President Donald Trump is so confident in the country’s production of ventilators that he’s dangling the idea of helping countries abroad by sending them surplus supplies even as U.S. governors continue to ask the federal government for that crucial medical equipment.
During a press briefing Monday, the president took a business friendly approach, touting an announcement from Ford and General Electric Healthcare that they would “produce 50,000 ventilators,” as well as nine additional companies also “doing ventilators.” He continued to praise his administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“As we outpace what we need we’re going to be sending them to Italy,” Trump said. “We’re going to be sending them to France. We’re going to be sending them to Spain, where they have tremendous problems and other countries as we can. But the fact that we’re doing so many so quickly is a tribute to our great companies.”
After spending much of last week floating an Easter day push to re-open the country amid the pandemic, the president backed off the idea during a press briefing Sunday. Health experts and officials, as well as Republican governors, had pushed back on such a sudden push to normalcy.
Trump is continuing to praise his administration's work during the pandemic and said modeling shows by “very vigorously following” his White House’s guidelines more than 1 million American lives could be saved.
“Our future is in our own hands,” Trump said.
But challenging times lie ahead in the next 30 days, Trump warned, saying “we’re sort of putting it all on the line.” Despite continued concerns from Americans over how they can get tested for the virus, Trump applauded the country reaching a “historic milestone,” of more than 1 million in the country being tested.
“We’re really getting the job done,” Trump said later during the press briefing. “People are very impressed and I’m very impressed by the people at FEMA, the people in the Army Corps of Engineers, because what they’ve done, I’ve never seen anybody do anything like it.”
Towards the end of the briefing, a question from CNN’s Jim Acosta triggered Trump’s standard condemnation of reporters. The reporter read back past statements from the president on the virus and asked for a response to Americans who feel the president “got this wrong.”
After defending his past statements and saying the virus “will go away,” and promising “a great victory,” Trump turned on the reporter, saying he doesn’t want panic in the United States.
“I could cause panic, much better than even you. I would make you look like a minor league player, but you know what, I don’t want to do that,” Trump said. “I want to have our country be calm, and strong and fight and win.”
“Instead of asking a nasty, snarky question like that, you should ask a real question,” Trump said later.