White House Coronavirus Task Force Briefing

President Donald Trump 

  • My Administration will do everything possible to help those communities get back on their feet. We’re speaking with the Governors and Representatives. FEMA is already on its way. We’re with you all the way. It’s a tough deal. It was a bad grouping of tornadoes. Something that’s something incredible, the power — the horrible, destructive power.
  • America is continuing to make critical progress in our war against the virus. Over the weekend, the number of daily new infections remained flat nationwide.
  • Hospitalizations are slowing in hotspots like New York, New Jersey, Michigan, and Louisiana. This is clear evidence that our aggressive strategy to combat the virus is working and that Americans are following the guidelines. It’s been incredible what they’ve done.
  • The models from early on — predictions were 100,000 and 120,000 people. We’re going to be, hopefully, way, way below that number. So that will be a sign of people doing things right, but it’s still just a horrible thing all over the world. 184 countries.
  • This is all a tribute to our wonderful healthcare advisors and experts who have been with us right from the beginning. We appreciate it so much. In fact, Dr. Fauci is here.

National Institute of Health Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci

  • You’re going to hear from Dr. Birx soon about the numbers that we’ve been talking about and how things are starting to balance off.
  • I think the more, as we go by each day, I think we’re going to see and again, I never like to get ahead of myself or of Dr. Birx. It looks like even though we’ve had a really bad week last week – there’s still going to be a lot of deaths, but we’re starting to see in some areas now that kind of flattening, particularly in a place that was a hotspot like New York. That’s the first thing.
  • The second thing is that I had a really, very productive conversation with the Congressional Black Caucus this morning, for about an hour. They really wanted to know what exactly we are going to be doing in the immediate, as well as the long range, about the health disparities and the discrepancies both in infection and in poor outcome in the minorities in general, but specifically African American.
  • I made it very clear to them that what we have to do is focus on getting the resources where the vulnerable are, to be able to get testing done, to be able to get the appropriate identification, where proper and where appropriate, to isolate and contact trace if we can, but also to help mitigate in a community that is suffering and suffering much more disproportionately.
  • I had an interview yesterday that I was asked a hypothetical question. 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? The answer to my question was, as I always do perfectly honestly say, “yes.” I mean, obviously. Mitigation helps.
  • I’ve been up here many times telling you that mitigation works. If mitigation works, and you initiated earlier, you will probably have saved more lives. If you initiated it later, you probably would have lost more lives, if you initiated at a certain time. That was taken as a way that maybe, somehow, something was at fault here.
  • The first and only time that Dr. Birx and I went in and formally made a recommendation to the President to actually have a, quote, “shutdown” in the sense of — not really “shutdown” but to really have strong mitigation, we discussed it.
  • Obviously, there would be concern by some that, in fact, that might have some negative consequences. Nonetheless, the President listened to the recommendation and went to the mitigation.
  • The second time that I went with Dr. Birx to the President and said, “Fifteen days are not enough. We need to go thirty days,” obviously, there were people who had a problem with that because of the potential secondary effects.
  • Nonetheless, at that time, the President went with the health recommendations, and we extended it another 30 days.
  • I can only tell you what I know and what my recommendations were. Clearly, as happens all the time, there were interpretations of that response to a hypothetical question that I just thought it would be very nice for me to clarify because I didn’t have the chance to clarify.

Dr. Fauci was asked what day he spoke to the President about his recommendations. He responded he doesn’t even remember what the date was. The reporter asked if those recommendations were about the travel restrictions. Dr. Fauci responded no, the travel restriction is separate. That was whether or not we wanted to go into a mitigation stage of 15 days of mitigation. He explained that the travel was another recommendation.

President Trump also responded, stating:

  • If you look at statistics, on January 6th, long before the dates you’re talking about, CDC issued a travel notice for Wuhan, China before there was even a confirmed case of the virus in the United States.
  • On January 11th, we have zero cases in the United States. Zero. We didn’t have any cases. The CDC issued a level one travel notice while there were still no confirmed cases. People want me to act. I’m supposed to close down the economy — the greatest economy in the history of the world — and we don’t have one case confirmed in the United States. That’s January 11th.
  • On January 17th, the CDC began implementing public health entry screenings at three major U.S. airports that received the greatest volume of passengers from Wuhan, at my instructions. There was not a single case of the coronavirus in the United States. On January 17th, there wasn’t a case, and the fake news is saying, “Oh, he didn’t act fast enough.” Well, you remember what happened. Because when I did act, I was criticized by Nancy Pelosi, by Sleepy Joe Biden. I was criticized by everybody. In fact, I was called xenophobic. I was asking Biden to please define that for me. I was called other things by Democrats and some others — not too many others, actually. So that — by the media, definitely.
  • On January 21st, long before the time we’re talking, because when Tony is talking, I believe he’s talking about the end of February. On January 21st, there was one case of the virus. At that time, we called it the “Wuhan virus,” right? There was one case in the whole United States. We have one case. This is all documented. It all comes from you. A lot of it comes from you people.
  • On January 21st, the CDC activated an emergency operation center. There was just one case, one person. In the whole United States, one case. I’m supposed to shut down the government. The biggest economy in the history of the world. “Shut it down. We have one case.”
  • Seven cases were on January 31st. Not one person had died.
  • 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’ve done over the last three and a half years, prior to the virus, but including the virus. We have the biggest economy, the greatest economy we’ve ever had; the highest employment numbers; the best employment numbers; best unemployment numbers also. The best of everything.
  • On January 31st, not one person has died. Not one. I issued a travel restriction from China. Nobody died, and I issued. You can’t get earlier than that. 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. I’ve been brutalized for the last four years. I used to do well before I decided to run for politics. I guess I’m doing okay because, to the best of my knowledge, I’m the President of the United States, despite the things that are said.
  • Then, few did the first mandatory quarantine in more than 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 racist and other things.
  • Since then, on a Friday night, two weeks ago, Joe Biden issued a statement, saying that Joe Biden agrees that President Trump was right to close it down to China. Now, he did that.
  • 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 Chinatown parade. Probably referring to San Francisco. But
  • I took this action early. 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.
  • Let’s play the video.
  • We could give you hundreds of clips like that from Governors — including Democratic or “Democrat,” as I call them, which is actually the correct term. We could give you hundreds of clips just like that. We have them. We didn’t want this to go on too long, but I just want to say it’s very sad when people write false stories like, in that case, I guess it was gotten mostly from the New York Times, which is a highly — I mean, if you had libel laws, they would have been out of business even before they’ll end up going out of business. 
  • You saw the statements. We have hundreds of statements. Hundreds of statements, including from Democrats and Democrat governors.
  • They were all saying, “We need ventilators. We need…” You don’t hear “ventilators” anymore. They have all the ventilators they need, which we were right about. We said, “You’re asking for too many. You don’t need that.” And, in all fairness, these two people right here — Dr. Birx, Dr. Fauci — they said, “I don’t think they need that many ventilators.” And I said, “I agree.”
  • One point, and I’m not knocking New York for this, but they were asking — you remember? 40,000 ventilators. More than they have all over the country, and we got them a lot of ventilators, and nobody has complained.
  • We got them beautiful hospital rooms all over the country. The Governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, was very nice. He said, “You know what? You don’t have to build a second hospital.” Because good news is happening. They’re not able to fill the beds. They needed two hospitals. We built one; it was perfect. I called him up. I said, “Do you think we should build the second one? I don’t think you’re going to need it.” He said, “Let me get back.” He got back. We didn’t need it.
  • With Governor Cuomo, in all good spirit and faith, he wanted to have the Jacob Javits Center done. We built 2,900 incredible beds. Incredible. We had to change the ductwork. We had to seal up certain areas. We had to put areas of rooftop things over the beds. We did a lot of work. We had it, but they never really had too much use for it.
  • Mayor de Blasio, rightfully, called and said, “Would it be possible to get more medical help?” So, now, not only are we building facilities, they’re asking us for help because they’re unable to man it. We got him the help. We got Mayor de Blasio a lot of help.
  • We took the Mercy and the Comfort and made both — Los Angeles and New York —COVID-adaptable, which was not easy to do.
  • What we did was like an incredible job, but they didn’t need them. They have an expression: “Ready, willing, and able.” We were ready, willing, and able. What the Army Corps of Engineers did was a miracle. What FEMA did was a miracle. What the doctors did.
  • I got a call two days ago from the Mayor of New York. He said, “Could you help us even more with medical personnel?” We sent 448 doctors, nurses, and respiratory experts. Real experts. I got a call from the Mayor saying, “I want to tell you: Incredible — these people are incredible.” He said, “They lifted the spirits of the hospital workers from New York City like nothing I’ve ever seen.” It was really appreciated.
  • We did all of this work, but when you read the phony stories, nobody acknowledges this. It doesn’t have to be acknowledged, from my standpoint, but it does have to be acknowledged from the great work that these doctors, nurses, the Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA – all these people, they’ve done this incredible job. They shouldn’t be abused because you take a look at what’s happened.
  • Nobody is asking for ventilators, except outside of our country. Outside of our country, ever country is calling me. I’m going to try and help them because we have thousands of ventilators being built. Nobody is asking for ventilators. Nobody is asking for beds because we built hospitals. I think we built 20,000 beds in a period of a couple of weeks.
  • The job they’ve done is incredible. With all of that being said, I’m getting along very well with Governors.
  • My only point of saying this, because I want to get back to why we’re here: The press has not treated these incredible people who’ve done such a great job, they haven’t treated them fairly. They’re way off. We were way ahead of schedule.
  • The Times story was a fake. Everything we did, I was criticized because I was too early. If I waited longer, it would have been criticized. If I went three months earlier, I would have been criticized for being way too early.

The President was asked why he retweeted the hashtag #FireFauci. The President responded that retweeted somebody. He doesn’t know. The reporter asked if the President noticed that when he retweeted it. The President answered yes, he notices everything. The reporter again clarified that it was retweeted even though it said, “Time to fire Fauci”. President Trump answered that’s just an opinion. He is not going to fire Dr. Fauci.

The full transcript is over 60 pages.  For more question and answer exchanges, please see the full remarks: April 13 Briefing

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