The President: Thank you very much.
I had a very good telephone conversation --
extremely good -- with Senator Schumer a little
We're working on various elements of the deal, and
the Democrats are very much wanting something to
happen, and the Republicans, likewise, are
very much wanting something to happen.
And I think it will.
I spoke with -- at length with Mitch McConnell.
And there's tremendous spirit to get something
done, so we'll see what happens.
But my conversation was very good with Senator Schumer.
I thank you all for joining us, and I'd like
to begin by providing an update on what we are
doing to minimize the impact of the Chinese
virus on our nation's students.
With many schools closed due to the virus, the
Department of Education will not enforce
standardized testing requirements, very
importantly, for students in elementary through high
school for the current year.
They've been through a lot.
They've been going back and forth; schools open,
schools not open.
It's been all standardized testing.
And, you know, it's -- we're not going to be
enforcing that, so I think you can let people know.
I think probably a lot of the students will be
extremely happy; some probably not.
The ones that work hard, maybe not.
But it's one of those things.
Unfortunate -- very unfortunate circumstance.
We've also temporarily waived all interest on
federally held student loans.
They'll be very happy to hear that.
And I've instructed them to take that action immediately.
And today, Secretary DeVos has directed federal
lenders to allow borrowers to suspend their student
loans and loan payments without penalty for at
least the next 60 days.
And if we need more, we'll extend that period of time.
Borrowers should contact their lenders, but we've
given them very strong instructions.
So we've temporarily waived all interest on
federally held student loans.
That's a big thing.
That's going to make a lot of students very happy.
And we have more to come on student loans -- more
good news for the students -- but we'll do that at a
This morning, the Treasury Department also announced
that we're moving Tax Day from April 15 to July 15.
So we're moving it out to July 15th so that people
will have time and people will be able to --
hopefully, by that time, we'll have people getting
back to their lives.
Families and businesses will have this extra time
to file with no interest or penalties.
We're getting rid of interest and penalties.
However, if you have refunds or credits you
would like to claim, you may still file.
In other words, you can file early if you are owed
money by the IRS.
Other than that, we're moving it all the way out
to July 15th -- no interest, no penalties.
Your new date will be July 15.
Today, our team will also provide an update on our
continuing effort to prevent the transmission
of virus across America's borders.
And I watched what's been happening in California
with Governor Newsom and, this morning, with
Governor Cuomo, and I applaud them.
They're taking very strong, bold steps, and I
And we're all working together.
We're working very closely together, including those
But I would say, based on the call -- the media was
there -- I think we can say that, with respect to
virtually every governor on that call, I think
every governor -- we had almost all of them, if not
all of them -- and I would say that you could see for
yourselves that the level of respect and esprit de
corps working together was extraordinary.
There was nobody angry, nobody upset.
We're able to help them, and that's what we're all
We want to help.
We're doing things that a lot of people wouldn't be
able to do.
But the relationship with governors and states is, I
think, very extraordinary, especially under the
circumstances where this just came upon us.
We're working with Canada and Mexico to prevent the
spread of the virus across North America, very
You heard what we did yesterday with Canada.
And Secretary of State Pompeo will be making a
statement in a little while having to do with
Mexico and the border.
And Chad likewise -- Chad Wolf will likewise be
making a statement.
This is a joint comprehensive effort in
collaboration with our neighbors.
The measure and all of those measures that we're
putting in place will protect the health of all
three nations and reduce the incentive for a mass
global migration that would badly deplete the
healthcare resources needed for our people.
And so we are working very closely with Mexico, very,
very closely with Canada.
The relationship has never been better.
We're all working for the same -- toward the same
Our nation's top healthcare officials are
extremely concerned about the grave public health
consequences of mass uncontrolled cross-border
And that would be mostly -- and even beyond -- but
mostly during this global pandemic.
Every week, our border agents encounter thousands
of unscreened, unvetted, and unauthorized entries
from dozens of countries.
And we've had this problem for decades.
You know the story.
But now it's -- with the national emergencies and
all of the other things that we've declared, we
can actually do something about it.
We're taking a very strong hold of that.
And we have before, but this is now at a level
that nobody has ever approached.
In normal times, these massive flows place a vast
burden on our healthcare system, but during a
global pandemic, they threaten to create a
perfect storm that would spread the infection to
our border agents, migrants, and to the
public at large.
Left unchecked, this would cripple our immigration
system, overwhelm our healthcare system, and
severely damage our national security.
We're not going to let that happen.
So we have a lot of information, and they'll
be discussing that in a moment.
To confront these public health degrees [dangers],
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has
decided to exercise its authority under the Title
42 of the U.S.
Code to give Customs and Border Protection the
tools it needs to prevent the transmission of the
virus coming through both the northern and the
So we're treating the borders equally -- the
northern border and the southern border.
It's being treated -- they're both being treated
A lot of people say that they're not treated
Well, they are.
As we did with Canada, we're also working with
Mexico to implement new rules at our ports of
entry to suspend non-essential travel.
These new rules and procedures will not impede
lawful trade and commerce.
Furthermore, Mexico is taking action to secure
our own southern border and suspend air travel
So we're coordinating very closely the air travel
going to Mexico and then trying to come into the
The actions we're taking together with our North
American partners will save countless lives.
At the conclusion of my remarks, Secretary Azar,
Secretary Pompeo, Secretary Wolf -- we're
going to be also taking some questions with Tony
and Deborah, who you've gotten to know very well
-- but they'll be discussing certain things,
and I think you'll find them of great interest.
We're going to be providing tremendous
amounts of detail over the coming days, but a lot of
it will be provided right now if you'd like to find
out about it.
This has been a week of resolute action,
Tremendous relationships have developed with people
that, frankly, didn't get along.
People that didn't like each other, they're now
working together and maybe, even in some cases,
learning about each other and liking each other.
It's a nice thing.
I invoked the Defense Production Act, and last
night, we put it into gear.
We moved the National Response Coordination
Center to the highest level of activist [sic].
I mean, if you -- if you take a look at what we
did, the level of activation has been
increased to a grade one level, which is the
We're providing historic support to small
businesses and to the states.
The states need support.
Normally they do this themselves, but because of
the magnitude of it, the federal government has
gotten very much involved in terms of getting the
equipment they need.
So we're helping them.
It's -- it's a responsibility they have,
but we are helping the states a lot.
That's why the governors, I think in every case,
have been impressed and very nice.
We enacted legislation guaranteeing paid sick
leave for workers at no cost to employers.
And I think it's very important.
So they get paid sick leave at no cost to
We're accelerating the use of new drug treatments.
We're advancing legislation to give direct
payments to hardworking families.
Throughout our country, Americans from all walks
of life are rallying together to defeat the
unseen enemy striking our nation.
In times of struggle, we see the true greatness of
the American character, and we are seeing that.
A lot of people are talking about it.
We're at 141 countries, from what they're telling
me, and some of those countries are really
working in a unified manner.
And they're working very unified with us, almost --
I could say a good -- a good number of them.
Doctors and nurses are working nonstop to heal
Citizens and churches are delivering meals to the
Truckers are making the long haul to keep shelves
We've been dealing with the big stores and the big
chains, Walmart -- they've been fantastic -- and
They've all been fantastic.
We've made it much easier for them to stock.
In terms of travel and travel restrictions, we're
lifting restrictions so they can get their trucks
You're seeing very few empty shelves, and yet the
amount of volume that they are doing is unprecedented
because people want to have what they have to
have, what they feel they have to have.
And they're also buying in slightly smaller
quantities, which is good -- because we're not going
We're going to be here.
So I want to thank all of those very great companies
for working so well.
Americans from every walk of life are coming
And thanks to the spirit of our people, we will win
this war, and we are.
We're winning and we're going to win this war.
America will triumph and America will rise higher
than ever before.
We'll be stronger than ever before, and we've
learned a lot.
We've learned a lot.
We've learned a lot about relying on other
countries, and I can say that I think in both a
very good and a very bad way.
Some good things came out of it and some not so good
things came out of it.
So I'd like to move now to invite our team to provide
information on the new measures to prevent viral
spread at our borders.
And I'll start by asking Secretary of State Pompeo
He's doing a fantastic job.
And like everyone else, he's been working very,
very long and very, very hard.
And he's doing the other more normal jobs of a
great Secretary of State, but he got -- he got tied
into this like everybody else, and he's been really
doing a fantastic job.
Secretary Pompeo: Thank you, Mr. President.
Before I address the efforts that we've been
engaged in to push back against the Chinese virus,
I want to assure the American people that, as
President Trump just said, your State Department,
your entire national security team is staying
focused on the other diplomatic challenges
around the world.
Those include reducing risk to America from
Afghanistan, holding the Iranian regime accountable
for its malign activity.
And our counterterrorism efforts against ISIS
remain a priority for our team.
Our number one priority across those mission sets
remains the protection of the American people.
The President and our team are very focused on it.
I'll take this moment, too, to thank my team, the
State Department team, who is working long hours all
around the world to take care of Americans who are
stuck at places around the world.
I'll talk about that more in just a minute.
You've all seen Dr. Birx with me.
State Department officials are doing great work, but
I want to -- I want to give a shout-out to all of
the State Department team, here in Washington and
around the world, that are working overtime to help
us push back against this pandemic.
Under the President's leadership this week,
we've taken two important steps.
First, as President Trump announced on Wednesday,
the United States and Canada jointly agreed to
restrict all non-essential traffic across our border.
This decision goes into effect tonight at
The restrictions will be reviewed after 30 days,
and they exclude traffic and movement across the
border for work or other essential reasons.
We're grateful to have such an outstanding friend
to the north who is committed, as we are, to
defeating this virus.
I also want to announce today that the United
States and Mexico have agreed to restrict
non-essential travel across our shared border.
Both our countries know the importance of working
together to limit the spread of the virus to
ensure that commerce that supports our economy
continues to keep flowing.
Here, too, the United States is glad to have a
friend who is working side by side us in the fight.
Secretary Wolf will talk a little bit more about the
details of how we're working alongside our
partner in Mexico to keep our southern border safe
and secure as well.
On another note, yesterday the State Department
issued a Level 4 global travel advisory.
This means that all international travel from
citizens should be avoided.
In countries where commercial departure
options remain available, U.S.
citizens who reside in the United States should
arrange for immediate return to the United
States unless they're prepared to remain abroad
for an extended time.
If you choose to travel internationally, your
travel plans may well be severely disrupted.
And finally, I want to talk about the
disinformation that people are seeing both on Twitter
and around the world -- some of it coming from
government, some of it coming from other
I just urge everyone, as they're seeing information
-- information that at one time suggested somehow
this virus emanated from the United States Army,
this information about lockdowns that are taking
place: Every American indeed, and people all
around the world, should ensure that where they
turn to for information is a reliable source and not
a bad actor trying to create and flow
information that they know is wrong.
This is a tough fight.
The American people are tougher.
Our diplomatic teams are working around the clock
to help them keep safe both home and abroad.
And we're showing, once again, the global
leadership that America has always delivered.
It's been great to see countries around the world
rally behind what President Trump and our
team are doing.
The President: Thank you, Mike.
Thank you very much.
And we'll take questions right after this.
Chad Wolf, please.
Acting Secretary Wolf: Well, let me start off by
thanking the President and the Vice President for
their continued leadership and commitment for
protecting the American people during this crisis.
Early on, the President, again, took unprecedented
actions to restrict travel from areas affected with
And today, DHS has screened over 200,000
individuals coming back from those affected
This has been an immense undertaking but one that
the men and women of DHS have successfully
Today's announcement is yet another example of the
extraordinary steps the administration is taking
to ensure the safety of the American public.
Before I comment on the CDC order that I'm sure
Secretary Azar will later elaborate on, let me first
address the progress as Secretary Pompeo and
others have made with our Canadian and Mexican
partners regarding cross-border travel.
As we continue to evaluate common-sense measures that
reduce risk and prevent further spread, it only
makes sense that we have looked at the measures
that our neighbors to the north and south are
And so we've been working closely with those
partners since the earliest days of this
virus and the outbreak.
And again, as the President said earlier
this week and Secretary Pompeo, we've reached an
agreement -- an agreement with both Canada and
Mexico to limit non-essential travel
across our land borders.
Let me be clear that neither of these
agreements with Canada or Mexico applies to lawful
trade or commerce.
Essential commercial activities will not be
We will continue to maintain a strong and
secure economic supply chain across our borders.
A few examples of essential travel include
but certainly are not limited to: individuals
traveling for medical purposes, to attend
educational institutions, for emergency response,
public health services, and individuals engaged in
lawful cross-border trade.
As the Secretary said, the agreements with both
Canada and Mexico will go into effect on Saturday,
Furthermore, we're also working collaboratively
with Canada and Mexico to take decisive joint action
regarding individuals seeking entry between our
ports of entry.
The CDC order directs the Department to suspend the
introduction of all individuals seeking to
enter the U.S.
without proper travel documentation.
That's for both the northern and southern
The CDC Director has determined that the
introduction and spread of the coronavirus and the
Department's Border Patrol stations and detention
facilities presents a serious danger to
migrants, our frontline agents and officers, and
the American people.
So it's important to note that the Department
currently apprehends foreign nationals from
over 120 different countries around the world
-- the vast majority of those having coronavirus
Many of these individuals arrive with little or no
identity, travel, or medical documentation,
making public health risk determinations all but
It's also important to note that the outbreak on
our southern border would likely increase the strain
on health systems in our border communities, taking
away important and lifesaving resources from
Tonight -- again, at midnight -- we will
execute the CDC order by immediately returning
individuals arriving without documentation to
Canada, Mexico, as well as a number of other
countries without delay.
So, again, CBP is positioned to execute
these measures as we continue to keep our
borders secure and safe.
Before I conclude, let me just wrap up by thanking
the brave men and women of DHS, specifically CBP, and
across the government for the work that they do day
in and day out to keep the American people safe from
The Department has a number of frontline
officers that have been -- have tested positive, as
well as the others who are self-quarantining.
And I am doing everything that I can to protect
these patriots as they continue to defend our
homeland during this crisis.
The President: Thank you very much, Chad.
Secretary Azar: Today's announcement is just the
latest in a long line of bold, decisive actions the
President has taken to protect Americans from the
coronavirus spreading across our borders.
In January, within two weeks of China's notifying
WHO about the virus and with only 45 cases in
China, we began screening travelers from Wuhan.
Then, over time, as the outbreak evolved, the
President restricted travel from China, Iran,
Our health experts say that these measures have
been truly effective at slowing the virus's spread
to our shores.
Just think about this: Italy and the United
States both saw their first travel-related case
of coronavirus around the exact same time, the last
week of January.
And yet, we have had precious time to continue
our work around vaccines, therapeutics, and other
preparations, while Italy has tragically been
overwhelmed with critical patients for several weeks
The President today is taking action to slow the
spread of infectious disease via our border.
Under Section 362 of the Public Health Service Act,
the CDC is suspending the entry of certain persons
into the United States because of the public
health threat that their entry into the United
This order applies to persons coming from Mexico
and Canada who are seeking to enter the country
illegally and who would normally be held in a
congregate setting like a Customs and Border
It does not apply to U.S.
citizens or lawful permanent residents.
During this pandemic, a number of health
challenges arise when illegal immigrants arrive
at our northern and southern borders and are
taken into immigration custody.
We're talking about significant numbers of
From this past October through February, DHS has
processed more than 21,000 inadmissible aliens at the
northern border and more than 151,000 inadmissible
aliens at the southern border.
CBP facilities were never designed to hold large
numbers of people and to protect agents and
migrants from infection during a pandemic, nor to
treat them for a novel virus if large numbers are
When held at border facilities, these migrants
risk spreading the virus to other migrants, to CBP
agents and border healthcare workers, and
even the United States population as a whole.
In such circumstances, the kind of social distancing
measures the CDC and the President have recommended
are simply not possible.
On top of that, any resources that we are
using to reduce the risk of infection among CBP
agents, healthcare workers, and migrants in
these facilities are drawing on American -- an
American healthcare system that is already fighting
the coronavirus pandemic.
That's why the President and his administration are
taking these important steps to keep Americans
and our immigration system safe from these health
risks as part of our whole-of-government
approach to combatting the coronavirus.
Thank you, Mr. President, for the work that you've
been doing throughout this crisis to slow the spread
of the coronavirus and to keep our country safe.
The President: Thank you very much.
If I could ask Tony or Deb, please.
Dr. Birx: Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. President.
So we continue to review the data very carefully
from around the globe, as I know many of you are.
We continue to see signs that, again, individuals
under 20 -- 19 and under -- may have severe
disease, but majority and all have recovered to
We still see that same trend.
And, frankly, from Italy, we're seeing another
concerning trend: that the mortality in males seems
to be twice in every age group of females.
This should alert all of us to continue our
vigilance to protect our Americans that are in
This requires all of the community.
And when you see the sacrifices that many
Americans have made -- the sacrifices that the
service industry has made to close their
restaurants, close their bars, and so that the
spread is discontinued -- and then you really
understand how all of Americans must make the
We continue to ask you to follow the presidential
guidelines of no groups coming together of more
than 10; that, if anyone in the household is sick,
that everyone quarantines in the household together;
and that we continue to focus on those who have
the most vulnerability to this illness.
Now, to the moms and dads out there that have
children with immunodeficiencies or
other medical conditions: We don't know the level of
And I know you will also protect them in the same
There just is not enough numbers at this time to
really tell them if they're at additional risk
or not in the same way that adults are.
I don't have any new data.
I can see the look on your face as saying, "Is she
seeing something new?"
I don't have any new data, but I think it's important
for us to be as honest with the American people
as we can.
And when we don't have data, be very clear that
we don't know.
Finally, no one is immune.
I sometimes hear people on radio or others talking
about, "I'm immune to the virus."
We don't know if the contagion levels are
difference in age groups, but we know it's highly
contagious to everyone.
Do not interpret mild or moderate disease as lack
of contagion, or that you're immune.
You just happen to have a better immune system and
the ability to fight the virus in a way that maybe
older people or people with existing medical
And that's why it's very important at this moment,
that all of you carry that message about the
sacrifices that many have made, particularly our
service providers and our frontline healthcare
They are making that sacrifice every day so
that every American can move through this well.
But we need every American following the presidential
The President: Thank you very much.
Dr. Fauci: Thank you very much, Mr. President.
I just want to underscore a couple of things that
I've said a few times to this group.
You may recall that just a week ago or so I said the
two pillars, the two elements of our capability
to contain the infection and the surge of
infections in this country rely on two things:
keeping infections from coming from without in.
We've been very successful in doing that with China
and with Europe.
Now we have the northern and southern border
There's a fundamental public health reason for
doing that, because we cannot be preventing
people from coming in from one area when they can
actually go into the other.
So that's an important reason.
Understand that there's a public health reason for
The second thing -- and I think it's really
important -- is what happened in New York
today, where Governor Cuomo mentioned about an
hour ago some rather strong issues that have
been addressed with his recommendations -- not
recommendations; essentially, orders.
Now, we have a group of recommendations and
guidelines that are applicable to the entire
You know them; we've been over them.
Yet there are places, regions, states, cities in
this country that are being stressed much, much
more than the country as a whole.
Clearly, one of them was Washington; another one
Governor Newsom made some very important, difficult
Today, Governor Cuomo did the same thing.
And I want to say I strongly support what he's
And one thing, as a New Yorker myself -- for those
of you who haven't figured out from my accent that
I'm from New York -- as a New Yorker, I know what
New Yorkers can do.
I was in New York City on September 11, 2001, and I
know what the New Yorkers can do.
So please cooperate with your governor, cooperate
with your mayor.
It's very important.
The President: Thank you, Tony.
The Vice President: That's great.
Thank you, Mr. President.
The White House Coronavirus Task Force met
this morning and we continue, at the
President's direction, to bring the full resources,
not just of the federal government, but in full
partnership with our state governments, businesses
around America, and a partnership with the
American people to respond to the threat of the
And I know I can speak on behalf of the President
with confidence when I say how inspired we are by the
way the American people and American businesses
are coming together to help defeat this virus in
Millions of Americans are putting into practice the
President's 15-day guidelines, and we
encourage everyone, even those that are not in
areas with significant outbreak, to review these
guidelines over the next week and more, and put
them into practice.
And you'll continue to do your part.
Later today, we'll be talking with manufacturers
around the country.
And the President I continue to be inspired by
the way American industry is stepping forward.
We have businesses around the country that are
literally volunteering to retrofit plants to help us
meet the needs of our healthcare workers and our
healthcare system in confronting the
As the President mentioned yesterday, following his
decision to put FEMA in the lead -- the emergency
declaration -- we actually met with all the nation's
governors from the FEMA National Response
The President and I, our entire team at the federal
level, couldn't be more grateful for the efforts
of all of our governors in implementing the guidance
that is being issued not only from our task force,
but also in taking strong measures in their own
communities to protect their citizens.
We want to urge every American to heed your
Listen to their guidance.
And also do your part to slow the spread.
We reiterated to all of the governors that the
President, by putting FEMA in the lead, will continue
to implement a plan that is locally executed, state
managed, and federally supported that puts the
health of America first.
We have received a report today, as the President
mentioned, on our legislative team on
We're working with Republicans and Democrats
at this very hour to pass an economic recovery
package that the President described.
And we hope to see the Congress act on that early
On the subject of supplies, we continue to
make steady progress on testing.
Thanks to the President's involvement of commercial
labs, the public and private partnership, more
and more Americans are being tested every single
And tomorrow, Admiral Giroir and FEMA will
update the American public on the status of testing
and our support of state-based testing
efforts that are literally expanding by the hour.
On the subject of medical supplies, we continue, at
the President's direction, to pursue every means to
expand the supply of personal protective
equipment for the extraordinary and
courageous healthcare workers that are
ministering to the needs of people impacted by the
We have a policy of procuring, allocating, as
well as conserving the resources that we have in
And now that the President worked with the Congress
to make industrial masks fully available for
hospitals to be able to purchase, to be able to
use as protective equipment, we're more
encouraged than ever about the availability of those
important N95 masks to our healthcare facilities.
And over this weekend, we'll be announcing a
major procurement from the federal government of N95
masks, as well.
We're also encouraged that we're finding new
alternatives to increase the supply of ventilators.
We've mentioned that we have a federal stockpile,
some 20,000 ventilators on standby, but that doesn't
count the tens of thousands of ventilators
that are in our healthcare system around the country.
But the President has challenged us to work to
free up other ventilators from other sources around
And there are two different ways that we're
Number one, in our recent discussion with
anesthesiologists, we've literally identified tens
of thousands of existing ventilators that can be
retrofitted and converted to be ventilators for
people struggling with the coronavirus.
But also, on the President's behalf and on
behalf of all of our task force, we want to continue
to urge every American and every American hospital
and healthcare facility to postpone any elective
This will free up bed space, free up hospital
capacity for people that are struggling with the
coronavirus, and it will also free up equipment
that our healthcare workers need.
It is inspiring that we continue to receive
reports that businesses around America are
donating N95 masks to their local hospitals.
Businesses large and small are donating hundreds, in
some cases millions, of N95 masks.
And I know -- I know how grateful the President is
and we all are.
And let me close by saying, as all of our
experts have said many times, while the threat of
serious illness to the average American from the
coronavirus remains low, every American can do your
part to reduce the burden on your health, on your
family, the burden on our healthcare system and
especially the threat to the most vulnerable among
us by putting into practice the President's
"15 Days to Slow the Spread."
And as the President said at the outset of his
remarks, I know that millions of Americans are
doing that just now.
And the greatness of the American character is
The President: Thank you, Mike.
Thank you very much.
Okay, thank you.
The Press: You had a call with Senator Schumer.
He says you've now agreed to invoke the Defense
Production Act to actually make those medical
supplies that hospitals say are in severe
So two questions: Is that what you're doing now?
The President: It is.
I did it yesterday.
We invoked it, I think, the day before we signed
it -- the evening of the day before -- and invoked
We have a lot of people working very hard to do
ventilators and various other things.
The Press: So you're using it now to tell businesses
they -- The President: We are using it.
The Press: -- need to make ventilators, masks,
The President: We are.
For certain things that we need, including --
including some of the very important emergency -- I
would say ventilators, probably more masks, to a
We have millions of masks, which are coming and which
will be distributed to the states.
The states are having a hard time getting them.
So we're using the act.
The act is very good for things like this.
We have millions of masks that we've ordered.
They will be here soon.
We're having them shipped directly to states.
The Press: So you said you had only -- you were
signing this but not invoking it -- this is
what you said yesterday -- and that you would only do
so in a worst-case scenario.
The President: Yeah.
Last -- The Press: So are we now at a worst-case
The President: We -- we need -- no, it's no
different, other than we need certain equipment
that the states are unable to get by themselves.
So we're invoking it to use the powers of the
federal government to help the states get things that
they need, like the masks, like the ventilators.
The Press: Given what Governor Cuomo has done in
New York, is there any more consideration to a
national lockdown to keep people in their homes?
The President: I don't think so.
Essentially, you've done that in California, you've
done that in New York.
Those are really two hotbeds.
Those are probably the two hottest of them all, in
terms of hotspots.
I don't think so, because you go out to the Midwest,
you go out to other locations and they're
watching it on television but they don't have the
They don't have, by any means, the same problem.
New York, California, Miami -- the governor is
doing an excellent job.
Governor DeSantis in Florida.
We have some pretty hot spots in Florida too.
But we're generally -- and the State of Washington,
of course, but that was largely -- if you look at
it, it was one nursing home that had problems
like you wouldn't believe.
So, no, we're working with the governors and I don't
think you'll -- I don't think we'll ever find that
The Press: So we're about a week into your 15-day
Are you happy with the progress?
Would you like to see the 15 days extended?
The President: I am happy.
I am happy with it.
We'll have to see what the results are at the end of
14 days, let's say.
We'll know by the 15th day to see what we do.
But I'm certainly honored by the way the American
people are working -- because it's work.
It's work not to work.
This is the first this has ever happened.
And we're working out a tremendous financial
package for them so they don't work.
Whoever heard of this?
Usually, you work out a financial package to get
We're asking people not to work.
Social distancing -- a new terms that's become
probably the hottest term there is.
So, no, I'm very honored by the way the American
people are taking this, I mean, so seriously.
The Press: Mr. President, a question for you and a
question for Dr. Fauci, if I could.
There's been some concern among Democrats on Capitol
Hill that the phase three fiscal stimulus is
weighted too much in favor of corporations and not
enough in terms of individuals.
What did your conversations with Senator
Schumer yield on that front?
The President: Well, I think that really all of
that is being discussed right now.
And we talked about, as an example, buyback -- stock
I don't want to have stock buybacks.
I don't want people spending -- I don't want
some executives saying, "We're going to buy
200,000 shares of stock."
I want that money to be used for the workers, and
also for the company -- to keep the company going.
But not for buybacks.
I would -- I mean, I haven't spoken to a lot of
the Republicans or Democrats on it.
We discussed it.
And I -- I don't like buybacks.
I didn't like them the first time.
The Press: Are you and Senator Schumer -- The
President: So we're discussing -- we're
discussing that and we're discussing many things.
The Press: Are you on the same page with Senator
The President: We're not so far away, I'll tell
We're not very -- we're not very far away.
The Press: And to Dr. Fauci, if I could.
Dr. Fauci -- this was explained yesterday --
there has been some promise with
hydroxychloroquine as potential therapy for
people who are infected with coronavirus.
Is there any evidence to suggest that, as with
malaria, it might be used as a prophylaxis against
Dr. Fauci: No.
The answer is no.
And the evidence that you're talking about,
John, is anecdotal evidence.
So as the Commissioner of FDA and the President
mentioned yesterday, we're trying to strike a balance
between making something with a potential of an
effect to the American people available, at the
same time that we do it under the auspices of a
protocol that would give us information to
determine if it's truly safe and truly effective.
But the information that you're referring to
specifically is anecdotal; it was not done in a
controlled clinical trial.
So you really can't make any definitive statement
The President: I think, without saying too much,
I'm probably more of a fan of that than -- maybe than
But I'm a big fan, and we'll see what happens.
And we all understand what the doctor said is 100
But we've -- you know, I've seen things that are
And we'll see.
We're going to know soon.
We're going to know soon -- including safety.
But, you know, when you get to safety, this has
been prescribed for many years for people to combat
malaria, which was a big problem.
And it's very effective.
It's a strong -- it's a strong drug.
So we'll see.
The Press: It was also fairly effective against
The President: It was a very -- it was, as I
Is that a correct statement -- it was fairly
effective on SARS?
Dr. Fauci: John, you've got to be careful when you
say "fairly effective."
It was never done in a clinical trial.
They compared it to anything.
It was given to individuals and felt that
maybe it worked.
So -- The Press: But was there anything to compare
Dr. Fauci: Well, that's the point.
Whenever you do a clinical trial, you do standard of
care versus "standard of care plus the agent you're
That's the reason why we showed, back in Ebola, why
particular interventions worked.
The Press: Mr. President, about the possible
therapies yesterday, Mr. President, you said
that they were for, quote, "immediate delivery."
We heard it from doc- -- The President: Yeah, well,
we were ordering -- yes, we have millions of units
Bayer is one of the companies, as you know.
A big company.
A very big, very great company.
Millions of units are ordered, and we're going
to see what happens.
We're going to be talking to the governors about it,
and the FDA is working on it right now.
The advantage is that it has been prescribed for a
totally different problem, but it has been described
[sic] for many years, and everybody knows the levels
of -- the negatives and the positives.
But I will say that I am a man that comes from a very
positive school when it comes to, in particular,
one of these drugs.
And we'll see how it works out, Peter.
I'm not -- I'm not saying it will, but I think that
people may be surprised.
By the way, that would be a game changer.
But we're going to know very soon.
But -- but we have ordered millions of units.
It's being ordered from Bayer, and there is
another couple of companies also that do it.
The Press: For clarity, Dr. Fauci said there is no
magic drug for coronavirus right now, which you would
I guess, on this issue then -- The President:
Well, you know, I think we only disagree a little
The Press: -- so let me just ask, though: Is it
possible that -- sorry.
The President: I disagree.
Maybe and maybe not.
Maybe there is, maybe there isn't.
We have to see.
We're going to know.
We're going to know soon.
The Press: Is it possible -- it possible that your
impulse to put a positive spin on things may be
giving Americans a false sense of -- The President:
No, I don't think so.
The Press: -- hope, and misrepresenting the
preparedness right now?
The President: No.
No, I don't think so.
I think that -- I think it's gotten -- The Press:
The ship is not yet ready to sail.
The not-yet-approved drug The President: Such a
Look, it may work and it may not work.
And I agree with the doctor, what he said: It
may work, it may not work.
I feel good about it.
That's all it is.
Just a feeling.
You know, I'm a smart guy.
I feel good about it.
And we're going to see.
You're going to see soon enough.
And we have certainly some very big samples of
people, if you look at the people.
You have a lot of people that are in big trouble.
And this is not a drug that -- obviously, I think
I can speak for a lot of -- from a lot of
experience, because it's been out there for over 20
So it's not a drug that you have a huge amount of
It's not like a brand-new drug that's been just
created that may have an unbelievable monumental
effect, like kill you.
We're going know very soon.
And I can tell you the FDA is working very hard to
get it out.
Right now, in terms of malaria, if you wanted,
you can have a prescription.
You get a prescription.
And by the way -- and it's very effective.
I have a feeling you may -- and I'm not being
overly optimistic or pessimistic.
I sure as hell think we ought to give it a try.
I mean, there's been some interesting things
happened and some good -- very good things.
Let's see what happens.
We have nothing to lose.
You know the expression: What the hell do you have
The Press: So what to do you say to -- the units
that were ordered -- the units that were ordered.
The President: Jon, go ahead.
The Press: I'll just follow up.
Nearly 200 dead.
What do you say to Americans who are scared,
I guess, nearly 200 dead; 14,000 who are sick;
millions, as you witness, who are scared right now.
What do you say to Americans who are watching
you right now who are scared?
The President: I say that you're a terrible
That's what I say.
The Press: Mr. President, the units that were just
declared -- The President: I think it's a very nasty
question, and I think it's a very bad signal that
you're putting out to the American people.
The American people are looking for answers and
they're looking for hope.
And you're doing sensationalism, and the
same with NBC and "Con-cast."
I don't call it -- I don't call it "Comcast," I call
Let me just -- for who you work -- let me just tell
you something: That's really bad reporting, and
you ought to get back to reporting instead of
Let's see if it works.
It might and it might not.
I happen to feel good about it, but who knows.
I've been right a lot.
Let's see what happens.
The Press: Can I get back to science and the
The President: You ought to be ashamed of yourself.
The Press: The units that were ordered, are they for
clinical trials or are they for distribution to
the general patient population?
The President: We are going to -- as I
understand it, we are going to be taking samples
in New York.
Governor Cuomo very much is interested in this
And they are going to work on it also, after they get
a certain approval.
We're waiting for one final approval from the
We'll see what happens.
But we'll use it on people that are not doing great,
or even at the beginning of not feeling well.
The Press: So this would sort of fall under the
modified auspice -- The President: And, John, what
do we have to lose?
The Press: So this would sort of -- The President:
Wait, John -- it's been out there for so long.
We hear good things.
Maybe it works and maybe it doesn't.
The Press: I understand all of that.
I'm just thinking the application here.
So that would be under, sort of, a modified
The President: We're doing that, I guess.
And that's -that's what it's called.
The Press: I would like Dr. Fauci, if you don't
mind, to follow up on what the President is saying.
Should Americans have hope in this drug right now?
And, sir, I would like to follow up on Peter's
Could you please issue -- address Americans in this
country who are scared right now?
This is a very valid concern that people have.
Dr. Fauci: No, there really isn't that much of
a difference in many respects with what we're
The President feels optimistic about something
-- his feeling about it.
What I'm saying is that it might -- it might be
I'm not saying that it isn't.
It might be effective.
But as a scientist, as we're getting it out
there, we need to do it in a way as -- while we are
making it available for people who might want the
hope that it might work, you're also collecting
data that will ultimately show that it is truly
effective and safe under the conditions of
So there really isn't difference.
It's just a question of how one feels about it.
The Press: Is there any reason to believe it's not
Dr. Fauci: Well, certainly as a drug -- any drug,
John, has some toxicities.
The decades of experience that we have with this
drug indicate that the toxicities are rare and
they are, in many respects, reversible.
What we don't know is when you put it in the context
of another disease, whether it is safe.
Fundamentally, I think it probably is going to be
safe, but I like to prove things first.
So it really is a question of not a lot of
It's the hope that it will work versus proving that
it will work.
So I don't see big differences here.
The President: I agree.
The Press: Sir, your message to Americans who
are working at home, who have their children in
their homes right now, who are homeschooling -- The
Here we go.
The Press: -- doctors who say they don't have the
masks they need to do their jobs.
Your message to them?
The President: My message to the American people is
that there is a very low incidence of death.
You understand that.
And we're going to come through this stronger than
If you get it, if you happen to get it, it is
It's looking like it's getting to a number that's
much smaller than people originally thought, in
terms of the ultimate -- the ultimate problem,
which would be death.
My message to the American people is, number one,
you've done an incredible job.
What you've gone through -- it's been incredible.
It wasn't their fault.
It wasn't their fault.
It wasn't the fault of 140 other countries where this
And there is tremendous hope.
And I think we're going to come out stronger, better,
bigger, in every way.
I think we're going to be a better country than we
And we learned a lot.
We learned on reliance -- who to rely on, who not to
But our country -- our country has been
incredible, the way they pulled together --
including the fact that I just spoke to Senator
We had a wonderful conversation.
We both want to get to a good solution.
But it's been, really, for me -- watching and seeing
people, that weren't speaking, getting along
well because we all have one common aim, and that's
to get rid of this invisible enemy, get rid
of it fast, and then go back to the kind of
economy that we had, and maybe even better.
Yeah, please, in the back.
No, in the back, please.
The Press: Mr. President, I have two questions if
you'll indulge me.
The first question is: Many small businesses are
concerned that they have weeks, not months, and are
worried about how long it'll take assistance to
get to them.
The President: We're going to be helping them a lot.
We're going to be focused -- a big focus on --
including my conversation with both Mitch and with
Chuck -- a big focus of that conversation with
small businesses, because they are really the engine
behind our country, more so than the big ones.
They are the engine behind our country.
The Press: The second, if I may, sir: Are you
concerned about members of Congress that may have
used information they learned on updates to sell
stocks and profit off of this?
The President: I'm not aware of it.
I saw some names.
I'm not -- I know all of them.
I know everyone mentioned -- Dianne Feinstein, I
guess, and a couple of others.
I don't know too much about what it's about.
But I find them to all be very honorable people.
That's all I know.
And they -- and they said they did nothing wrong.
I find them -- the whole group -- very honorable
The Press: Can I follow-up, Mr. President?
So the whole group would include Richard Burr, the
head of the Intelligence Committee, and it also
would include Kelly Loeffler.
And so the question is whether or not they should
be investigated for that behavior.
The President: Well, it also includes Dianne
Feinstein, a Democrat.
You didn't mention her name.
Why didn't you mention her name?
And I think she's a very honorable person, by the
way, so I'm not saying -- but, you know, it's
interesting that -- The Press: So, any senator.
Any senator -- The President: -- you
mentioned two people but you don't mention one that
happens to be a Democrat.
The Press: Any senator.
Any senator, should they be investigated for this
The President: I don't know, because I'd have to
look at it.
But I find them to be honorable people.
The Press: You said the other day you compare
yourself -- you see yourself as a wartime
President right now, leading the country
through this pandemic that we're experiencing.
Do you really think, you know, going off on Peter
or going off on a network is appropriate when the
country is going through something like this?
The President: I do, because I think Peter is
-- you know, I've dealt with Peter for a long
And I think Peter is not a good journalist when it
comes to fairness.
The Press: But he's asking for your message to the
country, and then you went off on Peter.
THE PRESIDET: Oh, I think it's a good message
because I think the country has to understand
that there is indeed, whether we like it or not
-- and some of the people in this room won't like it
-- there's a lot of really great news and great
journalism, and there's a lot of fake news out
And I hear it all and I see it all, and I
understand it all because I'm in the midst of it.
So when somebody writes a story or does a story on
television and I know it's false, I know it's fake,
and when they say they have, "15 sources have
said" and I know there's no sources.
There's no sources; they're just making it up.
I know that and I call Peter -- I call Peter out
but I call other people out too.
And, you know, this is a time to come together, but
coming together is much harder when we have
It's a very important profession that you're in.
It's a profession that I think is incredible.
I cherish it.
But when people are dishonest, they truly do
hurt our country.
Yeah, in the back.
Please, go ahead.
The Press: Mr. President, China has been in
communication with the United States and also WHO
about coronavirus -- The President: Right.
The Press: -- since January.
The President: That's true.
The Press: And the U.S.
shuttered its border to travelers from China on
February the 2nd.
Also, Wuhan has been in lockdown since January the
24th, and this all happened almost two months
Why did you say if you could have known earlier?
And also, you have been calling coronavirus -- The
President: Well, I have to say this: We have -- and I
can speak for myself, but I have a very good
relationship with China and with President Xi.
I have great respect for President Xi.
I consider him to be a friend of mine.
It's unfortunate that this got out of control.
It came from China.
It got out of control.
Some people are upset.
I know -- I know President Xi.
He loves China.
He respects the United States.
And I have to say, I respect China greatly and
I respect President Xi.
The Press: Can I ask more about the stock buybacks?
Many of the airlines and Boeing did stock buybacks.
Is this a deal-breaker for you in this (inaudible)?
The President: No, but I never liked stock buybacks
from their standpoint.
When we did a big tax cut, and when they took the
money and did buybacks, that's not building a
hangar, that's not buying aircraft, that's not doing
the kind of things that I want them to do.
And we're now talking about buybacks.
We didn't think we would have had to restrict it
because we thought they would have known better.
But they didn't know better, in some cases --
not in all cases, obviously; some people did
an incredible job.
They built plants all over the country.
I mean, you see what's happened.
I mean, we were doing -- until this invisible enemy
appeared, we were -- I mean, we never had an
economy like this.
But there were some companies that used that
money to buy back stock, driving up the price of
the stock artificially, in many cases.
I don't like that.
I don't like it.
And as far as whether or not we'll have that, allow
them -- when we give them money -- because we have
to keep these great companies in business
because of the workers; frankly, for the most
part, because of the workers.
The workers are my number one concern.
But the way we take care of the workers is we have
to keep the companies going.
I am fine with restricting buybacks.
In fact, I would -- I would demand that there be
no stock buybacks.
I don't want them taking hundreds of millions of
dollars and buying back their stock, because that
The Press: Thank you very much.
One for Dr. Fauci and then hopefully one for you.
The President: Yeah.
And one thing: Secretary of State Pompeo is
extremely busy, so if you have any question for him
right now, could you do that?
Because -- you know what I'd like to do?
I'd like him to go back to the State Department or,
as they call it, the "Deep State Department."
If you don't mind, I'd like to have him go back
and do his job.
So does anybody have any question?
The Press: Mr. Secretary -- (Cross-talk.) Secretary
Pompeo: Go ahead.
Do you want to call on somebody?
The President: Yeah.
How about you.
Only -- only for the Secretary.
The Press: The exemptions on work travel -- can you
Is all work travel -- anyone with a work visa
can still cross the border?
Can you define the measures that you're
Secretary Pompeo: It's a great question.
We're working -- we have real concern about H-2A
visas, particularly agriculture workers that
need to get across.
We're going to make sure that we do everything we
can to keep that part of our economic lifeblood
working between our two countries.
DHS and the State Department will work
We want to make sure and keep commerce between
Canada, the United States, and Mexico alive,
functional, and prepared for the day that this
economy bounces back like we expect that it will.
The Press: Mr. Secretary -- The Press:
Mr. Secretary -- Secretary Pompeo: Right back there,
and then -- The Press: Mr. Secretary, the Mexican
government has not announced any travel ban
Have you been in touch with them as to when
they're going to do this and what it is that
they're telling you?
And then a second question: They also are
telling us -- said in a press conference this
morning that they will not take back any non-Mexican
Any other third parties will have to -- we don't
know what will happen to them.
So can you address what will happen to those
third-country immigrants that you are saying they
will not be allowed to enter the U.S., and Mexico
is saying that they will not be allowed to stay in
Mexico either, or sent back from the U.S.?
Secretary Pompeo: I'll take the first one, and
then, Chad, I'll give you the second one.
With respect to travel into Mexico from outside,
I spoke with Foreign Minister Ebrard a couple
of times about this.
I'm very confident we're going to get to a really
good place that protects the Mexican people and the
American people from those who might be traveling
into places where we've got designations -- the
Schengen Zone, from China -- so that they're not
coming into Mexico and then coming into the
I'm very confident we'll do that, and we'll make
that announcement shortly, together.
The Press: Mr. Secretary -- The President: Chad.
(Inaudible.) Acting Secretary Wolf: Again, as
we implement the CDC's order, again, we're going
to take a number of individuals that cross the
border illegally and repatriate them or remove
them quickly back to Mexico, back to the
Northern Triangle, and back to any other country.
So we're going to do that in a rapid fashion.
We'll continue to work with Mexico to make sure
that Mexican nationals go back as well as other
The Press: But are you sending Guatemalans back
to Guatemala or Cubans back to Cuba?
What would you do -- Acting Secretary Wolf:
The Press: -- with those third countries that are
Acting Secretary Wolf: So, we're doing all of the
We're going to be sending, again, individuals back to
Mexico, individuals back to Northern Triangle
countries, Cuba, Haiti, all of the -- again, 122
different nations that we see nationalities that
come across that border, we'll be sending them back
individually to their countries, but also
working with Mexico to send additional
populations back there as well.
The President: And just to put it, you know, when you
said -- before, you said the non-Mexicans going to
We're not sending them to Mexico; we're sending them
back to their own countries, not to Mexico.
Why would Mexico take people that aren't from
We're sending them back.
In the case of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, a
lot of other countries, they go back to the
country from where they came.
And, Mike, please.
The Press: For the Secretary of Defense --
Secretary Pompeo: Yes, John.
The Press: Secretary Pompeo, on the issue of
disinformation, is there any particular locus for
this disinformation, or is it diffused?
Secretary Pompeo: It's pretty diffused,
But we've certainly seen it come from places like
China and Russia and Iran, where there are
coordinated efforts to disparage what America is
doing in our activity to do all the things that
President Trump has set in motion here.
The Press: Other than what you're doing this morning,
what you are doing to fight back?
Secretary Pompeo: Lots of things.
Lots of work.
One of the things we want to make sure is the
American people go to trusted sources for their
But we've made clear, we've spoken to these
countries directly that we don't -- that they need to
knock it off, that we don't approve of it.
And then there are a handful of other things
we're engaged in to make sure that the right
information is out there and accurate information
This idea of transparency and accurate information
is very important.
It's how we protect American people from
something like this ever happening again.
The Press: Mr. Secretary, the Peace Corps
The Press: You're saying you want the American
people to be coming to trusted sources of
Does it undermine you at all when the President
stands up here and he attacks news outlets,
calling us untrustworthy?
Secretary Pompeo: Does somebody else have a
The Press: Mr. Secretary, the Peace Corps volunteers
have all -- The Press: Is that not a legitimate
The Press: Sir, the Peace Corps volunteers -- The
You're another one.
The Press: In terms of Americans who find
themselves stranded in places where there are no
longer flights to get back to the United States, what
efforts are being made to help them?
Secretary Pompeo: I appreciate that question.
So, we're doing lots of things.
We've had a couple places in particular: Peru and
I think we've had the first two, maybe three
now, flights out of Morocco.
We're going to work to get people back.
We're urging individuals, when they can get back on
their own -- they traveled there on their own -- when
they can get back there on their own, they ought to
try to do that.
But we are -- we have a team stood up at the State
Department, the repatriation task force
that is working each of these instances.
So we've heard from individuals, members of
We're trying to get Americans back from these
places where air travel has been disrupted.
And we'll get that done over time.
We'll get it done successfully.
The Press: Do you have sense of how big that
The President: Yes, Steve.
Go ahead, please.
The Press: How long -- The Press: Is there any sense
of just how that problem is, how many people --
Secretary Pompeo: We don't know the -- we don't know
the full scale of it yet, but we think we have the
largest number identified, and we're working.
If there are -- those who are watching that are
someplace, you can go on the State Department
website, you can log into, I think, STEP.gov, and go
to STEP and log in, and we'll track and we'll try
to get everybody back just as fast as we can.
The President: Steve?
The Press: Mr. Secretary, how long are these border
restrictions likely to last along the south and
Secretary Pompeo: They'll last as long as we need to
do it to protect the American people from the
I couldn't tell you how long it's going to last.
The Press: And since we have you, have you
determined whether Iran is responsible for that
rocket attack last week?
Secretary Pompeo: So -- The President: Maybe we
shouldn't say that.
Secretary Pompeo: So let me just -- let me just get
back to you on the answer to that.
And what we can -- The Press: Sounds like a
The President: We know plenty.
Secretary Pompeo: What we can say -- what we can say
with certainty is this: We've made clear all along
that the Iraqi Shia militias are funded,
trained, equipped by the Iranians.
And we've urged the Iranians not to do that.
We've told the Iranians that they will be held
responsible for those attacks when they threaten
The Press: About the Peace Corps volunteers?
For the Peace Corps volunteers that are in
60-plus countries, have they all been returned?
Secretary Pompeo: You know, I don't know if
they're all back or not yet.
I know that they were directed to come back.
I know that most of them are back.
I couldn't tell you if we have all of them back yet.
I don't know.
The Press: And then Secretary -- Secretary
Esper is not here, but to get tests to the troops in
Iraq and Afghanistan are you able to give us a
progress report on the status of that, if they're
all able to get tests?
Secretary Pompeo: I don't know the answer to that.
I know we have State Department officials, too,
who are concerned and want to make sure we get them
tests, our team as well.
And we're working on that.
We've had significant success on that to date.
There are a few places we've not been able to get
them, but we will.
We'll get them.
The Press: Secretary Pompeo, how exactly are
you going to get those Americans back?
And do you have any plans to get the military
involved in that?
Secretary Pompeo: We're going to use all the tools
These first efforts are combined
commercial/private flights that will fly in, bring
them back -- bring them back to a destination here
in the United States.
So we'll do that.
There are some that will travel back other ways as
And we have worked with the Department of Defense
to say, where there is space available, we'll be
able to bring them back on those flights, as well.
It's a whole-of-government effort to make sure we get
The Press: So DOD will be involved?
Secretary Pompeo: Again, they're going to help us
every place they can.
Secretary Esper and I have talked about a couple
The Press: Thank you, Secretary.
Question on Iran again.
Is there any consideration to relaxing sanctions on
Iran during the coronavirus crisis since
they've been particularly hard hit?
Secretary Pompeo: That's an important question.
The whole world should know that humanitarian
assistance into Iran is wide open.
It's not sanctioned.
We've offered to provide assistance to the Iranians
I talked with Dr. Ted Rose from the World Health
Organization about this.
We're doing everything we can to facilitate both the
humanitarian assistance moving in, and to make
sure that financial transactions connected to
that can take place as well.
There is no sanction on medicines going to Iran.
There's no sanctions on humanitarian assistance
going into that country.
They've got a terrible problem there, and we want
that humanitarian medical healthcare assistance to
get to the people of Iran.
The Press: But the sanctions themselves, no
-- no movement?
Secretary Pompeo: We are -- we are working to do
all the things we've had in place for the first
three years here to deliver security for the
The President: They know the answer.
Ira- -- they know the answer -- Iran.
They know the answer to your question.
The Press: Mr. Secretary, was it appropriate for the
President to call your department the "Deep State
Department" at a time when thousands of diplomats are
working very hard around the world to combat this
Secretary Pompeo: I've worked for the President
for three years now.
I know how much he values the people that work on my
I know, when I was the Director of the Central
Intelligence Agency, how much he valued the work we
I know that he watches our team -- Dr. Birx -- all of
the team that's working to push back against this
virus to keep America safe.
I know how much he values them.
The President: What a good answer.
Yes, go ahead.
The Press: Mr. President, can I --
Secretary Pompeo: True.
The President: It's very true too.
The Press: Mr. President -- The President: No,
The Press: I apologize.
The President: Please, go ahead.
The Press: I have two questions.
The first is to Secretary Pompeo.
NewsHour has learned that the CDC picked up that
there was some sort of virus happening in Wuhan
-- the coronavirus happening in Wuhan as
early as December.
When did the CDC start letting other agencies
know that there was something in China
happening -- that this coronavirus was happening?
And then when did the whole-of-government
approach start to happen?
Secretary Pompeo: So I'll let the CDC -- or,
Dr. Fauci, do you want to talk to that?
The Press: (Inaudible.) Secretary Pompeo: Yeah,
Secretary Azar, please.
Secretary Azar: So we were alerted by some
discussions that Dr. Redfield, the Director
of the CDC, had with Chinese colleagues on
It's since been known that there may have been cases
in December, not that we were alerted in December.
The Press: Then, Mr. President, the other
question I had for you.
When -- The President: Excuse me -- we'll do it
in a second.
Let Mike -- he has to get back -- he has to get back
Secretary Pompeo: May I just say -- may I just say
one more thing?
There's been some discussion about China and
what they knew and when they knew it.
And I've been very critical.
We need to know immediately.
The world is entitled to know.
The Chinese government was the first to know of this
risk to the world.
And that puts a special obligation to make sure
that data -- that data gets to our scientists,
This is not about retribution.
This matters going forward.
We're in a -- we're in a live exercise here -- The
President: Should have -- Secretary Pompeo: -- to
get this right.
The President: Should have let us know.
Secretary Pompeo: We need to make sure that even
today, the datasets that are available to every
country, including datasets that are
available to the Chinese Communist Party, are made
available to the whole world.
It's an imperative to keep people safe.
We talk about the absence of datasets, not being
able to make judgments about what to do.
This is absolutely critical.
This transparency, this real-time information
sharing isn't about political games or
It's about keeping people safe.
And so when you see a delay in information
flowing from the Chinese Communist Party to the
technical people who we wanted to get into China
immediately to assist in this, every moment of
delay connected to being able to identify this risk
vec- -- the risk vectors, creates risk to people all
around the world.
And so this is why it's not about blaming someone
for this, this is about moving forward to make
sure that we continue to have the information we
need to do our jobs.
The Press: And staying with you, Mr. Secretary,
what message do you think it sends to other
countries when you have the President of the
United States lashing out at reporters?
Secretary Pompeo: I've had my frustration with
All I ask when I talk to the media is that you
listen to what we say and report it accurately.
And it's frustrating.
It's frustrating when you -- The Press: But what
message does it send to other countries though?
Secretary Pompeo: -- when you say that that doesn't
happen, it's enormously frustrating.
We have a responsibility to tell the American
people the truth.
And those who are reporting on what it is
we're doing and saying have an equal
responsibility to report accurately.
The Press: But what message does it send to
countries when you're lashing out at reporters?
The Press: Do you have any evidence (inaudible) when
it's not accurately being reported?
That the news media is not accurately reporting?
Secretary Pompeo: I've seen -- I've seen many
things at the State Department being reported
wildly and inaccurately on -- The Press: Anything
specific you can cite?
Secretary Pompeo: -- on multiple occasions.
And I have spoken to those reporters about it each
and every time, and I'll continue to do so.
The Press: Mr. President, Senator Johnson is
suggesting -- The President: Well, I'd
rather have -- if you could finish up with the
Secretary of State.
Secretary Pompeo: I think I've worn them out,
The Press: Let me ask you both -- The President: Is
everybody finished -- Secretary of State?
The Press: Let me ask you both if that's all right.
Mr. Secretary, Senator Johnson has suggested that
you and the administration may be overreacting.
He said, "We don't shut down our economy because
tens of thousands of people die on the highways.
We don't shut down our economy because tens of
thousands of people die from the common flu.
At worst, 3.4 percent of Americans will die from
this virus," he said.
What do you say to people that have that view?
That's 11 million people he's talking about.
The President: Well, I can just say the entire world
is agreeing with us because they're all --
they all have their choice, and everybody is
doing the exact same thing.
We want to shut it out, and we can do that.
And we'll see what happens in two weeks, in three weeks.
But if we can save thousands of lives, and
even millions of lives, potentially -- you don't
know where it goes.
But you could be talking about millions of lives.
So if you look at the world -- I mean, you have
some very smart people in the world.
You have some smart leaders in the world.
And everybody is doing it the way we're doing it.
I think we're doing a better job than hopefully
most, if not all.
We're doing a very effective job.
But we'll -- we'll know better in 14 or 15 days.
But, you know, you're talking about hundreds of
thousands -- and maybe more than that -- numbers
And, you know, we can bring our finances back
We can't bring the people back.
The Press: Mr. President, to follow up on that,
there are millions of people out there that
share that view that say, "I don't really need to
shut things down.
I don't really need to stay away from the stores.
I don't -- I can go to the beach."
And those people making multiple actions
exponentially, it's the difference between life
and death, isn't it?
The President: Yeah, I agree with that.
But I think I'd like to have Anthony answer that,
because to be honest, that's what he does.
And he -- we have a lot of -- a lot of very talented
people telling us what they think we should do.
Dr. Fauci: Thank you, Mr. President.
Well, first of all, I think that's a false
equivalency to compare traffic accidents with --
I mean, that's totally way out.
That's really a false equivalency.
When you have something that is new and is
emerging and you really can't predict totally the
impact it's going to have -- and you take a look at
what's gone on in China, and you see what's going
on right now -- right now, in Italy, and what's
happening in New York City -- I don't think with any
moral conscience you could say, "Why don't we just
let it rip and happen, and let X percent of the
I don't understand that reasoning at all.
The President: Okay, so, Secretary of
State will be leaving.
Any other question for him?
In the back.
In the back for Mike.
The Press: Thank you, Mr. President -- The
President: Excuse me, I didn't call on you.
The Press: Thank you, Mr. President.
In New York, where cases are doubling every day,
they fear that supplies are going to run out in a
matter of weeks.
Yesterday, Mayor Bill de Blasio called on you to
mobilize the military to deliver urgent supplies.
Yesterday, he said, quote, "The fate of New York City
rests in the hands of one man.
He is a New Yorker and right now he is betraying
the city he comes from."
I've personally spoken to emergency department
nurses who say that they're being told not to
wear N95 masks because supplies are so low.
So how do you respond to those
remarks by Mayor de Blasio?
And there's nurses and doctors --
The President: Well, I just think this: I'm not dealing --
The Press: -- looking to you.
When will those supplies arrive?
The President: Yeah, I'm not dealing with him.
I'm dealing with the governor.
And the governor agrees with me, and I agree with him.
So far, we've been very much in sync.
I guess they're not agreeing with each other, necessarily.
But the relationship with New York -- I love New York.
I grew up in New York, as you probably have heard,
and the relationship has been very good.
And I think government and the governor have been
getting along incredibly well with the federal government.
(Cross-talk.) The Press: A question for Secretary
Wolf, if I could.
Just on illegal entries of people who are OTM, how
will the turn-back process work?
Will they be taken to a common area and then put
on the plane and sent back to Northern Triangle
countries or others?
I mean, how would that process work?
Acting Secretary Wolf: Again it's a -- it's a
public health crisis, so what we're trying to do is
limit the amount of contact that we have with
these individuals, not putting them in Border
Patrol facilities, ICE detention facilities, and
So it's going to be very rapid.
We're going to obviously take them into custody and
then -- and then send them back to a port of entry or
So it'll be very quickly.
It won't be the 6 or 7 or 10 days that we currently have.
It'll be much more rapid.
The Press: But if they are OTM, will you -- will they
be taken to an airfield nearby or --
Acting Secretary Wolf: That's correct. That's correct.
The Press: And sent back (inaudible)?
Acting Secretary Wolf: Absolutely.
The President: Any -- anybody?
The Press: Mr. President, can we ask about the
The President: About the what?
The Press: The checks to Americans.
The bill that is proposed creates sort of tiers of
checks for incomes.
The President: Yeah.
It will be.
The Press: Do you believe, philosophically, that
The President: Well, we're working on it.
Well, I believe in a lot of things.
I want to get workers money.
And whichever way the best way to get it -- and I
want to keep the businesses open too,
because without the businesses, they're not
going to be getting money for very long.
But we're going to be -- we're going to be talking.
The Press: But in that bill, as it's written, is
there enough money or do you want to see it juiced up?
The President: If there's not, we'll do something
later, I am sure.
I am sure we'll do something.
The Press: Mr. President, the Wall Street analysts
are predicting that unemployment numbers could
skyrocket next week by -- some analysts say as many
as 3 million people applying for unemployment,
which would be a historic number in a one-week spread.
So is a thousand-dollar check going to cut it?
Is that going to be enough?
The President: We're not talking about a
We're talking about much more than that.
We're also talking about doing phases.
If this doesn't work, we're going to keep doing
until we get it going.
And, frankly, once we get the economy back and once
this enemy is defeated -- the invisible enemy, as I
call it -- once it's defeated, we get the
economy back, it's going to all come back to us
It comes back very quickly.
We have a tremendous economy.
We do numbers like no other country has ever
Number one in the world, if you go back two weeks
-- and still, obviously.
But if you go back two weeks, number one in the
world, by far.
That money comes back to us very rapidly.
We want to keep it -- we want to have it so that
when we -- not "if," but when we win the war with
the invisible enemy -- when we win it, these
companies can immediately start -- not that they
have to start rebuilding, which takes a long time.
The Press: Are you confident that those are
-- The President: Steve. Please. Please.
The Press: -- jobs that will come back if someone
applies for unemployment next week?
The President: I'm I'm confident.
I am confident.
The Press: What projections for job losses
in March and April are you hearing?
The President: Well, we're looking at different numbers.
We have a best case and not best case, but the big
thing is to defeat the virus.
Once that virus is defeated, Steve, I think
everything else falls in place very rapidly.
I think you're going to have a tremendous upswing.
A lot of people agree with me.
A lot of -- if you look at your stock market geniuses
-- some of whom are not geniuses, but they think
they are -- a lot of people think that I'm
right about that, that once we defeat the virus,
I think you're going to have a very steep -- like
a rocket ship.
It's going to go up and everything will be back,
and I really believe we're going to be stronger than
Yeah, go ahead.
The Press: On the issue of supplies, you've told
governors to try to find whatever supplies they can
on their own.
The President: Yeah.
The Press: But some of them are now saying when
they go to try to buy them, they're being outbid
by the federal government.
The President: Well, you heard my news conference yesterday.
So, you know, that's not --
The Press: So what -- so what do you expect
those governors to do?
The President: I mean, that was -- that was sort
of yesterday's news. No.
That does happen because they want to buy supplies.
We want to buy as a backup to them, in case they can
-- and sometimes that will happen.
But regardless of who gets them, when they need them,
we're getting them to them.
Now, we're doing the Production Act.
We're doing it very much.
And we have a lot of things cooking right now
at a high level.
Remember this: Nothing like this has ever
Over 140 countries.
And you have supply chains that are broken down for
two reasons: because they can't supply that much and
because people are sick.
They can't be on the chain.
So you have a lot of interesting things all
over the world.
You have supply chains that broke down because of
the illness and also because of the fact -- the quantity.
But we're getting it ordered.
We're getting it done.
And the -- if you just have to -- look, some of
you were at the call yesterday where I spoke
with the governors -- almost all of the
governors -- and every one of them was very impressed
with what we've done.
In the middle, please.
The Press: Mr. President, there are reports that the
Labor Department has told states not to disclose
their unemployment numbers.
Do you agree with that decision?
The President: I'd have to talk to him.
I would have to talk to Secretary Scalia.
The Press: And just one more clarifying question,
if I could, on the DPA.
I just want to be clear: Are you saying that the
administration is requiring these industries
to create these products or just asking?
The President: You know, so far, we haven't had to.
It's an amazing thing that happened.
We're getting calls from automobile companies.
We're getting calls from other companies, saying
they have plant capacity, they want to make
ventilators, they want to make other things.
We are literally being besieged, in a beautiful
way, by companies that want to do the work.
They want to do the job.
They want to help us.
They want to help our country.
So we haven't had a problem with that at all.
The Press: Mr. President, how do you help out states
and localities that are trying to bid on things
like ventilators and other items but are being outbid
by the federal government?
The President: Well, when they call us, they let us know.
If there's a conflict, they will call us and we
will drop our bid because we want them to go first
because they're point -- they're point of sale.
So we've had four or five instances where literally
that was happening because you know we're both trying
to get stock.
And if we're going against, they will call us
-- the smart ones, frankly, will call us, and
we will immediately -- we want them to buy it
because it gets to them quicker if they buy it.
We're really -- The Press: Do they know that they're
able to do this?
The President: They know that.
And it's happening more and more, where they're
calling and they're saying we're bidding against each other.
They want to get it.
They'll get it much quicker that way.
Go ahead, please.
The Press: Mr. President, I have a question for
There are labs across the country that don't have
the testing supplies they need.
What specific actions is the administration --