After a 27-minute delay, President Donald Trump held a White House briefing to update the nation about the Coronavirus Thursday, March 26. Much of the information was just reiterating the steps and accomplishments that have already been made, but he did mention meeting with world leaders and governors from around the country earlier in the day and the positive attitude and willingness to work together to combat and defeat the “unseen enemy.”
“Oh boy, how the world has changed, how the world has changed, but it’s going to end up better than ever,” the president said in opening.
The USNS Comfort wasn’t scheduled to leave port for another three or so weeks, but Trump said the Navy hospital ship will be leaving the Norfolk Naval Base in Virginia on Saturday, March 28 and should arrive at Pier 90 in Manhattan, NY harbor on Monday, March 30. New York is leading the nation with the most deaths due to COVID-19 and the naval ship will aid health officials to meet the pandemic demands.
The president summarized the CARES stimulus package by first congratulating the Democrats and Republicans of the Senate for passing the Act with a 96-0 vote and then urging the House to get it to him so he can sign it. He stressed the top points, such as:
- Loan forgiveness for businesses.
- Relief payments for individuals and families.
- Expanded unemployment benefits.
- Childcare workers benefits.
- Ban on corporate stock buybacks.
- $1 billion towards the Defense Production Act procurement.
When asked about the Defense Production Act, Trump explained that everyone is willing to help without the enforcement of the Act. “I just haven’t had to use it,” he said.
Health insurance and the loss of it was a concern brought up by a reporter in the audience. The president didn’t really have an answer except to say: “What happened to them is not their fault. We’re taking care of our people, we’re taking care of our workers.” He did allude to lessening some of the restrictions associated with the Coronavirus pandemic, saying “we may take large sections of the country [that are not as hard hit] and do it that way … This was a country built on ‘get it done’ and our people want to get back to work.”
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Trump briefing if “fake news” wasn’t brought up, and this time it was in reference to a reporter suggesting Tom Brady should be leading the efforts. After meeting with state leaders, the president said Washington Governor Jay Inslee said ‘Oh, we need Tom Brady.’ Mainstream media, however, turned it around as an insult. “I said, yeah, he [Inslee] meant that in a positive way,” the president argued. “He said we need Tom Brady, we’re gonna do great, and he meant it positively. But they took it differently: ‘They think Tom Brady should be leading the effort.’ That’s only fake news … But I wish the news could be real, I wish it could be honest, I wish it weren’t corrupt, but so much [of] it is. It’s so sad to see. Just so sad to see.”
The commander in chief also went after claims that his administration isn’t doing enough compared to South Korea. “In eight days we did more testing than they did in eight weeks,” he said.
Vice President Mike Pence spoke about the 3.3 million unemployed and said those high numbers were expected; however, companies such as Amazon, Walmart, and Pizza Hut are hiring nearly a half million people.
When it comes to cases of COVID-19, it was revealed that 19 states (roughly 40% of the nation) have less than 200 cases and that they are testing. Point of care tests will hopefully be available soon and would allow people to test at their local doctor’s office and have results within 15 days, the VP said, adding that self-collection using swabs to test at home is now being done throughout the country.
The virus has not yet worked its way out of the nation’s system, so in the meantime, the president urged everyone to continue practicing the procedures put into place and to “stay home. Just relax, stay home.”
Read more by Kelli Ballard.
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