As medical professionals and local authorities across the country sound the alarm over shortages of life-saving equipment due to a surge in coronavirus patients, President Donald Trump on Thursday shrugged off their warnings because, as he put it, “a lot of equipment is being asked for that I don’t think they will need.”
Calling into Fox News host and unofficial presidential adviser Sean Hannity’s show on Thursday, Trump boasted about his administration’s response to the crippling pandemic, despite the fact that the United States now has the most confirmed coronavirus cases in the world.
Asked by Hannity about his general refusal to enforce the Defense Production Act to ramp up production of needed supplies like masks and ventilators, the president insisted it hadn’t been necessary because there’s been “tremendous spirit” from corporations that he says have stepped up. This prompted him to then take some pointed shots at Democratic governors who’ve criticized the federal response.
“Remember, we are a second line of attack,” he exclaimed. “The first line of attack is supposed to be the hospitals and the local government and the states.”
The president first took aim at Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, calling him a “failed presidential candidate” who is “always complaining” and “should be doing more” for his state. He then proceeded to attack Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who he said was “not stepping up” and “has not been pleasant.”
Claiming he gets along well with most of the other governors, the president then suggested they are asking for unnecessary supplies from the federal government while also insisting that the states should take on the majority of the burden.
“I think that a lot of things are being said that are more,” Trump said. “I don’t think certain things will materialize, a lot of equipment is being asked for that I don’t think they’ll need.”
“But we are building four medical centers and many other things we have developed and sent thousands of ventilators and hopefully, they’re going to do well but you have to know, this has to be managed by local government and by the governors,” Trump added. “Can’t be managed by the federal government.”
Hannity, who began his program by blasting New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for desperately declaring his state’s need for 30,000 ventilators, went on to say the governor’s request annoyed him. Moments later, Trump suggested the state didn’t need nearly that much equipment.
“I have a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they are going to be,” he asserted. “I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You know, you go to major hospitals, sometimes they have two ventilators. ”
As of publication, the death toll from COVID-19 in New York City alone has topped 365. The city’s entire health-care system, meanwhile, is on the brink as more and more patients flood the hospitals. At its current pace, FEMA estimates that the city’s intensive care units will be filled by Friday.