Saturday, March 28, 2020


Office of the Press Secretary

Naval Station Norfolk

Norfolk, Virginia

1:52 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much, Mark.  And you’re doing a fantastic job, and our country appreciates it very much.

And thank you, everybody, for being here.  Today, I’m deeply honored to be at Naval Station Norfolk -- the largest naval base anywhere in the world, and the home to the most powerful fleet that has ever sailed the seas.  I just passed some of the most beautiful and, frankly, the most highly lethal ships that I have ever seen in my life, and there are a lot of them.  And they’re in better shape now than they have been for many, many decades, with what we’re doing.

We’re grateful to be joined by Commander of the U.S. Fleet Forces, Admiral Christopher Grady, and Commander of the U.S. Second Fleet, Vice Admiral Woody Lewis.  Thank you both for being here.  We appreciate it very much.

As we gather today, our country is at war with an invisible enemy.  We are marshalling the full power of the American nation -- economic, scientific, medical, and military -- to vanquish the virus.  And we will do that.

Today, I’m here to express my profound gratitude to the dedicated service members who will soon be on the frontlines of this fight.  In a few moments, the crew of the Navy Hospital Ship USNS Comfort -- which is really something -- will embark for New York City, where they will join the ranks of tens of thousands of amazing doctors, nurses, and medical professionals who are battling to save American lives.

This great ship behind me is a 70,000-ton message of hope and solidarity to the incredible people of New York -- a place I know very well, a place I love.  We’re here for you, we’re fighting for you, and we are with you all the way, and we always will be.  You have the unwavering support of the entire nation, the entire government, and the entire American people.

After being rushed out of maintenance with historic speed -- it was supposed to be here for four weeks, and they did it in four days -- the Comfort will arrive at Pier 90 in Manhattan on Monday, three weeks ahead of schedule.  Its crew will begin treating patients on Tuesday.  It will be met in New York Harbor by Governor Cuomo, who I just spoke with; he’s very excited -- and they need the help.

The skilled sailors and civilian mariners aboard this ship will provide a critical surge capacity for the New York metropolitan area.  Their mission will be to care for New Yorkers who do not have the virus but who require urgent care.  In other words, they’ll be using this -- people will be coming out of hospitals who don’t have the virus, and they’ll be on the ship where they have great operating rooms and great facilities.  And the places inbound, on land, will be where people that have the virus will be.  So the people with the virus will not be on ship.  The ship will be used for people having operations and other things other than that.  

By serving these emergency patients away from the hospitals, beds will be opened up all over the city for those who are infected.  This ship can handle a lot of people, so it will open capacity all over the city.  And it will be ready to address any life-threatening medical emergency.  It is stocked.  It’s stocked to the brim with equipment and medicines and everything you can think of.  Importantly, by treating non-infected patients remotely on the ship, it will help to halt, very strongly, the transmission of the virus.

The Comfort’s sister ship on the West Coast, the USNS Mercy, arrived ahead of schedule, substantially, in port yesterday.  Governor Gavin Newsom was very thankful for it.  They’re working very hard in California.  It’s performing a similar mission for the people of Los Angeles and the people of California.

As the USNS Comfort gets underway, it is fully loaded with 12 operating rooms -- and they are fully equipped -- 1,000 hospital beds, a medical laboratory, a pharmacy, an optometry lab, digital radiology, a CAT scan, two oxygen-producing plants, and a helicopter deck, which will be used very actively.

It also bears our military’s greatest weapon of all: a crew of nearly 1,200 outstanding members of the United States Navy.  And I thank them very much.  Among the sailors departing today are some of the finest doctors, nurses, technicians, orderlies, and medical staff anywhere in the world.  These are true professionals.  And no one performs better under pressure when lives are on the line.  These are incredible people.

We will stop at nothing to protect the health of New Yorkers and the health of the people of our country in their hour of need.  I also want to remind everyone about the CDC’s latest guidance: If you are from the New York metropolitan area and you travel elsewhere, we need you to
self-quarantine for 14 days to help us contain the spread of the virus.

And I am now considering -- we’ll make a decision very quickly, very shortly -- a quarantine, because it’s such a hot area, of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.  We’ll be announcing that, one way or the other, fairly soon.  This does not apply to people such as truckers from outside the New York area who are making deliveries or simply transiting through.  It won’t affect trade in any way.

The Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA are racing to build temporary hospitals -- which are now completed, by the way, in record time -- four hospitals, four medical centers.  And in speaking with the governor this morning, we’re giving them an additional four large tents, which they need very badly.  And the emergency medical stations in New York are top of the line.  You have them in not only New York, but in California and Illinois.  We’ll be adding some to other states also.

I’ve empowered our nation’s governors with the resources to call up the National Guard and authorized the activation of Ready Reserves.  Two big words: Ready Reserves.  FEMA has shipped or delivered 11.6 million N95 respirators, 26 million surgical masks, 5.2 million face shields -- and a lot are being  made of all of the things I just named right now; we have millions and millions of new medical items being made as we speak, and purchased -- 4.3 million surgical gowns, 22 million gloves, and 8,100 ventilators.

We have moved rapidly to mobilize every instrument of American power.  This week, I invoked the Defense Production Act to compel General Motors to carry out federal contracts for ventilators.  And I think they’re going to do a great job; I have to say that.

We’re also working with the major ventilator companies in the United States -- all big name companies, all companies that do ventilators, so they won’t need extra time, and they’re gearing up and they’ll be working 24 hours around the clock, and they have been; they’ve been doing a fantastic job -- to accomplish a historic ramp-up, and a ramp-up in the kind of numbers that we’re talking about.

And if we make too many, that’s going to be okay, because I spoke with the Prime Minister of the UK yesterday, Boris Johnson.  He tested, as you know, positive.  And before I even was able to get a word out of him, he said -- I said, “How are you doing?”  He said, “We need ventilators.”  The UK needs ventilators.  A lot of countries need ventilators badly.  It’s a tough thing to make.  It’s a very complicated and expensive piece of equipment.  I would say more so than a car.  You’re talking about expensive, complicated equipment.  So I hope we, soon, will have enough that we can help other countries with ventilators.  A lot of countries need them. 

In the next 100 days, America will make or acquire three times more ventilators than we do in an entire year.  We are so geared up.  At Boeing, Ford, Honeywell, 3M, Hanes, and other great American companies, factory floors and manufacturing lines are being converted to produce the respirators, protective masks, face shields, and other vital equipment.  And those companies have been amazing.  And Boeing is giving us their cargo-moving planes.  They’re the biggest cargo movers anywhere in the world, and we’re going to be using them to ship certain types of equipment to various states.

Hundreds of millions of Americans are also making tremendous sacrifices on the home front.  In a historic drive to support our great workers and businesses, I signed into law the single-largest economic relief package in American history.  You saw that yesterday.

The $2.2 trillion -- and think of that: $2.2 trillion, but it goes to $6.2 trillion, depending on what we decide.  This legislation delivers job retention loans for small businesses to help them keep workers on payroll, expanded unemployment benefits, and direct cash payments to American citizens.  And these are very substantial payments.  A family of four will be getting approximately $3,400.

This legislation also provides massive increases in funding for hospitals who need it, for Disaster Relief Fund, and critical life-saving medical supplies.  We’re spending a tremendous amount of money on medical supplies.  We’re trying to get it to the point needed directly, as opposed to our supply lines, so it can go directly to where they need it without having to go through a long process.  I don’t want to say “bureaucratic,” but we have not -- this group of people has worked so incredibly hard, and the energy and the speed with which they’re delivering everything has been really admired by everybody.  Everybody is talking about it -- the job they’re doing. 

My administration has also taken action to dispend [sic] -- and suspend federal student loan payments.  So we’re suspending -- and that means suspending, in every sense of the word -- student loan payments so that the students that are not able to take advantage of what’s going on, obviously -- for obvious reasons -- they will be -- the payment suspended.

We’ve temporarily stopped federal evictions and foreclosures.  We’ve postponed Tax Day until July, which is a big thing; first time that’s happened.  And waived regulations to speed new treatments to the market.  And we have new treatments coming on rapidly.  We’re doing very well, we think, with the vaccines, and we’re doing very, very well with, hopefully, or potentially, cures.  We’re looking at a lot of different alternatives, a lot of different medicines.  That would be game changer.

The battle in which we’re now engaged has inflicted many hardships on our nation and our families -- tremendous hardship on some families -- and much death.  Much death.  But through it all, the world has witnessed the unyielding resolve of our incredible American people.  We are not only a country of vast resources; we’re a nation of colossal strength, towering spirit, soaring patriotism, and exceptional character.  And you’re showing it to the entire world.

At this moment, there are 151 countries throughout the world that are under attack by this horrible, invisible enemy.  One hundred and fifty-one countries.  And we’re in touch with a lot of them.  Our professionals are the best in the world.  But who would ever think 151 countries are under attack?

We are one family, bound together by love and loyalty -- the eternal traits so perfectly embodied by the extraordinary men and women aboard this ship, and the men and women at this beautiful, scenic, but really tough base.  This base is something.  Thank you very much.  This base is something very, very special.

With the courage of our doctors and nurses, with the skill of our scientists and innovators, with the determination of the American people, and with the grace of God, we will win this war and we will win this war quickly with as little death as possible.

And when we achieve our victory -- this victory, your victory -- we will emerge stronger and more united than ever before.  We are going to be at a level of preparedness in case something like this should ever happen again -- and, God willing, it won’t.  But we are prepared.  What we’ve done in building systems, we’re now the number one tester anywhere in the world, by far.  We’re testing more in one day than other countries are testing in weeks, in months.

We’ve learned a lot.  And I cannot be more thankful to the American people.  And I can say this, and I can say this from the bottom of my heart: I am very proud to be your President.

Thank you very much, and God bless you all.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

                                  END                2:08 P.M. EDT



Office of the Press Secretary


Joint Base Andrews, Maryland

12:36 P.M. EDT

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  Just a quick clarification on the total quarantine you’re talking about for New York City.  Would you --

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, we’re looking at it.  We’re looking at it, and we’ll be making a decision.  A lot of the states that aren’t infected, that don’t have a big problem, they’ve asked me if I’d look at it.  So we’re going to look at it.  And it will be for a short period of time, if we do it at all.

Q    Would it be --

THE PRESIDENT:  It’ll be New York.

Q    Would you call up the National Guard?

THE PRESIDENT:  It’ll be New York, parts of Connecticut, and parts of New Jersey.

Q    And then, do you close down the subway?  Do you close down the bridges, the tunnels?

THE PRESIDENT:  No, we won’t do that.  We’re talking about leaving New York.  Leaving New York.  They go to Florida, and a lot of people don’t want that.  So we’ll see what happens.  We’re going to make a decision.

Q    Would you use the military for that, sir?  Would you call up the Guard?

THE PRESIDENT:  We’re not going to need much.  The people of New York, they understand it better than anybody, and they’ll be great.  I’ll speak to the governor about it later.

Q    Thank you.

Q    Can you speak a little bit about the congressional oversight?  Can you assure the American people that the money will be appropriately --

THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah, we have a great oversight -- a great oversight committee.  We have a lot of people watching.  It’s a wonderful thing we’ve done for the workers and for the citizens.  It’s really, potentially, $6.2 trillion.  And a lot of people are going to work, and it’ll bring back the economy, I think, very fast.  Okay?

Q    But what do you think about Democrats criticizing you that you’re overriding this congressional oversight?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, they couldn’t be criticizing me because we got a unanimous vote.  How can they possibly criticize me?  They just gave me -- she’s saying they’re criticizing me, the Democrats.  Why did they vote for it?  We got a unanimous vote.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.

                                      END                12:38 P.M. EDT   


Office of the Press Secretary


South Lawn

12:13 P.M. EDT

Q    Mr. President, do you think the Easter timeline is off the table now, sir?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, we’re going to see what happens.  We want to get our country back to work.  The doctors, nurses, first responders -- everybody doing a phenomenal job, like beyond good.

I’m going to -- as you know, the Comfort -- the great ship, Comfort -- is stocked up to the gills.  It’s right up to the top.  And we’re going over there.  I guess some of you are coming with me.  But we’re going to send that up to New York four weeks ahead of schedule.  And it is loaded up with everything.  So that’s great.

I just spoke with Governor Cuomo, and he’s expecting it on Monday.  It’ll take about two days.  So we’re very excited about that.

But I’m going to go see the people that did the work, because it was supposed to take a good four weeks, and we did it in four days.  So that’s pretty good.

Q    Mr. President, have you spoken to Mark Cuban about 3M?  And are you planning to maybe --

THE PRESIDENT:  No, I think --

Q    -- (inaudible) DPA?

THE PRESIDENT:  I think 3M has done an incredible job.  I just spoke to Ken Langone.  I think he’s on the board of 3M.  He called up and he said what a great job they’ve done.  I think 3M, from everybody -- what everybody said, they’ve done an incredible job.


Q    Mr. President, in terms of DPA --

Q    Do you think you’ll have enough ventilators?

THE PRESIDENT:  Oh, we’re going to have plenty.  Absolutely.

Q    Do you intend to use DPA again in the next week or so?

THE PRESIDENT:  We’re going to use -- I would say we’ll use it again, maybe once or twice.  We have a couple of little problem children, and we’ll use it where we have to.  But, overall, I tell you, the private free enterprise system is at work like nobody has seen in a long time.  It’s a beautiful thing.

Q    What kinds of supplies, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT:  It’s a beautiful thing to watch.

Q    What kinds of supplies might you use the DPA again to produce?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, we’re looking at two companies that have not lived up to what they said.  I would say they’re in a 1 percent group, okay?  And now, all of a sudden, they heard we’re going to use it, and they’re rolling out the red carpet.

Q    Should anyone who lives in a state that has a governor that you’re not getting along with well be concerned at all?

THE PRESIDENT:  So, I think, really, most of the governors are very appreciative.  As I said, I just spoke with Andrew Cuomo.  I just spoke with Ron DeSantis.  We’re thinking about certain things.  Some people would like to see New York quarantined because it’s a hotspot -- New York, New Jersey.  Maybe one or two other places; certain parts of Connecticut quarantined.  I’m thinking about that right now.  We might not have to do it, but there’s a possibility that sometime today we’ll do a quarantine -- short-term, two weeks -- on New York, probably New Jersey, certain parts of Connecticut.

Q    Restricting travel from those places?

THE PRESIDENT:  Restrict travel.  Because they’re having problems down in Florida.  A lot of New Yorkers are going down.  We don’t want that.  Heavily infected.  We’re having a really good dialogue with Governor Cuomo.  We’ve supplied him with a lot of things.  We’re giving him an extra four medical centers, tents.  That’s beyond what we’ve already given.  As you know, we’re giving them to New Jersey.  We’re doing a great job with the Governor of New Jersey.  He’s been very good.

Q    Will that be a more enforceable kind of quarantine, sir?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, this would be an enforceable quarantine.  And, you know, I’d rather not do it, but we may need it.  So I will see you over at the ship.

                                           END                12:17 P.M. EDT

President Donald J. Trump Approves Kentucky Disaster Declaration

Office of the Press Secretary

President Donald J. Trump Approves Kentucky Disaster Declaration

Today, President Donald J. Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and ordered Federal assistance to supplement Commonwealth and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic beginning on January 20, 2020, and continuing.

The President's action makes Federal funding available to Commonwealth and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, for all areas in the Commonwealth of Kentucky impacted by COVID-19.

Pete Gaynor, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Gracia B. Szczech as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected areas.

Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the Commonwealth and warranted by the results of further assessments.



Office of the Press Secretary



March 28, 2020

Dear Madam Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

On November 29, 2019, the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) transmitted to me a report on his investigation into the effect of imports of titanium sponge on the national security of the United States under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1862) (the "Act").

Consistent with the Act (19 U.S.C. 1862(c)(2)), I am reporting that in my memorandum of February 27, 2020 (The Effect of Titanium Sponge Imports on the National Security), I concurred with the Secretary's finding that titanium sponge is being imported into the United States in such quantities and under such circumstances as to threaten to impair the national security of the United States.  I also agreed with the Secretary's recommendation that actions to adjust imports not be taken at that time.  The Secretary advised me, and I agreed, that measures apart from the adjustment of imports are more likely to be effective to address the threatened impairment of the national security.

I took two measures to address the threatened impairment of the national security from titanium sponge imports.  First, I directed the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of Commerce, along with the heads of other executive departments and agencies as the Secretaries deem appropriate, to form a working group and invite their counterpart agencies in Japan to participate in discussions with the working group in order to agree upon measures to ensure access to titanium sponge in the United States for use in national defense and critical industries in an emergency.  Second, I directed the Secretary of Defense to take all appropriate action, including using his delegated authorities under the Defense Production Act of 1950 (50 U.S.C. 4501 et seq.) and seeking new appropriations as necessary, to increase access to titanium sponge for use for national defense and critical industries and to support domestic production capacity for the production of titanium sponge to meet national defense requirements.  The Secretary of Defense and Secretary of Commerce will periodically update me on the progress of these efforts.


                              DONALD J. TRUMP


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Selfless Acts: How Americans are Helping Each Other Through the Coronavirus
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“People across the United States are taking steps to help one another amid the coronavirus pandemic. From companies donating masks and ventilators to hospitals, to everyday people helping their neighbors, there are countless examples of people trying to do the right thing during an extraordinarily difficult time,” The Hill reports.

🎬 WATCH: No American is alone as long as we are united!
US Was More Prepared for Pandemic than Any Other Country, Johns Hopkins Study Found
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President Donald J. Trump Approves Massachusetts Disaster Declaration

Office of the Press Secretary
President Donald J. Trump Approves Massachusetts Disaster Declaration 
Yesterday, President Donald J. Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and ordered Federal assistance to supplement Commonwealth, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic beginning on January 20, 2020, and continuing.

The President's action makes Federal funding available for Crisis Counseling for affected individuals in all areas in the State of Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Federal funding is also available to Commonwealth, tribal, and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, for all areas in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts impacted by COVID-19.

Pete Gaynor, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named W. Russell Webster as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected areas.

Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the Commonwealth and warranted by the results of further assessments.


President Donald J. Trump Approves Michigan’s Disaster Declaration

Office of the Press Secretary
President Donald J. Trump Approves Michigan’s Disaster Declaration
Yesterday, President Donald J. Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Michigan and ordered Federal assistance to supplement State, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic beginning on January 20, 2020, and continuing.

The President's action makes Federal funding available for Crisis Counseling for affected individuals in all areas in the State of Michigan.

Federal funding is also available to State, tribal, and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, for all areas in the State of Michigan impacted by COVID-19.

Pete Gaynor, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named James K. Joseph as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected areas.

Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the State and warranted by the results of further assessments.


President Donald J. Trump Approves Guam Disaster Declaration

Office of the Press Secretary
President Donald J. Trump Approves Guam Disaster Declaration
Yesterday, President Donald J. Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the territory of Guam and ordered Federal assistance to supplement territory and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic beginning on January 20, 2020, and continuing.

The President's action makes Federal funding available to territory and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, for all areas in the territory of Guam impacted by COVID-19.

Pete Gaynor, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Robert J. Fenton as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected areas.

Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the territory and warranted by the results of further assessments.



Office of the Press Secretary


James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

March 27, 2020

5:56 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  Great to have you. And thank you all for being here.  My administration is taking new action to ensure that America has the medical resources and equipment needed to fight the global pandemic.  It's been a brutal pandemic for over 150 countries all over the world.

We've had great success over the last month.  We've -- as you know, the millions and millions of pieces of equipment have been delivered successfully by us -- purchased and delivered.  And we've made it available to the states.  And the governors have been very gracious for the most part, I would say.  There are a couple that aren't appreciative of the incredible job.  They have to do a better job themselves; that's part of the problem.

But, generally speaking, I have to tell you the governors have been great.  I just spoke to the governor of New Jersey, Governor Murphy, and he's very thankful.  And Governor Cuomo has been very nice.  They've -- they’ve really appreciated, I think, what the federal government has done.  You look at the hospitals that are being built all over the country by the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA; it's been really incredible.  Nobody has seen -- they’ll build hospitals in two or three days -- portable hospitals.

This afternoon, I invoked the Defense Production Act to compel General Motors to accept, perform, and prioritize federal contracts for ventilators.  Ventilators are a big deal and we've delivered thousands of them.  And oftentimes, you don't need ventilators very much.  Hospitals don't have very many.  And now we're -- turning out that we have to produce large numbers.  But we've been able to do that and we're going to be doing a lot more.

This invocation of the DPA should demonstrate clearly to all that we will not hesitate to use the full authority of the federal government to combat this crisis.  We thought that we had to deal with, as an example, General Motors.  And I guess they thought otherwise; they didn't agree.  And now they do.  They do agree.  And I think we might be able to pull it.  But we let them know the way we felt, and they can't be doing that.

We’ll work in partnership with the private sector, but where an emergency exists -- and it's very important that we get to the bottom line and quickly -- we will do what we have to do and immediately exercise all available lawful authorities to get the job done.

This afternoon, I also signed an executive order investing -- and very, very strongly investing -- the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security with the full authorities available under the Defense Production Act to respond to the outbreak of the terrible virus -- the “invisible enemy,” as we say.

My order also establishes that Peter Navarro -- a very trusted person from the White House, and he's been an incredible -- he's done an incredible job for me in terms of negotiation, in terms of understanding where the world is going, economically.  But my order establishes that Peter will serve as National Defense Production Act Policy Coordinator for the federal government.  That's a very important position -- more important, probably, than it's almost ever been in our country.

And so I want to congratulate Peter and his family.  It's -- I know he's going to do a fantastic job.  He's been doing that job over the last few weeks.  Peter has a PhD in economics from Harvard; has a master in public administration from the Kennedy School, also from Harvard.  And he's a tremendous guy and he will do a fantastic job.

But I'd like to maybe ask, before I continue, Peter to say a few words, please.  Peter?  Thank you very much.

MR. NAVARRO:  Thank you, Mr. President.  And, of course, you know the Harvard joke: You can tell a Harvard man, you just can't tell him much.  Right?

THE PRESIDENT:  They can’t tell them much.

MR. NAVARRO:  So, anyway, on a serious note, let me just give you a little idea of the Defense Production Act and why it is so important.  We are engaged in the most significant industrial mobilization since World War Two.  We have a wartime President fighting an invisible enemy.  And we have the full force of government, coupled with the full power of private enterprise, bearing down on this problem for the American people, sir.

What we had to do today with President Trump's order, with respect to General Motors, I want to give you a little background on that.  We need industrial mobilization to make adequate ventilators, particularly in the very short run, to help people of New York, Detroit, New Orleans, Chicago, Denver, Seattle, all around this country, as this virus bears down.  And the ventilators really are the most important thing for patients who become most seriously ill.  They're literally the lifeline for people.

And I've personally been working with FEMA, and I've been working with HHS and over 10 ventilator companies, making sure we can get what we need as quickly as possible.  And virtually every one of those companies has been cooperative, patriotic, moving in Trump time -- which is to say as soon as possible, sir.

But we did have a problem with GM and Ventec.  On the one hand, we had Ford and GE moving forward on a similar kind of project, patriotically moving as fast as possible.  Over the last several days, we ran into roadblocks with GM.  We cannot afford to lose a single day, particularly over the next 30 to 60 days.  So President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act as a way of enhancing and accelerating this mobilization.  I salute him for doing so. It's going to make my job so much easier.

For the most part, we've had tremendous cooperation from the private sector.  Today, sir, was the right day to do it.

Thank you, sir.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  Thank you, Peter, and good luck.

My administration is marshalling the full power of the American government, and we will do that, and that's what we've done, and we will continue to do it until our war is won.  Economic, scientific, medical, military, and homeland security -- all of this to vanquish the virus.

We are working to sign contracts immediately with the major ventilator companies in the country, including GE, Philips, Medtronic, Hamilton, ZOLL, RedMed[ResMed], Hillrom, and Vyaire.  These are all companies that do this -- great companies.

The FDA will be reducing and waiving unnecessary regulations in order to get this done.  We're going to be getting rid of certain, let's say, barriers to speed.  We want them to get it done quickly.  They've been doing it for a long time.  They've been making ventilators for a long time.  Hopefully, General Motors will join in the fray.

Under the normal condition that you would be -- regular times -- 29,000 ventilators are distributed in the United States each year.  In the next 100 days -- well, first of all, we've already delivered thousands of them -- but within the next 100 days, we will either make or get, in some form, over 100,000 additional units.  And I guess, to put it in other words, in the next 100 days, we'll receive over three times the number of ventilators made during a regular year in the United States, and that doesn't include all of the thousands and thousands that we've -- we've given to the various states, a lot of them.

We delivered thousands, as you know, to New York and they didn't know they got them.  And then we also had thousands put in a warehouse, and that was also for New York.  And they just found out that they were there, so we have to make sure that when we deliver things, they get distributed.

Earlier today, I spoke to the CEO of Boeing, Dave Calhoun.  And Boeing will be producing and donating face shields to help our medical professionals on the frontlines.  These are actually pretty intricate, in terms of the plastic and the quality of the materials.  They’re important.  They've got to be top of the line and they're going to do thousands of these a week.  They've already tested the production and they're ready to begin producing all of these shields.  That's the plastic shields that go over the face.

Boeing is also offering us the use of their -- what they call the Dreamlifter cargo plane.  It's the largest plane in the world.  And this is sort of a picture of it.  They called up just a little while ago.  And that can sort of take anything.  That's the biggest in the world.  And they're letting us use that for the distribution of product all over the country, especially the heavy product or large quantities of product.

And Boeing will dedicate up to three planes to the mission of flying medical supplies anywhere we need it.  Each plane can carry 63,000 pounds of cargo per flight.  That's a lot of cargo.

I also signed an executive order giving the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security the authority to activate the Ready Reserve components of the armed forces.  This will allow us to mobilize medical disaster and emergency response personnel to help wage our battle against the virus by activating thousands of experienced service members, including retirees.

We have a lot of people -- retirees; great, great military people -- they're coming back in -- who have offered to support the nation in this extraordinary time of need.  And they come back in.  They don’t say, “How much?”  They don’t say, “What are we getting paid?”  They just want to come back in.  It’s really an incredible thing to see.  It’s beautiful.

This afternoon, I also signed into law $2.2 trillion in urgently needed relief for our nation's families, workers, businesses, and Americans of every race, color, religion, and creed.  And the $2.2 trillion goes to $6.2 trillion, depending on need.  So it's the largest -- it’s the largest bill ever signed -- and not just emergency relief, but of any kind.  We’ve never signed a bill of that magnitude.

And, you know, incredibly, it was 96 to nothing in the Senate and it was essentially the same thing in Congress.  They did it very quickly in the House.  They did it very, very quickly.  So, if you look at Congress -- what they've been able to do -- the House was a voice vote, I guess they would call it, and something like that rarely takes place.  And 96 to nothing in the Senate for the largest bill in the history of our country.  That’s pretty good.

And I want to thank Republicans, I want to thank Democrats for coming together for the whole of the nation.  And this is a great thing, a great victory.  This is going to save companies that are incredible companies, but that are going to need some help because of what happened.  A month ago, they were outstanding.  They were having the best year they ever had and then we got hit.  And so, we'll help them out.  It's thousands and millions of jobs.  It’s millions of jobs.  And I just want to thank everybody for working so hard, and that includes the people standing with me right here.

The legislation extends a vital lifeline to American families and American workers with job retention loans for small businesses -- and a big focus of the bill is small businesses.  They're really the -- they’re the energy.  They’re whatever you want to call it, in terms of our nation.  They push.  People have no idea how big a factor -- Peter can tell you -- the small businesses are in this country, from an economic standpoint, from a job standpoint.

We expand the unemployment benefits for workers very substantially and direct-cash payments will be going to American citizens -- substantial.  This legislation also provides a massive increase in funding for hospitals for the Disaster Relief Fund and critical supplies, including masks, respirators, and pharmaceuticals of all types.  And, speaking of pharmaceuticals, as you know, we’re working vaccines.  We’re getting some good response and we’re working on therapeutics and cures.  And we have some very interesting things happening.

This afternoon, Apple launched a new tool created in partnership with our task force, the CDC, and FEMA.  Any individual who is concerned that they might have the virus can now download the free COVID-19 app on their iPhone and answer a set of simple questions about their symptoms and risk factors.  It’s getting to be a very modernized system, indeed.  They’ll soon receive HHS recommendations on what to do next, including whether they should get tested or not.  And again, we only want people to get tested if they -- if we think they need it.

In a few moments, Secretary DeVos and Secretary Perdue will discuss new partnerships with the private sector that are providing meals to millions of students while schools are closed.  They’ve both been incredible, the job they’ve done.  I appreciate them very much.

We’re grateful for the assistance of Niren Chaudhary, CEO of Panera Bread Company.  They’ve been so incredible to us and to the people of our country.  And Denton McLane, Chairman of McLane Global Logistics.  And they’ve joined us -- they’re onstage with me.  They’re going to speak.

Throughout this ordeal, I have been awed and inspired by the American people more than anything else, more than anyone else.  Americans of every walk of life have followed the guidelines, shown incredible compassion, and sacrificed greatly on behalf of their fellow citizens.  I want every American to know that their selfless and heroic actions are saving lives.  And I want them to know, and I’ve said it before, that I’m very proud to be their President.  I’m very proud of the American people.

My administration is actively planning the next phase in an all-out war against this horrible virus.  We’re now testing nearly 100,000 patients per day -- more than anybody in the world -- and we have now, as of even a couple of weeks ago, tested more than any other country in the world and our capacity continues to grow.

Widespread surveillance testing will allow us to monitor the spread of the virus -- and we’re doing that quite accurately, and Deborah and Tony will be speaking about that; and coordinate with states to contain new hotspots as they arise with a targeted, fact-based and data-bra- -- based approach.  It’s all data driven.

This surveillance testing will soon enable us to publish updated guidelines for state and local leaders.  We want every county and region in the country to have the on-the-ground evidence that they need to determine the mitigation measures that are right for them.  Each location is different.  Some are very, very different.  Some are day and night.  Some are in great shape and some aren’t in great shape.  And we’ll be able to have very accurate information very shortly.  We already have a lot of that information.

America is bravely battling this pandemic through cutting-edge science, medical innovation, and rational, deliberate, and determined vigilance.  No effort will be spared in winning this war.  We’re going to win the war.  Hopefully, we’re going to win soon and with as few lives as possible lost.  You see what’s going on all over the world.  You see the lives, you see Italy, you see Spain, you see all of these countries going through so much, going through such hell.  And we’re all in very strong communication, I can tell you.  Our professionals are dealing with them every day, many of the countries.  So many countries, but many of the countries, we’re dealing very directly and closely.

And we’re going to be in very good shape, in terms of certain equipment that’s very hard to get, very hard to manufacture.  And, at the right time, we’ll be distributing that equipment throughout the world to other countries.  Boris Johnson was asking for ventilators today.  As you know, Boris is -- he has tested -- unfortunately, he has tested positive and that’s a terrible thing.  But he’s going to be great.  I’m sure he’s going to be totally great.  But they want ventilators.  Italy wants ventilators.  Spain wants ventilators.  Germany wants ventilators.  They’re all calling for ventilators.  Well, we’re going to make a lot of ventilators.  And we’ll take care of our needs, but we’re also going to help other countries.

So I just want to thank everybody.  I want to thank our great American citizens.  And a lot of incredible things are happening -- really happening -- and it’s too bad.  I was saying, before we had the press conference, when we signed -- we had a signing ceremony, where we signed the largest bill in our history.  And I said, “Think of it: 22 days ago, we had the greatest economy in the world.”  Everything was going beautifully, the stock market hit an all-time high again for the over 150th time during my presidency, and the world was looking good.  And then we got hit by the invisible enemy and now you have countries all over the world reeling.  But we're winning it, and we'll be bigger and better and stronger than we were even before.

And we will also have apparatus in place that works.  We won't have broken systems.  We'll have incredible systems so if this should happen again -- and hopefully it won't, but if a thing like it should happen again, we'll be able to handle it very much more easily.

So with that, I'll take a few questions.  Steve, please?

Q    Tell us a little bit about these negotiations with General Motors.  What were they reluctant to do?  Or was it a debate over cost or profits or what?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, it got to be a debate over costs and we don't want to think too much about cost when we're talking about this.  This is not cost.  I wasn't happy where General Motors built plants in other locations over the years, not so much during my term, but they built a lot of plants in other countries; I won't name the countries but you can imagine.  And so I didn't go into it with a very favorable view.

I was extremely unhappy with Lordstown, Ohio, where they left Lordstown, Ohio, in the middle of an auto boom because we had 17 car companies coming in and then they were leaving one plant in Ohio.  I love Ohio.  And what happens?  That became the story -- not that all these plants are moving in, but that you had one plant -- they were leaving.  And, frankly, I think that would be a good place to build the ventilators, but we'll see.  We'll see how that all works out.

But -- so I wasn't too thrilled.  And then we thought we had a deal for 40,000 ventilators and, all of a sudden, it became 6, and then price became a big object.

But Peter Navarro is going to handle that and Peter will do a very good job.  We'll see.  Maybe they'll change their tune but we didn't want to play games with them.

Yeah, please.

Q    Mr. President, two questions for you.  One on state quarantines and the other one on the search for treatment.  The first one: Over the last 24 hours, governors in multiple states, including Florida, Rhode Island, have issued quarantine orders for travelers coming from the other states.

THE PRESIDENT:  The quarantine orders.

Q    Quarantine orders.  Yeah.  And they are intercepting people on highways, at airports.  They say this is at the recommendation of your administration.  Is that true?  And if so, why doesn’t your administration just --

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I think I’m going to let Tony speak to that a little bit later, but we're being very strong on quarantine.  We're being very strong on people not leaving, especially certain states, and going to other states where they have less of a problem.

Q    But is that constitutional --

THE PRESIDENT:  I mean, you're hearing constantly about people leaving New York and going down to Florida.  And New York obviously is a hotspot and that's why we're building all those hospitals in New York and all those medical centers in New York.

So we'll let Tony answer that.  But specifically, you have to understand, we're not playing games.


Q    Mr. President, if I could come back to the invoking DPA.  This morning, you tweeted about it, and I'm told it was -- coincidentally, not long after that tweet, Ventec and GM announced that they reached an agreement to, at their Kokomo, Indiana, plant -- which is a clean facility that makes electronic equipment --


Q    -- produce up to 10,000 ventilators a month, with the first ones to be delivered in a couple of weeks.  Who -- why the need, after that, to invoke DPA?

THE PRESIDENT:  It wasn’t after.  It was before.  And we just were not getting there with General Motors.  We weren't getting there.  We were getting there with a lot of other companies.  And we have the people that are doing it for me in the room right here, and we can have -- we can talk to you later about it, but we have to get these people onboard.  We're not looking to get into a big deal on price.  We're not looking to be ripped off on price.  We don't want prices to be double, triple what they should be.

So General Motors, we'll see what happens, but now they're talking.  But they weren't talking the right way at the beginning, and that was not right to the country.

Q    And if I could just follow on that Mr. President: Last night, you told Sean Hannity you didn't think that there was a need for 30- or 40,000 ventilators.  Yet today, you basically federalized General Motors to produce tens of thousands --

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I think there’s --

Q    What changed?  Did something change?

THE PRESIDENT:  -- a very good chance we won't need that many.  And I think, frankly, there's a great chance that we're not going to need that many.  But you know what?  There are a lot of other people that are going to need them.  We have countries all over the world that are friends of ours, and we will help those countries.  We're in a position to do things that other countries can't.

So we have sort of an interesting position.  We can make them because we're going to be making over 100,000 pretty quickly.  So we can make them.  And if we don't need them, John, that's okay because we can help Italy, and we can help UK -- Boris Johnson, specifically.  I mean, when I say, “How are you feeling?”  And the first thing Boris said to me is, “We need ventilators.”

Q    So surplus will be sold overseas?

THE PRESIDENT:  Oh, absolutely.  We’re not going to be keeping -- all over the world, they want them.  And we're in a position to make them and other countries aren't.  Okay?

Q    Mr. President, if I first can follow up on that.  Governor Cuomo had said 30- to 40,000 ventilators is what he needed.  He based that on the experts that were advising him.  What are you basing your assessment that he doesn't need that many on?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, if you look -- and I think you can ask that question best of Deborah -- but I think their estimates are high.  I hope they’re high.  They could be extremely high.  We're doing even hospitals based on pretty high estimates.  You know, I'm doing them anyway.

And, as I told John, if we do not need them, that would be wonderful and we can help a lot of great people all over the world.  We can help them live.  But I think -- I think his estimates are going to be very high.  We're going to see.

Don't forget, we sent thousands of ventilators to New York, and they didn't know they got them.  Then we sent thousands of ventilators to New York -- they have a warehouse, a New York warehouse in Edison, New Jersey, which is an interesting thing.  And we sent them to Edison, New Jersey.  They were in the warehouse, ready to go, and New York never took them.  So they knew they were there.  So we have to get people lined up, but we’ve given them --

And I’m not blaming New York.  Look, this is something that’s of a magnitude that nobody has ever seen before.  But I’ll tell you what: The federal government has done a hell of a job.

So we sent thousands of ventilators to New York, and they didn't know about it at the time.  They were complaining.  Thousands.  We had 2,000, and then 2,000, and then 4,000, and they were going there in large numbers.  And then before that, we sent many thousands.

We want to have so many that we do have more than we need because we can send them to other great countries and other countries that have been our friends.  And they'll never be able to do it themselves.

Yeah, please.

Q    But you also -- you also said that some of the governors are not appreciative of what the federal government has done.  And you've suggested that some of these governors are not doing everything they need to do, like that these governors are at fault.  Can you be specific?  What more, in this time of a national emergency, should these governors be doing?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I think we’ve done a great job for the state of Washington.  And I think the governor, who’s a failed presidential candidate, as you know -- he -- he leveled out at zero in the polls.  He’s constantly chirping and -- I guess “complaining” would be a nice way of saying it.  We’re building hospitals.  We’ve done a great job for the state of Washington.

Michigan, all she does is -- she has no idea what’s going on.  And all she does is say, “Oh, it’s the federal government’s fault.”  And we’ve taken such great care of Michigan.  You know the care we’ve taken of New Jersey.  I think if you ask, Governor Murphy of New Jersey, “How are we doing?”  I think he'd say, “Great.”  I think.  He's a Democrat.

Governor Cuomo has really said we're really doing a great job.  And I saw the news conference where he was thanking the people from FEMA, the people from Army Corps of Engineers this morning.  I mean, they built a hospital like in three and a half days and it's a big hospital in the Javits Center, and they're building medical facilities in different parts of New York.  And Governor Cuomo has been appreciative.

But, you know, a couple of people aren't.  We have done a hell of a job; the federal government has really stepped up.

Q    So what I’m asking is: What more, specifically, do you want the governor of Washington and the governor of Michigan to be doing?

THE PRESIDENT:  All I want them to do -- very simple -- I want them to be appreciative.  I don't want them to say things that aren't true.  I want them to be appreciative.  We've done a great job.  And I'm not talking about me.  I'm talking about Mike Pence, the task force; I'm talking about FEMA, the Army Corps of Engineers.

There's no country in the world that could have done what the Army Corps of Engineers has done and is doing.  Now they're going in and building -- literally, they're going into hotels and renovating hotels.  That should be for governors to do.  That should be for states to do.  We have the Army Corps of Engineers so teed up and so stocked up, and they're really psyched and they're incredible.  And there's no games with these people.  They're in there screaming, “Get it done.  Get it done.”  There's not like sitting around, taking it easy.  These are workers.  These are incredible people.

So I think the Army Corps of Engineers when -- when somebody, for political reasons, wants to blame, I view that as blaming these incredible people.  Nobody has ever seen it.  I don't know if you've been to the Javits Center.

Q    Yes.

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, I've seen it.  I would love to go there, but with all that we're doing -- we will be tomorrow at the hospital boat.  There's another -- we have this incredible hospital boat.  It was supposed to be ready in three and a half weeks because it's under maintenance -- a big maintenance contract.  We were able to get it done quickly.  We were able to stock it up to the, you know, top.  And it's leaving tomorrow at two o'clock.  It's leaving Virginia.  It'll be in New York on Monday, weeks ahead of schedule.

I think things -- even the media -- I think the media and governors should appreciate it.

And I have to say, the media has been pretty good and the governors have been really good, except for a couple.  And with them, it's just political: “How's Trump doing?”  “Oh well, I don't know, you know.  Let's blame…”

Q    But it’s the words they’re saying.  It’s not --

THE PRESIDENT:  Because we have done -- we have done a job, the likes of which nobody has seen.

Q    So it’s the words they’re saying that you’re concerned about?  It’s not that they’re --

THE PRESIDENT:  I think they should be appreciative because you know what?  When they’re not appreciative to me, they’re not appreciative to the Army Corps.  They’re not appreciative to FEMA.  It’s not right.  These people are incredible.  They’re working 24 hours a day.  Mike Pence -- I mean, Mike Pence, I don't think he sleeps anymore.  These -- these are people that should be appreciated.

He calls all the governors.  I tell him -- I mean, I'm a different type of person -- I say, “Mike, don't call the governor of Washington.  You're wasting your time with him.  Don't call the woman in Michigan.”  All -- it doesn't make any difference what happens --

Q    You don’t want him to call the governor of Washington?

THE PRESIDENT:  No, no.  You know what I say?  If they don't treat you right, I don't call.  He's a different type of person.  He’ll call quietly anyway.  Okay?  But he's done a great job.  He should be appreciated for the job he's done.

Yes, ma'am.

Q    Given that older Americans are advised to stay at home and avoid travel, is it absolutely necessary for you to go to Norfolk, Virginia, tomorrow to --


Q    -- wave good-bye to the ship?

THE PRESIDENT:  No, but I have spirit for the country.  I mean, we have sailors, we have doctors on that ship.  We have everything.

I mean, I’m not going to be jumping around in a huddle.  But, yeah, I think it’s a great sign -- the President of the United States -- they got a ship out of maintenance, completed all the work in a fraction of the time -- you know, it was supposed to be there for three and a half additional weeks, and they got it done and it's in great shape -- and they're sending it up.

So, the answer is -- it’s a good question; it's a fair question.  I just feel that, as the leader of our country, when they can do work like they've done -- and they've been working all day, all night -- medical supplies, everything -- loading up that ship.  I don't think it's the worst thing in the world.  It’s right down the road, practically.  Right?  Virginia.  And I think it's great if I go to Virginia.  I guess I can take helicopter or plane.  It's very -- it's like a tiny trip.  And I think it's a good thing when I go over there and I say “thank you.”

It doesn't mean I'm going to be hugging people and it doesn't mean that I'm going to be shaking people's hands and everything.  But I think it sends a signal when the President is able to go there and say thank you.  So, you know, we'll be careful.


Q    Mr. President, on the stockpile of supplies for a pandemic: Yesterday, from the podium, you blamed your predecessor, saying that when you arrived as President, you said, quote, “We took over an empty shelf.”  You've been President now for more than three years.  Why didn't you and your administration fill that shelf?

THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah, I did.  We did fill it twice.  We filled it twice and we've been distributing that for -- for literally a year.  We’ve been --

Q    So why are we in this position, I guess Americans are asking?  

THE PRESIDENT:  -- filling out -- we’ve been -- nice question, Peter.  Thank you very much.  We've been filling it out and we've been filling that stockpile many, many times.  It's been filled many, many times.

And now what we're doing is something different because I think it's better.  We’d fill it so it comes from wherever the point of manufacture or whatever is -- we fill it and then we go -- now it's full -- now we take it and we distribute it around.

Now, what we're doing is, we have an emergency -- we're saying, “Go direct.  Go direct.  Go direct.”  We fill it only where necessary.  But now we're trying to go direct.  So they drop it off in New York or they drop it off in Michigan, they drop it off in Virginia, wherever it may be -- Florida.  Well, Florida is getting a lot -- a lot of things.  And we're finding it's a much better system.  But we’ve filled and we've stockpiled many, many times.  Yeah, we ended up with an empty shelf.

Yes, please.

Q    You spoke to Chinese President Xi yesterday.  What did he tell you, in terms of data, that he's going to share --


Q    -- and how they got the number of cases to go down?

THE PRESIDENT:  So I had a great conversation with the President of China last night, pretty late in the night.  It was fascinating to me.  You know, they have a whole -- it's a different kind of a world. It's a different form of government, to put it mildly.

We talked for a long time.  We talked for at least an hour, I guess.  And one of the things I was asking him is, you know, when did you notice that this was happening?  We talked about the whole concept: how it happened, when it happened, what was the most effective use.  I mean, was it the fact that, you know, distance -- was distance the best thing?  We talked about everything.

And he's gotten and developed -- because they're ahead of us, from the standpoint of time.  It happened there actually long before it happened here.

By the way, it would have happened here a lot sooner had we not kept those people out -- the Chinese people coming over to the country -- had we not kept them out.  But we talked about it because he's had additional experience of having been much earlier.

And he's -- he's developed some incredible theories and all of that information is coming over here.  It's -- a lot of it's already come.  The data -- we call it “data.”  And we're going to learn a lot from what the Chinese went through.

Our relationship with China is very good.  We also talked about the trade agreement.  But, I must tell you, this whole invisible enemy has taken over the world.  Nobody cares about trade, nobody cares about anything.  You want to talk about trade?  They immediately get back to this.

So we really did -- we talked about trade.  You know, they're starting to buy very heavily from the farmers under the agreement -- under the trade deal that we just signed.  But honestly, he, me, all of us -- everybody is talking -- you turn on television, you read the papers, it's all about this.

And you know what?  It probably should be mostly about this.  It's hard to talk about, “Hey, how you doing with buying from the farmers?”  They have started very, very large buying, as you probably have read, but what we really focused on was this.

Q    Did he ask you --

THE PRESIDENT:  I also said, “How have you done with cures and how have you done with respect to vaccines?”  We discussed that.  And, you know, they're doing like we're doing.  They're working on it very hard.  They think they have some interesting -- interesting things have -- have been determined and we'll see what happens.  But we talked a lot about vaccine.  We talked a lot about possible cures.  What -- how good would that be?  I mean that’s a game changer.  So we'll see.

And, by the way, we have various things happening right now, having to do with cures and vaccines.  And I think we're doing -- I think we're doing very well.  Especially in the vaccine thing, I think we're very close.  But as Tony will tell you, that's a long testing process.  So we'll see what happens.

Q    Did he ask you to suspend tariffs?

THE PRESIDENT:  He never asked me to suspended tariffs.  No, we’re taking in billions of dollars.  He never did ask me that.


Q    Mr. President, on Monday, it will be the end of the “15 Days to Slow the Spread” of the virus.  Do you expect that you will simply renew the guidelines, or do you expect that there could be some modification to those guidelines?

THE PRESIDENT:  So, John, I'll be sitting down with this brilliant woman and this brilliant man and lots of brilliant people that work with them, I think -- right, Deborah and Tony?  And we'll be sitting down on Monday, or maybe Tuesday, depending on which is the best for everybody, and we'll be making that determination.  Okay?  We'll be making it.

Q    Are there any early -- any early indications of --

THE PRESIDENT:  And, by the way, obviously we're not doing it for New York.  You see New York is just coming into this really heated situation.  We're building a lot of things in New York right now that nobody thought we’d ever be building.  A lot of things are happening in New York.

So, obviously -- but we are talking about possibly other parts of the country, which really are affected to any major degree.  Or maybe we won't do that because maybe, at the advice of a lot of very talented people that do this for a living, they won't want to do that.  They won't want to expose anything.  They want to do it all at one time.  These are the kind of things we'll be talking about.

Q    So for people at home who are wondering how long are we going to have to live like this, what advice would you give them?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, it depends.  We do want to flatten the curve.  We want to see that curve start heading down in the other direction, at a minimum.  And we really have to talk about areas of the country that have not been affected or certainly have had a very small effect.  And we'll see.

I certainly want to get it open as soon as possible.  I don't want it to be long, but we also want it to open safe.  Otherwise, what did we do?

Q    So, could it be months?

THE PRESIDENT:  I hope not.  I hope it's going to be sooner.  I hope it disappears faster than that.  I really think that the people of our country have done a great job.

I looked -- last night, I was watching, and I'm looking down Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue.  John, there were no people in the street.  I mean, normally, you wouldn't be able to see the sidewalk.  There would be cars all over it.  It would be like rush-hour stuff.  I'm looking at it and I'm saying “I can't believe it.  There are no cars.  There are no people.”  There wasn’t one person on Fifth Avenue walking down the street.  I've never seen that before.  You know, I guess, maybe at one o'clock in the morning, four o'clock in the morning, maybe.  But I've never seen that before.

The people have been incredible.  They've really been -- when you talk about distancing -- social distancing -- I mean, you know, it's -- we don't have a law.  We're not going to put them in jail.  And yet, they're really -- I think there's two things.  Number one, they are afraid.  And number two, they really are wanting to win this thing.

Yes.  Yes, please.

Q    I wanted to ask you about United Airlines.  So, today, they're worried that there's not enough money for them in the 2.2 trillion-dollar bill that you just signed, and that at the end of the, sort of, aid period -- which would be the end of September, where the restrictions on layoffs come off -- that they could be seeing significant layoffs.


Q    And so I was wondering what your reaction to that was and what the administration might do to prevent sort of --

THE PRESIDENT:  So, yeah, sure.  It’s a good question.  We have brilliant people.  We have a tremendous amount of money.  And we have brilliant people that I'm taking from Wall Street with Secretary Mnuchin, who’s done an incredible job.  A brilliant guy.

     I'm taking from Wall Street people that I've known, that you all know.  The top people in the world.  They don’t want money, they don’t want -- I mean, will they get something?  Yes, maybe they'll get -- who knows?  Peanuts, what they want -- compared to what they would normally get.

     I'm taking the smartest, the most brilliant people in the world in finance, and they're going to be dealing.  I'm not going to hire -- I'm not going to hire somebody that's never done it, that’s a political person or anything else.  We're getting the most brilliant financial minds in the world.  I know all of them, and you know all of them.  I mean, you read about all of them.  I guess, some you don't read about, and they're probably the smartest of them all.

But the fact is we're taking these brilliant people, and they'll be dealing with United.  And they want to help.  Look, the airline business -- I'll tell you right now: The airline business has always been a tough business.  It's always been a very tough business.  Tough to make money with, with -- it's got every -- every barrier you could have, that business has.  But for our country, it's very important.  We have to take care of our country.  We need the airlines to stay.  It's also big for jobs. So we will be able to handle United, and we'll be able to handle Delta, and we'll be able to handle all of it.  We have plenty of money.

Now, will we end up owning large chunks, depending on what these great geniuses decide, along with the executives of the different companies?  You know, it's possible.  And they'll make a better deal on the loan, but the taxpayer will then end up owning a big chunk of companies.

As an example, Boeing -- Boeing, until a year ago, was the greatest company, I think, in the world by far.  There wasn't -- to me, there wasn't anything close.  I believe it was 1 percent of GDP.  Okay?  Think of it.  One company, 1 percent of GDP.  It was flawless.  Then it had the problems, and then it had on top of it this whole thing with the virus.  So Boeing will probably need a hand, and we're going to bring Boeing back to health.

But we have the smartest people in the world.  We have the smartest.  I don't even know if you know that.  I think this could be the first time you've heard it.  People like Larry Fink we're talking to, and -- that's BlackRock.  And we have, you know, the smartest people.  And they all want to do it.  They all -- I mean, this to them -- they love this country; they all want to do it.  So we're speaking to people like that, and they'll be able to work it out.

Q    I guess my question is, there's a -- there's probably a tension between bringing companies back to economic health and protecting people's jobs.  And I'm wondering if you're going to intervene and ask Treasury Secretary Mnuchin to --

THE PRESIDENT:  No, I think they’re the same thing.  I mean, you know, bringing people back to health and protecting people's jobs.  To me -- and I'm okay with this stuff -- that's the same thing.  I'm in a much different position as President than if I were an investor or something.

But I want to bring them back to health because I want to preserve their jobs, but I also want to preserve airlines, because that's preserving lots of other jobs.  That's preserving the travel and leisure industry, which is perhaps the largest industry in our country, if you add it all up.  You add up all the hotels and all of the traveling and all the planes and everything else -- probably, by far, the largest industry in our country.

So, saving the airlines is very important.  And the airlines were all doing well.  You know, the airlines were doing record business a month before this -- today, let's say.  Even 22 days to be exact -- right? -- when we first started seeing some real signs of problems.  They were at record levels.  Last year, they had a record year -- the biggest in the history of the airlines.  Everybody was doing well.

I mean, I was presiding over the most successful economy in the history of the world.  And now we're going to have to rebuild it.  And I think we're going to have an absolute incredible fourth quarter.  You know, and maybe it's slightly after that, to be honest.  But it's going to be in that time period.

As soon as we get rid of this, I think we're going to have an explosion upward.  It's going to be incredible.


Q    Mr. President, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has issued some of the fewest restrictions in the country, yet Florida has the highest percentage of elderly in the country.

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s true.

Q    Do you believe Governor DeSantis is handling this well?  Do you have confidence in him?

THE PRESIDENT:  I do, because he's a very talented guy. He's a very good governor.  Everyone loves him.  He's doing a fantastic job for Florida.

He was not happy with the people coming down from New York. You know, they're flying down from New York, and he had a state -- and has a state -- with, you know, obviously a lot less problems.  Florida has been doing really well in the sense of testing.  The testing has shown much better results.  I mean, they'll talk to you about that later.

But, no, he was very unhappy with the people coming down from New York, and I understand that.  No, Ron is a very tough guy.  He's a great governor.  And I have tremendous confidence in him.  And, you know, he had the beach situation.  He resolved that.  He will get it all resolved.

Yeah, please.

Q    I have two questions, Mr. President.  First, yesterday in your letter to the governors, you said that you want to categorize certain counties of high risk, medium risk, and low risk.  Practically speaking, how are you going to enforce that? How can you stop people from high risk, for example --

THE PRESIDENT:  You have to go louder.  You have to speak louder.

Q    Sorry.  How are you going to stop people from going from high-risk areas to low-risk areas?  In your letters to the governors.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, we have some very, very strong restrictions.  But you're right, I don't like it.  So we're seeing how it works.  The data is coming in on Monday and Tuesday, and we're going to see how it looks.  But, you know, can we go to a tougher level?  We can, but that causes other problems.  We're going to see, and we'll be reporting back very shortly after my meetings with Tony, Deborah, and others that we're going to be meeting -- and our Vice President.  And we're going to be reporting back to the media, okay?

Please. Corner?

Q    Hi, Mr. President.  Owen Jensen with EWTN News.


Q    Millions of school kids across the country are home, including my own -- bored, restless, learning a little bit online, but it's better in the classroom.  You know that.


Q    And they're -- my kids, they want to crawl on the walls and climb on the walls, and my wife is about to lose it, right?  So, many of them are watching right now.  What would you say to those kids right now -- elementary school, middle school, high school -- what would you tell them right now, who are watching from home?

THE PRESIDENT:  I would say that you are a citizen of the greatest country anywhere in the world.  And we were attacked like nothing that's happened possibly since 1917 -- many, many years ago.  We were attacked.

And we're winning the battle and we're going to win the war, and it's not going to take, hopefully, that much longer.  But we have to win the war.

And I would say that they have a duty to sit back, watch, behave, wash their hands, stay in the apartment with mom and dad -- they look like they're lucky to have you as a father -- and just learn from it.

But, you know, they're -- the young people have been tremendous.  They -- some of them are very happy not to go to school.  You understand that.  Perhaps yours, perhaps, not.  But they've been -- we've had no -- we have literally had no problem.  But again, they should just sit back and be very proud of our country, because we're doing it for them.  You know, ultimately we're doing it for them, more than anything else, if you think about it.

The other thing that's nice and the one thing that has come out, and I learned this -- again, it was reaffirmed by President Xi last night in my conversation: The young people are really -- this is an incredible phenomena, but they are attacked -- successfully attacked -- to a much lesser extent by this pandemic, by this disease, this -- whatever they want to call it.  You can call it a germ, you can call it a flu, you can call it a virus.  You know, you can call it many different names.  I'm not sure anybody even knows what it is.  But the children do very well.  It's almost the younger they are, the better they do.  I guess the immune system is, sadly, for some of us -- their immune system is stronger.  But actually, I'm very happy about that.

But they have been attacked -- for instance, the Spanish Flu, and if you look at the H1N1, the swine -- if you take a look at the swine flu, which was, as you know, not so long ago, that attacked very strongly young children, kids, middle-aged people, everyone.  Age is a -- age is a factor here.  So your children should be in good shape.  But just tell them to be very proud of the country.  Okay?

Q    Just to follow up, real quickly: When does the risk become an acceptable one to allow people to go back to their lives?  Maybe Dr. Fauci --

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, we’re going to make that determination.  And you’re going to have something to do with that.  And, look, we're going to be guided also.  You have some real strong feelings.

The media -- I'll tell you what: The media, generally -- I mean, I -- I'm impressed.  A lot of the media has been fair.  I'm not used to fair treatment in the media.  And, I don't know, I don't know how to handle it.  But the media has really been -- overall, I think the media has been pretty fair.  Some not.  I mean, I could tell you who, but what's the point?  But the media has really been fair.  I mean, they view this as we're all in a problem together and we're going to win.  We're going to win.


Q    Yes.  Thank you, President Trump.  New York is currently the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S. with about half of the cases.

THE PRESIDENT:  It is.  Yeah.

Q    Yesterday, Kellyanne Conway laid a lot of the blame for that on the mayor, pointing out that he told people to go about life as normal and he resisted closing schools and businesses.  I'm wondering if you agree.

And also, if I could ask you your thoughts on the stimulus bill preventing aid to your businesses.  Do you think that's fair?  And what are your thoughts on that?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, that's not happening.  I mean, I think they wrote us out, and that's all right.  But that's not happening.

As far as the mayor of New York, I'll be honest -- I didn't know him well.  He and I are obviously opposite persuasions.  And we would go at it, but we didn't -- I don't know if we ever spoke other than to maybe say hello a couple of times.  I did down at the Memorial -- World Trade Center Memorial once a long time ago.

So I have spoken to him a lot -- Mayor de Blasio -- and we've really had incredibly productive discussions.  I've gotten him a lot of people.  We've gotten him a medical center.  He's asked for, at Elmhurst -- I know Elmhurst hospital very well.  I mean, that was an area of Queens that I grew up in.  And, boy, you talk about an epicenter; that's really the epicenter of the epicenter.  That's really something.

We talked about it because that was, you know, very close to where I grew up.  And -- and, you know, knowing it -- being so familiar with it, it's incredible to see where they have the trucks.  I don’t have to go into great detail.  The refrigerated trucks coming up and -- I've never seen anything like it.

I've spoken with Mayor de Blasio a lot in the last week.  We've helped him, I think, a lot.  And I've really gotten to like him.  I get along with him very well.  Now, he wants us to do certain things, and we've produced.  I mean, today, I spoke to him with the Secretary of Defense, Esper.  And we had a great conversation, and we're helping him get some of the things he needs.  I don't have to go into great detail, but he's very happy about what we're able to do for him today.

And he's like us: He's working very hard.  But I can't say anything bad about Mayor de Blasio.  I mean, my relationship with him over the last couple of weeks has been excellent.  And we've done a good job for him, too.

Q    Mr. President, could I just come back to --


Q    There's been a lot of talk about ventilators and PPE and that kind of thing, but what about hospital capacity?  And are you, you know, prepared --


Q    -- for the stories that are going to come?

THE PRESIDENT:  So we're doing that.  Great question.  We're increasing capacities.

Q    When hospitals can’t treat --

THE PRESIDENT:  Right.  We’re actually adding on, through the Army Corps of Engineers.  This is a big job, and we’re doing it in many states -- not just New York and California.  By the way, Gavin Newsom has been terrific, I have to tell you -- the governor of California.  We’re getting along really well.  We're working hard for him.  As you know, the hospital ship -- the other hospital ship.  And they are incredible.  That just arrived in Los Angeles, fully stocked.

But Gavin Newsom has been really good, and so many of the governors have been good.  And these are governors that I've been fighting with about different things for a long time -- the forest fires, in his case, and the border, and all sorts of things.  And here we are, getting along very well.  So -- and I appreciate his nice words.  I really do.  I really appreciate it.  It's -- and the people with me appreciate it.

Do you have another question?

Q    Well, I was going to say on the issue of hospital capacity and beds and --

THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah.  So --

Q    -- being able to treat people --

THE PRESIDENT:  Good -- good question.

Q    -- and have them die because they can’t have a hos- -- they don’t have a hospital bed.

THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah, well -- I mean, look, we just started this.  You know, we were just notified.  And some of the governors have asked us to build hospitals through extensions, through portable hospitals, through things.  And, you know, normally, this -- in all fairness, this is done normally through local government.  We don't go into cities and expand a hospital that's existing.  But we're doing it now because we really are equipped to do it.  We have incredible people.

And we're expanding hospitals.  We're building many portable hospitals, not only Javits Center.  We have four -- plus, you have four medical centers.  But we're doing it in New Jersey -- Governor Murphy.  We're doing it in other states. We're doing it in California.  We're doing some in the State of Washington, despite the fact that I -- I’m not appreciative of the way the governor speaks.  We're doing it in a lot of different locations.  And we're doing a lot of expansions.

We're also taking over buildings, and the city will go in or the state usually will go in, take over a building, and we go in and equip it and make it so that it's now hospital functioning.  They call it “hospital functioning.”  We're doing a lot of that.

Again, this is normally done by governors and then give it to the city to do.  You know, you bring it into the point.  But we're doing a lot of that, and they're doing a great job -- mostly done by the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA.

Q    A couple questions.  On those governors, you and your team obviously have had classified briefings on the pandemic, I assume for a while now.  Were the governors included in those briefings that you would have got in January and February?  When did you warn the governors --

THE PRESIDENT:  That, I don't know.  That, I don't know.

Q    -- as you would have had the information first?

THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah.  Well, they say I had classified briefings a long time ago, which wasn’t true.  But we've had briefings, and, as I know it, the governors have also had many briefings by the federal government.

Q    But when did you first warn them, I guess, to tell them this thing was coming, this was a bullet train?

THE PRESIDENT:  Oh, I think we knew -- I think we knew for a while.  But if you take a look, I was the first one to say to China -- and I have great respect for China, I will tell you that.  But I was the first one, when they had the problem, to say, “You can't come in.”  And if you go back, that's a long time ago.

Q    So then, if I can follow up --

THE PRESIDENT:  Jon, please.

Q    Mr. President, on this question of ventilators, I understand you have a question whether or not New York needs as much as they want.  Governor Cuomo is saying 21 days from now --

THE PRESIDENT:  Here’s what we’re going to have.  Are you ready?  We're going to have more than -- we're manufacturing a lot of them now.  We're accumulating a lot.  We're taking a lot, through the act.  We're taking a lot.  We're actually taking them.  And we're going to have, in a very short period of time -- and Peter is doing it, along with some very talented people.  Some really talented people.  It's very impressive actually.  But we're actually taking a lot.  We're going to have plenty.

And if for some reason --

Q    So, that’s my point --

THE PRESIDENT:  Jon, if for some reason you're going to need even more, we're going to be prepared.  As an example, we now -- we've given out thousands and thousands, which I think you'll know.  We accumulated thousands; we give them out.  But we -- right now, I think in the stockpile we have over 10,000.

The reason we don't want to distribute that is for exactly what you're saying.  If there's 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, or we give them to Idaho, we give them to lots of different places.  And now we have to try and get them back, which is never easy to do.

Q    But here’s my question --

THE PRESIDENT:  No, no, Jon, what I'm saying is this: We are prepared for things that nobody has any idea that we'd be prepared.  And you know what?  When I took this over, it was an empty box.  We didn't have testing.  We didn't have anything.  We had a broken system there.  We had a broken system with stockpiling.  We had a lot of broken systems.

And I'm not just blaming President Obama.  You go long before that.  But in all fairness to all of the former Presidents, none of them ever thought a thing like this could happen.

But we have, right now, 10,000 ventilators in stockpile.  We are ready to go with those ventilators.  What we don't want is where we distribute the ventilators, like we did in New York and they didn't need them, or they didn't know, or they didn't use them.  If we need them in New York, we're going to have plenty.

Now, we're getting a lot of ventilators in the next short period of time.  A lot of ventilators are coming in the next short period of time.  We're manufacturing.  We went to all of the companies; I read their names.  We went to all of those companies.  They are going to go, I would say, round the clock, Peter.  Is that right?  They're going around the clock.

MR. NAVARRO:  We’re ramped up, sir.

Q    Is 100 days fast enough, like you said?  Is that fast enough, to get 100,000?  Because some of these people need them in three weeks.

THE PRESIDENT:  Let’s put it this way.  Let’s put it this way: We've distributed thousands and thousands already. Normally, these would be bought by states, just so you understand.  Normally, these would be bought by governors.  They were -- I don't want to say unprepared, but nobody was prepared for this.  What we've done, nobody can even imagine.  And, by the way, I've had governors tell me, including Democrat governors -- they said, “We can't believe you've been able to do this.”

And you go to other countries -- and we're not only competing against states, because we don't want to compete against states.  We've had a couple of cases where states were buying and we were buying, and I said specifically, because I heard about it, “Pull back.  Let the state buy it.”  Immediately, the price goes way down, and they end up buying it.

But we’re also competing against many countries, because many countries need the ventilators.  That's why I want to build more if possible.

Jon, maybe we'll take one more question.

Q    (Inaudible) get to the question I wanted to --


Q    Just, the question I was building up to is: Are you able to guarantee, to assure these states, these hospitals that everybody who needs a ventilator will get a ventilator?

THE PRESIDENT:  So here's what I'll tell you: I think we're in really good shape.  This is a pandemic the likes of which nobody has seen before.

I think we're in great shape.  I think that, number one, we've distributed -- a ventilator is a big deal.  We've distributed vast numbers of ventilators, and we're prepared to do vast numbers.  I think we're in great shape. I hope that's the case.  I hope that we're going to have leftovers so we can help other people, other countries.

Q    And everybody who needs one will be able to get a ventilator?

THE PRESIDENT:  Look -- look, don’t be a cutie pie.  Okay?

Q    No, I’m -- it’s a fundamental question.

THE PRESIDENT:  You know, everyone who needs one.  Nobody has ever done what we've done.  Nobody has done anything like we've been able to do.  And everything I took over was a mess.  It was a broken country in so many ways.  In so many ways other than this.

We had a bad testing system.  We had a bad stockpile system.  We had nothing in the stockpile system.  So I wouldn't tell me what you’re telling -- you know, like being a wise guy.

Go ahead.

Q    Mr. President, you signed a bill today the size of which could choke an entire herd of horses.  And before you even had a chance to put pen to paper, people were already talking about the need for a phase four.

THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah.  Well --

Q    Do you see a need for a phase four?  And where do you think the priorities would lie?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, there may be something where we're going to have to help states, because the states have been hurt very badly.  And the beautiful thing about our country is: $6.2 trillion, because it is 2.2 plus 4.  It’s $6.2 trillion.  And we can handle that easily because of who we are, what we are.  It's our -- it's our money.  It's our -- we are the ones.  It’s our currency.  We can handle it, and we can handle -- I watched Jerome Powell the other day, and he did a good job.  He said, “We'll do whatever we have to do.”  John, we have to do whatever we have to do.

Q    Where do you see the priorities being?

THE PRESIDENT:  The priority is life and safety, and then the economy.  Life and safety.

Q    Does the Easter goal -- does the Easter goal stick?  It seems like the -- earlier in the week, you said --

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, we’ll see.

Q    -- we’d love Easter --

THE PRESIDENT:  No, no, no.

Q    But now it seems like it could be longer.

THE PRESIDENT:  We’ll see.  A lot of things can --

Q    People are heading into a long weekend, I guess.


Q    What do you tell those folks who think they’re going to have to wait this out for a while?

THE PRESIDENT:  I tell them: If it’s your life and it’s your safety and if we need more time, they’re not going to have a problem waiting it out.  It’s life, it’s safety, and it’s our country.  But we have to take care of people.  At the same time, we want to get them out.  They want to get out.  Our country was built on that.  But we have to make sure it’s safe, and everyone knows that.

Okay, one more question.  Please.

Q    Mr. President, sir --


Q    Thank you.  Both the World Health Organization, as recently as today, and your own health officials have said that any treatments that we use for coronavirus should be scientifically demonstrated to be effective.  But at the same time, you've said that chloroquine, as an example, could be used as a cure very soon.  So is the WHO and your health officials wrong on this point?  Are they --

THE PRESIDENT:  So, hydroxychloroquine, which is supposed to be the better of the two, seems to have some good backing.  We're going to see.

Look, Governor Cuomo -- we've given him 10,000 units; that’s a lot -- and they're testing it.  It's a malaria drug.  It's also a drug for arthritis.  But -- and it's phenomenal for those two things, as you probably know, especially for malaria.  But we're going to find out soon.  I hope it works.  It's -- there are signs that it could be doing well.  They are testing 10,000 units.  That's a lot.

And I tell you what: I want to thank the FDA because they approved it immediately, based on the fact that it was already out for a different purpose.  They approved it immediately.

So, look, hydroxychloroquine is -- is a very powerful drug for certain things, and it's a very successful drug.  There's reason to believe that it could be successful here.  Now, the reason I disagree with you -- and I think Tony would disagree with me -- but the reason I disagree with you is that we have a pandemic.  We have people dying now.  If we're going to go into labs and test all of this for a long time, we can test it on people right now who are in serious trouble, who are dying.  If it works, we've done a great thing.  If it doesn't work, you know, we tried.

But this is not something that's going to kill people.  So, we can go in and we can test, or we can take our time.  When I was with the FDA, you know, they indicated that, “Well, we'll start working on it right away, and it could take a year.”  I said, “What do you mean a year?  We have to have it tonight.”  If we don't have it tonight -- I want to test it immediately because it's on the market in a different form.  So, we know that.  So, from a safety standpoint, at least, we know that.

But you're talking about giving it to people who, in many cases, are dying.  So we want to do with the way -- this is sort of like Right to Try.  We got Right to Try approved.  For --

Q    Could I ask you --

THE PRESIDENT:  John, for 44 years or more, they couldn't get it approved.  We have the best labs, the best doctors.  They couldn't get it.  I got it approved.  Now, if somebody is terminally ill, and if we think we have something that's going to work, we can actually use it; they can use it.

And I'll tell you what: You ought to do -- when this is over, you got to do a story on that because we have had some tremendous results.

Q    Just before you go, could I ask you something that just popped on Wall Street Journal?  It says, headline: “The Trump administration plans to suspend the collection of import tariffs for three months according to administration officials.”  True or not true?

THE PRESIDENT:  It's not even talked to me about.  It’s just more fake news, John.

Look, not even talked to me.  They’re talking about -- the only one I’ve heard that from -- like, as an example, China pays 25 percent interest on $250 billion worth of product that they send in.  That's a lot.  Everybody keeps saying, “Oh, are you going to suspend the tariffs?”  Well, the answer is no.  But President Xi never even brought it up last night.  It wasn’t even discussed.  It's fake news.  Tell the Wall Street Journal.  You know, the Wall Street Journal does a lot of fake news too.  It's pretty amazing.

So I want to leave -- leave you by just saying I want to thank you for being here.  I want to thank the American public and all of the people that have helped so much.  And we're going to give the podium to Vice President Pence, who has been incredible.  And if he's tired and if he's not answering questions like he should, we have a great reason because he hasn't slept in about four weeks.

But I want to thank him because he has dedicated -- I mean, he is a dedicated person -- long before this.  But the job he's done has been fantastic.  So I want to thank Mike, all the people on the task force, and FEMA, and Army Corps -- everybody.  You've been fantastic.  Thank you all very much.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Well, good evening, everyone.  And thank you, Mr. President.  The White House Coronavirus Task Force met today.  We continue, at the President's direction, to focus on slowing the spread of the coronavirus through mitigation, expanded testing, and ensuring that our healthcare workers have the supplies that they need.

With cases now in all 50 states and more than 50 percent of cases in the New York area, it's more important than ever to adhere to the guidance of state and local authorities.  And for every American, the best thing that you can do, young or old, is put into practice the President's coronavirus guidelines for America.  It is the way that each of us can do our part.

Since we last spoke, as you all know, the President signed the Coronavirus Aid Relief Economic Security Act.  This makes direct payments available to American families.  The average family of four will receive a direct payment of some $3,400.  It also covers payroll for small businesses across the country for a period of several months, so that even if the business is closed, they can continue to have a loan, which will be completely forgiven if they keep their whole team on the payroll.  There's support for critical industries, for hospitals, and for states as well.

As of this evening, the President has issued 12 major disaster declarations, most recently for the states of Maryland and Missouri.  And, on the subject of vaccines, Emory University in Atlanta today began enrolling volunteers in a phase one clinical trial of another possible vaccine for the coronavirus.

On the subject of testing, testing is available in all 50 states.  And as a -- as a great credit to our partnership with commercial laboratories across the country, this morning it was reported that more than 685,000 tests have already been performed.

And we are particularly grateful to the American Hospital Association whose members are now reporting into the CDC and FEMA in real time, giving our experts more visibility on those that have contracted the disease around the country.

The President mentioned this, but it's worth mentioning again: Apple has a new app out.  It is a screening tool; it'll help Americans determine whether they should be tested.  It has a easy format, and a question and answer -- if you have issues about whether or not a test is appropriate for you, you can -- you can use the new Apple app to accomplish that as well.

On the subject of supplies -- and the President spoke about the priority that we're placing on personal protective equipment, and especially ventilators, and I will not add to that -- I can tell you that, this weekend, we'll be reporting on aggressive efforts that our Supply [Chain] Stabilization Task Force at FEMA is taking to import medical supplies from around the world.  We're working, as we speak, on an airlift from a number of countries around the globe to deliver very important medical protective equipment to the United States.

At the present moment, you've heard the numbers, but from the Strategic National Stockpile, we distributed more than 7 million N95 respirators or masks, more than almost 3 million face shields, more than 8,000 ventilators.  And donations to the Strategic National supply: We mentioned Apple donating some 9 million masks that can be used by healthcare workers.  But Merck recently announced plans to donate 500,000 masks; USPS -- 500,000 masks.  And a little company called Puritan, in Maine, is actually in the business now of manufacturing swabs.  So businesses large and small all across America are rising to the challenge.

As the President noted, he will attend the embarkation of the U.S. Navy ship Comfort tomorrow from Norfolk.  The U.S. Navy ship Mercy arrived in Los Angeles today.

We will continue to focus resources and supplies on those areas around the country that have seen significant outbreak.  But let me send a word to hospital workers around the country: We continue to hear anecdotally and occasionally, seeing media reports, people who have concerns that their hospital may be running short on personal protective equipment in the days ahead.  We just encourage you to alert your hospital administrator.  Hospital administrators, please alert your state health director.

Tonight, Administrator Gaynor, at FEMA, will be speaking to all of the state emergency directors in America to talk about the availability of resources but also encouraging them to have a plan to perhaps even use their National Guard to move medical equipment from store houses to hospitals.  We’ll be working very closely with state emergency managers on issues of logistics.

But today we're fortunate to be joined by two members of the Cabinet who have been very busy making sure that the children of America have the meals that they need while school has been suspended in so many places around the country.

Secretary DeVos and Secretary Perdue are going to share some exciting news and progress that we’ve made in feeding children who need nutrition assistance while schools are closed.  The truth is, many underprivileged kids would not be getting school meals, apart from the fact that, as we stand here today, our administration has approved waivers for all 50 states to give them flexibilities to work with local partners to get meals to children that are in need, and also a nationwide waiver to allow parents to pick up meals.

But what's most exciting today, as our two Cabinet Secretaries will reflect, we have private sector partners -- a few of whom are with us today -- who are helping us to speed important meals to children and families around the country.

You'll hear, in a few moments, from the Chairman of McLane Global Logistics and also the CEO of Panera Bread about the work that they are both doing to literally deliver millions of meals to American families.  It's truly an inspiring story, and I look forward to hearing it from them and sharing it with you.

But it's just one more example, as President Trump said, that we'll get through this and we'll get through this together, not only a whole-of-federal government approach, working with all of our state partners, working with healthcare authorities at the local level, but also working with businesses that have been willing to step up and stand at the point of the need and be there for the most vulnerable and help us meet the needs of our children and of our families.

And on behalf of the President and grateful nation, we thank you.

Madam Secretary?

SECRETARY DEVOS:  Thank you so much, Mr. Vice President.  And I just want to begin by thanking President Trump for his clear-eyed leadership during these challenging times for our country and for our world, and, Vice President Pence, for your tremendous leadership of the task force and for truly making a difference -- making a difference that's certainly true for America’s students and teachers as well.  Most of them, as Owen said a moment ago, experiencing unprecedented disruptions in learning and in their lives.  I want each of them to know that President Trump and his administration are taking decisive action to keep them safe and healthy so they can continue learning.

We must rise to the challenge of educating all children from all walks of life who, all of a sudden, are in many, many different learning environments, and they're counting on all of us to find solutions.

I'm really pleased to be here today for the announcement of another terrific solution initiated under the President's leadership.  Secretary Perdue is going to share details of this public-private partnership.  But before that, I'd like to provide a few additional comments and talk about the work that the Department of Education has been doing on behalf of students, parents, and teachers during this national emergency.

My team and I are in contact daily with governors, state school chiefs, college presidents, superintendents, and local education leaders.  We are quickly responding to their needs so they can do the next right thing for their students.

Most governors have decided to close some or all schools in their states for a period of time.  As a result, students may not be able to take federally mandated standardized tests this spring.  And the President took action to make sure they didn't have to.  We made the process to delay these tests for a year -- fast and painless.  As of today, 47 states have requested the delay or the waiver, and 46 have been approved within a 24-hour period.

We also released additional information making clear the expectation that education will continue for all students, the transition to distance and online learning needs to happen quickly, and it needs to include meaningful instruction and supports for children with disabilities.  Learning should not stop or be denied because schools fear federal regulators or fear doing something different.

Distance learning is happening.  States like New Hampshire and Florida have implemented phased and tiered approaches to meet the needs of students in their states.  Other schools and states are implementing creative approaches and working through practical realities to help students continue learning.

In remote Colorado mountain towns without Internet connectivity, teachers are putting weekly learning packets together, and they're holding office hours by phone to help their students when they're stuck.  South Carolina is deploying 3,000 buses with mobile Wi-Fi hotspots to help kids in remote areas access learning that way.

This national emergency gives all of us an opportunity to come together to educate all students out of principle.  It's simply not an acceptable option to educate none of them out of fear.  So we stand ready to assist educators and their students.  We are compiling all the tools we have produced, along with the great resources that states are offering, to help keep learning going.  There are already many existing online learning platforms, and many states were already offering a robust menu of courses virtually.  We will be adding that information to our website on an ongoing basis, and that site is

We're using every tool possible to extend flexibility to states and communities.  This includes funding flexibility.  Where we don't have the latitude, we're working with Congress on solutions.  One