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Federal Tax Deadline Delayed Until July 15; President Donald Trump Working With Mexico To Suspend Non-Essential Travel; United States & Mexico Agree To Limit Non-Essential Travel Across Borders; President Donald Trump Puts Defense Production Act Into Effect; President Donald Trump Not Considering A Nationwide Lockdown. Aired 12-12:30p ET
Aired March 20, 2020 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So we're helping them. It's -- it's a responsibility they have, but we are helping the states a lot. That's why the governors, I think, in every case has been very impressed and very nice. We enacted legislation guaranteeing paid sick leave for workers at no cost to employers.
And I think it is very important, so they'll get paid sick leave at no costs to employers. We are accelerating the new use of new drug treatments. We're advancing legislation to give direct payments to hardworking families throughout our country Americans from all works of life are rallying together to defeat the unseen enemy striking our nation.
In times of struggle we see true greatness of the American character. And we are seeing that. A lot of people are talking about it. We are at 141 countries from what they're telling me, and some of those countries are really working in a unified manner, they're working very unified with us almost I could say a good number of them.
Doctors and nurses are working non-stop to heal the sick. Citizens and churches are delivering meals to the needy. Truckers are making the long haul to keep shelves stock. We have been dealing with the big stores and the big chains Wall Mart they've been fantastic and others. They have all been fantastic.
We've made it much easier for them to stock in terms of travel and travel restriction. We are lifting restriction so they can get their trucks on time. We're seeing very few empty shelves and the amount of volume that they are doing is unprecedented because people want to have what they have to have what they feel they have to have.
They're also buying in slightly smaller quantities, which is good because we're not going anywhere. We're going to be here. So I want to thank all of those very great companies for working so well.
Americans from every walk of life are coming together. Thanks to the spirit of our people, we'll win this war. We are winning and we're going to win this war. America will triumph and America will rise higher than ever before. We'll be stronger than ever before and we have learned a lot about relying on other countries.
And I can say that I think in both a very good and a very bad way. Some good things came out of it and some not so good things came out of it. So I would like to move now to invite our team to provide information on the new measures to prevent the viral spread at our borders.
And I will start by asking Secretary of State Pompeo to speak. He's doing a fantastic job and like everyone else he's been working very, very long and very, very hard. He's doing the other more normal jobs of a great Secretary of State. But he got tied into this like everybody else. And he has been really doing a fantastic job. Mike, please.
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: Thank you, Mr. President. Before I address the efforts that we've been engaged into push back against the Chinese virus I want to share to the American people, that as President Trump just said, your State Department, your entire National Security team is staying focused on other diplomatic challenges around the world.
Those includes reducing risk to America from Afghanistan holding the Iranian regime accountable for its mine activity and our counter terrorism efforts against ISIS remain a priority for our team.
Our number one priority across those missions remains the protection of the American people. The President and our team are very focused on it. I'll take this moment to thank my team State Department team who is working long hours all around the world to take care of Americans who are stuck places around the world.
I'll talk about that more in just a minute. You've all seen Dr. Birx with me at the State Department officials are doing a great work but I want to give a shad at all of those State Department team here in Washington and around the world that are working overtime to help us push back against this pandemic.
Under the President's leadership this week, we've taken two important steps. First, as President Trump announced on Wednesday, the United States and Canada jointly agreed to restrict all non-essential traffic across our borders, this decision goes into effect tonight at midnight and the restrictions that we reviewed after the 30 days and they exclude traffic and movement across the border for work or other essential reasons.
We're grateful to have such an outstanding friend to the north who is committed as we are to defeating this virus. I also want to announce today that United States and Mexico have agreed to restrict non- essential travels across our shared borders. Both our countries know the importance of working together to limit the strength of the virus and ensure the commerce that supports our economy continues to keep flowing.
Here too the United States is glad to have a friend who's working side by side us in the fight. Secretary Wolf will talk about a little bit more about the details of how we're working alongside with our partner in Mexico to keep our southern border safe and secure as well.
On an another note yesterday the State Department issued a level four global travel advisory this means that all international travel from U.S. citizens should be avoided. In countries where commercial departure options remain available U.S. citizens who reside in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States unless they're prepared to remain abroad for an extended time.
POMPEO: If you choose to travel internationally your travel plans may well be severely disrupted. And finally I want to talk about the disinformation that people are saying but then Twitter around the world some of it coming from government some of it coming from other individuals just urge everyone as they're seeing information at one time suggestions somehow this virus emanated from the United States Army there is information about lockdowns that are taking place.
Every American indeed people all around the world should ensure that where they turn to for information as reliable source and not a bad actor trying to create and flow the information that they know is wrong. This is a tough fight the American people had to offer. Our diplomatic teams are working around the clock to help them keep safe both home and abroad.
And we're showing once again the global leadership that America has always delivered that has been great to see countries around the world rally behind what President Trump and our team are doing. Thank you.
TRUMP: Thank you Mike. Thank you very much. And we will take questions right after this Chad Wolf.
CHAD WOLF, ACTING HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Well, let me start off by thanking the President and the Vice President for their continued leadership and commitment for protecting the American people during this crisis.
Early on the President again took unprecedented actions to restrict travel from areas affected with the Coronavirus and today DHS has screened over 200,000 individuals coming back from those affected countries. This has been an immense undertaking but one of the men and women of DHS have successfully accomplished.
Today's announcement is yet another example of the extraordinary steps the administration is taking to ensure the safety of the American public. Before I comment on the CDC or that I'm sure Secretary Azar will later elaborate on.
Let me first address the progress as Secretary Pompeo and others have made with our Canadian and Mexican partners regarding cross border travel. As we continue to evaluate commonsense measures that reduce risk and prevent further spread it only makes sense that we have looked to - look at the measures that our neighbors to the north and south are undertaking.
And so we've been working closely with those partners since the earliest days of this virus in the outbreak and again as the President did - said earlier this week and Secretary Pompeo we reached an agreement with both Canada and Mexico to - nonessential travel across our land borders.
Let me be clear that neither of these agreements with Canada or Mexico applies to lawful trade or commerce. Essential commercial activities will not be impacted we will continue to maintain a strong and secure economic supply chain across our borders.
A few examples of central travel include but certainly are not limited to individuals travelling for medical purposes to attend educational institutions, for emergency response, public health services and individuals engage in lawful cross border trades as the Secretary said the agreements with both Canada and Mexico will go into effect on Saturday March 21st.
Furthermore, we're also working collaboratively with Canada and Mexico to take decisive joint action regarding individuals seeking entry between our ports of entry. The CDC order directs the department to suspend the introduction of all individuals seeking to enter the U. S. without proper travel documentation that's for both the northern and southern border.
The CDC Director has determined that the introduction and spread of the Coronavirus in the Department's border patrol stations and detention facilities presents a serious danger to migrants our frontline agents and officers and the American people.
So it's important to note that the department currently apprehends foreign nationals from over 120 different countries around the world the vast majority of those having Coronavirus cases. Many of these individuals arrive with little or no identity travel or medical documentation making public health risk determinations all but impossible.
It's also important to note that the outbreak on our southern border would likely increase the strain on health systems in our border communities taking away important and lifesaving resources from American citizens.
Tonight again - we will execute the CDC order by immediately returning individuals arriving without documentation to Canada/Mexico as well as a number of other countries without delay. And so again CBP is positioned to execute these measures as we continue to keep our borders secure and safe.
Before I conclude let me just wrap up by thanking the brave men and women of DHS specifically CBP and across the government for the work that they do day in and day out to keep the American people safe from the Coronavirus.
The department has a number of front-line officers that have been has tested positive as well as others who are self-quarantine. And that I am doing everything that I can to protect these patriots as they continue to defend our homeland during this crisis thank you.
TRUMP: Thank you very much Chad. Thank you. Human Secretary.
ALEX AZAR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: Today's announcement is just the latest in a long line of bold decisive actions the President has taken to protect Americans from the Coronavirus spreading across our borders.
In January within two weeks of China's notifying WHO about the virus and with only 45 cases in China we begin screening travelers from Wuhan then over time as the outbreak of all the Present restricted travel from China, Iran and Europe.
Our health experts say that these measures have been truly effective at slowing the virus's spread to our shores. Just think about this Italy and the United States both saw their first travel related case of Coronavirus around the exact same time the last week of January and yet we have had precious time to continue our work around vaccines, therapeutics and other preparations while Italy has tragically been overwhelmed with critical patients for several weeks now.
The President today is taking action to slow the spread of infectious disease via our border. Under section 362 of the Public Health Service Act the CDC is suspending the entry of certain persons into the United States because of the public health threat that their entry into the United States represents.
This order applies to persons coming from Mexico and Canada who are seeking to enter the country illegally and who would normally be held in a congregate setting like a customs and border protection station. It does not apply to U. S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.
During this pandemic a number of health challenges arise when illegal immigrants arrived at our northern and southern borders and are taken into immigration custody. We're talking about significant numbers of illegal immigrants.
From this past October through February DHS has processed more than 21,000 inadmissible aliens at the northern border and more than one 151,000 in admissible aliens at the southern border.
CBP facilities were never designed to hold large numbers of people and to protect agents and migrants from infection during a pandemic in order to treat them for a novel virus of large numbers are infected. When held at border facilities these migrants were spreading the virus to other migrants to CBP agents and border health care workers and even the United States population as a whole.
In such circumstances the kind of social distancing measures the CDC and the President have recommended are simply not possible. On top of that any resources that we are using to reduce the risk of infection among CBP agents health care workers and migrants in these facilities are drawing on American - an American health care system that is already fighting the Coronavirus pandemic.
That's why the President and his administration are taking these important steps to keep Americans and our immigration system safe from these health risks as part of our whole of government approach to combating the Coronavirus. Thank you, Mr. President for the work that you've been doing throughout this crisis to slow the spread of the Coronavirus and to keep our country safe.
TRUMP: Thank you very much. Thank you. Birx.
DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WH CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE RESPONSE COORDINATOR: Thank you. Thank you Mr. President. So we continue to review the data very carefully from around the globe as I know many of you are. We continue to see signs that again individuals under 2019 and under may have severe disease bad majority and all have recovered to date.
We still see that same trend and frankly from Italy we're seeing their another a concerning trend that the mortality and male seems to be twice in every age group of females. This should alert all of us to continue our vigilance to protect our Americans that are in nursing homes.
This requires all of the community when you see the sacrifices that many Americans have made the sacrifices that the service industry has made to close their restaurants, close their bars and so that the spread is discontinued. And then you really understand how all of Americans must make the same sacrifice.
We continue to ask you to follow the Presidential guidelines of no groups coming together of more than ten but if anyone in the household is sick that everyone quarantines in the household together. And that we continue to focus on those who have the most vulnerability to this illness.
Now to the moms and dads out there that have children with immunodeficiency are other medical conditions we don't know the level of risk and I know you will also protect them in the same way.
BIRX: There just is not enough numbers at this time to really tell them if they're add additional risk or not in the same way that adults are.
I don't have any new data I can see the look on your face is saying is she seeing something new. I don't have any new data, but I think it's important for us to be as honest with the American people as we can and when we don't have data to be very clear that we don't know.
Finally, no one is immune. I sometimes hear people on radio or others talking about I'm immune to the virus. We don't know if the contagion levels are difference in age groups, but we know it's highly contagious to everyone.
Do not interpret mild or moderate disease as lack of contagion or that you're immune you just happen to have a better immune system and the ability to fight the virus in a way that maybe older people or people with existing medical conditions can't. And that's why it's very important at this moment that all of you carry that message about the sacrifices that many have made, particularly our service providers in our front line health care workers - take days that every American can move but we need every American following the Presidential guidelines. Thank you.
TRUMP: Thank you very much. Tell me Fauci.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Thank you very much Mr. President. I just want to underscore a couple of things that I've said a few times to this group. You may recall that just a week ago or so I said the two pillars to two elements of our capability to contain the infection and the surge of infections in this country rely on two things.
Keeping infections from coming from without in, we've been very successful in doing that with China and with Europe. Now we have the northern and southern border issues there is a fundamental public health reason for doing that because we cannot be preventing people from coming in from one area when they can actually go into the other.
So that's an important reason. Understand that there's a public health reason for doing that. The second thing I think is really important is what happened in New York today with Governor Cuomo mentioned about an hour ago some rather strong issues that have been addressed with his recommendations - not recommendations essentially orders.
Now we have a group of recommendations and guidelines that are applicable to the entire country. You know that we've been over them yet there are places, regions, states and cities in this country that are being stressed much, much more than the country as a whole.
Clearly one of them was Washington another one was California. Governor Newsom made some very important difficult decisions. Today Governor Cuomo did the same thing and I want to say I strongly support what he's doing.
And one thing as a New Yorker myself for those who haven't figured out from my accent that I'm from New York as a New York I know what New Yorkers can do with tough. I was in New York City on September 11th 2001 and I know what the New Yorkers can do. So please cooperate with you Governor, cooperate with your Mayor it's very important. Thank you.
TRUMP: Thank you. Mike?
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's correct. Thank you, Mr. President. The White House Coronavirus task force met this morning and we continue at the President's direction to bring the full resources not just of the federal government but in full partnership with our state governments businesses around America and in partnership with the American people to respond to the threat of the Coronavirus.
And I know I can speak on behalf of the President with confidence when I say how inspired we are. By the way the American people and American businesses are coming together to help defeat this virus in our country. Millions of Americans are putting into practice the President's 15-day guidelines and we encourage everyone.
Even those that are not in areas with significant outbreak to review these guidelines over the next week and more and put them into practice and you'll continue to do your part. Later today, we'll be talking with manufacturers around the country and President and I continue to be inspired by the way American industry is stepping forward.
We have businesses around the country that are literally volunteering to retrofit plants to help us meet the needs of our health care workers and our health care system and confronting the Coronavirus.
As President mentioned yesterday following his decision to put FEMA in the lead the Emergency Declaration we actually met with all the nation's Governors from the FEMA National Response Coordination Center.
The president and I our entire team at the federal level couldn't be more grateful for the efforts of all of our Governors in implementing the guidance that is being issued not only from our task force but also in taking strong measures in their own communities to protect their citizens.
PENCE: We want to urge every American to heed your local authorities listen to their guidance and also do your part to slow the spread. We reiterated to all of the Governors that the President by putting FEMA in the lead we'll continue to implement a plan that is locally executed, state managed and federally supported that puts the health of America first.
We've received a report today as President mentioned on our legislative team on Capitol Hill working with Republicans and Democrats at this very hour to pass an Economic Recovery Package that the President described. And we hope to see the Congress act on that early next week.
On the subject of supplies we continue to make steady progress. On testing, thanks to the President's involvement of commercial labs, the public and private partnerships more and more Americans are being tested every single day. And tomorrow - and FEMA will update the American public on the status of testing and our support of state- based testing efforts that are literally expanding by the hour.
On the subject of medical supplies, we continue at the President's direction to pursue every means to expand the supply of personal protective equipment for the extraordinary and courageous healthcare workers that are ministering to the needs of people impacted by the Coronavirus.
And we have a policy of procuring allocating as well as conserving the resources that we have in our system. And now that the President worked with the Congress to make industrial masks fully available for hospitals to be able to purchase, to be able to use as protective equipment.
We're more encouraged than ever about the availability of those important N-95 masks to our health care facilities and over this weekend we'll be announcing a major procurement from the federal government of N-95 masks as well.
We're also encouraged that we're finding new alternatives to increase the supply of ventilators. We've mentioned that we have a federal stockpile some 20,000 ventilators on standby but that doesn't count the tens of thousands of ventilators that are in our health care system around the country.
But the President has challenged us to work to free up other ventilators from other sources around the country. And there are two different ways that we're doing that. Number one in our recent discussions with the anesthesiologist we've literally identified tens of thousands of existing ventilators that can be retrofitted and converted to be ventilators for people struggling with the Coronavirus.
But also on the President's behalf and behalf of all of our task force we want to continue to urge every American and every American hospital and health care facility to postpone any elective medical procedures. This will free up bed space free up hospital capacity for people that are struggling with the Coronavirus and it'll also free up equipment that our health care workers need.
It is inspiring that we continue to receive reports of businesses around America are donating N-95 masks to their local hospitals, businesses large and small are donating hundreds in some cases millions have had n-95 masks and I know how grateful the President is and we all are.
And let me close by saying as all of our experts have said many times while the threat of serious illness to the average American from the Coronavirus remains low. Every American can do your part to reduce the burden on your health, on your family, the burden on our health care system and especially the threat to the most vulnerable among us by putting into practice the President's 15 days to slow the spread.
And as the President said at the outset of his remarks, I know that millions of Americans are doing that just now and the greatness of the American character is shining for.
TRUMP: Thank you, Mike. Thank you very much. OK thank you. Go ahead Kaitlan.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You had a call with Senator Schumer, he says you now agree to invoke the Defense Production Act actually make those medical supplies to hospitals say are in severe shortage? So two questions are that what you're doing now?
TRUMP: It is I did it yesterday. We invoked it I think the day before. We signed it in the evening of the day before. And invoked it yesterday we have a lot of people working very hard to do ventilators and various other things.
COLLINS: Su you're using it now to tell this is we are using ventilators, masks and respirators?
TRUMP: For certain things that we need--
TRUMP: --including some of the very important emergency. I would say ventilators probably more masks to a large extent.
TRUMP: We have millions of masks which are coming and which will be distributed to the states. The states are having a hard time getting so we using the act. The act is very good for things like this. We have millions of masks that we've ordered they will be here soon. We're having them shipped directly to states.
COLLINS: So you said you'd only - you were signing this but not invoking it. This is what you said yesterday and you would only do so in a worst case scenario? So we are not at a worst case scenario?
TRUMP: We need - no it is no different other than we need certain equipment that the states are unable to get by themselves. So we're invoking it to use the powers of the federal government to help the states, get things that they need like the masks, like the ventilators yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Given what Governor Cuomo has done in New York he is really more consideration to a national lockdown to keep people in the home.
TRUMP: I don't think so. Essentially have done that in California we've done that in New York. Those are really two hot beds as it probably the two hottest of them all in terms of hot spots. I don't think so because you go out to the Midwest you go out to other locations and they're watching it on television but they don't have the same problems. They don't have by any means the same problem.
New York, California, Miami the Governor is doing an excellent job Governor DeSantis in Florida. We have some pretty hot spots in Florida too but we're general and the State of Washington of course but that was largely if you look at it, it was one nursing home that had problems like you wouldn't believe.
So now we're working with the Governors and I don't think you'll - I don't think we'll ever find that necessary.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A weekend to your 15 day guidelines are you happy with the progress would you like to see?
TRUMP: I am happy. I am happy with it. We'll have to see what the results are at the end of 14 days let's say we'll know by the 15 day to see what we do? But I'm certainly honored by the way the American people are working because it has worked. It is work not to work is the first time this has ever happened.
And we're working out a tremendous financial package for them. So they don't work. Whoever heard of this usually you worked out a financial package to get people working. We're asking people not to work. The social distancing that new term that's become probably the hottest term there is.
So now I'm very honored by the way the American people are taking this I mean so seriously. Yes John.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President a question for you and a question for Dr. Fauci if I could. There has been some concern among Democrats on Capitol Hill that the phase three fiscal stimulus is weighted too much in favor of corporations and not enough in terms of individuals. What did your conversations with Senator Schumer yield on that front?
TRUM: Well, I think really all of that is being discussed right now. We talked about as an example buy back stock buy backs. I don't want to have stock buy backs. I don't want people spending. I don't want some executives that we're going to buy 200,000 shares of stock. I want that money to be used for the workers and also for the company to keep the company going.
But not for buy backs. I would - I mean I haven't spoken to a lot of the Republicans or Democrats on it. We discussed it and I don't like buy back and I didn't like them the first time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you and Senator Schumer--
TRUMP: Where we think I think we're discussing that we're discussing many things.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you on the same page with Senator Schumer?
TRUMP: We're not so far away I'll tell you. We're not very far away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And to Dr. Fauci if I could. Dr. Fauci, you first explained yesterday there has been some problems with Hydroxychloroquine there are potential therapeutic for people who are infected with the Coronavirus. Is there any evidence to suggest that as with malaria it might be used as a powerful access right against COVID-19?
FAUCI: No, the answer is no and the evidence that you're talking about John is anecdotal evidence. So as the Commissioner of FDA and the President mentioned yesterday, we're trying to strike a balance between making something with the potential of an act - of an effect to the American people available at the same time that we do it under the auspices of the protocol that would give us information to determine if it's truly safe and truly effective.
But the information that you're referring to specifically is anecdotal. It was not done in a controlled clinical trial. See you really can't make any definitive statement about.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President on that front? TRUMP: I think without seeing too much I'm probably more of a fan of that than - maybe than anybody. But I'm a big fan of and we'll see what happens? And we all understand what the doctor said is a 100 percent correct necessarily but we've - you know I've seen things that are impressive. We'll see we're going to know soon. We're going to know soon including safety but you know.
And when you get to safety this has been prescribed for many years for people to combat malaria which was a big problem and it's very effective. It's a strong drug. So we'll see.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: --begins to start?
TRUMP: It was a very - it was as I understand that - is that a correct statement?