Remarks by President Trump in a Meeting with Governor Ducey of Arizona | Eastern North Carolina Now | Remarks by President Trump in a Meeting with Governor Ducey of Arizona

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Press Release:

Oval Office  •  Washington D.C.  •  August 5  •  3:16 P.M. EDT

    THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much. It's an honor to be with the governor of a fabulous state, Arizona. It's Doug Ducey, and we know him well. And we've had a tremendous relationship. He had a tremendous, big, very big election victory. And he has done an incredible job on COVID, or COVID-19, or about 19 other names we can call it. It's got probably more names than anything else you can think of. And he was hit very hard, and he's — and he hit back even harder.

    And I'd like to have Doug explain it a little bit. And you — perhaps you both want to explain it, but you've done a fantastic job. We're very proud of you. We love the people of Arizona, and they are very proud of the job you've done also, Doug.

    So maybe you can — and this is some of the things that we've provided, which is a lot. When Doug would call, I'd take his call, and he was always asking for a lot for Arizona, and that's the way a good governor should be.

    So, Doug, please.

    GOVERNOR DUCEY: Well, I want to say thank you, Mr. President. This has really been a partnership between Arizona and your administration. I want to thank Dr. Deborah Birx, who actually came to Arizona and sat with leaders. The — the COVID-19 crisis didn't hit Arizona until later.


    GOVERNOR DUCEY: We had a very difficult June. We've had a much better July. We sat down with Dr. Birx and the Coronavirus Task Force and talked about mitigation steps — things like wearing masks. And we've got masks in over 90 percent of our states right now. And then the simple things like physical distancing —


    GOVERNOR DUCEY: — washing your hands, staying home if you're sick.

    And we did take some further steps. We were in the unhappy but responsible position of dispersing large crowds. So bars and nightclubs and gyms all closed temporarily. But upon putting those steps out there, we've seen improvement every week, week over week, for four weeks.

    We're going to keep our guard up. We're going to stay vigilant, but there's a real path forward and a commonsense approach that we can apply in Arizona not only around saving lives, but also safely and successfully getting our kids back to school at the appropriate time.

    THE PRESIDENT: And what are you down — because the percentage down is incredible. What — how much did you go down, percentage-wise?

    GOVERNOR DUCEY: Well, we saw our positivity get as high as 21.


    GOVERNOR DUCEY: Now, upon reopening — and we were part of the White House "Slow the Spread" —


    GOVERNOR DUCEY: — for four weeks. We extended it for two more weeks. We had our positivity as low as 4 percent. Just yesterday, it was 10 percent. The week before, it was 11. So it's on a downward trajectory.

    THE PRESIDENT: Yeah. Right. Right.

    GOVERNOR DUCEY: And I think with the steps that we're having, the good decisions that Arizonans are making — the face — the face masks and physical distancing, and the fact that people are embracing it.

    And I also want to say, our private sector folks have been terrific.

    THE PRESIDENT: That's great.

    GOVERNOR DUCEY: All of the businesses — if you want to participate in any good or service in Arizona, you're going to wear a mask before you go in there, and that's been a positive.


    THE PRESIDENT: That's really great. Great job.

    Deborah, you said something really great about Arizona before. What would it be?

    DR. BIRX: Yeah. I said they just really did a great job putting these pieces together and really creating that path forward.

    Arizona was the first state — obviously, we've been writing your governors report for six weeks. We went to Arizona. We had a model that showed if you did these five commonsense things, you could drive what we call the "replication rate," the R1, under one and really decrease cases, hospitalizations, and critically, mortality.

    Governor Ducey walked that with us, and we've demonstrated now that you can keep a state open and retail open if you do these five commonsense pieces. And it's created a safe — saved the hospitals and saved a lot of Arizonans.

    And we've taken that model, sir, all the way across the South and up into Tennessee and Kentucky and Ohio and Indiana. And we'll be going to six states in the Heartland next week because we think this is a way to really decrease cases, decrease hospitalizations, decrease mortality while still keeping things safe through this commonsense approach.

    THE PRESIDENT: So you're proud of the governor, you said before.

    DR. BIRX: Very proud of the governor. He was our — he was willing to be the first example of how to move forward together.

    THE PRESIDENT: Yeah. No, you really did.

    GOVERNOR DUCEY: Well, we listened to your team. I mean, and Dr. Birx came and spent a lot of time — drove to Arizona from Texas, through New Mexico; gave me a tutorial on the R0. I've been talking about it in my press conferences. We've been under 1 — the day we talked about this, and you said this would be the equivalent of a stay-at-home order —

    DR. BIRX: Yeah.

    GOVERNOR DUCEY: — if we were able to wear masks and shut down these large gatherings. We were at 1.18 on the R0. We got as low as any state in the country — 0.9. It stays —

    THE PRESIDENT: Right. It's amazing.

    GOVERNOR DUCEY: — under 1, to date.

    So, like I said, no celebration, no victory lap. We're going to stay the course and stay vigilant and keep our guard up. But we have a path forward in Arizona, and we're going to keep pressing.

    THE PRESIDENT: And you had a great representative over here, and you taught us a lot. You really came up with some —

    GOVERNOR DUCEY: I've got a great advisor here in Gretchen Conger. She's been with us since the first year of the administration, and she sits in on all these meetings. And, yes, her, along with Dr. Cara Christ and General Mick McGuire have been top-tier, in terms of advising.

    MS. CONGER: Thank you, Governor.


    Read the full transcript HERE.

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