Return to Transcripts main page

THE SITUATION ROOM

Coronavirus Death Toll In U.S. Passes 12,000; Trump Says He May Put A Hold On U.S Funding For The World Health Organization. Aired 6- 7p ET

Aired April 7, 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]

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're in the midst of a great national struggle, one that requires the shared sacrifice of all Americans. In recent weeks it's been remarkable to see so many companies and organizations and individuals like the banks that I just told you about, biggest banks in the world -- they stepped up to help small business.

They're big business, small business -- the small business will someday be the big business. But the small business is 50 percent of our economic strength. People don't realize when you add them up but they just -- they just rose to the occasion.

Everybody's rising to the occasion. It's been incredible to watch. To honor and celebrate the extraordinary examples of patriotism and citizenship, we're seeing -- I'm asking Americans to use the hash tag, America Works Together.

When sharing stories of how we're all working together get through -- getting through this ordeal in a fashion that nobody would have ever thought possible. It's been incredible and that's why the numbers are so far much better. We want to keep it that way. If you look at the original projections, if we did nothing it would be disasters.

If we -- we decided to do something, we closed it down. Had no choice. It was a good more. That was a good move. The early China move was a good move. The early Europe move was a good move. We had a lot of good moves but closing it down was a big statement, was a big important thing.

But we're looking to have far fewer deaths than originally thought. And I think we're heading in that direction but it's too early to talk about it. I don't even want to talk about it now because we just want to work.

And I think that people are doing an incredible job. The doctors, the nurses, the firefighters, the police. All medical people, what they're doing, the bravery that they're displaying is just incredible.

Every citizen should take immense pride and the selflessness and all of the courage and compassion of our people, the workers, the people that are working and construction workers going into hospitals knowing nothing about this problem other than it's dangerous.

And they go in there to rebuild sections of hospitals. And you have people in really big trouble right next door. They know nothing about it. All they is they're going to get it done. They're going to fix that wing so they can have more people in their. It's incredible. But this is a national spirit that won our independence and settled the frontier and explored their horizons in the space and that's what we're doing.

I mean this is all -- this is all new territory. It unlocked the miracles of science and we're doing that. When you -- I wish you could of heard the calls I had yesterday with these great companies that come up with cures to diseases and the success they've had over the last 15 years is really amazing.

So I just want to thank all of them. They're working very hard. They're working with U.K. right now and the U.K. doctors hopefully helping with their great prime minister. But these people are really a tremendous signs of success are staring us right in the face.

I think we're going to have something that's going to be great in terms of vaccines and in terms of everything else that they're doing. Just helping -- really helping us helping the people of our country and helping ultimately the people of the world. So I want to thank you all for being here. I will take some questions and then I'm going to give it over to the vice president and they're going to go into great detail on to what we're doing and all of successful supplies and medical equipment that we're getting.

All of the ventilators, I've said it but you can go over it in more detail if you'd like but we're taking in and building thousands and thousands of ventilators and they're very high quality. I said you got to go for the quality. And these are quality companies doing it. So -- because there is a big difference between a good ventilator and a not so good ventilator, Tony, right.

We've seen that and big difference. So we're going top of the line. Steve, please.

QUESTION: The Acting Navy Secretary submitted his resignation today remotely. Why did that become necessary and what -- what role did you have in this, sir?

TRUMP: Well, I had no role in it. I've heard -- I don't know him but I've heard he was a very good man and it was -- the whole thing was a very unfortunate. The captain should not have written a letter.

He didn't have to be Ernest Hemmingway. He made a mistake but he had a bad day. And I hate seeing bad things happen. A man made a mistake. But you know you shouldn't be writing letters and you're in the military, you're the captain of a great ship and you shouldn't be writing letters and sending them to many people.

And then it gets out to the media on -- the question is how did it get out to the media. So there's a lot of bad things happening there. And I had heard he did because he didn't want to cause any disturbance four our country. So that was a -- because he wouldn't have had to resign. I would not have asked him.

[18:05:00]

I don't know him. I didn't speak to him. But he did that I think just to end -- end that problem. And I think in one -- in, really, many ways, that was a very unselfish thing for him to do.

QUESTION: What should happen now to Commander Crozier, who led...

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Well, they're going to look at that. I think the secretary of defense, as you know, is -- you know Mark Esper. And he's very capable. And I think he's looking at that right now. They are -- they're going to just take it under regular Navy channels to see what they want to do.

But he made a mistake, but he shouldn't have done that. And your secretary probably shouldn't have said quite what he said. He didn't have to resign, but he felt it would be better for the country. So, you know, I think it's -- it will end it quickly.

Yes, please.

QUESTION: Mr. President, a couple on the economic front. The $250 billion that was added today will be added for the small business loan program, brings it to $600 billion in total. Do you think that figure is enough? Might there need to be more down the line?

TRUMP: Well, we're going to find out. You know, when you see hundreds of thousands of applications -- don't forget, they're for $3,000, for $7,000, some for a couple of million. I guess one of the banks said couple of million. So they're for different -- varying amounts of money.

And there's a limit on the top. And then there's really no limit on the bottom as to what it might be. But it's really popular. It's hundreds of thousands of applications. They really like it. When I like is it keeps these companies together, these little -- just like we're going to help the airlines and the big companies, we're going to help the little companies.

And the banks are -- nobody is equipped to do a thing like that, but the banks are equipped. So the banks are doing it. Big banks, small banks. We have many banks, community banks. And they're processing the loans, and they will be able to watch it and make sure it's done properly.

QUESTION: There was a lot of talk today, sir, as well, about potentially reopening the economy in the upcoming weeks. You mentioned the other day about a potential economic task force. Can you give us some sort of update as to where that may or may not...

TRUMP: Well, we're thinking about that. But we want to open up -- we want to get it open soon. That's why I think maybe we're getting to the very top of the curve. I spoke with Governor Cuomo, and he seems to think that he's getting close. And I think a lot of people think that a lot of places are getting close. We want to start heading that -- hitting the downside.

And I think we're going to be -- this is going to be a very difficult week, however. This week will be a very difficult week, because that's the most difficult week, when you're at that top position, and we'll see what happens. We'll see what happens.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: What can the federal government do? Because there is...

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Well, the federal government has done a lot, and it's going to do a lot. We want to -- I really think that, with the stimulus, we can be maybe even beyond -- we're going to do perhaps infrastructure, which you wouldn't have gotten approved before and now people are looking to do it. And the beauty is we're paying zero interest, or very close to zero interest. In some cases, we're paying actually zero, have no interest charge.

And the dollar is very strong and people are investing in the dollar. They want -- you know, the fact that we have the strong currency -- we have the currency. Our currency is everything. And other companies, other countries want to be in our currency.

So we're getting all of the investment wanting to come into the dollar. The dollar is the strength. The dollar is the whole ballgame. We have a strong dollar. Other currencies are going down -- way, way down in some cases. You look at other countries. I won't mention them. But other countries are going down 22 percent, 25 percent, 28 percent. And it's very hard for them. It makes it much more difficult.

With us, our currency is relatively now stronger than it ever was, or it was over the last few years, relative to other countries. It's always relative to other countries. But our currency is very strong.

So, therefore, people want to invest. If we do a bond issue to do infrastructure, everybody wants a piece of that issue, even at zero interest.

Yeah, please.

QUESTION: Yeah, thank you, sir. Did you see these memos that reportedly Peter Navarro wrote back in January? When did you see them? And how does that -- these memos sort of square with what you've often said, that "nobody could have predicted this"? It sounds like he was predicting it.

TRUMP: I didn't see them, but I heard he wrote some memos talking about pandemic. I didn't see them. I didn't look for them, either. But that was about the same time as I felt that we should do it. We -- that was about the same time that I closed it down.

I asked him about it just a little while ago, because I read something about a memo. I said, did you do a memo? I didn't look for -- I didn't see it. I didn't ask him to show it to me. He said, yes, I talked about the possibility of a pandemic.

Nobody said it's going to happen, but, you know, there is a possibility, there always has been a possibility, but people wouldn't talk about it. But it was right about the time that I closed it down.

[18:10:00]

And, interestingly, the World Health Organization was not in favor of us closing it down. And if we didn't close it down, we would've lost hundreds of thousands more lives. So we did a -- we did a good thing.

Yeah.

QUESTION: So at the time, though, when Peter Navarro did circulate those memos, you were still downplaying the threat of coronavirus in the U.S. You were saying things like, I think it's a problem that's going to go away, within a couple of days...

TRUMP: Which I'm right about. It -- it will go away.

QUESTION: You said within a couple of days, the cases will be down to zero.

TRUMP: Well, the cases really didn't build up for a while. But you have to understand: I'm a cheerleader for this country. I don't want to create havoc and shock and everything else. But ultimately, when I was saying that, I'm also closing it down. I obviously was concerned about it because I closed down our country to China, which was heavily infected.

I then closed it down to Europe. That's a big move, closing it down from China and then closing it down from Europe, and then ultimately closing it down to the U.K. So -- and it was right about that time.

But I'm not going to go out and start screaming, "This could happen, this could happen." So, again, as president, I think a president has to be a cheerleader for their country. But at the same time I'm cheerleading, I'm also closing down a very highly infected place, specifically the location, as you know, in China that had the problems. And we're closing it down. But we closed it down to all of China, and then we closed it down to all of Europe. Those were big moves, and it was right about that time.

QUESTION: Sir, just a quick follow-up, Mr. President? Mr. President?

QUESTION: Can you just clarify, did you just learn about this today?

TRUMP: Say it again?

QUESTION: You learned about the memo today? Just to clarify...

TRUMP: I read about it maybe a day ago, two days ago.

QUESTION: Do you feel like someone on your -- among your staff or Peter Navarro himself should've told you about the memo earlier?

TRUMP: No, not at all. It was a recommendation. It was a feeling that he had. I think he told certain people on the staff, but it didn't matter. I didn't see it.

But I did -- I closed it down. I don't remember it even being discussed. We had a meeting where there were a lot of people. Most people felt they should not close it down, that we shouldn't close down to China, but I felt we had to do it. And that was at almost the exact same time as the memo.

QUESTION: If you had read the memo at the time, how would that have changed the steps you took or the statements that you made around that time...

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: I don't think it would've changed, because I did -- I basically did what the memo said, and the memo was, you know, the memo was pretty good memo, from the standpoint that he talked, I guess -- I didn't see it yet.

QUESTION: Well, he was saying that the U.S. -- warning that the U.S. could lose trillions of dollars and millions of lives.

TRUMP: Well, you're not going to lose millions of lives, but you'll lose plenty of money. But I couldn't have done it any better, because it was about the same time, and I closed it down to China.

QUESTION: And just lastly, so you maintain confidence in him, in Peter Navarro?

TRUMP: Of course I maintain confidence. He wrote a memo, and he was right, and I haven't seen the memo. I'll see it later on, after this.

But it didn't matter whether I saw it or not, because I acted on my own -- I guess I had the same instincts as Peter. Peter is a smart guy, and he's a good guy, and he's done a wonderful job. But he wrote a memo, and I guess he talked to various people about it, but ultimately I did what the memo -- more or less what the memo said, just about the time the memo came out.

I closed it down. I took a lot of heat. The World, you know, Health Organization was very much against -- they didn't like it. They actually put out statements about it. In all fairness to Joe Biden, he called me xenophobic, like I don't like China. I like China. I like -- the Chinese people are phenomenal people. So I was called xenophobic. I was called racist. How could I do a thing like this?

Now, since then, Joe said that he was wrong and he said that I was right. But I closed it down, and I was called names by some of the morning show hosts, who don't have a clue what they're talking about. They're not smart people. And I was called all sorts of names when I closed it down to China.

Now they try and hide that, you know, the tape of them saying terrible things. But that was a great decision. If I didn't do it, if I didn't do that, we would've had hundreds of thousands more people dying.

Yeah, please.

QUESTION: You talked a lot about the WHO. And I was wondering, Dr. Fauci had discussed them earlier, so if I could ask you a question about...

TRUMP: Well, he respects the WHO. And I think that's good. And he's worked with them for a long time. But they did give us some pretty bad play-calling.

QUESTION: They've also, I think, given lots of countries in the world accurate coronavirus testing that's been central to your guys' data modeling. And so...

TRUMP: Well, that I don't know. I can only say that with regard to us, they're taking a lot of heat, because they didn't want the borders closed. They called it wrong. They called -- they really called, I would say, every aspect of it wrong.

QUESTION: So (inaudible) funding freeze (inaudible)

[18:15:00]

TRUMP: I'm not happy, but, look, we fund it. Take a look. I mean, go through step by step. They said there's no big deal, there's no big problem, there's no nothing and then ultimately when I closed it down, they actually said that I made a mistake in closing it down, and it turned out to be right. But at the time, they -- you know, they did that.

So we're just going to take a look at it. You know, we fund it. And they seem to be -- you know, I said recently and (ph) social media said they seem to be very China-centric. That's a nice way of saying it. But they seem to be very China-centric.

QUESTION: But (inaudible)

TRUMP: And they seem to err always on the side of China. And we fund it. You know, so I want to look into it.

Yes, please?

QUESTION: Please, quick follow-up on that. So is the time to freeze funding to the WHO during a pandemic?

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: No, maybe not. I mean, I'm not saying I'm going to do it, but we're going to look at it.

QUESTION: You did say that you were going to...

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: We give a -- no, I didn't. I said we're going to look at it, we're going to investigate it, we're going to look at it. But we will look at ending funding. Yeah. Because you know what? They called it wrong. And if you look back over the years, even, they're very much -- everything seems to be very biased toward China. That's not right.

QUESTION: I wanted to follow up. You talked about African Americans and having been disproportionally affected by the coronavirus.

TRUMP: Seems to be, unfortunately.

QUESTION: Do you plan on requiring the CDC, any federal agencies or state -- public places doing tests, and private companies doing tests to collect that data on the race of the people being tested and the race of the people being treated and the outcomes?

TRUMP: Well, we're just seeing tremendous -- we're seeing tremendous evidence that African-Americans are affected at a far greater percentage number than other citizens of our country, because we're dealing with our country. Now we're looking at it from a worldwide standpoint. Tony Fauci is looking at it very strongly. But these numbers have started to come out, and they're -- they're very strong and they pretty obvious. I mean, we're talking about...

QUESTION: You will release that -- you will release that publicly?

TRUMP: Seema, would you like to talk about that for a second? Please.

VERMA: I think one of the things that we're going to be doing with our Medicare data is to do that analysis. We're going to look back at the last month or so and look at, you know, related-type illnesses going forward. We now have a code for coronavirus, so we can actually stratify by demographic information, so we can look at race as a factor.

We can also look at what the underlying health issues are, as well. So we'll be providing that data very shortly. But we will be doing that analysis.

TRUMP: We're working on that very hard. This is something that's come up over the last -- I hadn't heard this. And then over the last few days, this has come up more and more. And I don't mean by a little bit. I mean many times. It's a real thing.

Now, we want to find cures. We want to find therapeutics. We want to find vaccines, because that will solve everybody's problem. But why is it that the African-American community is so much -- you know, numerous times more than everybody else? And we want to find the reason to it.

And, Dr. Fauci, Seema, both of them and others are working on this. And they're going to have very good -- I would say over the next -- in less than a week, I think you're going to have very good statistics. A couple of days, few days (ph).

QUESTION: Just (inaudible) specifically aimed at those communities that are being hard-hit, those black communities...

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Well, we're helping them a lot. But what's happening is, we're trying to find out why is it that it's three and four times? Now, maybe that's not going to be the final number, but why is it three or four times more so for the black community as opposed to other people? It doesn't make sense. And I don't like it. And we're going to have statistics over the next probably two to three days. OK?

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Yes, in the back.

QUESTION: Thank you. I'd like to ask a question on behalf of myself and a colleague who couldn't be here due to social distancing.

TRUMP: Sure.

QUESTION: Thank you.

TRUMP: Who are you with? Who?

QUESTION: With Hearst Newspapers (ph) on the Print Cooler Today (ph). Thank you. Some banks are only providing paycheck protection program loans to clients with whom they have existing banking relationships. And you spoke to banking CEOs today.

TRUMP: I did.

QUESTION: I wonder if you'll ask them, these lenders, to accept applications from all small businesses...

TRUMP: Sure.

QUESTION: ... not just the businesses with whom they have existing relationships.

TRUMP: OK, they'll be doing that, but we're also working with small community banks, so they will be doing that. It's a question I've already spoken about. I mean, in many cases, they have long-term relationships with thousands of companies. I was amazed to see how many -- you know, you saw the number of applications. It's hundreds of thousands. It's a lot of work. But I did ask that question, and they are working on that.

QUESTION: Thank you. And my second question from a colleague is Congressman Gerry Connolly, a Democrat from Northern Virginia, told the local D.C. CBS station that you personally requested the CARES Act stimulus bill be stripped of $25 billion for the Postal Service. Connolly claims that, unless the USPS gets that $25 billion, the agency will be run out of money by June. He accuses you of hastening the demise of the Postal Service. Could you respond to that?

[18:20:00]

TRUMP: The biggest -- oh, I'm the reason the Postal Service -- the Postal Service has lost billions of dollars every year for many, many years. So I'm the demise? This is a new one. I'm now the demise of the Postal Service?

I'll tell you who's the demise of the Postal Service are these internet companies that give their stuff to the Postal Service, packages, and I don't know why they're not -- you know, I don't run the Postal Service. You have a group of people, so-called independent people, and they run it. But these packages are -- they deliver. They lose money every time they deliver a package for Amazon or these other internet companies, these other companies that deliver. They drop everything and the Post Office and they say, "You deliver it."

And if they'd raise the prices by actually a lot, then you'd find out that the Post Office could make money or break even. But they don't do that. And I'm trying to figure out why.

These are independent boards that were appointed by other administrations. They're sort of long term. They're there for a long time. And I've been talking to them all, so you can look it up. Take a look. They should raise -- they have to raise the prices to these companies that walk in and drop thousands of packages on the floor of the Post Office and say, "Deliver it," and they make money, but the Post Office gets killed, OK?

So they ought to do that. And we're looking into it. And we've been pushing now for over a year. And you know that, because you've seen the stories. I'm pushing them. It's not fair for them to -- to -- these great, wonderful, modern companies, they walk into our old Post Office, with all these routes that could never be built -- you couldn't build them. They go into areas that you -- you could never do. And they say here, deliver this.

And they lose a lot of money per package and they have to raise their prices. But this postal commission doesn't do it. Now, we just got a chance to appoint a couple of people onto the commission, as I understand it. And that's good. But they have to raise their prices. Otherwise they're just going to lose a lot of money.

And tell your Democrat friend that he ought to focus on that, because if he focused on that, he could truly save the Post Office. The Post Office has been losing billions of dollars a year for many, many years. And have him take a look at that, because that's the way to solve the problem.

QUESTION: Thank you so much, Mr. President, thank you so much. Mr. President, you said the week could be very painful, very difficult. But a few weeks ago, you said this was just like a flu. What have you learned..

TRUMP: I didn't say two weeks ago it was a flu.

QUESTION: Few weeks ago. The question is, Mr. President...

TRUMP: You know what? Can I tell you what? Excuse me.

QUESTION: What have you learned...

TRUMP: Are you ready? QUESTION: ... that you can offer as advice to foreign leaders who are still skeptical about this pandemic and who are against social distancing? What is your advice? What have you learned?

TRUMP: OK. You said I said it was just like the flu. So the worst pandemic we ever had in this world was a flu, and it was called -- you know that, it was in 1917, 1918. And anywhere from 50 million to 100 people died. That was a flu, OK? So you could say that I said it was a flu or you could say the flu is nothing to sneeze at.

QUESTION: But my question is, Mr. President, what can you offer as advice to foreign leaders who are skeptical about this pandemic and who are against social distancing?

TRUMP: Well, I think there aren't too many of them. If you look throughout the world, and everyone -- just about everyone that has practiced that is now closing up.

Well, the U.K. was an example. Now, they talk about Sweden, but Sweden is suffering very greatly. You know that, right? Sweden did that. The herd. They call it the herd. Sweden is suffering very, very badly.

It's a way of doing it. But the -- you know, everybody has been watching everybody else, and so far almost every country has done it the way we've done it, we've chosen to do it. If we didn't do it that way, we would've lost hundreds of thousands of more people, OK?

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Mr. President, there is voting going on today in Wisconsin. There are reports of thousands of people waiting in hours-long lines as they've had to weigh their own personal health and their civic responsibility. What do -- do you think that the Supreme Court was right in its decision that -- that voting should go forward and the absentee extension should not take place?

TRUMP: (inaudible) look, the Supreme Court -- of course they were right. Because what the Democrats wanted -- and you know what this happened. I supported a man named Justice Kelly, who's -- Daniel Kelly, highly respected justice. And I supported him just the other day, social media. I know of him. He's a -- just a, you know, fantastic judge, justice. And I endorsed him.

And as soon as I endorsed him, they wanted to move the election. They didn't want to move the election. As soon as I endorsed him, the Wisconsin Democrats say, oh, let's move the election to two months later, three -- they didn't mind having the election until I endorsed him, which is very interesting. And now they talk about safety, safety.

[18:25:00]

Well it was 15 minutes I put out an endorsement that they said we have to move the election. They didn't want to move the election before that. The other thing they wanted to do which is crazy, at the end of the election they wanted to have one week for proxies to come in, or mail ballots.

No, mail ballots, they cheat. OK, people cheat. Mail ballots are a very dangerous thing for this country because they are cheaters. They go and collect them, they're fraudulent in many cases. You've got to vote. They should have voter I.D., by the way, you really want to do it right voter I.D. But the democrats and this was turned over in the Supreme Court yesterday, great credit to the court, they didn't want to have an election day. They didn't want to have an election day and then a week after election day, you choose -- all these ballots come in, these mailed ballots come in.

The mailed ballots are corrupt in my opinion. And they collect them and they get people to go in and sign them and then they are -- there are forgeries in many cases. It's a horrible thing. And so what happened is the democrats in Wisconsin, they had no problem with the election being today until I endorsed the republican candidate, Justice Kelly, Daniel Kelly. And as soon as I endorsed him, they went crazy. They went crazy. And you know that's true.

And now all of a sudden, because go back to week, go back two days. They didn't want to move the election, they were having the election. They were fine because they thought they were going to win the election. Then I endorsed them the sudden they think they're not. Now I understand there are lies (ph) that go back a long way. I hope they're going to vote for Justice Kelly, OK?

QUESTION: With millions of pills of hydroxychloroquine donated, is there a plan or system in place to track the potential side effects? There have been (inaudible) of serious harm, so is there a plan to track the side effects that...

TRUMP: You saw the representative. The side effects? The side effects are the least of it. You have people dying all over the place. And generally the side effects are really with the Z-Pak, having to do with the heart. The Z-Pak the antibiotic, not with the hydroxychloroquine. So a woman last night, I watched her on one of the shows, good show, Laura, and she was -- she thought she was dead. She was a representative from Michigan. She was just in horrible shape for 12 days, 14 days.

She thought she was dead. I think she said that her doctor said it's going to be very tough. She saw me talking about this and she asked her husband to go to the drugstore. Now this is a democrat representative, a person that you know, perhaps wouldn't be voting for me.

I think she will be voting for me now even if she's a Democrat, even if she's a democrat representative. They went to the store which I made available because we have millions of doses. We have 29 million doses I think of this drug. And she asked her husband, she said please go out. I'm not going to make it.

You have to hear her story. Please go out and get it. He went at 10:00 in the evening to the drugstore and he got it. He gave it to her. Now I don't say it works like this at all but four hours later she awoke and she said I feel better. And then shortly thereafter she felt great. Here's a woman who thought she was going to die. It's -- I mean she's a democrat representative, highly respected woman, African- American woman; I don't know if you saw it, you asked the question about African-Americans.

She was an African-American woman, a great woman. Her manner of speaking, the way she told the story was beautiful. I asked my husband to go get it and got it. She is now OK. I mean, she was interviewed last night on television. And she thanked me, she thanked me even a tweet, she said I want to think President Trump. He saved my life. Look, I don't say that happens with everybody but that's a bit of a story. There are many of the stories. There are many of those stories and I say try it. Please.

TRUMP: (inaudible) you're going to die -- and you're going to die -- you're not going to die from this pill. Now there could be some side effects but the side effects is more so from the Z-Pak

QUESTION: Is there (inaudible) track those side effects.

TRUMP: Doctors have to recommend it. I want doctors -- I'm not a doctor. I'm saying that we hear great results. And some people say let's go to a laboratory. Let's test it for a couple years. We've got people dying in this country and all over the world right now, not in the couple years. They're dying -- as we speak, there are people are dying. And I really think it's a great thing to try just based on what I know.

[18:30:00]

Again, I'm not a doctor. And I say get a physician's approval. And they have physicians in these hospitals, great physicians, brave physicians.

They also say it's good for the hospital workers to take them, that it keeps it away, keeps it out of your system. I don't know. But there's a lot of good examples. And you know, we have 1,500 case studies going on in New York and it's almost complete so it'll be very interesting to see what happens. Go ahead. I appreciate (ph) that woman, she was great. You have to see it to believe it, the way she spoke. It was like a miracle. And this was not a fan of mine but she has a fan of mine now and am very honored by it.

QUESTION: Thank you sir. Can you talk about your decision to remove Glenn Fine from the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee and that move and some of the criticism that you've leveled at the IGs, how does the American public have confidence...

TRUMP: We have a lot of inspector general from the Obama era. And as you know, it's a presidential decision and I left them largely. I may have changed some, but I left them. But when we have reports of bias and when we have different things coming in, I don't know Fine. I don't think I ever met Fine, I heard the name.

I heard the name. I don't know where he is. Maybe he's from Clinton, you check that out. OK, maybe he's from Clinton, but we did change him. But we changed a number, we have about seven nominations in, I believe we put seven very, very highly qualified people for the IG position.

And that's a decision I could've made three years ago and I could've made two years ago. But we're putting in not so much for him, we are putting in seven names. I think it was seven and they're going in now.

QUESTION: When you talk about the WHO being China-centric, what exactly are you talking about? Is it because China is underplaying how many...

TRUMP: I don't know. They seem to come down on the side of China. Don't close your borders to china. Don't do this. They don't report what's really going on. They didn't see it yet they were there. They didn't see what was going on in Wuhan. They didn't see it. How do you not see it? They didn't see it. They didn't report it. If they did see it -- they must've seen it but they didn't reported. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Mr. President, turning back to voting in Wisconsin in those the long lines, who can be responsible -- you should be held responsible if people get sick after they voted?

TRUMP: Look, all I did was endorsed a candidate. I don't know anything about their lines. I don't know anything about their voting. I love the state...

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Will you take some of the responsibility if some of the...

TRUMP: I won the state which is rare for a republican to do but I won the state of Wisconsin and I'm going to win it again because we've been great to the people of Wisconsin. As you know, with our policies and they like me and I like them. But all I did was endorse a candidate that's highly qualified, a respected person and all hell broke loose as soon as I did that and then all of a sudden they wanted a change.

Before I endorsed him, they didn't want to change this voting area. There was no problem with the democrats voting until I endorsed the candidate. Then they said let's move it two months. Let's move it three months later. Safety, safety, safety. All of a sudden there was safety. Well before I did the endorsement they didn't talk about safety. It was fine, for months it was fine. It was always going to be and now I endorsed and they want safety so, you know.

QUESTION: Thank you. Just to follow-up on that, how does the election, them holding the selection in Wisconsin lined up with the social distancing recommendations that have come from your administration?

TRUMP: Maybe (ph) you should (ph) ask the people that -- you have a democrat in Wisconsin who's governor. Ask him. That's his problem. He should be doing it. Again, some governors fail. I won't let them fail because when they fail, I'll help. That's run by democrats right now. It's run by democrats.

QUESTION: Is it possible to socially distance when you're voting? TRUMP: You have to speak to the governor. What you should call the governor of Wisconsin and ask him that question. But also ask how come it was OK to do this until I endorsed a candidate. And then as soon as I endorsed him, these lines are formed and I hear the lines are through the roof. Hopefully they're going to vote for the right candidate.

QUESTION: Checking on oil today.

TRUMP: Oil?

QUESTION: Well I was wondering if...

TRUMP: Where is it? What is the price?

QUESTION: I am not sure, to be honest.

TRUMP: How can you ask a question when you don't know the price?

QUESTION: I will look it up for you.

TRUMP: OK, let me just (inaudible) -- go ahead.

QUESTION: Mr. President, you were (ph) highly critical of mail-in voting, mail-in ballots for voting...

TRUMP: I think mail-in voting is horrible...

QUESTION: ...but you voted by mail...

[18:35:00]

TRUMP: ...it's corrupt.

QUESTION: ...in Florida's election last month, didn't you (ph)?

TRUMP: Well sure, I could vote by mail for the...

QUESTION: But how do you reconcile that?

TRUMP: Because I'm allowed to. Well that's called out of state -- you know why I voted? Because I happened to be in the White House and I won't be able to go to Florida and vote. But let me just say (ph)...

QUESTION: What is the difference between mailing within state or mailing outside?

TRUMP: ...well there's a big difference between somebody that's out of state and does a ballot and everything's sealed, certified and everything else. You see what you have to do with the certifications. And you get thousands and thousands of people sitting in somebody's living room signing ballots all over the place.

No, I think that mail-in voting is a terrible thing. I think if you vote, you should go -- and even the concept of early voting is not the greatest because a lot of things happen, but it's OK. But you should go, and you should vote. I think you should go, and you should vote.

You look at what they do where they grab thousands of mail-in ballots and they dump it -- I'll tell you what -- and I don't have to tell you, you can look at the statistics, there's a lot of dishonesty going along with mail-in voting, mail-in ballots.

QUESTION: Mr. President, you've encouraged state officials to buy their own medical equipment. The federal officials are kind of swooping in and scooping up those orders, how are you ensuring that it's being distributed fairly...

TRUMP: That's not true (ph) -- I've been hearing that (inaudible)...

QUESTION: ...and is there (inaudible)?

TRUMP: Well we're getting -- we're getting great prices on equipment -- we're getting great prices on equipment, and we're helping the states. And the governors are very thankful.

Mike Pence had a call yesterday with -- every governor was on the call and every -- it was like a love fest. They've very happy, I don't know if they tell that to the press, some of them don't. Some of them will never say good to the press, but they know we've done a great job -- not a good job, a great job.

QUESTION: So are you saying (ph) -- that state officials are widely (ph) saying that.

TRUMP: No, no -- I think sometimes it does. And what we say is let us know, and we will immediately drop out of the bidding. Let us know -- and we do that, and we drop out. Sometimes we tell them to drop out because we've got a good price and then we'll deliver it to them.

Yes, go ahead -- behind, please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Yes -- thank you, Mr. President.

TRUMP: No, no, no -- not you. In front, please.

QUESTION: Some states have had trouble with getting accurate death counts, particularly because of lack of testing or no uniform (ph)...

TRUMP: Did you say death counts?

QUESTION: Yes, because of lack of testing and no uniform system to put that in to...

TRUMP: I don't know, when you say death counts, I think they're pretty accurate on the death counts. Somebody dies, I think the states have been pretty accurate.

QUESTION: What if there's no testing...

TRUMP: That's a big deal what you're just saying (ph) -- no the death counts, I think they're very, very accurate. I do say this, I think if you look at China, and if you look at some of these very large countries when you talk about cases -- number of cases, I would be willing to bet they have more cases than we do, but they don't do the testing like we do.

But you look at -- you know, other -- you look at some of these certain countries and I would be willing to bet a lot that they have more cases. But we're more accurate, and our testing is done very accurately, and we've got a good process.

Did you have one? Yes, please.

QUESTION: Mr. President...

TRUMP: (Inaudible).

QUESTION: ...you have been very consistently supportive of a payroll relief tax, and I know that...

TRUMP: A what, payroll?

QUESTION: A payroll relief. Now, I know you're still busy trying to implement phase three, but as we move toward phase four, are there still obstacles to that, because that would put money in American pockets that consistently (ph)...

TRUMP: Yes, you're right. I would love to see a payroll -- good questions, I would love to see a payroll tax cut, and I think on behalf of the people it would be quick. Now, it's a longer term -- you know, it's a longer time because it's over a period of a year or whatever you want to make it. But I would love to see a payroll tax cut. There are many people that would like to see it as a permanent tax cut -- payroll tax cut...

QUESTION: What is stopping it from...

TRUMP: Well, the Democrats right now are stopping it.

QUESTION: What are their reasons?

TRUMP: I don't know. You know, I don't know -- maybe they think it's good politics to stop it. But you'd get a lot of people, a lot of money -- immediately you'd -- the payroll tax cut would be a great thing for this country.

I would like to have it regardless of this, but this would be a fantastic time to have the payroll tax cut. The Democrats are stopping it, but I don't think they're -- you know, I think it's -- I think there's a certain flexibility.

I think it's something that we should do both for business and the people, but this would get money in to the hands of small business immediately, money in the hands of people -- the workers, and people immediately, and it would be over an extended period, and it would be simple to do -- it's so easy to do. It's a great tax cut and I'd love you to speak to the Democrats, and let's get it done.

So I'm going to give this now to Vice President Pence. And they're going to go over some very good statistics with everybody. And we'll have a couple of answers on that because we're working very hard on the African-American community with respect to what's going on, because it's not good -- I don't like it. And we're going to have some very good statistics, Tony, I think over the next couple of days.

So, thank you all very much. Thank you.

[18:40:00]

PENCE: Thank you all. A few updates, and then I'll introduce Dr. Deborah Birx to talk about what we're seeing around the country, what the data is telling us.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: All right. We're going to continue to monitor this briefing. The vice president of the United States now starting his part. He's going to review some of the numbers, we're told, but there were some significant developments that we heard from the president of the United States, and I want to get some analysis from our fact checkers and our analysts, specifically John King.

The president really going after the U.S. Postal Service, really going after the World Health Organization and once again strongly defending hydroxychloroquine as a potential, potential game-changer in this entire coronavirus pandemic. So what's your analysis?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he also said that it's the Democrats blocking a payroll tax cut. A lot of Republicans don't like that idea either, Wolf. But I want to focus on what the president said about the World Health Organization. Quote, unquote, they called it wrong.

And he says, the administration will now reassess whether the United States should fund the World Health Organization. I will not defend the World Health Organization. It was slow to call it a pandemic. In the early weeks and months, it very much defended China.

But, but, but, this is a president looking for a scapegoat because his own performance is under question, and this is a president who clearly still has time to watch Fox News because this has been the narrative on Fox News. Don't blame the president, blame China, blame the World Health Organization. Find someone else to blame.

On February 10th, the president said things were under control. This is in an interview on Fox News, and the World Health Organization was working with the CDC in China. They were doing a fantastic job. That's the president on February 10th. On February 24th, the president tweeted, the CDC of the United States was working with the World Health Organization in China. They were doing a great job.

So the president within the past praised the World Health Organization. Now, he says they called it wrong. Listen, again, the WHO, it should be held to account too. Accountability is a very important piece of this story as we go forward.

But, remember, the president of the United States, he's looking for someone else to blame. January 22nd, are you worried about a pandemic? No, not at all. That in an interview with CDC. Looks like by April, in theory, when it gets warmer, it miraculously goes away. We are in April. It did not miraculously go away. That was the president in the end of February.

I could go on and on and on, Wolf. The president repeatedly underestimated this, played down the threat, said he did not expect a pandemic and he repeatedly praised China and how China has handled this. Now he's criticizing China and the World Health Organization at a time, in his own words, in January, February and even into March have been called into question. That is scapegoating and trying to rewrite history.

BLITZER: And, john, we also heard from the president. He said he didn't know about Peter Navarro, his trade adviser, his economic adviser, the memo that he wrote at the end of January warning about of a possible pandemic. The president said he only found out about it in the last day or so.

KING: He says he only found out about it. Look, there may well be questions not just about the president but about the communications in his team. You see constant staff shake-ups. You see constant -- who is in charge? Mick Mulvaney was the acting chief of staff back then but the president already had isolated him to many degrees. So this is not just about the president. This is does he have a ready for primetime team in the White House and around the administration.

Peter Navarro did write that memo. You might say, why is a trade adviser writing about this? Peter Navarro, whether you like him or not, keeps a very close, a very skeptical eye on China. The Navarro memo also came a week after Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas sent a letter to HHS and other administration officials saying, do not trust China.

He had been looking at the intelligence, Senator Cotton, and he believed the numbers coming out of China, the story coming out of China was simply not true and he warned the administration a week before Peter Navarro, saying do not trust them. You need to take a closer look at this.

And important from Senator Cotton, just like Peter Navarro, he said the United States government needs to ramp up and ramp up now. The president now blames the World Health Organization and now blames China. And there is plenty of blame to go around. That is the key point.

In late January, in early February, when some people were sounding the alarms, the president did, he's right, he shut down travel from China, but he did not ramp up testing, he did not ramp up other things. He did not put -- he always blames Obama. He said the shelves were empty. Well, if that's the case, he had 38 months to buy.

He's now blaming Obama for the lack of testing. It's a novel coronavirus. The Obama administration could not have developed a test for a virus that did not exist at the time. Back in February and early March, when the administration could have been ramping up, it simply wasn't. BLITZER: And Dr. Sanjay Gupta is with us as well. Sanjay, at the beginning of his remarks, the president said this week is going to be very, very painful. It's going to be a very painful week, part of next week as well. But then he said the signs are the strategy is working and eventually we will get out of this. He suggested sooner rather than later.

[18:45:07]

He also said there was great potential with the vaccines that are being developed right now, the clinical trials that are going on. And he doubled down, maybe tripled down on hydroxychloroquine, saying that this potentially could be a game-changer, even though so many experts are suggesting there haven't been enough clinical trials, there hasn't been enough evidence to suggest that, and he's potentially giving a lot of people false hope.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, I mean, there is a reason why people need to do clinical trials on this -- on this substance, you know, hydroxychloroquine. We don't know. I mean, you know, Dr. Fauci describes some of this initial information about hydroxychloroquine as anecdotal. There's been a small trial now out of China just on 62 patients.

Let me just give you a little bit of an example of what you need to sort of figure out. How long should someone get a medication like this? What should the dose be? Should they get this medication when their disease is mild, when it's more moderate, when it's severe? There's lots of things that we don't know.

The medication can act in a way that suppresses your immune system. In a lot of cases if you have an infection, suppressing the immune system would obviously be a bad idea. Maybe for some patients who have an over-reactive immune system, maybe there is some benefit.

The point is, Wolf, we don't know. It is an existing medication. There's a lot of doses that have now been made available. I couldn't tell from his comments if they're being made available for clinical trial, which is what should be happening so you can actually study this, or if they're just starting to give this medication.

Wolf, if you give it to people who have mild illness, the good news is most patients recover on their own anyway, you know? From mild illness. The data is still very much in your favor if you have mild illness. So how do you know if it was the medication or if it was just your natural course of disease? The way you figure those things out is you study it.

You know, I'm still a little baffled this many weeks in are all these millions of doses that are being discussed, are they part of a trial or are they just sort of being given? Because if they're just being given, we may never know the answer. We may never we able to see definitively that this is something that could help people.

BLITZER: And he totally belittled the side effects, the potential side effects from hydroxychloroquine, and he said the side effects from azithromycin, an antibiotic drug, are a lot more serious than they are from hydroxychloroquine. And I wonder if you wanted to react to that.

GUPTA: It's worth pointing out that even in that small China study from what I understand, I read the study pretty carefully, they excluded patients who had any kind of heart rhythm abnormality, have a liver function abnormality or kidney function abnormality. They were worried enough about patients like that that they took them out of the study.

There are potential side effects. There are side effects even on the eyes. So I don't know the -- how significant the side effects would be, we're not sure what kind of dosing we're talking about, how long patients would get these medications. That's why you study it.

But there's -- you can't -- you can't diminish the side effects because we don't even know what exactly we're talking about here. So it is an existing drug that's been used for a completely different purpose, Wolf.

This is -- this is important because I think the fact that Dr. Fauci has been clear and there have been these sort of public almost clashes, you know, about this particular issue I think is really worth noting. I've never seen anything like it.

I think the scientists have been clear. We want it to work. We would like something to work. Everybody on the planet would like something to work. We're in the middle of a pandemic.

But we run the real risk of actually possibly taking something that could work and not finding -- not being able to definitively answer that question, and in the end, nobody -- nobody would benefit from that, Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, he once again said I'm not a doctor, but he said try it. He said, I'm not a doctor, I say try it. It's potentially a very, very complicated and very potentially dangerous recommendation from the president of the United States.

One more thing, Sanjay. You know, both the president and Dr. Fauci made a point of saying that the coronavirus is really disproportionately affecting the minority community, the African- American community here in the United States. I want you to elaborate on that.

GUPTA: Well, I think there's several reasons. First of all, I think it's true. I mean, you can look at this data, now, admittedly we still have inadequate testing in this country, but the data that we've seen out of, you know, many cities now around the country, including in Michigan where I'm from, shows that this disproportionately affects the African-Americans, more likely to become infected, more likely to become sick.

Several things seem to be going on here. As you might imagine, Wolf, it's not one easy answer. It is true that there are more preexisting illnesses that might increase the risk of mild illness turning more severe. There was also not as much testing that went on with the African-American community early. [18:50:05]

So that is an issue.

And also, talking to the former president of the American Health Association, she reminded me that you also have many more blacks who are actually doing front line work. You know, who are actually on the front line doing essential work and more likely to possibly become infected as a result of that.

So, not as much testing, not as much treatment, more pre-existing illnesses and the jobs, the essential jobs, jobs upon which we all depend, Wolf, are also disproportionately being done by African- Americans. So, all these things sort of come into play here, but the early data very much suggests this disproportionate impact on the African-American community.

BLITZER: Yes, that's very disturbing development. Stand by, Sanjay.

I want to bring Daniel Dale, our CNN fact checker. He was listening to every word.

What did you think, Daniel?

DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: Wolf, there are a lot of false claims at the briefing, two of which I thought were audacious attempts to rewrite history. He said at this brief that he wanted to look into the U.S. funding to the World Health Organization and then later on those comments said that he's going to put a pause on that funding, and then he was asked a question about his plan to put a pause on the plan he said I didn't say that, I'm going to look into that. He has just said. So he's denying something he said on television in that room just moments prior.

He also tried to rewrite the history of his attempts to liken the coronavirus to the flu. He was doing that to downplay the virus, he was likening the virus to the seasonal flu. But when he was asked about it today, he said, well, you know, the worst pandemic ever was the 1918 pandemic, the flu is nothing to sneeze at suggesting that when he was -- he's calling it the flu that he was saying it might have been the 1918 pandemic. Wolf, we know what's not what's happening.

In addition, Trump was railing against vote by mail and he was baselessly asserting that this form of voting is rife with widespread fraud. He spoke of thousands of people cramped together in a living room I guess filling out fraudulent ballots. There is no evidence of anything like that happening. This kind of voting happens around the country, in various states for various kinds of voters and it has been proven safe and effective.

And again, Wolf, the president touted actions he took by claiming that he had cut off all travel from Europe. As I said to you before, he did not cut off all travel. What he did was cut off travel from some European countries and for certain groups and he exempted U.S. citizens, permanent residents, many of their family members. So, when he talks about this being a complete shutdown, that's just not true.

BLITZER: A lot of people came from China even though he said he completely shut down traffic from China.

DALE: That's right. That's right. "The New York Times" did a great story about how 40,000 Chinese people flew in after the president imposed those restrictions. So, that complete shutdown and closure he keeps talking about was simply not so.

BLITZER: Jim Acosta is with us, our chief White House correspondent.

Jim, what stood out to you?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I want to go back to what the president was saying a about the World Health Organization because just to echo what Daniel and John King were saying, the president at one point said that the World Health Organization, and, yes, they have their flaws, they have been criticized for that, but said that they have been calling it wrong throughout this crisis.

But it's worth noting, Wolf, on March 11th, when the president gave that Oval Office address to the nation, rare Oval Office address to the nation, he cited the World Health Organization because on that very same day, the WHO declared that the coronavirus outbreak had become a pandemic. And so, as John King was saying, there have been instances where the White House and the president have cited the WHO.

And as Daniel Dale was just saying a few moments about voter fraud, we should point there are people in Wisconsin right now who are literally putting their health on the line, going to the polls to try to vote in that presidential primary. And the president was asked about this, you know, how he could say that mail-in balloting would lead to voter fraud when he has mailed in his own ballots in the past and he conceded that.

But getting back to, you know, this point that the president has time and again downplayed the outbreak, given rosy projections and so on, the president was asked about that earlier on in the briefing there and he said, what the nation needs is a cheerleader. I think the president has to be a cheerleader for the country.

Wolf, everybody is for the president being a cheerleader, they just don't want a misleader -- Wolf.

BLITZER: What do you think of what he said about Peter Navarro, his trade adviser, suggesting in that memo at the end of January that there could be a full scale pandemic and it could affect millions of people and cost a lot of lives?

ACOSTA: Wolf, I think one thing -- we need to drill down on this because, you know, the president said he hadn't seen the memo. He wasn't looking for the memo. But were top officials besides Peter Navarro raising this memo with the president? We just don't have all of the information. And I'll tell you, Wolf, people are making much of this Peter Navarro

memo and it's very important, no question about it. It came on January 29th, but on 27th, Joe Biden wrote an op-ed in "USA Today" warning about the potential for a pandemic from the coronavirus.

[18:55:08]

And so it wasn't just Peter Navarro who was sounding the alarm. There were public health experts, Democrats, even some Republicans who were saying that this needed to be taken very seriously and the other thing we should point out about Peter Navarro and this memo, you know, it should be noted, Wolf, that Peter Navarro is a bit of a hawk when it comes to trade with China. He's sort of like Steve Bannon in that regard.

And so, a lot of what he was warning about at that time was related to how he'd like the see the administration take a tougher stance on China. That is something that Steve Bannon and other like-minded conservatives, you know, how they feel as well. But no question about it, the president gave sort of a squishy answer there on that Peter Navarro memo.

This obviously circling inside the White House, there are officials talking about this, and I think the question -- the real question that needs to be asked is, Mr. President, were you made aware of these concerns, were you made aware of other concerns and what did you do about it?

As you and I both know, Wolf, we have cataloged this so many times for weeks and weeks. The president downplayed the coronavirus outbreak. It's rich for him to say that the WHO called it wrong when he was calling it wrong for weeks, Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, that's an important point as well.

You know, Sanjay, I want to play for you and the viewers what Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in the radio interview. As you know, our viewers know, it was only about a week ago. So, there were some models saying if the U.S. did all the right things with the social distancing, the death rate here in the United States might be 100,000 to 240,000, and if they didn't, it could be 2.2 million.

Listen to Dr. Redfield, what he said today.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, CDC DIRECTOR: Even those models that were done they assume only about 50 percent of the American public would pay attention to the recommendations. In fact, what we're seeing is a large majority of the American public are taking the social distancing recommendations to heart. And I think that's the direct consequence why you're seeing the numbers are going to be much, much, much lower than would have been predicted by the models.

(END AUDIO CLIP) BLITZER: Yes. So what do you think? I mean, much, much lower than 100,000. Right now, there are 12,000 confirmed deaths here in the United States. In early March, the first death, there were 11. On March 5th, there were 11 confirmed deaths, and now, more than 12,000. Who knows where these numbers are going to wind up?

GUPTA: Yes, I think that's true, Wolf. We certainly don't know. And as the saying goes, you know, all models are wrong, although some are useful. I think that applies here.

Frankly, I'm not sure which of the models Dr. Redfield was referring to specifically there. The model that keeps getting cited at the White House, the one that's coming from University of Washington really it did not count on just 50 percent of the country adopting the stay at home orders.

In fact, what it really was predicated on was that the entire country by last Friday would be under stay at home orders, every state in the country would be under the orders and would last until the end of May and that's how you get to the number below 100,000 at that point.

So there are the different models. I think the high -- you know, the numbers, the ones that are particularly tragic are ones that really are based on hardly any social distancing, you know, any of these non- pharmaceutical interventions.

So, the truth probably lies somewhere in between in. I don't know which models Dr. Redfield was alluding to, but when you look at the various models which we spend a lot of time doing, this University of Washington models in some way present a very good case scenario, some would say a best case scenario. Still obviously tragic numbers, the doubling rate in this country right now, similar to New York, is around every, you know, six to seven days, about every week. So you can start to do the math, you know?

And, again, it's tough to think of numbers this way but 12,000, 24,000 by the following week, 48,000, 96,000. You can understand how the numbers could rise quite dramatically unless the doubling rate is dropped. And, you know, it's not clear right now. Maybe there's some evidence of plateau, but we have to wait and see if that trend continues, Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes. We'll see what happens in the coming days, even the president just said that these next few days are going to be very, very painful. He said this will be a very painful week, part of next week. But then he said there are signs that the strategy is working.

We will win it powerfully he said, and then he insisted that there was great progress, great potential being done with various vaccines, clinical trials, he said, and he also strongly defended what the administration was doing and making critical stockpiles available, ventilators, other critically important equipment available to hospitals, states, local governments all over the country.

We're going to continue to stay on top of all this. Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" picks up our special coverage.