Trump Confronted at Briefing Over Baseless Claim Governors Asking for Too Many Ventilators
President Donald Trump was confronted in a Friday press briefing about his baseless claim that some state governors are requesting more ventilators for their coronavirus-stricken states than they will actually need.
Trump sparked both shock and outrage on Thursday night after claiming on Fox News’ Hannity, absent any evidence, that governors like New York’s Andrew Cuomo were unnecessarily inflating the number of ventilators that their states needed. In fact, New York City hospitals, in particular, have been overwhelmed with serious cases of COVID-19 patients and other cities around the country are also starting to experience dire shortages of the life-saving medical equipment.
After an initial question about Trump’s previous comments by Fox News’ John Roberts, ABC News’ Jonathan Karl pressed further.
“To follow up on that. Governor Cuomo had said 30 to 40,000 ventilators is what he needed. He based that on the experts that were advising him,” Karl noted. “What are you basing your assessment that he doesn’t need that many on?”
“I think you going to ask that question best of [Dr.] Deborah [Birx],” Trump began, appearing to defer to one of his public health experts before essentially acknowledging that the incendiary claim was based solely on his own gut feeling.
“I think their estimates are high. I hope they’re high. They could be extremely high,” Trump continued, pushing the unsubstantiated claim even further. “We’re doing even hospitals based on pretty high estimates. I’m doing them anyway. As I told John, if we do not need them, that will be wonderful and we can help a lot of great people all over the world. We can help them live. But I think his estimates are going to be very high.”
Trump then not so subtly slammed Cuomo for not being quick enough to use the ventilators the federal government had already provided, and included a weird call-out of the fact that the state used a warehouse in New Jersey to house them.
“They were in the warehouse, ready to go, and New York never took them. So they knew they were there. So we have to get people lined up. We’ve given — and I’m not blaming New York,” Trump said, after clearly blaming New York.
“Look, this is something that’s of a magnitude that nobody’s ever seen before,” Trump added, before pivoting to heap praise on his own administration. “I tell you what, the federal government has done a hell of a job. We sent thousands of ventilators to New York and they didn’t know about it at the time they were complaining. Thousands. We had 2,000 and then 2,000 and then 4,000. And they were going there in large numbers. And before that, we sent many thousands. We want to have so many that we do have more than we need because we can send them to other great countries, other countries that have been our friends, and they’ll never be able to do it themselves.”
Watch the video above, via MSNBC.
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