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Thu Feb 27, 2020, 02:38 PM

Remarks by Trump, Pence, and Members of the Coronavirus Task Force in Press Conference

PRESS BRIEFINGS

Remarks by President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Members of the Coronavirus Task Force in Press Conference
HEALTHCARE

Issued on: February 27, 2020

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
February 26, 2020

6:37 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you very much.

Before I begin, I’d like to extend my deepest condolences to the victims and families in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Earlier today, a wicked murderer opened fire at a Molson Coors Brewing Company plant, taking the lives of five people. A number of people were wounded, some badly wounded.

Our hearts break for them and their loved ones. We send our condolences. We’ll be with them. And it’s a terrible thing. A terrible thing. So our hearts go out to the people of Wisconsin and to the families. Thank you very much.

{snip}

The Johns Hopkins, I guess — is a highly respected, great place — they did a study, comprehensive: “The Countries Best and Worst Prepared for an Epidemic.” And the United States is now — we’re rated number one. We’re rated number one for being prepared. This is a list of different countries.

{snip}

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Mr. President. President Trump has made clear from the first days of this administration: We have no higher priority than the safety, security, health, and wellbeing of the American people.

And from the first word of a outbreak of the coronavirus, the President took unprecedented steps to protect the American people from the spread of this disease. He recounted those briefly, but the establishment of travel restrictions, aggressive quarantine effort of Americans that are returning, the declaration of a public health emergency, and establishing the White House Corona[virus] Task Force are all reflective of the urgency that the President has brought to a whole-of-government approach.

As a former governor from the state where the first MERS case emerged in 2014, I know full well the importance of presidential leadership, the importance of administration leadership, and the vital role of partnerships of state and local governments and health authorities in responding to the potential threat of dangerous infectious diseases.

{snip}

SECRETARY AZAR: Well, thank you, Mr. Vice President, and thank you, Mr. President, for gathering your public health experts here today and for your strong leadership in keeping America safe.

{snip}

At the same time, what every one of our experts and leaders have been saying for more than a month now remains true: The degree of risk has the potential to change quickly, and we can expect to see more cases in the United States. That is why we’ve been reminding the American public and our state, local, and private sector partners that they should be aware of what a broader response would look like.

CDC has recommended that the American public, and especially state and local governments, businesses, and other organizations should refresh themselves on how they would respond in the event that the situation worsens.

{snip}

Q Mr. President, the CDC said yesterday that they believe it’s inevitable that the virus will spread in the United States, and it’s not a question of “if” but “when.” Do you agree with that assessment?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I don’t think it’s inevitable. It probably will. It possibly will. It could be at a very small level or it could be at a larger level. Whatever happens, we’re totally prepared. We have the best people in the world. You see that from the study. We have the best prepared people, the best people in the world.

{snip}

Q The White House has spent the day denying that they are going to appoint a czar to run point on the coronavirus response. Today, the — Secretary Azar testified that he didn’t think one was necessary and they were going to run it out of HHS. And you yourself have been downplaying this. So why are you now selecting the Vice President to run point on this?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, Mike is not a czar. He’s Vice President. He’s in the administration. But I’m having everybody report to Mike. Mike has been very good, very adept. Anybody that knows anything about healthcare, they look at the Indiana model, and it’s been a very great success. It’s been a tremendous model in terms of healthcare. And this is really an offshoot of that.

So this isn’t a czar. I don’t view Mike as a czar. Mike is part of the administration. But I’m having them report to Mike. Mike will report to me.

{snip}

Q Mr. President, the stock market has taken a big hit over the past few days.

THE PRESIDENT: Yeah.

Q What can you do about that? And if the CDC is right in saying that the spread is inevitable, are you going to be dealing with stock market issues and economy issues for some time to come?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I really think the stock market — of something I know a lot about — I think it took a hit maybe for two reasons. I think they look at the people that you watched debating last night and they say, if there’s even a possibility that can happen, I think it really takes a hit because of that. And it certainly took a hit because of this, and I understand that also, because of supply chains and various other things and people coming in.

{snip}

Q What is your response to Speaker Pelosi who said earlier today, “You don’t know what you’re talking about,” about the coronavirus? I’m also wondering if you want to address critics who say you can’t be trusted about what your administration is saying?

THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, sure. Sure. I think Speaker Pelosi is incompetent. She lost the Congress once. I think she’s going to lose it again. She lifted my poll numbers up 10 points. I never thought that I would see that so quickly and so easily.

I’m leading everybody. We’re doing great. I don’t want to do it that way. It’s almost unfair if you think about it. But I think she’s incompetent, and I think she’s not thinking about the country. And instead of making a statement like that, where I’ve been beating her routinely at everything — instead of making a statement like that, she should be saying we have to work together, because we have a big problem, potentially. And maybe it’s going to be a very little problem. I hope that it’s going to be a very little problem. But we have to work together.

Instead, she wants to do that — same thing with Cryin’ Chuck Schumer. He goes out and he says, “The President only asked for two and a half billion dollars. He should have eight and a half.” This is the first time I’ve ever been told that we should take more. Usually, it’s we have to take less.

And we should be working together. He shouldn’t be making statements like that, because it’s so bad for the country. And Nancy Pelosi — I mean, she should go back to her district and clean it up, because it’s the number one — if you look at percentage down, that was one of the finest in the world, and now you look at what’s happening.

And I’m just saying, we should all be working together. She’s trying to create a panic, and there’s no reason to panic because we have done so good. These professionals behind me and over here, and over there, and back here, and in some conference rooms — I just left a group of 45 people that are the most talented people in the world. Parts of the world are asking us, in a very nice way, can they partake and help them.

So Nancy Pelosi shouldn’t — and she knows it’s not true. She knows — all — all they’re trying to do is get a political advantage. This isn’t about political advantage. We’re all trying to do the right thing. They shouldn’t be saying, “This is terrible. President Trump isn’t asking for enough money.” How stupid a thing to say. If they want to give us more money, that’s okay; we’ll take more money. Some Republicans think we should have more money too. That’s okay. We’ll take more money.

But they shouldn’t demean the people that are on the stage, who are the finest in the world. They’re not demeaning me. They’re demeaning the greatest healthcare professionals in the world and people that do exactly what we’re talking about.

Q Your campaign today sued the New York Times for an opinion piece.

THE PRESIDENT: Yeah.

Q Is it your opinion or is it your contention that if people have an opinion contrary to yours, that they should be sued?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, when they get the opinion totally wrong, as the New York Times did — and, frankly, they’ve got a lot wrong over the last number of years. So we’ll see how that — let that work its way through the courts.

Q But that’s an opinion, right?

THE PRESIDENT: No, no. If you read it, you’ll see it’s beyond an opinion. That’s not an opinion. That’s something much more than an opinion. They did a bad thing. And there’ll be more coming. There’ll be more coming.

{snip}

Q Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, Mr. President. You mentioned the stock market earlier. To go back to that: To be clear, the Dow Jones dropped more than 2,000 points this week. Are you suggesting that that was overblown? Are financial markets overreacting here?

THE PRESIDENT: I think the financial markets are very upset when they look at the Democrat candidates standing on that stage making fools out of themselves. And they say, “If we ever have a President like this…” — and there’s always a possibility. It’s an election. You know, who knows what happens, right? I think we’re going to win. I think we’re going to win by a lot.

But when they look at the statements made by the people standing — standing behind those podiums, I think that has a huge effect, yeah.

Q You don’t think the sell-off had to do with the coronavirus (inaudible)?

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, I think it did. I think it did. But I think you can add quite a bit of sell-off to what they’re seeing. Because they’re seeing the potential. You know, again, I think we’re going to win. I feel very confident of it. We’ve done everything, and much more than I said we were going to do.

You look at what we’ve done. What we’ve done is incredible, with the tax cuts and regulation cuts and rebuilding our military, taking care of vets and getting them Choice and Accountability. All of the things we’ve done — protecting our Second Amendment. I mean, they view that — the Second Amendment, they — they’re going to destroy the Second Amendment.

When people look at that, they say, “This is not good.” So you add that in. I really believe that’s a factor. But, no, this is — what we’re talking about is — is the virus. That’s what we’re talking about.

But I do believe that’s — I do believe — in terms of CNBC and in terms of Fox Business, I do believe that that’s a factor. Yeah. And I think after I win the election, I think the stock market is going to boom like it’s never boomed before — just like it did, by the way, after I won the last election. The stock market, the day after, went up like a rocket ship.

{snip}

Q Your budgets have consistently called for enormous cuts to the CDC, the NIH, and the WHO. You’ve talked a lot today about how these professionals are excellent, have been critical and necessary. Does this experience at all give you pause about those consistent cuts?

THE PRESIDENT: No, because we — we can get money and we can increase staff. We know all the people. We know all the good people. It’s a question I asked the doctors before. Some of the people we cut, they haven’t been used for many, many years. And if — if we have a need, we can get them very quickly.

And rather than spending the money — and I’m a business person — I don’t like having thousands of people around when you don’t need them. When we need them, we can get them back very quickly. For instance, we’re bringing some people in tomorrow that are already in this, you know, great government that we have, and very specifically for this.

We can build up very, very quickly. And we’ve already done that. I mean, we really have built up. We have a great staff. And using Mike, I’m doing that because he’s in the administration and he’s very good at doing what he does, and doing as it relates to this.

{snip}

Q Thank you, sir. A number of your supporters online have embraced these theories reported — these theories that the CDC may be exaggerating the threat of coronavirus to hurt you politically. Rush Limbaugh the other day said this has been advanced to weaponize the virus against you.

THE PRESIDENT: You don’t mean my supporters. You mean my — my people that are not supporters?

Q Right. Your opponents.

THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, I agree with that. I do.

Q Have you seen evidence of that?

THE PRESIDENT: I think they are. I think — and I’d like it to stop. I think people know that when Chuck Schumer gets upset — I mean, he did the same thing with a couple of trade deals that are phenomenal deals now — everybody has acknowledged they’re phenomenal deals — before he ever saw the deal. He didn’t even know we were going to make a deal. They said, “What do you think of the deal with China?” “I don’t like it. I don’t like it.”

He talked about tariffs. I left the tariffs on: 25 percent on $250 billion. He said, “He took the tariffs off.” He didn’t even know the deal. And he was out there knocking it because that’s a natural thing to say. But when you’re talking about especially something like this, we have to be on the same team. This is too important. We have to be on the same team.

Q Have you seen evidence that the CDC is trying to hurt you? That there are career officials —

THE PRESIDENT: No, I don’t think the CDC is at all. No, they’ve been — they’ve been working really well together. No, they really are. They’re professional. I think they’re beyond that. They want this to go away. They want to do it with as little disruption, and they don’t want to lose life. I see the way they’re working. This gen- — these people behind me and others that are in the other room, they’re incredible people. No, I don’t see that at all.

{snip}

THE PRESIDENT: Go ahead. Give me a nice question then. Don’t ruin it. Don’t ruin it with a bad question. Go ahead.

Q It’s really nice to talk to you without the helicopter. I got to say that.

But also, I want to talk to you about 2014. During the Ebola crisis, you said you wanted a “full travel ban.” You said Obama was a “stubborn dope” not for doing it. You said, “Just stop the flights dummies!” You also said it was a “total joke” to appoint someone to lead the Ebola response with, quote, “zero experience in the medical field.” Now you’ve appointed Mike Pence.

THE PRESIDENT: They listened to a lot of what I had to say. And they —

Q I did. So how does that square with what you’re doing right now?

THE PRESIDENT: They listened to a lot. Well, because this is a much different problem than Ebola. Ebola, you disintegrated, especially at the beginning. They’ve made a lot of progress now on Ebola. But with Ebola — we were talking about it before — you disintegrated. If you got Ebola, that was it.

This one is different. Much different. This is a flu. This is like a flu. And this is a much different situation than Ebola.

But — and we’re working on Ebola right now, by the way. We’re working on certain areas of the Congo. The Congo has Ebola and caused largely by the fact that they have war and people can’t get there. We can now treat Ebola. In that — at that time, it was infectious and you couldn’t treat it. Nobody knew anything about it. Nobody had ever heard of anything like this. So it’s a much different situation.

Q Mr. President, the rate of mortality —

Q I think it was to me. Thank you. Mr. President, let me ask you this —

THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, go ahead.

Q In just the course of the last couple of minutes, you have disputed some of what the officials that are working in your administration behind you have said about the risk of coronavirus and its spread. Do you trust your health officials to give you good information?

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, sure.

Q Or do you trust your own instincts more?

THE PRESIDENT: I don’t think I have. They’ve said it could be worse, and I’ve said it could be worse too.

Q You said you don’t believe it’s inevitable. That contradicts what the CDC —

THE PRESIDENT: I also think —

SECRETARY AZAR: They said it will be worse.

THE PRESIDENT: No, I don’t think it’s inevitable. I don’t think it’s inevitable. I think that we’re doing a really good job in terms of maintaining borders and turning — in terms of letting people in, in terms of checking people.

And also, that’s one of the reasons I’m here today: getting the word out so people can — they’ll know. They’re going to know.

No, I don’t think it’s — I don’t think it’s inevitable. I think that there’s a chance that it could get worse. There’s a chance it could get fairly substantially worse. But nothing is inevitable.

{snip}

Go ahead.

Q Mr. President, thank you very much. You’ve said repeatedly that you think the federal government is very prepared, that you’re ready for this.

THE PRESIDENT: Yep.

Q But if you think that Secretary Azar is doing such a great job, why did you feel the need to make a change and put Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the federal response to this virus?

THE PRESIDENT: Because — and I think — I think Secretary Azar is doing a fantastic job but he also has many other things. I mean, we’re working on many, many things together. If you look at his schedule of what he’s doing, including drug prices and — I think it’s perhaps the most complicated job that we have in government. And I want him to be able to focus on that.

And Mike is really good at it. They’re going to work together. They’re going to work very closely together. And they’re both in the administration. I see them all the time, so it really works. This isn’t a czar. This isn’t going out and getting somebody that’s never been in the administration. I have two people that are very talented. And it’s something I feel good about.

I don’t want to — I don’t want to spare the horses. I have very talented people. I want to use them on this because I want it to stay low or as low as possible.

{snip}

Q Mr. President, sir, do you still have —

THE PRESIDENT: Wish him —

Q — confidence in Secretary Azar?

THE PRESIDENT: Wish him good luck. In who?

Q Secretary Azar, given the Pence move.

THE PRESIDENT: Absolutely.

Q Do you think the Vice President —

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, no, I have great confidence in him. Great confidence.

SECRETARY AZAR: I think — if I could just clarify, I think you’re not getting the point here of this. I’m still chairman of the task force. Mick Mulvaney has been serving, actually, an invaluable role for me as acting Chief of Staff, helping to coordinate across the government with my colleagues and the whole-of-government approach.

Having the Vice President gives me the biggest stick one could have in the government on this whole-of-government approach. So —

Q So you don’t feel like you’re being replaced?

SECRETARY AZAR: Not in the least. I’m — I —

THE PRESIDENT: He’s not. He’s not being.

SECRETARY AZAR: When the — when this was mentioned to me, I said I was delighted that I get to have the Vice President helping me. Delighted. Absolutely.

Q Will you answer a few more questions, Mr. Secretary, then?

SECRETARY AZAR: Not tonight. I testified for eight hours today in three hearings. So maybe tomorrow, okay?

END

7:32 P.M. EST

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Reply Remarks by Trump, Pence, and Members of the Coronavirus Task Force in Press Conference (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves Feb 27 OP
yonder Feb 27 #1
Skittles Feb 27 #2

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Thu Feb 27, 2020, 02:59 PM

1. Thanks, although it was his typical gobbledygook nonsense,

I wanted to double check a couple of especially stupid things.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Thu Feb 27, 2020, 07:39 PM

2. not one day goes by

where that incompetent fucker doesn't open is pie hole and embarrass America

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