Trump: ‘I will protect you if your governor fails’
President Trump began Tuesday’s Coronavirus Task Force press briefing as usual, by updating the country on the government’s progress in gathering medical equipment to be used in the fight against COVID-19.
California has sent back ventilators to the federal government, along with Washington, to be distributed elsewhere in the country, a good sign as the country seeks to flatten the curve.
He reported that 8,675 ventilators are in stock, and the military is ready to move them to coronavirus hot spots if necessary. In addition to these ventilators, Trump said that there are 2,200 arriving on April 13; 5,500 arriving on May 4; 12,00 on May 18; 20,000 on June 1; and 60,000 on June 29. These will primarily be made by American manufacturing companies.
According to the President, the U.K. is asking for 200 ventilators, and Trump says that they are working on getting those ventilators.
He went on to report that there are to drugs in active medical trials, with 15 more to follow. There are also two vaccine candidates in medical trials, with more of those to follow as well. Some states will soon be implementing rapid tests, which would give test-takers results in five minutes.
In regard to all the federal government is doing, Trump said: “I will protect you if your governor fails.”
The president then addressed recent data which shows that the coronavirus disproportionately affects African American communities. He asked Dr. Fauci to speak more on this issue, who explained that the pre-disposing conditions that lead to the increased chance of not only contracting coronavirus but dying because of it — such as asthma or diabetes — disproportionately affect African Americans; therefore, the coronavirus is disproportionately affecting their communities.
However, Dr. Birx did want to say, “we don’t want to give the impression that the African-American community is more susceptible to the virus, we don’t have any data that suggests that … what our data suggests is that they’re more susceptible to more difficult and severe disease and poorer outcomes.”
Trump says there will be accurate statistics to show this disproportion within the next few days, and that the task force will release those to the public once available. Trump says these numbers are startling and he wants a better understanding as to why African Americans are so disproportionately affected by the coronavirus and the related conditions. He hopes to find a solution.
Trump also addressed some of his public comments about the WHO, and re-states that they are “very China-centric.” As the U.S. provides millions of dollars in funding, he says he wants to investigate their response to the coronavirus and relationship to China and is considering a possible freeze on funding to the WHO.
“They called [the coronavirus] wrong. They missed the call — they could have called it months earlier, they could have known … and they probably did know,” said Trump.
When questioned about the Navarro memo, Trump said that he “didn’t see the memo,” but that it did occur during the time of his travel ban to Wuhan, China. When reporters claimed that he was downplaying the virus at the time of the memo, he said: “I am a cheerleader for this country .. I’m not going to go out and cause havoc … but at the same time, I’m cheerleading, I’m also closing out the places that are very highly affected.” His point was that though his words were encouraging, his actions showed that he did take the virus seriously.
Of course, Trump says that if he had seen the memo, he would not have done anything differently, as he was already restricting travel from highly-infected areas early on.
“I was called xenophobic, I was called racist … but I closed [travel] down and I was called names … but that was a great decision. If I didn’t do that, we would have had hundreds of thousands of more people dying.”
In lighter news, Trump did ask that people start using the hashtag #AmericaWorksTogether when sharing stories on how we are all working together to get through this difficult time. So, if you see something positive, don’t forget to take a picture or video and use the hashtag.