James S. Brady Press Briefing Room Washington D.C. April 19 6:28 P.M. EDT
Thank you very much. I'd like to begin by saying that we're continuing to negotiate with the Democrats to get our great workers and small businesses all over the country taken care of. I think we — we're getting close to a deal. It could happen. It could happen. A lot of good work has been going on, and we could have an answer tomorrow. And we're going to see what — what exactly does take place.
We're also looking at helping our hospitals and our rural hospitals, who have been hurt very badly. The rural hospitals, for a long time, have not been treated properly. We're looking to help them, and beyond. So we're looking at hospitals also, as part of the package. And we'll see how that all comes out.
But a lot of good things are happening. Some very good negotiations. I just got off the phone with the Secretary of the Treasury, and we have some very good negotiations going on right now. And I think you could have a nice answer tomorrow, but we'll see.
America continues to make steady progress in our war against the virus. As of today, we've tested 4.18 million Americans. That's a record anywhere in the world. The United States has now conducted more total tests than all of the following nations combined: France, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, India, Austria, Australia, Sweden, and Canada.
And our testing is expanding very rapidly by millions and millions of people. So we've — we've done more testing than all of these countries combined: France, United Kingdom, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, India, Austria, and Australia, Sweden, and Canada. That's something. Right?
We're doing a great job. We're — we are. This team is an incredible team, and that includes Army Corps of Engineers, a lot of our military people, our admirals, our generals. Got one of our great admirals here, who's done an incredible job. You haven't slept too much in the last two months either. Look at him. (Laughs.)
That's — somebody said to me, "President, you look tired." I said, "I should be tired." We should all be tired. But we have to win, right?
Tomorrow, the President — the Vice President will lead a call with our nation's governors from FEMA headquarters, Mike -
THE VICE PRESIDENT:
— to review what more they can do and do together to develop locally tailored testing strategies. Working very hard with governors now on testing. We want to help them out.
Before the call, we'll send them a full list of all of the large laboratory machines in the states. They have a lot of machinery in the states that some aren't that aware of, but they're there, and they're really high-quality machines, by the way. And the potential capacity of those machines, if they're fully utilized — a couple of them didn't know that they could be utilized in a different manner. They're only up to 10 percent, and they can go 90 percent more.
Many governors are still relying on their state laboratories rather than the full and much larger capacity that is available to them. As an example, commercial laboratories, such as Quest and LabCorp — these are massive laboratories that can handle a lot more than they're being sent. A few days ago, it was at 30 percent. They're only at 30 percent capacity now. I don't know — probably the same, but they have a lot of capacity.
In addition, academic laboratories, big research labs — there's tremendous capacity out there. And some of them want the fast — you know, the instant Abbott machine, which just came about due to the research during this little short period of time. And it's very quick, but these labs can do them very quickly also, and they're — they're massive. They can handle much more — much more than the machine, the small machine, can handle.
We continue to procure millions of swabs, test collectors. I have something here. Just happen to have it. It's a swab. It looks innocent. Not very complicated. Anybody like to see what it looks like? Should I open it? Does everybody?
Open it up.
"Open it up." I will. I will. This is what it's about. Right? Is it — does it remind you of something? It reminds you of this, right? One is a swab and one is a Q-tip. It's actually different. It's very sophisticated, actually. But it's a little bit like — so this is the swab.
And we've ordered a lot of them. They have a lot of them. Some of them — some of the states — they were shipped to states, and the states don't know where they are. And — but that's — that's it.
Why don't we give this to Karen? Perhaps she'll take an extra test. (Laughs.) Right?
But this is a big deal. And we're working on it, and we're working with the companies. And I think, in the end, we're going to have — we're going to have — we're going to have a tremendous — a tremendous success.
No — nobody is close to us. No country is close to us. In fact — and I appreciate it very much — the Wall Street Journal wrote a fantastic piece, a highly respected gentleman: Christopher DeMuth. And this piece was just in the Wall Street Journal Weekend Edition. And "Trump Rewrites the Book on Emergencies." That's what's happened too. And we — I'll just read one paragraph:
"He's given pride of place to federalism and private enterprise, lauding the patriotism and proficiency of our fantastic governors and mayors" — meaning, I do call them fantastic when it's appropriate — "and our incredible business leaders and genius companies." I guess I probably use those terms too, when they're doing a good job. When they're not doing a good job, I don't use those terms.
"Our heroic doctors and nurses and orderlies and our tremendous truckers" — they have all done good jobs — "by shouting out many of them by name and documenting their deeds on a fully daily basis, he has vivified the American way in action (once [it was] reluctantly aroused)." It was hard to get it aroused, and it is hard to get it aroused, but we got it aroused. "When asked why he has not issued orders for nationwide home and business lockdowns, he has emphasized that the intensity of the epidemic varies widely and is best met by calibrated state and local judgments." That's the judgments of governors and local people. And added pointedly that "such steps would conflict with the Constitution."
But very importantly, he's just a very respected gentleman. To see this was a very nice feeling — not for me, necessarily, but for all of the people that have worked with us. I mean, they've — they have worked so hard.
And we've developed tests that are so fantastic. We've — we've come up with things that nobody had ever heard of, and we did it during — during this pandemic. We did it under pressure. It's called "reaction under pressure." It's pretty amazing what our people have done. And that includes all of our military people, and our CDC — just about everybody you can imagine — including Tony and Deborah. And they've worked long hours. There's nobody that's getting a lot of sleep.
We're close to finalizing — I want to thank the writer, Christopher, of this article, and it's a great article. That was, frankly — at least of what I read, it was a great article. We appreciate it.
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