Since acknowledging that the coronavirus pandemic has reached the United States, President Donald Trump has been holding daily press briefings at the White House, updating the country about the steps his administration plans on taking in order to stop the spread of the virus and help those infected with it. According to governors across the country, one of the greatest issues states are facing is the lack of ventilators in hospitals.
The topic of ventilators came up during Friday’s press briefing, and Trump got into a heated exchange with one of the reporters. Per Raw Story, when ABC News chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl asked Trump about the lack of ventilators — lifesaving machines used to treat patients experiencing difficulty breathing — the president scolded the reporter, calling him a “cutie pie,” and alleged that his administration inherited a “mess.”
“So everybody who needs a ventilator will be able to get one?” Karl asked.
“Look, don’t be a cutie pie. ‘Everyone who needs one’ — nobody’s ever done what we’ve done. Nobody’s done anything like we’ve been able to do. Everything I took over was a mess. It was a broken country.”
During the press conference, as Vox reporter Aaron Rupar pointed out via Twitter, Trump also said that “in the next 100 days, we will either make or get in some form over 100,000” ventilators. This is a significant shift, given that the president questioned the need for ventilators less than 24 hours earlier.
On Thursday night, during an interview with Fox News anchor Sean Hannity, Trump argued that governors and hospitals are exaggerating when they say there is a dire need for more ventilators.
“Think of this, you know you go to hospitals that have one in a hospital and now all of a sudden everyone’s asking for these vast numbers,” he said.
During his interview with Hannity, Trump criticized New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer — all Democrats — suggesting that they have been too critical of the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Trump seemingly argued that the governors have unrealistic demands in terms of what the federal government needs to do to help with the crisis.
Speaking with Fox News, Trump also reaffirmed that he is looking to reopen the United States economy as soon as possible. According to the president, the economy should be reopened by Easter. According to public health experts, however, such a decision would be catastrophic, given that the virus would only spread faster. Such a maneuver, the experts claim, would also overburden the American health care system.