“YOUR STRUGGLE IS OUR STRUGGLE”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Apr. 6, 2020) — President Trump began Monday’s coronavirus briefing by expressing empathy with the states of New York and New Jersey, which continue to see more cases of coronavirus and numerous deaths and constitute the epicenter of the U.S. pandemic.
“Your struggle is our struggle,” Trump said to residents of the two states.
He also extended America’s best wishes to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was hospitalized on Sunday from coronavirus and moved into intensive care on Monday.
“Therapeutics” have been sent to London, Trump said, in the hope that Johnson and others will benefit.
In a call with New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo on Monday, Trump said he agreed with the governor’s request to use the USS Comfort as a coronavirus-only facility. New Jersey patients will also be sent there, Trump added, in an agreement with Gov. Phil Murphy.
“I think they’re very happy,” Trump said of the two governors. He also indicated that in a two-hour call with all 50 governors earlier Monday, Vice President Mike Pence found no one who was not happy. “If they’re honest, they’ll say it was a great call,” he said.
The Army Corps of Engineers is building 22 new field hospitals, Trump reported.
FEMA has distributed 11.7 million N95 respirators, 26.5 million surgical masks, 4.4 million surgical gowns and 22.6 million gloves, Trump said, throughout the states and U.S. territories.
“The 3M saga ends very happily,” Trump reported, referring to the company’s agreement to manufacture 166.5 million masks each month. Last week, Trump expressed displeasure with the company for reportedly sending personal protective equipment (PPE) to China rather than making it available to U.S. hospitals.
He complimented Vice President Mike Pence on his work and outreach to the governors.
In response to a reporter’s question, Trump confirmed he spoke with Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden earlier today. He said that they agreed not to divulge the substance of their conversation but that Biden had made some suggestions for further actions Trump’s administration might take in response to the coronavirus. Trump said he might not agree with those suggestions but that the conversation was pleasant.
NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said later in the presser that he has spoken to two of eight governors who have not issued “stay-at-home” orders. In actuality, Fauci said, the practice of social distancing is being conducted in those states.
To a question from Jonathan Karl of ABC News, Fauci said that the U.S. will not be “back to normal” until the population can be “fully protected” from the coronavirus.
Of the states which have not issued stay-in-place orders, Trump said that “from a constitutional standpoint, I’d love not to get involved with that.” “I believe in our Constitution, much more so than most people,” he added. “Those states are doing a fantastic job, all eight of them.”
Trump said that the UK “is suffering greatly” from the coronavirus and that “intensive care is a big deal.”
Reporters continued to press Trump on a “national stay-at-home” order, which Trump has opposed. To another question about restricting “travel between cities,” Trump said, “We’re looking at it.” He said that the airlines have dramatically reduced domestic travel but that their services are needed for medical workers who must travel.
Regarding testing, Trump said the U.S. is conducting more testing “than any other country.”
On China, Trump said he “hopes they’re going to honor” the trade agreement he negotiated several months ago. “We signed a deal; it was signed with great goodwill and spirit; it’s time that our farmers, our manufacturers benefited, and I think it will be,” he told a reporter. “It just went into effect four days ago.”
Further on testing, Trump said that the states are better equipped to carry out the procedure and that his administration had to change an old, outdated system used by the CDC. He said that an unnamed person “never did anything about” preparing for an event such as a pandemic.
In response to a question about a fourth coronavirus relief bill, Trump said he is open to it but that he envisions an infrastructure bill which will “completely rebuild” the nation’s roads and bridges. He said for years, infrastructure was ignored because American money was misspent in other places.
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.