Highlights from President Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force briefing:
- Mr. Trump said Cuomo wants to visit the White House.
- Mr. Trump projected 50,000 to 60,000 deaths.
- Mr. Trump said Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan needs to get a “little knowledge.”
President Trump announced during Monday night’s Coronavirus Task Force briefing that he will meet with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in the Oval Office on Tuesday. Although Mr. Trump has had his squabbles with Cuomo over the federal coronavirus response, he pointed to the governor on Monday as an example of a governor who has said, “‘I think the president’s right when he says that the states should lead.'” The president then told reporters that Cuomo would be visiting the White House on Tuesday.
“They’re getting it together in New York — a lot of good things are happening in New York,” Mr. Trump said at the task force briefing. “And I think the governor is going to come in and see us tomorrow. He’s coming to the Oval Office tomorrow afternoon.”
The Trump administration continues to face criticism from the nation’s governors over shortfalls in testing capacity, though Mr. Trump said Sunday heto invoke his authority under the Defense Production Act to boost production of the swabs used in the kits. Testing was a large focal point of Monday night’s briefing, after a flurry of weekend stories about the administration’s missteps and initially slow moves to step up testing.
Everything used to be “ventilators, ventilators, ventilators,” Mr. Trump said, and now it’s “testing, testing, testing.”
Public health experts and members of the House and Senate have emphasized the need for widespread testing availability, as businesses look to opening up in the future. A bill the Senate is finalizing includes $25 billion for testing, even though much of the responsibility is left to states.
said Monday that “we have enough testing capacity today for every state in America to go through phase one” of the administration’s plan to reopen the country.
On Monday, the president appeared to mock Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, who has been critical of the federal government’s response and, along with his wife, secured 500,000 tests from South Korea.
“I don’t think he needed to go to South Korea, I think he needed to get a little knowledge, would be helpful,” Mr. Trump said.
Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator,on Sunday that the White House is approaching coronavirus testing on a “community by community” basis. On Monday, Birx was asked whether there is any evidence the virus gets more or less virulent with time.
“We don’t have any indications that it’s less able to spread,” Birx said.
Mr. Trump said the number of deaths in the U.S. is projected to be between 50,000 and 60,000. More than 35,000 people have died so far from the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Public health experts say more testing will be crucial as governors look to gradually restarting their economies. But Mr. Trump has defended the administration’s response to the coronavirus crisis and urged states to do more.
On Monday, Georgia’s governor announced a number of businesses will be authorized to reopen, including cosmetologists, bowling allies and gyms.
The U.S. is conducting 150,000 tests daily and has conducted 4 million tests overall, according to Pence, who called on governors to activate all labs in their states ramp up testing as the country looks to a return to normalcy.