Trump doesn’t explicitly guarantee that everyone who needs a ventilator will get one
During a White House coronavirus task force briefing, President Donald Trump responded to a reporter’s question asking for a guarantee on ventilator availability saying “don’t be a cutie pie.”
Asked during a White House press briefing whether anyone who needed a ventilator in the US would be able to get one, Trump said, “I think we’re in great shape. … I hope that we’re going to have leftovers so that we can help other people, other countries.”
The President also said the country is “manufacturing a lot of them now. We are accumulating a lot.”
But when he was pressed again on whether he could assure that every American would have access to a ventilator if they needed one, Trump responded to the reporter by saying, “Look, don’t be a cutie pie, OK? … Nobody’s ever done what we’ve done. Nobody’s done anything like we’ve been able to do. And everything that I took over was a mess.”
The President then called the reporter who asked the question a “wise guy.”
Trump said during the briefing that the administration would facilitate the production or acquisition of “100,000 additional units” of ventilators through other means over a 100-day period. He also said there are 10,000 ventilators in the national stockpile.
However, Trump expressed concern that these federally supplied devices could be distributed to states that don’t need them and argued that the federal government would have a hard time trying to get them back.
“The reason we don’t want to distribute that is … if there is a mad rush in New York or maybe in Louisiana or maybe someplace else, we don’t want to have given out all of those units, the ventilators. And then in those sections, we give them to Iowa but they didn’t have a problem in Iowa. We give them to Idaho and give them to lots of different places and now we have to try and get them back, which is never easy to do,” Trump said.
The President’s response comes amid some back-and-forth among the White House, the private sector and states over concerns about a ventilator shortage in the US should the number of coronavirus cases in hospitals continue to rise.
Governors have requested ventilators, fearing shortages of the lifesaving devices in hospital systems dealing with an influx of coronavirus patients.
On Friday afternoon, Trump issued a memorandum requiring General Motors to produce ventilators through the Defense Production Act.
During Friday’s briefing, the President also railed against governors who are asking for critical supplies for their states.
Trump criticized Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, for complaining about the federal government’s slow response and took to name-calling, saying Inslee was a “failed presidential candidate.”
The President also went after Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, another Democrat who has said her state is not getting the health and safety equipment needed to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus because contractors are sending their products to the federal government first.
“She has no idea what’s going on and all she does is say, ‘Oh, it’s the federal government’s fault,’ ” Trump said.