to ask them. This is called an act of God. This is

called a situation that has to be – they have to give it. I think 120 days

isn’t nearly enough.


My administration is also taking bold action to help American workers. On

Friday, Americans began receiving cash payments authorized by a historic $2

trillion relief bill. By the end of the week, nearly 80 million Americans

will receive a total of $147 billion, and from what the secretary of the

treasury tells me, that’s very much on time and going very nicely. He will

be speaking in a moment.


These payments go directly into the banks and the bank accounts of these

people. Millions of additional payments will follow. The typical family of

four received $3,400. That’s for a family of four. That’s something.

Additionally, through our paycheck protection program, which is a

tremendous success, and they should extended an increase it. This has been

a tremendous success, so successful that the banks are taking a little bit

longer to distribute the money, but it’s going rapidly. We have now

processed over $200 billion in loans to help small businesses retain their

workers. Now we urgently need lawmakers to set aside the partisan agendas

and to replenish this program with new funds because it’s really something

that has been an incredible success. And they need more money to keep it

going to take care of these businesses and keep them open.


I want to thank the many governors, health professionals, scientists and

business leaders for their incredible hard work and input over the past

month, and even long beyond a month, Mike, I would say. We’ve been working

together with a lot of them for it seems like forever. I’ve been having

many discussions with my team and top experts. And we are very close to

completing a plan to open our country hopefully even ahead of schedule. And

that’s so important.


We will soon finalize new and very important guidelines to give governors

the information they need to start safely opening their states. My

administration’s plan and corresponding guidelines will give the American

people the confidence they need to begin returning to normal life. That’s

what we want. We want to have our country open. We want to return to normal

life. Our country is going to be open, and it’s going to be successfully

opened. And we’ll be explaining over a very short number of days exactly

what is going to be.


We also, as you probably heard, developed a committee. We are actually

calling it a number of committees with the most prominent people in the

country, the most successful people in the various fields, and we’ll be

announcing them tomorrow.


This weekend the United States also helped facilitate an unprecedented

agreement among the 23 nations of OPEC Plus. That’s OPEC plus additional

energy producing nations representing many of the world’s largest oil

producing countries to stabilize oil markets. And we have in fact, and I

think you’ve seen a big stabilization over the last couple of days.

Together countries around the world will cut oil production by

approximately 20 million barrels. People are saying 10 million, but we

think that the number that they will actually hit is going to be closer to

20 million barrels a day, and that will help a lot with saving jobs all

over Texas and Oklahoma and North Dakota and many other of our big energy



This historic action will help nearly 11 million American workers who are

supported by the U.S. oil and gas industry. It’s a very monumental

agreement. I want to think Saudi Arabia and the king of Saudi Arabia, crown

prince of Saudi Arabia, both. I want to thank President Putin of Russia,

and I want to thank a very good friend of mine, a man who has become a

friend of mine. The president of Mexico showed great flexibility, President

Lopez Obrador. He showed great flexibility and tremendous intelligence

doing what he did. It was not that easy for him, and I want to thank Mexico

and the president. This is a very historic deal, very historic. So we will

see how it all goes.


In this time and challenge, and we are certainly in a time probably like we

haven’t been in many, many decades, we are strengthened and sustained by

the bonds of love and loyalty that unite all Americans. I’m so proud of the

American people. Everywhere you look, you see the patriotism of our people

shining through and the courage of our doctors and nurses on the front

lines, in the dedication of our food supply workers, and in the commitment

of every citizen to achieving victory over the virus. That’s what’s going

to happen. It’s going to happen sooner than people think, and we are going

to be smart about it, very, very smart about it. We’re going to be safe

about it. We’re going to be listening also to the great doctors and medical



Together we are beating back the invisible enemy and we are paving the way

for great resurgence, really a great resurgence of American prosperity. Our

country wants to go back. They want to go back to work. They are going to

go back safely, and that’s what we want.


I’d like now to ask Vice President Pence to say a few words, followed by

Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx. I think before we do this, because I know there’s

an emergency where they want Steve to come, so what I’ll do is I’ll ask

Steve to come up, secretary of the treasury. You can talk a little bit and

then maybe take a couple questions about what’s happening. Tell them the

success we are having. Thank you very much.


STEVEN MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. President and Mr. Vice

President. As you announced, we are pleased that we are ahead of schedule

on delivering the economic impact payments. These were what was known as

the checks in the mail that we want to deliver in direct deposit. This is

ahead of schedule. We started processing those last Friday. We expect that

over 80 million hardworking Americans will get the direct deposit by this

Wednesday. And we know how important that is to all of those hardworking

Americans, many of which are at home not working at the moment.


If you do not receive them by Wednesday, on Wednesday we will be launching

at, click on, go to “Get Your Payment.” If you filed a tax

return in 2018 or 19, have that information available. You will be able to

I.D. yourself. You’ll be able to put in your direct deposit information.

And within several days we will automatically deposit the money into your

account. We want to do as much of this electronically as we can. It’s very

important in this day and age, it’s more secure, and you don’t have to go

to the bank.


If you are a Social Security beneficiary, you do not need to do anything.

You will get a direct deposit. If you have not filed and did not need to

file a 2018 or 2019 return, you can go to now and enter your

information and authenticate yourself. So again, we are very pleased that

that is ahead of schedule.


I’d also like to announce the progress we’re making on the new SBA program,

the PPP. Let me just remind everybody, this is a brand new program that is

now one-week-old. We have distributed and confirmed $230 billion of loans

to over 4,600 lenders participating. That is multiples and multiples of

anything that the SBA has ever done in one year before. And I especially

want to thank the broad-based community banks that are participating,

again, over 4,600 banks. If you haven’t had your loan processed, you will

get it processed this week. As the president said, we have gone back to

Congress and asked them for more money to make sure that every business has

access to this.


Let me also comment for the states, we are distributing out half the money

this week to the states. That’s a week ahead of time. And we will deliver

the other half of the money to the states next week. And then let me just

finally comment, we have been working very closely with the Federal

Reserve. Last week we announced expanded facilities and new facilities that

totaled $2.3 trillion of liquidity, and in particular I would just like to

highlight a main street lending facility that will be for companies between

one worker and 10,000 people, so midsized businesses. And also a municipal

facility for states and local governments to be able to access funds given

the shortages that they have.


So with that, I’m happy to answer any questions.


TRUMP: Do you have any questions for Steve, please.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, sir. Both Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader

Schumer have said that they are in negotiations with you right now on

additional funding for these small business loans and that package. Leader

McConnell, though, has said that nothing should be added to the package.

They should just be specific to small business loans. What is the opinion

of your administration? Should there be some sort of horse trading, or

should it just be small business loans?


MNUCHIN: The president’s view and the vice president’s and my view is this

was a bipartisan program. This SBA program, it wasn’t a Republican program.

It wasn’t a Democrat program. It was a bipartisan program. We have

committed to small businesses. We should top up that program now. I know

the Democrats want to talk about more money for hospitals and states. Right

now, we are just sending the money out to the hospitals and states. They

haven’t come close to using that money.


And I know the president and vice president have said once we get the SBA

done, we can go into another funding bill. The president has talked about

potentially adding infrastructure and other things. We think there is a

likelihood we will need more money, and we will sit down and try to get a

bipartisan bill. But this is important we deliver on small businesses, 50

percent of the people work for small businesses.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is the emergency that the president said you had to

go for? The president said you had an emergency.


TRUMP: Negotiation.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Over this bill?


MNUCHIN: Yes, because we don’t want to run out of money. We’ve used about

$220 billion of the $350 billion. We don’t want to run out of that money.

We don’t want to create panics that people won’t get it. So that’s why we

want to top that up, and we’ve asked for another $250 billion for that



And again, let me just remind you, every dollar we spend in this program we

save a dollar of unemployment insurance. So even though we are asking for

$250 billion, it really won’t cost that much.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have concerns about lifting the guidelines too

soon? And what is the economic impact? I understand the argument for

getting people back to work obviously, but what is the economic risk of

lifting them too early and seeing a spike in cases again?


MNUCHIN: First, there’s economic risks in both directions. We reviewed with

the president today a very broad list of over 100 business people that are

going to help advise the president on what needs to be done to reopen the

economy. We want to make sure, and again, the combination of economic

impact payments, small business payments, enhanced unemployment insurance.

The president made very clear we want to make sure that hardworking

Americans have liquidity while we wait to reopen the government.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So do you believe the government should be – or the

country, excuse me, should be reopened on May 1?


MNUCHIN: I’ve had discussions with the president. I know he is considering

it, and I believe he’s going to make a decision later in the week.


TRUMP: Everything has to be safe.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is your advice to the president?


MNUCHIN: My advice is, as soon as it’s ready to open and based upon the

medical professionals, and, again, we are working very closely with the

president and outside business leaders to develop a plan.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could you sketch for us what reopening the economy looks

like? Do you think it’s going to be everything open?


TRUMP: I’m doing that over the next few days because we’ll probably be

making a statement about that and exactly what it looks like. I know what

that looks like, but I also want to get the advice, in a sense. We have

some of the biggest from every business on this council – we are actually

setting up a number of different councils or committees, I guess you could

call them. And we have a lot of smart people. I think that they will give

us some also good advice. But no, we want to be very, very safe. At the

same time, we have got to get our country open.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, do you think there is a possibility then

that what you do is you open it incrementally, do you think people will go

back to restaurants, concerts, the cinema?


TRUMP: I do think so, eventually they will, yes.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And let me ask –


TRUMP: I think eventually they will. And I think we are going to – boom, I

think it’s going to go quickly. Our people want to get back to work, and I

think there is a pent up demand like that hasn’t been in a long time. And

that’s why you see the stock market, to think that the stock market is at

the level it is right now with all that this world and this country, and

look at the European Union, how badly decimated they have been. Look at

other countries. Look at China, by the way. I’ve seen the numbers. Look at

China. Look at how these countries are just been decimated by this. And to

think that the stock market is at this tremendously high number. Not that

much – it was looking bleak for a while, but it hit a certain point and

then started going out. I think that’s a great tribute to the fact that

there’s a demand.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, thank you, sir. In regards to some of

your tweets earlier today, and I think it was Steve’s question, my question

to you is what provision in the Constitution gives the president the power

to open or close state economies? And then –


TRUMP: Numerous provisions. We’ll give you a legal brief if you want.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We’ll be looking forward to that, sir. But following up,

what happens if you say, for instance, we want states to reopen, but

California or New York do not open. What would you do then?


TRUMP: I think everybody wants to open. I guess that could happen, but I

don’t think that would happen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: – states that have closed, ordered schools closed,

there have been states that have ordered businesses like restaurants –


TRUMP: That’s because I let that happen. Because I would have preferred

that, I let that happen. But if I wanted to, I could’ve close it up. But I

let that happen. And I like the way they’ve done it. And the seven that

remained in sort of a semi-lockdown, if you look at those states, they’ve

really done a very good job. They’re very much different from a New York or

from other places where they’ve been hit very hard.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you’re prepared to say to states I order you to

open your schools, I order you to –


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, Mr. President, following up on that, there are two

consortiums of states today, California, Oregon, and Washington on the west

coast, northeastern states, totally representing about 100 million people

who said they are going to cooperate and decide when to reopen.


TRUMP: They can decide.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does that undermine what you are trying to do?


TRUMP: No, not at all. Let me just tell you very simple. I’m going to put

it very simply. The president of the United States has the authority to do

what the president has the authority to do, which is very powerful. The

president of the United States calls the shots. If we weren’t here for the

states, you would’ve had a problem in this country like you’ve never seen

before. We were here to back them up, and we have more than backed them up.

We did a job that nobody ever thought was possible. It’s a decision for the

president of the United States.


With that being said, we’re going to work with the states, because it’s

very important. You have local governments, they are pinpointed. It’s

really, you talk about, it’s like a microchip. They are pinpointed. We have

local government that hopefully will do a good job. And if they don’t do a

good job, I would step in so fast. But no, they can’t do anything without

the approval of the president of the United States.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So if some state refuse to reopen and you order them to,

the 10th Amendment to the Constitution says all powers that don’t reside in

the president or the Congress reside in the states. How do you –


TRUMP: If some states refuse to open, I would like to see that person run

for election. They are going to open. They’re going to all open. I think

that’s something that’s not going to happen. They want to open. They have

to get open. They have to get open, every one of those states, the people

want to go and they want – now, some are in a different situation. You

have, I won’t name states now but I will over the next two or three days,

I’m going to be very specific, but you have some states where this is not

the kind of problem that it is in New York or Louisiana or Michigan or

other places that got hit very hard. Illinois got hit very hard. But all

states want to open and they want to open as soon as possible. But they

want to open safely, and so do I.


Yes, please?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Mr. President. Today the French President

Emmanuel Macron said that he will keep the shock down in France in the

middle of May. Does that mean the U.S. keep the ban –


TRUMP: France got hit very hard. France got hit very hard. And again, he

has to do what he has to do. He’s a friend of mine. But France, Spain has

just been decimated. You look at what’s happened in Italy. It’s a very

well-known fact what happened in Italy. They were hit very hard.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A question for Secretary Mnuchin. Has everybody that

you would like to have, the 100 business people on the economic council,

have they all been invited already?


MNUCHIN: They haven’t been invited yet. We just reviewed the names with the

president today.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And are they from all sectors?


MNUCHIN: Yes. Basically, they’re vertical, so every single area of the

economy we want it to be represented.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Great. One other thing. Is there anything else that

needs to be done to work on oil industry jobs, to save oil industry job

after the deal this past weekend?


MNUCHIN: I think there’s always things. Working with Larry Kudlow, we have

economic plans for every single part of the economy. Obviously in the case

of the oil industry, they’ve been hit especially hard, because you’ve had

both the supply issue and you’ve had the demand issue.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you figured out the bailout money for the airlines,

the allocations for the airlines?


MNUCHIN: I am pleased to say we’ve worked very hard. I think as you

probably have seen, we put out a press release that we have now had

discussions with almost all the airlines. I personally had discussions with

all the major airlines CEOS. We specifically created an exception for small

airlines that we could process very quickly, and I think you’ll see very

quickly decisions coming out. I’m very pleased with the discussions we’ve



TRUMP: We have had very good discussions.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Secretary, do you see a need for a phase four

stimulus – 


TRUMP: I just want to say we have had – excuse me, one second. We’ve had

very good discussions with the airlines. Very good discussions.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is impossible to reopen the economy on May the 1st?


TRUMP: I don’t want to say that. You’ll be hearing over the next few days.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you see a need for a phase four, this push in lieu of

another stimulus?


MNUCHIN: Again, let me just comment. Congress on a bipartisan basis

approved an unprecedented amount of money to help American workers and

American business, because it was no fault of their own that business was

closed down.


We have been very diligently executing on that. Everybody said it was going

to take months to get people money. We are executing very quickly. We

created a whole new SBA program in a week. Our job right now is to execute

the $2.3 billion which we can add several trillion dollars with the Fed.

The one area we are particularly concerned about is the small business

program. Quite frankly, it’s even more incredibly popular and successful

than we anticipated. So the president wants to be very clear we have money

for that, and once we get done with that, we will review with the

president. If there is more money than needs to be to support this economy,

to support hardworking Americans, we will work with Congress to get that.


TRUMP: And Steve, do you want to talk about phase four?


MNUCHIN: So phase four, the president has talked about infrastructure for a

long period time. We’ve talked about to the extent that the hospitals need

more money because of the medical issues, we will monitor that. We want to

make sure there are incentives for restaurants, entertainment, people to

get back to those types of things. So we will be looking and very

specifically provisions to stimulate parts of the economy. Some of them may

be money issues. Some of them may be regulatory issues.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, just to clarify your understanding of

your authority vis-a-vis governors, just to be very specific. For instance,

if a governor issued a stay-at-home order –


TRUMP: When you say my authority, the president’s authority. Because it’s

not me. When somebody is the president of the United States, the authority

is total, and that’s the way it’s got to be.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Total, your authority is total?


TRUMP: Total, it’s total. And the governors know that. The governors know

that. You have a couple of – excuse me, excuse me. You have a couple bands

of Democratic governors, but they will agree to it. They will agree to it.

But the authority of the president of the United States having to do with

the subject we are talking about is total.


Please, go ahead. Go ahead, please.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the things we saw your video was the travel ban

from Europe. And as part of reopening America, do you want to reopen the

border so that people from Europe, form the U.K. –


TRUMP: At the right time. It’s a very good question, actually. I’m going to

have to take a look. I wouldn’t say Italy is doing great right now, and I

wouldn’t say Spain is doing great right now, and we just heard that France

is extending its stay inside order, right? They have extended it. I just

seen that, I think for a short period of time. But when they’re back, we

want to do it very quickly, but we want to make sure everything is good.

Right now we have a very strong ban. We’re going to keep it that way until

they heal.




TRUMP: I can’t tell you that. I have to see, how they are doing. France

just went for another two weeks. We have to see. John?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So Dr. Fauci said that you took his advice on the

question of mitigation. He made the recommendation. You accepted it. He put

it into place. As you make this next decision –


TRUMP: I’m not sure who really gave me advice on the ban. I think I took my

own advice on the ban.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The social distancing, I’m talking about, the shutting

down, not of travel but of activity. So my question is, as you make this

next decision, which you have said may be the most difficult or important

decision of your presidency, will you assure the American people that you

will again take the advice of the doctors, of Dr. Fauci, of Dr. Birx? Will

you take the advice of the health experts before –


TRUMP: I will, and many other people, also. But I will absolutely take

their advice.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you go against their recommendation? If they say

you need another 15 or 30 days?


TRUMP: I don’t think it will be likely because I think we’re not very far

from being on the same page.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, Mr. President. One thing that Governor Cuomo said

today is that states do not have the capacity to do mass COVID-19 testing

ahead of a reopening.


TRUMP: They have to do it. They’re supposed to be doing it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said they can’t purchase the diagnostic tests or

equipment and needs federal help. So will they get it?


TRUMP: They may need help.







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