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Trump claims he 'probably' was distracted by impeachment during virus

‘I’m a positive person. I want to give people hope.’ Donald Trump is challenged on why he took so long to sound alarm on coronavirus as he admits 100,000 will die – and says impeachment made NO difference to response

  • President Donald Trump said he wanted to be a ‘cheerleader for the country’ when asked about prior upbeat statements about the coronavirus 
  •  Also said ‘I don’t think I would have done any better had I not been impeached’
  • Trump said it ‘probably’ diverted his attention somewhat 
  • Sen. Mitch McConnell said impeachment ‘diverted’ attention of the government 
  • Trump said Jan. 22 ‘we have it totally under control’ in reference to the virus
  • He was acquitted on Feb. 5 of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress
  • Dr. Tony Fauci warned Americans should be prepared for 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus 
  • ‘The answer is yes – as sobering a number as that is, we should be prepared for it’
  •  The White House projected 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the U.S. if current social distancing guidelines are maintained 
  • ‘This is going to be a very painful, a very, very painful two weeks,’ Trump said 
  • The U.S. death toll stands at 3,669 as of late Tuesday afternoon   
  • Worldwide, more than 800,000 people have been infected and 40,000 died  
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

President Donald Trump defended his earlier upbeat statements about the coronavirus as the outbreak began its march across the globe early this year, explaining during a sober briefing that he tries to be a ‘cheerleader’ for the country.

He also acknowledged that he was ‘probably’ distracted by the Democratic impeachment, which culminated in his Senate trial in early February when the virus was raging and governments may have missed a window to prepare hospitals and get needed equipment. 

But the president said he wouldn’t have done any better even if he hadn’t faced an impeachment he called a ‘hoax.’

‘I want to be positive. I don’t want to be negative. I’m a positive person,’ the president said at the briefing, where his team presented dire model under a worst-case scenarios and the president predicted 100,000 people may die even if Americans heed urgings to stay home and avoid spreading the disease. 

‘I don’t think I would have acted any differently or any faster,’ President Trump said when asked by DailyMail.com if impeachment diverted his attention

‘I’m a cheerleader for the country,’ Trump said, pressed on why he did not share more bad news.

Trump also acknowledged that impeachment distracted his attention during the build-up, after DailyMail.com asked him about Sen. Mitch McConnell’s comment that it diverted the attention of the government – and whether it diverted his own.

‘I don’t like to think I did. I like to think I handled it very well but I guess it probably did. I got impeached, you know. I devoted a little time thinking about it, right? But think of it. It was a hoax, a total hoax,’ the president said.

‘You look at the reports that came out, it’s disgraceful what went on. It’s a total disgrace. They got caught in the act but you know what? We won’t talk about that now,’ Trump continued. 

‘Did it divert my attention? I think I’m getting A-pluses for the way I handled myself during the phony impeachment, okay? It was a hoax, but certainly I guess I thought of it, and I think I probably acted – I don’t think I would have done any better had I not been impeached.’  

‘Maybe it’s a tribute to me. I don’t think I would have acted any faster. But the Democrats … their whole life, their whole existence, their whole being was to try to get me out of office any way they can,’ Trump vented.

‘I don’t think I would have acted any differently or any faster,’ he said. 

Trump is trying to defend his prior statements on the coronavirus, even as his team tries to prepare the nation for a death toll and other impacts on the public and the nation’s medical system that are set to explode.  

‘They’re very sobering, yeah,’ Trump said of estimated deaths even amid preparations and stay-home orders by governors put in place to combat a virus scientists announced they had identified in China Dec. 31, 2019.

The administration released charts showing some of the possible outcomes, and re-branded their initial ’15 Days to Slow the Spread’ as ’30 Days to Slow the Spread,’ after the initial 15 ended Monday. 

‘When you see 100,000 people and that’s a minimum number … and they said it’s unlikely you’ll be able to attain that. Think of what would have happened if we didn’t do anything?’ Trump said.

‘I’m not about bad news. I want to give people hope,’ Trump said. He brought up people who he said were advocating ‘let it rip, let it ride’ and ‘do nothing’ that he says would have resulted in 2.2 million deaths.  

Most public health experts were urging action, not standing back, after the easily-transmitted coronavirus was discovered.  

Trump defended the administration’s response even as officials have acknowledged the U.S. does not have the equipment in place or hospital beds to deal with some of the worst-case scenarios being contemplated. Trump said close to 10,000 ventilators are in the U.S. stockpile. The feds have given out fewer than 7,000, and companies are rushing to produce more – while New York says it could need up to 40,000 of the life-saving machines. 

‘I think … our professionals, our military, our governors, our politicians have done an incredible job,’ he said of the coronavirus response. ‘But I don’t want to be a negative person,’ Trump said.

McConnell, who oversaw the Senate trial that did not include witnesses and resulted in Trump’s acquittal, raised the impeachment issue in an interview with conservative host Hugh Hewitt.

‘And it came up while we were tied down on the impeachment trial. And I think it diverted the attention of the government, because everything every day was all about impeachment,’ McConnell said.  

Trump was acquitted on Feb. 5 of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, after a trial without witnesses where House managers denounced his actions to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. The White House mounted a full defense, and impeachment became the subject of a series of tweets by the president. 

Trump said Jan. 22 in the midst of impeachment he was not worried about a pandemic. ‘No. Not at all. And we have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s — going to be just fine,’ the president said. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says impeachment ‘diverted the attention’ of the government from the coronavirus. He was at the White House Friday when President Trump signed a $2.2 trillion bailout to help deal with the outbreak

The president also spoke about the growing toll of the virus in occasionally dark and personal terms. ‘Your friends are going to the hospital and you say how is he doing? Two days later and they say sir, he’s unconscious. Or he’s in a coma,’ Trump said.

Trump’s remarks on impeachment came as the nation’s top disease expert Dr. Tony Fauci warned on Tuesday that Americans should be prepared for 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

‘The answer is yes – as sobering a number as that is, we should be prepared for it,’ he said when asked about the six-figure mark during the daily White House press briefing. ‘Is it going to be that much? I hope not and I think the more we push on the mitigation the less likely to be that number but, being realistic, we need to prepare ourselves that is a possibility that that’s what we’ll see.’ 

The White House projected a range of 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the U.S. if current social distancing guidelines are maintained, based on sophisticated disease modeling.

‘Whenever you’re having an effect, it’s not time to take your foot off the accelerator, and on the brake, but to just press it down on the accelerator,’ Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said of mitigation efforts. 

He said such efforts could also help damage any potential second wave of illness.

”We hope that doesn’t happen and that is why we are really pushing and why I was so emphatic about making sure we abide by those mitigation strategies,’ he said.

President Donald Trump said the prediction was ‘sobering’ and called efforts to spread the slow of the coronavirus ‘a matter of life and death.’

‘It’s absolutely critical for the American people to follow the guidelines for the next 30 days, it’s a matter of life and death, frankly,’ the president said.

‘I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead. We’re going through a very tough few weeks. And, hopefully, as the experts have predicted is a lot of us are predicting having studied it so hard, going to start seeing some real light at the end of the tunnel and this is going to be a very painful, a very, very painful two weeks,’ he noted. 

It was a stark change in tone for President Trump who last week sounded a note of hope the crisis would be over in the next few weeks. Now his administration is preparing Americans for tougher times to come.  

Dr. Tony Fauci warned on Tuesday that Americans should be prepared for 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus

President Donald Trump said the prediction was ‘sobering’

The White House projected 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the U.S. if current social distancing guidelines are maintained

The original 15-day guidelines urged Americans to end social gatherings over the number of 10, work from home, suspend onsite learning at schools and order take out.

Trump’s announcement Sunday that those recommendations would be extended until April 30th was an abrupt reversal after he spent much of last week saying he’d like to see limitations lifted by Easter, which is April 12.  

Many states and local governments already have stiffer controls in place on mobility and gatherings.

But there were some glimmers of hope.

‘If all of the other states and all the other metro areas are able to hold that case number down, then it’s a very different picture,’ said Dr. Deborah Birx, who is coordinating the administration’s day-to-day response to the disease. 

‘We’re going to do everything we can to get it significantly below that,’ she said. 

Fauci agreed.

‘We don’t accept that number, that that’s what it’s going to be. We’re going to do everything we can to get that number even below that,’ he said.  

The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus climbed past 3,600 Tuesday, eclipsing China’s official count, as hard-hit New York City rushed to bring in more medical professionals and ambulances and parked refrigerated morgue trucks on the streets to collect the dead.

At least 3,669 people in the US have died from the deadly virus, according to data collected by the John Hopkins University.

The global benchmark reports that 3,309 people have died from the virus in China, where the global pandemic originated. 

Fears that the U.S. is on track to become the new Italy, whose healthcare system has buckled under the weight of the pandemic, are fast becoming a reality.

Italy has recorded more deaths, with 12,428 as of Tuesday afternoon. However, the U.S. has far surpassed its number of confirmed cases, with the U.S. reaching 181,099 to Italy’s 105,792.

The mounting crisis hit close to home for New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo, who reported teary-eyed that his brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, had tested positive for the virus.

The U.S. death toll has reached 3,906 and more than 189,000 people have been infected as of late Wednesday

China’s cases stand at 82,278 and at least 3,309 deaths have been reported

The governor pronounced the disaster unlike any other the city has weathered: ‘This is ongoing and the duration itself is debilitating and exhausting and depressing.’ 

New York was the nation’s deadliest hot spot, with about 1,550 deaths statewide, most of them in New York City, which braced for things to get much worse in the coming weeks. 

A 1,000-bed emergency hospital set up at the mammoth Javits Convention Center began taking non-coronavirus patients to help relieve the city’s overwhelmed health system. 

The number of coronavirus cases around the globe now stands at more than 846,000, with more than 41,000 dead

A Navy hospital ship with 1,000 beds that arrived on Monday was expected to begin accepting patients on Tuesday.

The indoor tennis center that is the site of the U.S. Open tournament is being turned into a hospital as well.

The city also worked to bring in 250 out-of-town ambulances and 500 paramedics to deal with a crush of emergency calls. 

The fire commissioner said ambulances are responding to double their normal daily total of 3,000 calls to 911. 

A five-day stretch last week was the busiest in the history of the city’s emergency services operation.

In addition, New York authorities sought to bring on more volunteer health care professionals and hoped to have them on board by Thursday. 

Nearly 80,000 former nurses, doctors and others are said to be stepping forward, and the governor said officials are doing background checks for disciplinary actions and otherwise making sure they are fit for duty.

As for Chris Cuomo, the 49-year-old TV newsman tweeted that he has suffered from fever, chills and shortness of breath and will be doing his shows from his basement, where he has quarantined himself.

He said he is worried about infecting his wife and children but added: ‘We will all beat this by being smart and tough and united!’

‘Luckily we caught it early enough,’ the governor said. ‘But it’s my family, it’s your family, it’s all of our families. But this virus is that insidious, and we must keep that all in mind.’ 

In the smoldering hot spot of Louisiana, the death toll climbed to 239. 

Louisiana and Michigan were running out of ventilators, despite promises by the White House of more equipment. 

Cuomo described the bidding for ventilators as like being ‘on eBay.’

Louisiana’s governor said the hard-hit New Orleans region is on track to run out of breathing machines by the weekend and hospital beds a week later. 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks as the Navy Hospital Ship USNS Comfort arrives in Manhattan’s Pier 90

The hospital ship has been drafted in to help relieve the strain on local hospitals with its 1,000 beds and 1,200 personnel

The Trump administration has committed to sending 150 ventilators from the national stockpile, but the state hasn´t received an arrival date. 

Michigan said it needs 5,000 to 10,000 more.

Meanwhile, a senior military general said the Pentagon has not yet delivered any of the 2,000 ventilators it offered to the Department of Health and Human Services two weeks ago because HHS has asked it to wait while the agency determines where the devices should go.

In Florida, the Holland America cruise line pleaded with state officials to let two ships dock and carry off the sick and the dead. 

Dozens aboard have reported flu-like symptoms, and four people have died.

Customers stand on line outside Whole Foods Market located at the corner of West 125th Street and Malcom X Boulevard in Harlem, New York, on March 31 wearing masks

Health care workers test people at a coronavirus testing site setup by the Florida National Guard in the parking lot of the Hard Rock stadium on March 30

But Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Fox News: ‘We cannot afford to have people who are not even Floridians dumped into South Florida using up those valuable resources.’

As the crisis continues to hot up in the U.S., China reported just one new death from the coronavirus and 48 new cases, all of them from overseas.  

In Wuhan, people were ready to ‘revenge shop’ as the city that was once at the very center of the outbreak reopened for business.

However, Dr. Takeshi Kasai, the World Health Organization’s regional director for the Western Pacific, cautioned that the risk in Asia and the Pacific is not gone.

‘This is going to be a long-term battle and we cannot let down our guard,’ Kasai said. 

Most of China’s 3,309 deaths were in Hubei province, in the outbreak epicenter Wuhan. 

A body wrapped in plastic is loaded onto a refrigerated container truck used as a temporary morgue at Brooklyn Hospital Center in Brooklyn

A hospital employee transfers a body on a forklift to a temporary mobile morgue, put in place due to lack of space at the hospital 

However, experts and politicians have cast doubt on the numbers coming out of China, and have even accused the country of lying and covering up key information during virtually every stage of its coronavirus response. 

Beijing initially tried to cover up the virus by punishing medics who discovered it, denying it could spread person-to-person and delaying a lockdown of affected regions – meaning early opportunities to control the spread were lost.

Then, once the virus began spreading, the Communist Party began censoring public information about it and spread disinformation overseas – including suggesting that US troops could have been the initial carriers.

Even now, prominent politicians have warned that infection and death totals being reported by the regime are likely to be wrong – with locals in the epicenter of Wuhan suggesting the true tolls could be ten times higher.

Chinese health officials admitted Tuesday that more than 1,500 cases of the virus involving asymptomatic people that had not been previously reported. 

Worldwide, more than 800,000 people have been infected and over 40,000 have died, according to the tally from Johns Hopkins University. 

Italy and Spain have been some of the hardest hit, accounting for half the deaths so far.

Italy reported that the infection rate appears to be leveling off and new cases could start declining, but that the crisis is far from over. 

Two cruise ships are anchored offshore past a lifeguard tower in Miami Beach

Neighbors line up for free food staples outside Santa Ana primary school in Asuncion, Paraguay, Tuesday, March 31, as people stay home from work amid the spread of the new coronavirus

Spain struggled to fend off the collapse of its hospital system. 

Vladimir Putin’s Russia moved to crack down on quarantine violations and ‘fake news’ about the outbreak. 

And China edged closer to normal as stores in the epicenter city of Wuhan began reopening. 

Figures on deaths and infections around the world are supplied by government health authorities and compiled by Johns Hopkins.

But the numbers are regarded with skepticism by public health experts because of different counting practices, a lack of testing in places, the numerous mild cases that have been missed, and perhaps government efforts to downplay the severity of the crisis.

For example, in Italy, where the death toll was put at about 12,400, the country’s emergency coordinator, Domenico Arcuri, acknowledged that officials don´t have a handle on how many people are dying at home or in nursing homes.

Still, there was a glimmer of hope there: Dr. Silvio Brusaferro, head of Italy’s institutes of health, said that three weeks into a nationwide lockdown, the hardest-hit country in Europe is seeing the rate of new infections level off.

‘The curve suggests we are at the plateau,’ he said. But ‘arriving at the plateau doesn’t mean we have conquered the peak and we´re done. It means now we should start to see the decline if we continue to place maximum attention on what we do every day.’

With the country’s health care system buckling under the pressure, a field hospital, built in just 10 days, was unveiled at the Milan fairgrounds.

‘We made a promise and we kept it,’ said the head of the project, former civil protection chief Guido Bertolaso, who ended up catching the virus while on the job and had to work from his hospital bed.

A woman takes a COVID-19 test at a quarantine hotel in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province. China on Tuesday reported just one new death from the coronavirus and a few dozen new cases, claiming that all new cases came from overseas

In Russia, lawmakers approved harsher punishments, including prison sentences of several years, for violating quarantine rules and spreading misinformation. 

The chief doctor at Moscow´s top hospital for coronavirus patients said he tested positive, a week after shaking hands with Putin.

Spain reported more than 840 new deaths, pushing the toll above 8,000 and forcing Madrid to open a second temporary morgue after an ice rink pressed into service last week became overwhelmed.

Dozens of hotels across Spain have been turned into recovery rooms, and authorities are building field hospitals in sports centers, libraries and exhibition halls.

Israel´s Defense Ministry said it has converted a missile-production facility into an assembly line for ventilators.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause severe symptoms like pneumonia.

Among the few positive signs: In Britain, where the number of dead reached nearly 1,800, the medical director of the National Health Service’s operations in England said there is evidence that social distancing is working.

DO CHINA’S NUMBERS ADD UP? 

China has lied and covered up key information during virtually every stage of its coronavirus response – from the initial outbreak to the number of cases and deaths, and is still not telling the truth, observers, experts and politicians have warned.

Here, Mail Online analysis of Beijing’s actions lays bare the great cover-up of China’s numbers:

Infection total

China has reported a total of some 82,000 infections from coronavirus, claiming a domestic infection rate of zero for several days in a row recently – even as it eased lockdown restrictions in placed like Hubei.

But, by the country’s own admission, the virus is likely still spreading – via people who have few or no symptoms.

Beijing-based outlet Caixin reported that ‘a couple to over 10 cases of covert infections of the virus are being detected’ in China every day, despite not showing up in official data.

Meanwhile foreign governments have heaped scorn on China’s infection reporting cannot be trusted.

Marco Rubio, a prominent Republican senator and former presidential candidate from the US, tweeted that ‘we have NO IDEA how many cases China really has’ after the US infection total passed Beijing’s official figure.

‘Without any doubt it’s significantly more than what they admit to,’ he added.

Meanwhile the UK government has also cast doubt on China’s reporting, with Conservative minister and former Prime Ministerial candidate Michael Gove claiming the Communist Party could not be trusted.

‘Some of the reporting from China was not clear about the scale, the nature, the infectiousness of this [virus],’ he told the BBC.

Meanwhile sources told the Mail that China’s true infection total could be anything up to 40 times as high as reports had suggested. 

Death total

Doubt has also been cast on China’s reported death toll from the virus, which currently stands at around 3,300.

Locals in epicenter city Wuhan have been keeping an eye on funeral homes since lockdown restrictions were partly lifted, claiming they have been ‘working around the clock’ to dispose of bodies. 

Social media posts estimate that 3,500 urns are being handed out by crematoriums each day, while Caixin reports that one funeral home in the city placed an order for 5,000 urns.

Locals believe that efforts to dispose of the bodies began March 23 and city authorities have said the process will end on or around April 5.

That would mean roughly 42,000 urns handed out in that time frame, ten times the reported figure.

New York state coronavirus numbers soar by 9,298 to 75,795 and deaths rise by 332 to 1550 as Gov. Cuomo admits ‘no one knows’ when the crisis will be over 

New York state now has 75,795 cases of coronavirus – an increase of 9,298 since Monday – and 1550 have died, Governor Andrew Cuomo revealed on Tuesday as he admitted ‘no one knows’ when the pandemic will end and said the entire country ‘underestimated it’.

Overnight, 18,000 people were tested in the state of New York. To date, there have been 200,000 tests. 

The death toll across the state of New York rose by 332 overnight and is not yet showing signs of slowing down. The new numbers for how many new cases and new deaths there are in New York City have not yet been given. 

Speaking at a wide-ranging press conference on Tuesday, Gov. Cuomo told of how he was unifying the state’s private and public healthcare systems to operate as one before the pandemic ‘apex’ in the state hits.

He admitted he does not know when it will come and that data projections he looks at suggest it could happen anytime between seven and 21 days from now.  

Gov. Cuomo told people to settle in for a longer period of crisis than they were anticipating and said ‘we still have to come back down the other side of the mountain’ even after the peak happens. 

Cuomo said the data is uneven and ‘bouncing’ so where it appears the death rates may be slowing, they are not yet.

‘It’s an imperfect reporting mechanism but the basic line is still up. We’re still going up,’ he said, adding that he was speaking to every expert he could find to rely on their projections and not ‘opine’ over what may happen.

Gov. Cuomo told people to settle in for a longer period of crisis than they were anticipating and said ‘we still have to come back down the other side of the mountain’ even after the peak happens

He said he was ‘tired’ of being ‘behind’ the virus, adding: ‘We’ve been behind this virus from day one. The virus was in China. Unless we assume some immune system variation with Asian people, it was coming here. You don’t win playing catch up. We have to get ahead of it.’

He also said it was foolish to ‘underestimate your opponent’, continuing: ‘We underestimated this virus. It’s more powerful and dangerous than we anticipated.’

Cuomo said the ‘next battle’ will be the apex of cases and deaths but he does not know when it will hit. 

‘When is the apex? That is the $65,000 question. We have literally 5 models that we look at. It’s true to say almost no two are the same. The range on the apex is somewhere between seven to 21 days,’ he said.

Cuomo’s strategy to tackle the virus includes:

  • Centralizing the hospital system to force public and private hospitals to share resources including staff
  • First, staff from upstate hospitals that are not hard hit will be sent to New York City
  • New York City hospitals, both public and private, will redistribute patients to spread them evenly across the city until each hospital reaches its capacity (all have increased their capacities by at least 50 percent
  • Then, patients will be distributed from New York City to quieter hospitals upstate or further afield in the state
  • Field hospitals will be used to alleviate the strain on them
  • Healthcare workers from out of state will also be used to provide relief for ‘exhausted’ and ‘overwhelmed’ doctors and nurses
  • He has bought 17,000 ventilators from China for $25,000 each, a total of $425million

Central to Cuomo’s plan is to centralize the hospital systems to do away with the notion of public and private healthcare and make everyone share everything.

He said he had a tense meeting on Monday with the leaders of private hospitals which ordinarily profit from a surge in patients and that he nearly ‘didn’t make it out’ of it because they were so angry at what he was instructing.

‘I don’t care which link breaks in the chain – the chain is still broken. It doesn’t matter which hospital, which link – any link breaks, the chain breaks.

‘The healthcare system is a chain. It breaks anywhere, it breaks everywhere. That has to be our mentality,’ he said.

Since issuing a call to action for retired nurses and doctors to come back to work, 78,000 people have volunteered.

‘We have now, a few days ago we put out to ask retirees, we have now 78,000 people who said they would help; God bless the state of NY and god bless humanity,’ he said.

He is urging other states to help him now so that he can help them later.

‘It’s unity. Let’s help each other. New York needs help now. This is going to be a rolling wave across the country; New York then Detroit then New Orleans then California

‘If we were smart as a nation – come help us in New York, get the experience and the training here, then let’s all go help the next place then the next place then the next place.

‘That would be a smart national way of doing this.’

Cuomo also fumed over the ‘bidding war’ that has been created by the federal government for ventilators. He said that he had bought 17,000 ventilators from China for $25,000 each, a total of $425million, but that he was having to compete against every other state for them and the government.

‘Look at the bizarre situation we wound up in; every state does its own purchasing, trying to buy the same commodity.

‘The same exact item. So you have 50 states competing to buy the same item, bidding up each other, and competing against each other – it’s like being on eBay with 50 other states, bidding on a ventilator,’ he said.  

Several states complain of a shortage of tests with the Republican governor of Maryland slamming Trump’s denial of the problem 

The governor of Maryland has slammed President Donald Trump’s denial that there is any shortage of coronavirus test kits.

In a leaked recording of a conference call with several governors, Trump claimed that he hasn’t had a complaint about testing shortages in ‘weeks’.

Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican who chairs the National Governors Association, responded to Trump’s remarks in an interview with NPR on Tuesday, saying: ‘Yeah, that’s just not true.’

‘I know that they’ve taken some steps to create new tests, but they’re not actually produced and distributed out to the states. So it’s an aspirational thing,’ Hogan continued. 

He added that the Trump administration has some new testing measures ‘in the works,’ but for now ‘no state has enough testing.’

Hogan said he believes others in the administration are ‘talking about the facts.’

‘We’re listening to the smart team,’ said Hogan, mentioning Vice President Mike Pence and other members of the White House coronavirus task force, including doctors Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci.

Trump’s controversial remarks came during an hour-long phone meeting where he was joined by Birx, Pence, Fauci, Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia and FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor.

Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican who chairs the National Governors Association, responded to Trump’s remarks on Tuesday, saying: ‘Yeah, that’s just not true’

In a leaked  he pushed back when asked by rural state governors for help.

‘I could give four or five examples over the last week where we have supply orders, and they’ve subsequently been cancelled, and they’re canceled in part because what our suppliers are saying is that federal resources are requesting it and trumping that,’ Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana, a Democrat, said in the leaked call. 

‘So we’re trying to shift the supplies to really isolate that and do contact tracing, but we don’t even have enough supplies to do the testing.’ 

Trump replied boasting about how the US has done more testing than any other country. He then bragged about a new four-minute test being released. 

‘I haven’t heard about testing in weeks,’ Trump responded. ‘We’ve tested more now than any nation in the world. We’ve got these great tests and we’ll come out with another one tomorrow that’s, you know, almost instantaneous testing. But I haven’t heard anything about testing being a problem.’

Speaking about the new kits, Admiral Brett Giroir, head of the Public Health Service, chimed in that each state would soon be getting at least 15 of them.

‘We’re going to get that to your state lab as soon as possible,’ Giroir added.

New Mexico Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham also communicated the need for more tests after ‘incredible spikes’ in infection rates that she warned could ‘wipe out tribal nations’. 

‘The rate of infection, at least on the New Mexico side — although we’ve got several Arizona residents in our hospitals — we’re seeing a much higher hospital rate, a much younger hospital rate, a much quicker go-right-to-the-vent rate for this population,’ Grisham told Trump. ‘And we’re seeing doubling in every day-and-a-half.’ 

Trump simply replied: Wow, that’s something.’

Several governors complained that if their state did not get the testing and personal protective equipment needed soon, their areas could be the next epicenters of the outbreak that has ravaged the US.

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