WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 03: U.S. President Donald Trump answers questions in the press briefing room … [+]
Topline: The sparring between President Trump and the governor of his home state of New York over who was responsible for a severe ventilator shortage spilled into Friday’s White House briefing. Trump also revealed a new plan for uninsured victims of the coronavirus.
- Trump did not directly answer a question about whether he could assure that New York would have the supply of ventilators it needed. “We happen to think that [Governor Andrew Cuomo’s] well-served with ventilators,” Trump said. “We’re going to find out.” He suggested any shortfall was a result of state mismanagement. “They should have had more ventilators at the time.” Cuomo, a Democrat, has warned on April 2 the state only has six days of ventilators left in its stockpile and that “our attitude here is we’re on our own.”
- Pressed about using the national stockpile of emergency medical equipment, Trump said, in answer to two reporters’ questions, that these supplies were being saved for surges and are for states. His son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, at Thursday’s briefing, had sparked an uproar after he said “the notion of the federal stockpile was it’s supposed to be our stockpile, it’s not supposed to be states’ stockpiles that they then use.”
- According to the Department of Health and Human Services’ website, the federal government needs to share these emergency supplies. “When state, local, tribal and territorial responders request federal assistance to support their response efforts, the stockpile ensures that the right medicines and supplies get to those who need them most during an emergency,” the website read. By Friday, it had been changed to say it functions to “supplement” them.
- Trump opened the briefing announcing a Center of Disease Control and Prevention recommendation that Americans out in public should wear cloth and fabric face masks, though he added that he would not.
- He also announced a new plan for uninsured victims of the coronavirus, sharing that the government would be allocating some of the $100 billion in hospital funds from the stimulus bill to reimburse hospitals that care for uninsured patients, though this doesn’t cover any other potential ailments and injuries uninsured Americans may face as millions file for unemployment.
- According to a Politico report Tuesday, the administration decided against reopening enrollment in the Affordable Care Act for the now unemployed. While workers that lost employment-based insurance can apply beyond the enrollment period, others cannot.
- Asked if states’ should prepare for mail-in voting in November’s presidential election, Trump said, “No because I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting.” House speaker Nancy Pelosi said this week she wants funding for further mail-in voting measures in the next coronavirus stimulus bill.
- Trump said on Fox Monday that such measures would mean “you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.” Georgia House of Representatives speaker David Ralston, R-Ga., said that the turnout from mail-in voting would “be extremely devastating to Republicans and conservatives.”
- National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci, a fixture of the press briefings, was absent Friday. When asked about it, Trump said there was “no problem whatsoever,” and after reports that he was excluded at the last minute, PBS correspondent Yamiche Alcindor tweeted comments from Fauci saying it wasn’t true and that, “It was just a matter of how many people you want up there, and the subject matter was much more suited to the surgeon general & the director of the CDC.”
Key Background: The U.S. leads the world in coronavirus cases with 275,586. There have been 7,087 deaths and 9,707 recoveries. On March 31, the White House shared that the country could see 100,000 to 240,000 deaths from the coronavirus even with full mitigation. While Trump on Friday continued to leave stay-at-home measures up to states, Fauci on Thursday said he “doesn’t understand” why a broader, national order hasn’t been put in place.