Last night, President Donald Trump spoke with ABC’s David Muir after visiting Arizona and touring a Honeywell factory in Phoenix that is making face masks. During the interview, Muir asked Trump about the bare national stockpile cupboards that the president said several times he inherited. President Trump explained why he hadn’t replenished them during the first three-plus years of his term.
Trump’s trip to Arizona was his first away from Washington in nearly two months due to the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. For the interview, both Muir and Trump practiced social distancing with their chairs set far apart, and the camera pulled back to get both men into the frame. Trump noted that closing the country to help stop the spread of COVID-19 is the biggest decision he’s ever made. Also, a big decision is the reopening of the country as the ability to work balances delicately with the possibility of additional deaths from the virus.
Trump said the cupboard was bare when his administration took over from the Obama administration. The president blamed the lack of ventilators, broken tests, and low stock on other protective equipment on his predecessor. Trump said that his administration took the small amounts it had and built it into a larger stockpile than the U.S. has ever had in the past.
PART ONE: @DavidMuir has an exclusive interview with Pres. Trump in Phoenix, Arizona, asking about the risk of more lives lost to COVID-19 in the push to reopen, testing and the economy and his message to the families of the 70,000 Americans now dead. https://t.co/hzG1drfzIj pic.twitter.com/bivV4KSxJq— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) May 6, 2020
The New York Intelligencer reported that when Muir asked about the national stockpile, the president responded with multiple reasons why his administration wasn’t able to restock the shelves. Muir noted that President Trump is applying for the job of president again in 2020.
“Well, I’ll be honest. I have a lot of things going on. We had a lot of people that refused to allow the country to be successful. They wasted a lot of time on Russia, Russia, Russia. That turned out to be a total hoax. Then they did Ukraine, Ukraine, and that was a total hoax, then they impeached the president of the United States for absolutely no reason, and we even had 197-to-nothing vote by the Republicans.”
Muir did not press the president about how he was unable to deal with those crises in his presidency while also restocking the national stockpile in more than three years. Instead, the interviewer noted something that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said about the value of human life, and he asked the president if governors should slow down the reopening should infection numbers go up. Trump responded that last week Cuomo said he’d done a phenomenal job with the federal government’s response. The president’s ultimate message was that the U.S. must get back to work.