Practice English Speaking&Listening with: 3/20/20: Members of the Coronavirus Task Force Hold a Press Briefing

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The President: Thank you very much.

I had a very good telephone conversation --

extremely good -- with Senator Schumer a little

while ago.

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

different time.

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

applaud them.

And we're all working together.

We're working very closely together, including those

two governors.

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

about.

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

closely.

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

goal.

Our nation's top healthcare officials are

extremely concerned about the grave public health

consequences of mass uncontrolled cross-border

movement.

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.

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

southern border.

So we're treating the borders equally -- the

northern border and the southern border.

It's being treated -- they're both being treated

equally.

A lot of people say that they're not treated

equally.

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

from Europe.

So we're coordinating very closely the air travel

going to Mexico and then trying to come into the

United States.

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 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

highest level.

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

employers.

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

the sick.

Citizens and churches are delivering meals to the

needy.

Truckers are making the long haul to keep shelves

stocked.

We've been dealing with the big stores and the big

chains, Walmart -- they've been fantastic -- and

others.

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

on time.

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

anywhere.

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

together.

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

to speak.

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.

Mike, please.

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

midnight.

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

U.S.

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

individuals.

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.

Thank you.

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

the coronavirus.

And today, DHS has screened over 200,000

individuals coming back from those affected

countries.

This has been an immense undertaking but one that

the men and women of DHS have successfully

accomplished.

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

undertaking.

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

impacted.

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,

March 21st.

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

border.

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

cases.

Many of these individuals arrive with little or no

identity, travel, or medical documentation,

making public health risk determinations all but

impossible.

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

American citizens.

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 coronavirus.

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.

Thank you.

The President: Thank you very much, Chad.

Really good.

Thank you.

Please, Secretary?

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,

and Europe.

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

now.

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

States represents.

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

Protection station.

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

illegal immigrants.

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

infected.

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.

Thank you.

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

date.

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

nursing homes.

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

same sacrifice.

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

risk.

And I know you will also protect them in the same

way.

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

conditions can't.

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

workers.

They are making that sacrifice every day so

that every American can move through this well.

But we need every American following the presidential

guidelines.

Thank you.

The President: Thank you very much.

Tony, please.

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

issues.

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

doing that.

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

country.

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

was California.

Governor Newsom made some very important, difficult

decisions.

Today, Governor Cuomo did the same thing.

And I want to say I strongly support what he's

doing.

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.

We're tough.

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.

Thank you.

The President: Thank you, Tony.

Mike?

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

coronavirus.

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

our country.

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

coronavirus.

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

Coordination Center.

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

local authorities.

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

Capitol Hill.

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

next week.

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

day.

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

coronavirus.

We have a policy of procuring, allocating, as

well as conserving the resources that we have in

our system.

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

the country.

And there are two different ways that we're

doing that.

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

medical procedures.

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

shining forth.

The President: Thank you, Mike.

Thank you very much.

Okay, thank you.

Go ahead.

Kaitlan.

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

shortage.

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

it yesterday.

We have a lot of people working very hard to do

ventilators and various other things.

Yes.

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,

respirators?

The President: We are.

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

large extent.

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

scenario?

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.

Yeah, Steve.

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

same problems.

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

necessary.

The Press: So we're about a week into your 15-day

guidelines.

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

people working.

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.

Yes, John.

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

buybacks.

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

Schumer?

The President: We're not so far away, I'll tell

you.

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

COVID-19?

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

about it.

The President: I think, without saying too much,

I'm probably more of a fan of that than -- maybe than

anybody.

But I'm a big fan, and we'll see what happens.

And we all understand what the doctor said is 100

percent correct.

It's early.

But we've -- you know, I've seen things that are

impressive.

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

SARS.

The President: It was a very -- it was, as I

understand that.

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

it to?

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

evaluating.

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."

Immediate.

We heard it from doc- -- The President: Yeah, well,

we were ordering -- yes, we have millions of units

ordered.

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

agree.

I guess, on this issue then -- The President:

Well, you know, I think we only disagree a little

bit.

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

lovely question.

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

years.

So it's not a drug that you have a huge amount of

danger with.

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.

It works.

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

to lose?

Okay?

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,

though?

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

reporter.

That's what I say.

Go ahead.

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

it "Con-cast."

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

sensationalism.

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.

John?

The Press: Can I get back to science and the

logistics here?

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

drug.

And they are going to work on it also, after they get

a certain approval.

We're waiting for one final approval from the

FDA.

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.

Let's see.

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

compassionate access?

The President: We're doing that, I guess.

And that's -that's what it's called.

Yes.

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

question here.

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

saying.

The President feels optimistic about something

-- his feeling about it.

What I'm saying is that it might -- it might be

effective.

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

COVID-19.

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

safe?

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

difference.

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.

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

President: Okay.

Here we go.

Go ahead.

Let's 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

ever before.

If you get it, if you happen to get it, it is

highly unlikely.

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.

Incredible.

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

has happened.

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

were before.

And we learned a lot.

We learned on reliance -- who to rely on, who not to

rely on.

But our country -- our country has been

incredible, the way they pulled together --

including the fact that I just spoke to Senator

Schumer.

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

people.

Yeah, please.

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

behavior?

The President: I don't know, because I'd have to

look at it.

Possibly.

But I find them to be honorable people.

Yeah.

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

time.

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

there.

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

dishonest journalists.

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.

That's true.

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

ago.

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.

Okay?

Please.

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

does nothing.

Yeah.

Please.

The Press: Thank you very much.

One for Dr. Fauci and then hopefully one for you.

The President: Yeah.

Sure.

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?

Please.

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

define that?

Is all work travel -- anyone with a work visa

can still cross the border?

Can you define the measures that you're

taking?

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

together.

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

on Europe.

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

citizen.

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

United States.

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

populations.

The Press: But are you sending Guatemalans back

to Guatemala or Cubans back to Cuba?

What would you do -- Acting Secretary Wolf:

Yes.

The Press: -- with those third countries that are

non-Mexicans?

Acting Secretary Wolf: So, we're doing all of the

above.

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

Mexico.

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

Mexico?

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.

Okay?

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,

unfortunately.

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

information.

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

is given.

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

volunteers?

The Press: You're saying you want the American

people to be coming to trusted sources of

information.

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

question?

The Press: Mr. Secretary, the Peace Corps volunteers

have all -- The Press: Is that not a legitimate

question?

The Press: Sir, the Peace Corps volunteers -- The

President: Please.

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

Morocco.

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

Congress.

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

problem is?

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

north borders?

Secretary Pompeo: They'll last as long as we need to

do it to protect the American people from the

virus.

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

"yes."

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

American lives.

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

we can.

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

well.

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

them back.

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

times.

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

as well.

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

American people.

The President: They know the answer.

Ira- -- they know the answer -- Iran.

The leaders.

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

pandemic?

Secretary Pompeo: I've worked for the President

for three years now.

I know how much he values the people that work on my

team.

I know, when I was the Director of the Central

Intelligence Agency, how much he valued the work we

did.

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.

Go ahead.

The Press: Mr. President -- The President: No,

behind you.

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.

Yeah.

Secretary Azar: So we were alerted by some

discussions that Dr. Redfield, the Director

of the CDC, had with Chinese colleagues on

January 3rd.

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

to work.

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,

our professionals.

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

retribution.

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

reporters too.

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,

Mr. President.

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

of people.

And, you know, we can bring our finances back

very quickly.

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

people die?"

I don't understand that reasoning at all.

The President: Okay, so, Secretary of

State will be leaving.

Any other question for him?

Go ahead.

In the back.

Please.

In the back for Mike.

The Press: Thank you, Mr. President -- The

President: Excuse me, I didn't call on you.

Go ahead.

The Press: Thank you, Mr. President.

Two things.

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.

Okay.

(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

the like.

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

other means.

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

checks, sir?

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

makes sense?

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

thousand-dollar check.

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

very quickly.

It comes back very quickly.

We have a tremendous economy.

We do numbers like no other country has ever

done before.

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.

Steve.

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

ever before.

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.

Absolutely.

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

happened before.

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.

Go ahead.

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.

Okay?

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

Secretary Azar.

There are labs across the country that don't have

the testing supplies they need.

What specific actions is the administration --

The President: