Return to Transcripts main page

THE SITUATION ROOM

President Trump And Coronavirus Task Force Hold Briefing On Coronavirus Response. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired March 29, 2020 - 18:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[18:00:00]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Fantastic. Anybody else? If you want, yes, please.

We're doing such a great job, we have to (INAUDIBLE) they want.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President. We appreciate the opportunity to work with your administration on a lot of collaborative fronts.

Number one, we all talked about PPE products. That's critical, and it's not just to the hospitals, that's a must, but it's really to all healthcare providers out there working on the frontline. So our commitment is there to get it to the hotspots and get it to the care providers that are taking care of those patients. It's absolutely key.

Second, we talked in there about buying in America and getting resources back here and manufacturing in America. That is critical, a lesson to be learned from where we are.

And, lastly, we're proud that we introduced a test. We need to get some more tests out there in a rapid form. We're excited about that. We've worked with your administration very closely and the FDA, and we're very grateful for that because it's a quick-rapid antibody test that we need as well. So we're really proud to work with the administration, all going well. Thanks so much.

TRUMP: Thank you.

So, thank you all very much and for the great job you're doing. It's really incredible, frankly. Many of the states are stocked up. Some of them don't admit it, but we have sent just so much, so many things to them, including ventilators.

You know, there's a question as to hoarding of ventilators. Some hospitals and independent hospitals, and some hospital chains, as we call them, they are holding ventilators. They don't want to let them up. We need them for certain areas where there's big problems. We can't hold them if they think there might be a problem weeks down the road.

So we've delivered a lot, and this group has been really fantastic. We want to thank you, UPS and FedEx in particular. You've gone absolutely out of your way, so we appreciate everything you've done and delivered.

The federal government continues to mobilize every resource to make sure our frontline doctors and nurses have the equipment needed to save American lives. Yesterday, I visited Naval Station Norfolk as the USNS Comfort departed for New York three weeks ahead of schedule, fully loaded with 12 operating rooms, 1,000 hospital beds and hundreds of the best doctors, nurses and medical professionals anywhere in the United States Navy, anywhere, frankly, in the United States. It was an incredible thing to see.

Most of you saw that on television as it was leaving. It left literally three weeks early. It was under maintenance, and they got the maintenance done very quickly. They worked around the clock, as any of the people have. And it was a great sight.

Additionally, two of the country's largest health insurers, Humana and Cigna, are announcing that they will waive co-pays, which is a big deal for anybody that understands insurance. They don't waive co-pays too easily, but we've asked them to do it, and they've done it. Co- insurance and deductibles for the coronavirus treatments to help ease the financial burden on American families during this pandemic.

So, they're waiving co-pays, co-insurance and deductibles. Nobody is -- I don't think anyone has heard of that one. Have you heard of that one before? I haven't heard. I want to thank them, great companies.

Today, I spoke with Wolfgang Puck. Wolfgang Puck is a great restauranteur, as you know, as is Jean-Georges and Thomas Keller and Danielle Baloo and other leaders in the restaurant business, which has been probably one of the hardest hit industries. I have directed my staff to use any and all authority available to give restaurants, bars, clubs incentive to stay open. You're going to lose all these restaurants and they're not going to make it back. They have to get going.

So, what I'm doing is I'm going to tell Secretary Mnuchin, and also our great secretary of labor, who you know very well, to immediately start looking into the restoring of the deductibility of meals and entertainment costs for corporations. That set the restaurant business back a lot when it was done originally and then done not so long ago. And we're going to go to deductibility so that companies can send people to restaurants. I think it will have a tremendous impact and maybe keep them open.

And don't forget, some are closing right now, despite the fact that they could be open in the not-too-distant future. We expect that, but there are some that aren't going to be able to get opened. And we want to make sure they do. So we're going to look at restoration, restoring the deductibility of meals and entertainment cost to corporations so that corporations can send people to restaurants and take a deduction on it like they did in the old days. That was when restaurants were doing really well.

The financial relief bill I signed on Friday provided historic relief for American workers and small businesses. It includes $350 billion in job restoration and retention.

[18:05:00]

So if you look at job retention loans for small businesses, that's a big deal, with loan forgiveness available for businesses that continue paying their workers. So it's $350 billion. Job retention loans for small businesses with loan forgiveness available for businesses that continue paying workers, I mean, how about that?

$300 billion in direct cash payments are being sent to every American citizen earning less than $99,000 per year, $3,400 for the typical family of four. So, they'll be getting a check for $3,400 for the typical family of four, approximately $250 billion in expanded unemployment benefits.

Under this plan, the average worker who has lost his or her job will receive 100 percent of their salary for up to four full months. The bill provides for these unemployment checks to be delivered through the existing state unemployment systems, not us, state.

And I was opposed to this method because many of the states have very antiquated computer systems that are 45 years old and they're not prepared to handle this kind of distribution, this kind of money coming in so quickly. They're not set up for that, and I didn't want to do it, but our opponents wanted it, so we did it.

And if they don't get their money fast, I'm going to ask that we convene the federal government that we come back to Congress and we'll do something where we take care of it, because we can take care of it very easily and quickly, and I said that. But a lot of these systems are so old and antiquated at the state level that they're going to have the money -- they're going to get the money very quickly, but they're not going to be able to distribute it.

So, remember what I said, and we will, if we have to, call Congress back or find some other way of delivery of the money.

Throughout this great national struggle, the American people have embodied the unrivaled patriotism and willpower that has led America to conquer every challenge, every single one in our nation's history. More than 90 percent of Americans say they are staying home as much as possible, putting their lives, their careers, their educations and their dreams on hold, out of devotion to their fellow citizens and to their country. Social distancing, that's the way you win.

These shared sacrifices are pulling our nation together like never before. Family bonds are strengthening. Neighbors are looking after neighbors. It's incredible. I'm seeing -- you're seeing -- everybody is seeing what's happening. Communities are rallying for the cause. And all divisions are fading away. The Americans of every background are uniting to help our nation in this hour of need. It's up to 151 countries. So, when we say our nation, our nation and the world, when you think.

Think of it, 151 countries. Somebody said to me today that wasn't in this particular world, they didn't know that we had that many countries, 151 countries. That's something. And some are struggling at a level that nobody would have believed possible. If you look at Italy, if you look at France is having big problems, Spain is having incredible problems.

Something we did very well is when we stopped the inflow from China at a very early level, that was a good thing to do, great thing to do. We would have had thousands and thousands of more deaths. And we also stopped the inflow from Europe at a very early level. But those things were very important, especially the initial one, because we had never done anything like it, where we closed our borders to a country like that.

The modeling put together by Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci and our other top healthcare -- I mean, we have -- and these people are amazing, the healthcare experts who, in this country, are the best in the world. They demonstrate that the mitigation measures we are putting in place may significantly reduce the number of new infections and, ultimately, the number of fatalities.

I want the American people to know that your selfless, inspiring and valiant efforts are saving countless lives. You are making the difference. The modeling estimates that the peak in death rate is likely to hit in two weeks.

So, I'll say it again, the peak, the highest point of death rates, remember this, is likely to hit in two weeks. Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won. That would be the greatest loss of all. Therefore, the next two weeks, and during this period, it's very important that everyone strongly follow the guidelines, have to follow the guidelines that our great vice president holds up a lot.

[18:10:06]

He is holding that up a lot. He believes in it so strongly. The better you do, the faster this whole nightmare will end.

Therefore, we will be extending our guidelines to April 30th to slow the spread. On Tuesday, we will be finalizing these plans and providing a summary of our findings supporting data and strategy to the American people. So we'll be having lots of meetings in between, but we'll be having a very important statement made on Tuesday, probably Tuesday evening, on all of the findings, all of the data and the reasons we're doing things, the way we're doing them. We can expect that by June 1st, we will be well on our way to recovery, we think, by June 1st. A lot of great things will be happening.

I want every citizen in our country to take heart and confidence in the fact that we have the best medical minds in the world tackling this disease. We have the best science, the best researchers and the best talent anywhere, working night and day to protect your family and loved ones and to overcome this pandemic.

With the grace of God, we are rising to the occasion. We are proving that no darkness could overshadow the eternal light of American courage. We will win. And when we do, we will rebound with astonishing force and speed. We will be stronger than ever and we will have learned so much, where something like this can never hurt us to the extent it has, and the world.

Again, in our present crisis, the strength of our people is our single most important asset. And together, we will defeat this invisible curse, this invisible enemy, and rise to incredible, new heights. So I just want to thank you all for being here. And we'll take some questions, if you'd like. Yes, please, Kelly?

REPORTER: Mr. President, Dr. Fauci said (INAUDIBLE) in excess of a million cases in the United States and deaths could exceed 100,000. Do you accept that assessment? And has that formed your thinking about extending these guidelines?

And you also talked about New York. Were you suggesting there has been inappropriate use of masks or improper conduct with supplies?

TRUMP: No, I want the people in New York to check -- Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio -- that when a hospital that's getting 10,000 masks goes to 300,000 masks during the same period -- and that's a rapid period -- I would like them to check that, because I hear stories like that all the time.

You know, we're develop -- we're delivering millions and millions of different products, and all we do is hear that, can you get some more? But when you hear that, and I heard that from one of the great companies of the world at doing this -- it's a client, and they're going from, you heard it, 10,000, 20,000 tops to 300,000? And that's a hospital that's always full.

So, I think people should check that, because there's something going on. I don't think it's hoarding. I think it's maybe worse than hoarding. But check it out. Check it out. I don't know. I don't know. I think that's for other people to figure out. But you don't go from numbers like that.

Now, other equipment, likewise, because we're delivering a lot of ventilators. And we're building -- by the way, we're building and buying, and we have a lot of ventilators that we're going to be sending out very soon. We also have right now in the stockpile almost 10,000 ventilators that we have to hold in case of emergency.

We don't want them going out and then Louisiana has a tremendous problem, which we now know they do. All of a sudden, it came very quickly. It came -- I mean, Louisiana was doing so fantastically well. Then all of a sudden, there was a big rash of cases.

So, we have to be prepared to move the ventilators. They're very important pieces of equipment, and they're very expensive and they're very complex. They're very -- it's like building a car, you know. These are expensive, complicated, very complicated pieces of equipment.

So, we now have 10,000. And we inherited a system, which was broken, just like -- I'll never forget the day when a general came and said, sir, my first week in office, we have no ammunition. That was in the military. We've now rebuilt our military stronger than it's ever been, and we have so ammunition, you wouldn't believe it, how much ammunition we have.

But the same thing here. We had a stockpile that was deficient. We had testing that was no good. We had a testing situation that just wasn't right.

[18:15:01]

It was okay for very small cases, but it was obsolete and it was broken and it was only good for a very small situation.

But what I'd like to do is I'd like to ask Dr. Fauci to come forward and discuss the number, because I think the number is going to be a very different number than the numbers that you talked about. Please, Doctor, if you might talk about that.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Yes, thank you, Mr. President. Yes, the number I gave out is, you know, based on modeling, and I think it's entirely conceivable that if we do not mitigate to the extent that we're trying to, that you could reach that number. Yes, yes, yes, it's possible. I mean, you could make a big sound bite about it, but the fact is, it's possible. What we're trying do is not let that happen. So instead of concentrating on the upper and the lower, we're saying that we're trying to push it all the way down.

But the second part of your question was, yes, we feel that the mitigation that we're doing right now is having an effect. It's very difficult to quantitate it, because you have two dynamic things going on at the same time. You have the virus going up and you have the mitigation trying to push it down. But the decision to prolong -- not prolong, but to extend this mitigation process until the end of April, I think, was a wise and prudent decision. Dr. Birx and I spent a considerable amount of time going over all of the data, why we felt this was a best choice of us, and the president accepted it.

So, in direct answer to your question, the idea that we may have these many cases played a role in our decision in trying to make sure that we don't do something prematurely and pull back when we should be pushing.

TRUMP: Deborah, please? Would you -- can you explain the 2.2 million if we did nothing? Because a lot of people would like to do that.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE RESPONSE COORDINATOR: So, thank you. You all know, we've all seen the models, you've seen the models from Imperial, you've seen the models from Columbia. We've reviewed 12 different models. And then we went back to the drawing board over the last week or two and worked from the ground up, utilizing actual reporting of cases. It's the way we've built the HIV model, the T.B. model, the malaria model.

And when we finished, the other group that was working in parallel, which we didn't know about. HIME and Chris Murray, ended up at the same numbers. So, if you go on his website, you can see the concern that we had with the growing number of potential fatalities.

All of the flu models predicted anywhere between 1.6 and 2.2 million fatalities if we didn't mitigate. I think you all knew those numbers. Some of them predicted half of the United States would get infected and have that level of mortality.

So, we worked very hard together to really look at all of the impacts of the different mitigations that have been utilized around the world and used that evidence base to really bring that data and that evidence to the president to consider for extending, which is not a simple situation when you ask people to stay home for another 30 days.

And so they have to know that we've really built this on scientific evidence and the potential to save really hundreds of thousands of American lives. And we know that's a huge sacrifice for everyone. We know it's a sacrifice for every mother and child and father who is also self-isolating.

There are people that have to go out to work, and we know the compromises that they're making, but it's all to protect not only Americans but the healthcare providers, the healthcare providers that are on the frontlines. And you've seen them. And you've seen how difficult this has been.

And so we're really working. There will be a comprehensive piece presented on Tuesday that really talks about not only diagnosing individuals but also increasing our surveillance, now that we have more test kits, so that we can really stop and contain new infections at the same time. We're really dedicating test kits still to the critical diagnosis so people can get the treatment that they want, and so that we can ensure as when people come to the hospital that they know that the nurses and the doctors and the equipment that they need will be there to serve them, because together as Americans, we're going to bring down the number of infections so we don't have 2.2 million deaths or 1.6 million deaths, but really work very hard to keep this in as low a number as we possibly can.

REPORTER: Mr. President?

TRUMP: I just wanted to reiterate, because a lot of people have been asking, well, what would have happened if we did nothing, did nothing, we just rode it out. And I have been asking that question to Tony and Deborah, and they've been talking to me about it for a long time. Other people have been asking that question. And I think we got our most accurate study today, or certainly most comprehensive.

[18:20:00]

Think of the number, 2.2 -- potentially, 2.2 million people if we did nothing, if we didn't do the distancing, if we didn't do all of the things that we're doing.

Now, when you hear those numbers, you start to realize that with the kind of work we went through last week with the $2.2 trillion, it no longer sounds like a lot, right? So, you're talking about -- when I heard the number today, first time I've heard that number -- because I've been asking the same question that some people have been asking -- I felt even better about what we did last week with the $2.2 trillion, because you're talking about a potential of up to 2.2 million. And some people said it could be even higher than that.

So, you're talking about 2.2 million deaths, 2.2 million people from this. And so if we can hold that down as we're saying to 100,000 -- it's a horrible number -- maybe even less, but to 100,000. So we have between 100,000 and 200,000. We all together have done a very good job.

But 2.2 -- up to 2.2 million deaths and maybe even beyond that, I'm feeling very good about what we did last week.

REPORTER: Mr. President?

TRUMP: Yes, please. Go ahead, please.

REPORTER: Mr. President, given that you're announcing that you're extending these guidelines, was floating Easter a mistake, do you think?

TRUMP: No.

REPORTER: And does this -- can you tell us why --

TRUMP: It was just an aspiration. We actually will be hitting, potentially -- this was with our meeting before -- on Easter we probably -- well, that could be a peak. That could be a peak, period. That could be the peak, sadly to say. That could be the peak number of deaths before it starts coming down.

No, that was aspirational. We had an aspiration of Easter. But when you hear these kinds of numbers and you hear the potential travesty, we don't want to do anything where, you know -- we don't want to have a spike up. We don't want to do it sooner, then all of a sudden, you're going down, you're coming down, and then all of a sudden you come up again, because we discussed, that could happen, and we don't want that to happen. We've gone through too much.

So, that was an aspirational number. I didn't say Easter. I said it would be a great thing if we could do it by Easter, and we know much more now than we knew two or three weeks ago. Easter should be the peak number, and it should start coming down, and hopefully very substantially from that point.

Thank you.

REPORTER: Mr. President.

TRUMP: Please.

JEN PELLEGRINO, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, OAN: Jenn Pellegrino with OAN.

TRUMP: Yes.

PELLEGRINO: Thank you, sir.

Mr. President, your approval ratings have been the highest they've ever been, as well as the ratings on the handling of the virus. Yet there are some networks that are saying they're debating whether or not to carry these briefings live. Do you think there's a link between the two?

TRUMP: Well, I don't know. I know that -- boy, that's a nice question. Thank you very much. Yes, I don't want high approval ratings for this. I wish we could have our old life back. We had the greatest economy that we've ever had, and we didn't have death. We didn't have this.

We didn't have this horrible scourge, this plague, call it whatever you want, the virus. But we're working very hard. That's all I know, you know. I see things, I see numbers. They don't matter to me. What matters to me is that we have a victory over this thing as soon as possible.

When you hear that 2.2 million people could have died if we didn't go through all of this, and now the number will be, you know, a much lower number, hopefully, it's going to be the numbers that we're talking about, but -- so, I appreciate it very much. But, you know, what I want is I want our life back again. I want our country back. I want the world back. I want the world to get rid of this. This is, again, 151 countries, and we're going to do it. We're going to have a great victory. We're going to have a great victory.

REPORTER: Mr. President.

TRUMP: Go ahead.

REPORTER: Yes, thanks. You mentioned it. I just wanted to make sure I was right. So Humana and Cigna are going to waive for all costs for anybody that's got the coronavirus. They're taking care of everything?

TRUMP: Well, that's they said. I told you what they're taking care of, co- pays in particular. That's a big deal. Insurance don't do that, and I appreciate it. Humana and Cigna, they should be getting a lot of credit for that.

REPORTER: Will there be other companies or just those two?

TRUMP: Well, those two are getting a lot of credit right now for it, and they should, because it's something that -- it's a lot of money they're waiving. And so we thank them. Will there be other companies? I wouldn't be surprised.

REPORTER: Are you calling on them to do it, sir?

TRUMP: I'll tell you what, yes. I'd love to have them do it. Let them waive those co-pays. There's a great spirit in this country right now. I mean, I know insurance companies better than anybody. They just don't do that. But now, there's a spirit like I have not seen. I have never seen anything like it.

I mean, even the media is much more fair. I wouldn't say all of it, but that's okay. They should be fair, because they should want this to end. This is about death.

[18:25:00]

So, I want to thank Cigna and Humana. Thank you.

REPORTER: Will the federal government be reimbursing those insurance companies or is this something they really are just doing out of their pocketbooks?

TRUMP: They haven't asked for reimbursement, so I assume they're not. They said they're going to waive them. Waiving them doesn't mean we're going to waive them and get reimbursed.

REPORTER: Okay. Second question for you, sir, first of the month is three days away. I know these cash payments -- Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said today about three weeks they should get there. For people that are worried about paying rent, I know mortgages through the HUD is taken care of, but I'm just curious about rent. What should people be doing for the first of the month?

TRUMP: Well, they're going to be getting the money. I will tell you. I think landlords are going to take it easy. We may put out a statement on that. I think a lot of people that are owed money are going to take it easy. They don't sort of have a choice. But a lot of concessions are made, just like the insurance companies, a lot concessions are being made that wouldn't have been thought of three weeks ago, not even thought of. So, a lot of positive things are happening.

Please, behind you.

REPORTER: Thank you, Mr. President. Yesterday, why did you publicly threaten quarantine on New York, New Jersey, parts of --

TRUMP: I didn't do that at all. Read the statement. Read the statement. Read what I said. I said we're going to look into possibly quarantine. I didn't say we're going to quarantine. I looked at it as a possibility, because a lot of our professionals suggested quarantine. I said we're going to look at it. We then looked at it, you see? Who are you with, Bloomberg, right? I can't imagine that.

Let me just tell you, I didn't threaten it. I didn't go around threatening. What happened is people, professionals, very good professionals, love the idea of doing that because that's sort of the ultimate in distancing you can't do. They didn't want New Yorkers where they're having a problem necessarily going down to Florida where they have less of a problem.

So the concept of quarantine was thrown out to me. Really, would love to do it -- they would love to do it, and I thought it was too much to do, because the people are doing a great job with it.

Also, it's very hard to enforce.

REPORTER: But by speaking about it publicly -- I mean, by speaking about it publicly and letting it be known that it's a consideration, do you think that you maybe frightened some Americans -- TRUMP: No. I think we made people aware to stay in your houses and do good. And now, we did an advisory. It's a strong advisory. The governors are running the advisory, the three governors of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut. And I think we did a great thing.

But all I did yesterday, as you know -- you can see it -- you can read it. You can read and you can see very simply that I said that we are looking into it, and then before the end of the evening, substantially, we decided to go with the advisory, which frankly, I liked better from the beginning.

Go ahead.

REPORTER: Thank you, Mr. President. I have two questions. The first is, you've said repeatedly that you think that some of the equipment that governors are requesting, they don't actually need. And you said New York might not need 30,000 --

TRUMP: I didn't say that.

REPORTER: You said it on Sean Hannity's Fox News. You said that you might --

TRUMP: Why don't you people act -- let me ask you, why don't you act in a little more positive? It's always trying to get you, get you, get you. And you know what, that's why nobody trusts the media anymore.

REPORTER: My question is how is that going to impact --

TRUMP: Excuse me, you didn't hear me. That's why you used to work for The Times and now you work for somebody else.

Look, let me tell you something, be nice. Don't be threatening.

REPORTER: Mr. President, my question is --

TRUMP: Be nice. Go ahead.

REPORTER: My question is, how is that going to impact how you fill these orders for ventilators or masks, your views that they're not -- it's not going to impact you at all --

TRUMP: We're producing tremendous numbers of ventilators. We're doing a great job on it. Mike Pence, our vice president, has headed up the task force, which has been incredible, the job they've done. We have everybody in the White House working on it. We have -- everybody in the country is working on this in one way or the other.

The fact is, we've done a great job of delivering. You've seen the biggest people in the business. I mean, there's nobody even close to this group of people. We had a meeting at 3:00. It lasted for a long time. It was a great meeting with the generals and with everybody else, and they have done a fantastic job.

I'm just saying this, if they're holding -- let me give you one example. We sent thousands of generators to New York. They were put into a warehouse, a New York warehouse that happened to be located, interestingly, in Edison, New Jersey. They were given to New York, and we then went to other places, also giving thousands of ventilators.

The people in New York never distributed the generators. We said, why didn't you distribute them? Now, you have to understand, they have New York people working in those warehouses. They knew they had them. So, we said, why didn't you distribute them? I hope they've distributed them now. But maybe they didn't need them so badly.

But just so you know, we're all -- you, me, everybody, we're all on the same team. You know, when journalists get up -- and you're a journalist, a fine journalist -- when a journalist get up --

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) with Sean Hannity --

TRUMP: -- and ask questions that are so threatening --

REPORTER: I was quoting you directly from your interview with Sean Hannity.

TRUMP: Take a look at my interview. What I want to do is if there is something wrong, we have to get to the bottom of it.

[18:30:00]

When I hear face masks go from 10,000 to 300,000, and they constantly need more, and the biggest man in the business is like shocked. He knows all about the virus, by the way. He's not surprised by that. He knows all about it. He shouldn't be surprised. He should say, well, that's standard because this is really a very tough disease, this is really a very tough virus to handle. OK. Please go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President, my second question -- my second question is --

TRUMP: Go ahead. That's enough. Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: But, Mr. President, my second --

TRUMP: Please, please.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: My second --

TRUMP: That's enough.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President --

TRUMP: That's enough. That's not fair to your other reporters. It's not fair. You had a long time, a long question. It's your -- if we have time, I'll get back to you for your second question, is that OK? All right, thank you. I appreciate it.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Thank you, Mr. President. Just to follow up on previous questions. You said that the peak will hit in two weeks.

TRUMP: Well, we don't know that, but we think the peak will hit -- UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You think it will hit in two weeks.

TRUMP: Right, that is --

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Sure.

TRUMP: -- our two doctors here.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you just share with us your understanding of how bad it will be so the American people will be prepared for it?

TRUMP: Well, I can. I think I'll ask, Doctor and Doctor, maybe you could both come up and give your opinion on that, because that's really --

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: And I have another question on Italy, please.

TRUMP: OK. Please.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: Thank you. We have great concerns when you look at the model. As I told you, look at the Chris Murray model, where he shows a rapid escalation, and you can see it happening with the people we're losing every day throughout America, and you can see it going up, just like cases, and we're starting to lose people at the same rate, and we have deep concerns about that.

And I think we're meeting and we've had calls with the clinicians, and that has been extraordinarily helpful. I think you're watching the alerts. I mean, we have a different population than Italy or Spain. And so, because of that, our doctors and our nurses are getting information back really quickly so that they can talk to each other about how to really combat this.

We're seeing things here that weren't reported in other countries. And so, I really want to appreciate -- I know doctors and nurses are going full out, but they're also taking the time and their two hours of sleep to write us about what could be happening, when you see the cardiovascular disease and others. So, in the model -- and there's a large confidence interval. And so, it's anywhere in the model between 80,000 and 160,000, maybe even potentially 200,000 people succumbing to this.

That's with mitigation. In that model, they make full assumption that we continue doing exactly what we're doing, but even better in every metro area with a level of intensity, because we're hoping that the models are not completely right, that we can do better than what the predictions are.

But we're tracking it very closely, and I think there's people around the United States really helping us, scientists across the country have really given freely of their time to really help us not only model this, but really assure that the American public knows how important it is that they stay doing this.

You know, you could see from the recent data, and I'll have Dr. Fauci talk about young people that are being impacted here. We didn't see that the same way in Europe. But our population is about eight or nine years younger. And so, we have to be attentive to all aspects of this, to children, to young people, to adults. We know still the people with pre-existing conditions and the elderly are at particularly high risk, but we don't want to lose any American.

And so, that's why I think the president came to the conclusion that at a minimum, we have to continue what we've been doing, but even better, to every metro area out there, we have to do better. We have to ensure that we're protecting each other.

Tony, you want to --

FAUCI: Thank you. So, at the risk of offending my modeling colleagues, models are good, but models often generate the kind of anxious question that you asked, is how bad could this possibly get? And as I've said many, many times, a model is as good as the assumptions that you put into the model. And very often, many of these assumptions are based on a complexity of issues that aren't necessarily the same, as Dr. Birx said, from one country to the other.

So when you give a model, you have the worst extreme, you have the best extreme. Often, the worst extreme means that you don't do anything. You just, as we said, let it rip and let it go. If you go to the lower end, that means you actually mitigate it really to the utmost.

So, what I like to do as a scientist, a physician, a public health official, is to not ignore models, but say look at the data as it's evolving and do everything you possibly can to mitigate that instead of getting overly anxious about the extremes of the model.

Again, not to push them aside completely, but the reason the president made the announcement today about going to the end of April is because we want to make sure that we don't prematurely think we're doing so great.

[18:35:14]

We may be, but we want to push it to the extreme. So, take that with you and maybe you'll be less anxious, OK?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President, on behalf of the foreign pool, sir, you mentioned Italy.

TRUMP: Just to finish with --

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Sure.

TRUMP: So -- so what both were saying and what Dr. Fauci just brought up, we don't want to do well and then end a little bit early and have it start going up again because that would be a disaster. Go ahead, please.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You mentioned Italy. Italy is a close ally of the United States. TRUMP: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: They are facing catastrophic times.

TRUMP: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: They have been receiving help from countries like Russia, China, even Cuba. Cuban doctors have been sent to Italy. Is the United States stepping in to help --

TRUMP: Yes, we are.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: -- with those allied in Italy?

TRUMP: In fact I met last night with our people. We're sending them a lot of different things that we're not needing because we're obviously in need of a lot also, and we're also helping them monetarily. We are helping Italy a lot. We're working very closely with Italy and we're working closely with Spain, too, which is really hit hard. And we're working -- we're working with everybody.

I spoke with Angela Merkel the other day. Germany's hit hard, their mortality rate is different, I think because they do more testing, but their mortality rate is much different. Italy's mortality rate is very high. So is Spain. But we're working very closely with them, yes. We had a big meeting on it last night.

Admiral Giroir, would you please come up and just talk a little bit about the tremendous success that's been made on testing from where we started? Thank you.

ADMIRAL BRETT GIROIR, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF HEALTH: Thank you, Mr. President. So, as of close of business yesterday, we have been able to perform in the United States over 894,000 tests, so highly significantly increased every single day.

Those tests are performed at a number of places, in hospitals in your neighborhood, in the public health laboratories, the state public health laboratories, and in our territories, as well as the large reference laboratories that our members at the American Clinical Laboratory Association.

They have done over 650,000 tests, including over 840,000 just yesterday. I met with all their CEOs yesterday. They're fully committed to increasing testing to meet the requests and the demands of the president and vice president.

A couple words on the point-of-care tests. Point-of-care means you stop, you get the result right there that the president and the vice president have talked about, by Abbott, approved in record time by Dr. Steve Hahn and the FDA. This is a point-of-care test meaning that from the time to swab to the time you get a positive result, five minutes, like the president said, and at most, 15 minutes for a negative result.

So, just think of it as a 15-minute test. This is not an esoteric test. There are 18,000 of these little toaster-sized machines all over the country, in doctors' offices and hospitals right now. And Abbott will be providing 50,000 or more tests per day starting on April 2nd, with the first shipments out already. This complements other point-of- care testing like the cepheid test that we announced about a week ago.

We also have moderate platforms, so it's not just about the number, it's the type. We have point-of-care. We have moderate platforms that are in hospitals and in larger clinics and academic medical centers. And then we have the very large tests. You've heard Ambassador Birx talk about the Roche tests and the Roche platforms that are in some of these big-reference laboratories. So it's not just about the number, but it's about painting this very complex ecosystem so that everybody who needs a test can get a test.

On priorities, remember, we are still prioritizing those in most need, those who are in hospitals or in ICUs, because that test makes a difference to how they're being treated. Symptomatic first responders, health care workers, and as Administrator Verma will always say, those in long-term care facilities who are at high risk.

One last point. I've learned more about nasal swabs than I ever thought I would want to learn in my entire life, but it was a very big thing that the FDA approved last week, and it will now be implemented this week. Instead of having a provider stick this all the way in the back of your nose, that's uncomfortable, but it also requires PPE changes every time it's done, the FDA approved with lots of data supporting it self-swab of your nose.

So, literally, put a swab, certain kind of swab, foam swab in your nose, put it in a plastic bag, give it in and drop it. This not only increases the speed, but it eliminates all those changes of PPE. So, we will be implementing that this week, which will increase speed, but also save our precious resources as we build them up in the stockpile and out to hospitals.

Thank you, sir.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President --

[18:40:02]

TRUMP: Thank you, Admiral, very much. Yes, please. Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President, you mentioned that the peak could come in two weeks. Can you ensure that everyone that needs a ventilator, every single patient that needs one will get one? Will it get there in time? And my second question is, after invoking the Defense Production Act yesterday with GM you said that there were a couple of problem children that may require using your authority again. What are those companies and what aren't they meeting?

TRUMP: Well, I don't have to tell you because those companies have come into line. They're doing a great job. They're working very hard, 24 hours, around the clock. So I don't want to give their names now because they are -- they've been great, they've come into line. And by the way, General Motors is doing a fantastic job. I don't think we have to worry about General Motors now. They've really done a job.

And what the admiral said also -- I think we can add this, Admiral. The reason we show more cases than anybody else in the world is we're doing more testing than anybody else in the world, so we have more cases because we're doing far more testing than anybody in the world. And remember, we started with a system that was broken. For many years it was broken. And I'm not blaming the last administration. I'm saying other administrations.

And our pipeline had very little in it, just like we had no ammunition, we had very little medical. We had very little in our pipeline. Now we have ammunition, more than hopefully we'll ever need. And we also have a pipeline that's packed. And now we have those 10,000 ventilators that we can use because when you need some quickly. I mean, this goes quickly from place to place. I'd love to give them all out right now, but we need them quickly.

I don't want to give them out and then we have to take them back and move them someplace else. So we're very much prepared. Please.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President, states like Florida have reportedly had 100 percent of their requests for supplies from the National Strategic Stockpile filled, but other states like Massachusetts have not. So, how is that assessment being made and why has Florida gotten its requests filled?

TRUMP: Well, I think you're going to find that most -- almost all states -- look, I was on the call yesterday with the governors, and they were happy with the job we're doing. And I'll tell you what, if you had a different administration, they would not have been happy. These are people that speak their mind. They were happy. It was falsely reported by a couple of people that, oh, gee, they weren't -- they were happy. They were thrilled.

Florida has been taken care of, and Michigan has been taken care of. Very important state. To me, it's very important because I'm so proud of what we've done bringing car companies back into Michigan. And we're now dealing with the governor, and I think, Mike, I can say that a lot of good things are happening in Michigan.

Massachusetts, we're dealing with the governor very strongly and we're trying to get things to Massachusetts as rapidly as possible.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: But why has Florida received 100 percent of its requests compared to some other states? Is there a reason?

TRUMP: Well, Florida, look, they're very aggressive in trying to get things and they're doing a very good job, but I think I can say all of the governors are very committed. We're very committed. We're working together. And we're getting things out at a level that nobody's ever seen before. We can -- you can speak to FedEx. You can speak to UPS. You can speak -- they've never done anything like this, what they're doing right now. And nobody in the world has been able to match what these great

companies have been able to do. If we left that to government, it would have been a tough thing. We have mobilized private enterprise. We have mobilized the greatest companies in the world. And what's happening is incredible. And that includes Abbott, where Abbott come out and all of a sudden -- out of nowhere comes up with this incredible test that simplifies everything and makes it so easy.

So, I think you're going to find most states are very happy. I'm dealing with the governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards. He's a Democrat, if that's what you're getting at, but I'm dealing with him, very successful. I think he's very happy. I think he's actually amazed at what he's been able to get. In fact, we were even forward-thinking. I suggested we sent additional ventilators and other things. We're building a hospital in Louisiana, very importantly.

We're building hospitals in New Jersey. Governor Murphy of New Jersey is a terrific guy, and frankly, he wants -- you know, he's got a pretty hot spot right there, right next to New York, and we're doing hospitals, we're doing ventilators. We're getting a lot to Governor Murphy. That's New Jersey. Last night I spoke to the governor of Connecticut. We had a great talk with him. We are really doing a job.

Look, Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, he's been terrific. We sent him a boat way ahead of schedule, the ship way ahead of schedule, hospital ship, the Mercy, with 1,000 beds, operating rooms, and it's been in L.A. for three days already. So, I think they're really happy. And when you think about it, in New York, we've built 2,900 hospital rooms, beds. Nobody's ever seen it before. The governor's never seen anything like that before.

This was done by the federal government, not by state government. This was done by the federal government. They're opening it tomorrow.

[18:45:02]

I wanted to be there so badly, but Secret Service and all of the people involved won't let me. They won't let me. I would love to be there, but they won't let me, for obvious reasons, but I would have loved to have been at the opening tomorrow of the hospital in New York tomorrow, Javits Center. At Javits Center. But we're very proud of the job we've done. We've mobilized and getting better and better every day. And the task force, headed by the vice president, the job they've done and they don't even sleep.

OK. Any other questions?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Sir, may I just follow up on your letter to the governors that you sent, since we were on the topic of governors? You sent a letter to governors at the end of the week saying that you guys were going to be developing criteria to be able to classify counties --

TRUMP: Sure, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: -- based on whether they were hotspots or whatnot. And I wanted to know, if you have enough tests currently to be able to accurately rank those counties.

TRUMP: Yes, we're ranking counties and we're ranking states. And a lot of people put out false information because they don't know what they're talking about. And we took over a dead-baron system. We took over a system that was obsolete. It was good for a tiny little sample of people. It was -- even that didn't work because when CDC first looked at their tests, the biggest problem they had is the test didn't work. That wasn't from us. That's been there a long time.

Now we have the best tests in the world, and nobody has -- now they're all calling, can we get the quick test? We call it the quick test, where, by the way, probably more accurate, and it takes a few minutes. I mean, it's pretty amazing what we've done. Now, we're getting along great with the governors.

Yes, go ahead, please.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President? Sir? Sir?

TRUMP: No, go ahead, please.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Thank you so much, Mr. President. I wanted to ask you more specifically about the strategy that you plan to unveil on Tuesday. What factors are you taking into consideration? What can the American people expect? And is it possible that these April 30th guidelines could be extended?

TRUMP: Well, we hope not, but we think it's going to -- you know, we have aspirational thoughts. We would have loved to have been a little bit sooner, but we have to do it right. We could have done it. We could have done it on Easter, but there was a good chance that if it's coming down or if it's still going up, maybe it's going to be coming down by then, but we just felt it was too soon. We can't take a chance.

You know, again, because of what we've done, and because of the fact that we've stopped the flow from China so early, because the question is, from a lot of my friends, why don't we just wing it? Why didn't we just wing it? And I kept asking -- and we did models now, finally, we got these models in, and you hear about the 2.2 million people would have died. I don't mean we would have had 2.2 million cases. These are 2.2 million people would have died. 2.2 million people.

Look, we're going to have a meeting or speech or press conference or something on Tuesday. I thought what I do -- I was going to announce the end of April on Tuesday, but I said let's do it now, because somewhere along the line it's going to leak. We might as well just do it now and get rid of all the leaks. This way it did it nice and clean. But we have to really do a great job for another couple of weeks. And I think we're going to be in great shape. And we're going to be in a position, even with what we're trying to do with restaurants, with deductibility.

We have to get these restaurants back in. We have to get our businesses opened. We have to get the planes flying. We have to get everything going. We have to get even the cruise ships. I mean, we have to get those cruise ships moving along. We had the

greatest economy in the history of the world three weeks ago, and now we've said, please don't work anymore. We're actually paying people not to work. Nobody's ever heard that. That's not for us.

People want to work. But at the same time -- and I'm so glad that Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx gave us a number, and a number on the outside -- and maybe it's not even on the outside, we don't know -- is 2.2 million people would have died if we didn't do what we're doing. And now we're looking at numbers that are going to be much, much, much lower than that. And it makes everything we're doing feel much better to me.

Please, go ahead.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Thank you, sir. I do have a question for you, but I'd like to let my colleague Yamiche finish her second question if that's already.

TRUMP: That would be fine. Finish it. Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Thanks, Jeremy.

TRUMP: I was going to call on you next. You know that.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Thank you, Mr. President. You've also said that at one point that you thought more people might die from the economic tragedies and the economic problems in America due to the coronavirus outbreak. What health officials are telling you that? And Dr. Fauci, could you speak to that, the idea that there might be mental health and suicide related to this? Would that outpace at some point the virus' impact on the society? Thank you.

TRUMP: Well, I could ask Dr. Fauci to come up, but it's common sense. You're going to have massive depression, meaning mental depression. You're going to have depression in the economy also, but you're going to have mental depression for people. You're going to have large numbers of suicides.

[18:50:03]

Take a look at what happens in a really horrible recession or worse. So you are going to have tremendous suicides. But you know what you're going to have more than anything else? Drug addiction. You will see drugs being used like nobody has ever used them before. And people are going to be dying all over the place from drug addiction because you would have people that had a wonderful job at a restaurant, or even owned a restaurant.

I spoke to great people today that have done a great job and one day at the top of their business there, celebrity chefs that got the most successful restaurants and in one day they have nothing. They've gotten wiped out one day from our enemy, this invisible horrible scourge. So when you asked me that, it's so easy to figure that. I mean, massive drug use, massive depression and mental depression, massive number of suicides. Anxiety causes, you know, disease they say. A lot of people -- you're

going to have tremendous -- and hopefully we're not going to have that because hopefully by what we're doing, we get the best of both worlds. We don't have 2.2 million deaths. We have a number that's much less, much, much less, and at the same time we get our country running again. Please. Thank you.

DIAMOND: Thank you Mr. President.

TRUMP: You were next. He was very nice in doing it, though, nevertheless. Go ahead.

DIAMOND: Thank you, sir.

TRUMP: Which is unusual for CNN.

DIAMOND: Two quick questions. First of all, during this 30-days additional period, do you anticipate at all relaxing those restrictions by region during these additional 30 days or no?

TRUMP: I don't think so. It's a great question actually. I don't think so. And I ask that the same. I said, how about Nebraska? How about Idaho? How about Iowa? And you know what, those people are so great, the whole Midwest. They want to -- I don't think they want to be in that position actually. And probably I was getting pretty strong look by these two people. They said, we don't like that idea. So, you know, we're relying on them. They're the best in their profession and they did not like the idea.

DIAMOND: And secondly, sir, I want to ask you about some comment --

TRUMP: And we could do it but I don't think it would be good.

DIAMOND: Thank you, sir. And I'd also like to ask you about some comments you made on Friday. You were talking about governors of different states and you said, I want them to be appreciative. You also said if they don't treat you right --

TRUMP: But I didn't say that.

DIAMOND: -- I don't call. These are direct --

TRUMP: I didn't say it.

DIAMOND: Direct quotes, sir.

TRUMP: No -- excuse me. Are you ready? Ready? Ready? Take a look at what I said. I want them to be appreciative of me, OK? And then you cut it up because it's fake news.

DIAMOND: You and of your administration. Absolutely.

TRUMP: Just please. Let me just finish it. You just said it again. And you know the answer is a lie. You know --

DIAMOND: I could read you your full comment, sir, if that would be easy.

TRUMP: Let me just say, look. Your statement and your response and your answer is a lie because here's the story. Are you ready? I said I want you to be appreciative of me and then you go on, and then I go on, and you cut it off. But it says because when you're not --

DIAMOND: You said, 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.

TRUMP: Thank you.

DIAMOND: The Army Corps of Engineers.

TRUMP: Thank you.

DIAMOND: But then you went on to say, if they don't treat you right, I don't call. He's a different type of person, you said.

TRUMP: I don't call.

DIAMOND: Referring to the vice president.

TRUMP: No, I don't call. No, I don't call the governor of Washington now.

DIAMOND: Why in this time of --

TRUMP: But Mike Pence calls and the head of FEMA calls. I don't stop them. Did I ever ask you to do anything negative, Mike, to Washington, the state of Washington? Michigan, I love that state. That's one of my favorite places in the whole world, Michigan, and I'm so proud of what's happened with the auto industry. It's coming back to Michigan.

No, I don't have to call because I'm probably better off not because we don't get -- he's a failed presidential candidate. He's a nasty person. I don't like the governor of Washington. So you know who calls? I get Mike Pence to call. I get the head of FEMA to call. I get the admiral to call. But what you didn't say, so you started it off and you talked about I have to be appreciated. But then when you read the rest, you said because if you don't appreciate, you are not respecting these incredible people, the two admirals.

You're not appreciating FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers who built 2900 beds in three and a half days. And you're not appreciating all of the work that's been done and you're not appreciating these incredible people from private enterprise that are delivering things in numbers that nobody has ever seen.

See? And that's why people aren't watching CNN very much anymore. That's why they don't like it, that's why your ratings are no good. Because you even, after knowing the truth for days now, you bring up the old lie. Read the rest of your question, the rest of your statement, you didn't put in. You have to put that in. And it said in there, FEMA. And it said in

there Army Corps of Engineers because when they disrespect me, they're disrespecting our government. And you know what, I don't mind if I'm disrespected but they can't disrespect the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA. OK.

DIAMOND: Why is the lack of --

TRUMP: Please, go ahead. I want them to appreciate the incredible job we're doing. We are doing a job the likes of which has never been done before. And there are couple of people that know that. But for political reasons, let's say they're Democrats, they don't want to give this administration credit, and that's OK.

[18:55:09]

But I don't have to deal with them but our vice president does deal with them. Please go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Thank you, Mr. President.

TRUMP: But that's why CNN is not trusted anymore. They are not trusted. They are fake news. Remember that. Go ahead.

DIAMOND: We're not fake news.

TRUMP: Yes, you are. Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Thank you. Mr. President. I wanted to ask you about the extension of the CDC guidelines you've announced today.

TRUMP: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Through the end of next month, and of course you know that there have been a shelter-in-place orders that have been imposed by governors and mayors all throughout the country. And when you take that all into account, it sounds like, and it seems like you've acknowledged that America essentially will be shut down for the next few weeks. Maybe even the next two months, you mentioned June 1st as a date in which you like --

TRUMP: No. We think it's going to really start open up. We think that that's going to be the bottom of the hill. That's where we're looking at, June 1st, maybe even a little bit sooner than that. So we have this hill. If we did nothing, the hill would have been up here. We did a lot. We did just about maximum. And we got lucky because we stop China from coming in. And then later on we stopped Europe from -- we got lucky. We got very lucky.

The people that were coming in here, they went to Italy, they went to Spain, they went to other countries. We got lucky. And they got unlucky, to be honest with you. You look at what's going on in Italy and Spain, in particular. So, no, I don't want that -- June 1st, we think we can reach the bottom of that hill on June 1st. And that would be a great thing. And I have confidence in the two doctors. I think that they could be -- could even be sooner. Could be a little bit later but could be sooner.

But I think people would be very happy if we did a job and saved potentially millions of lives, I think people would be very happy with that date.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: My question, sir, actually --

TRUMP: Yes, please. Go ahead, please.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President, my question actually has to do with the $2.2 trillion relief bill that you signed into law.

TRUMP: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: In your view, do you think that another relief bill, another phase bill may be necessary? And are you prepared to support that, Mr. President?

TRUMP: Well, I'm prepared to do whatever is necessary to, number one, save lives, and number two, bringing our economy back strong just like it was before. I think our economy has a chance to be just as good and even better than it was before. And remember, a lot of the money that you read about, that's all coming back. These are loans to great companies that got stopped from doing business. They'll be back very soon.

So much of the money that they we're talking about, that money is coming back. And we'll take warrants, meaning we'll take pieces of the company for the taxpayers of our nation. I expect that we'll make a lot of money with that money. We're going to make a lot of money.

I didn't want to talk about making money because what I want to talk about is two things. Number one is saving lives and number two is bringing our economy back, OK? But I think we're going to do very well. That whole money, a lot of it, is coming back. Please.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President, thank you. Earlier this afternoon you had tweeted that there are on average of 8.5 million Americans tune in to these daily press briefings, yet there are some networks out there that are, you know -- I apologize.

TRUMP: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Concerned about taking these briefings.

TRUMP: No. I know exactly what you are saying. No, I've read that.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What do you say -- what do you say to these detractors?

TRUMP: Well, I've read that CNN does not want to cover them. I've read that -- except they can't help them because their rating are so high. You know, if the ratings were low, they wouldn't be here. This man wouldn't be here. In 100 years you could bet your life that he would never be here with CNN and all their cameras if they're bad. Because we help their ratings. We help -- we lift up their ratings because their rating are very low.

But for the most part I haven't heard that. I will say "The Washington Post" says a drive on not to go to the president of the United States news conference because frankly so many people are watching. We're getting the word out. We're getting the accurate word out. And a lot of people are happy about it and a lot of people aren't. But they should be happy.

When I have the general, when I have FEMA, and when I have Tony, and when I have our incredible -- these are all, like, my people that have become big stars. OK? But they've done a great job. But Deborah has done a fantastic -- all of these people. They don't want to be stars.

You know what they want? They want to win. They want to win the battle against the -- they've been fighting this stuff their whole life between Ebola and swine flu, and I don't know. I'm not sure I'd love your life. But that's what you like, right?

That's what they do. They fight disease. And you know what? There's nobody that does it better. But I think the American public ultimately they should be the decider. It's like, if they don't want to watch, they shouldn't watch. And we should not have bigger ratings than "The Bachelor" as the "New York Times" said we have "Monday Night Football" type ratings.

Now I didn't say that. I have no idea what they are in a sense but I know that the "Times," they say it's all the news that's fit to print. I say it's all the news. It's not fit to print because I think they are not honest people. But that's OK. But they can't help it. But even they said that the ratings are like "Monday Night Football" ratings and that these like "Bachelor" finale that their end.