In Latest Briefing, Trump Once Again Refused to Lead

Tonight, Trump passed the buck on expanding testing and pressured governors to reopen the economy without providing them the resources to safely do so. After claiming that he “alone” has the power to reopen the economy, Trump now says he wants states to call the shots and be responsible for the consequences.

Trump isn’t leading — his “plan” is just a vague announcement that governors are on their own to reopen their states and deal with the consequences.

Yale’s Gregg Gonsalves: “There is no plan for re-opening. Just re-opening. No national scale-up of testing capacity, contact tracing, isolation, PPE, economic support for ordinary Americans. It flies in the face of public health and economic advice. It’s destructive, deadly.”

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes: “The Trump ‘plan’ to re-open the economy is similar to the Trump ‘plan’ to have drive-thru testing in every Wal Mart parking lot. It’s…not a plan. It’s just an announcement.”

Politico’s Alice Miranda Ollstein: “By releasing vague criteria for reopening but leaving the ultimate decision to states, the admin continues to shift responsibility. Reopen too early & there’s a renewed outbreak of the virus? Govs fault. Stay closed and economy suffers? Also govs fault.”

Politico: “Trump tosses coronavirus shutdowns back to the states”

After claiming he had authority to force states to reopen, Trump’s trying to save face by giving governors permission to make decisions about their own states, which they were already doing.

Washington Post: “The plan effectively reverses Trump’s claim earlier this week that he had ‘total authority’ to declare the nation reopened. The federal guidelines shift accountability to governors and mayors, placing the onus on them to make decisions for their own states and localities based on their own assessments of the coronavirus’s spread and risk of resurgence.”

PBS NewsHour’s Yamiche Alcindor: “President Trump says he is allowing states to make decisions on re-opening. However, governors have made it clear they have the authority to make the decisions on when and how to re-open their economies.”

Wall Street Journal’s Ben Pershing: “Trump three days ago: ‘The president of the United States calls the shots’”

Trump once again refused to account for his many failures to adequately expand testing, which is vital to reopening the economy, and instead passed the buck on testing to states instead of leading the charge himself.

CNN’s Jim Acosta: “Trump: ‘we have tremendous testing capacity.’ Many governors say that is not true.”

New York Post: “During a conference call where Trump presented his guidelines to reopen the economy, multiple state leaders told the president they were still struggling to secure enough complete testing kits and were worried about a second spike in infection.”

CNN’s Daniel Dale: “Trump says ‘it’s ridiculous’ to think the federal government is supposed to be doing testing in a parking lot somewhere. (He called up corporate CEOs at a press conference to tout a supposed initiative to test people in their parking lots; few sites are operational.)”

Washington Post: “Reopening the economy depends on testing. Trump is leaving that up to the states.”

Trump said that he does not think the federal government should be responsible for providing states and hospitals with desperately needed testing supplies despite that being one of the major impediments to adequate testing capacity.

TRUMP: “The governor of Washington was saying that he can’t find cotton. Because, you know, a swab is a very easy thing to get, and swab is essentially it’s a little more sophisticated than a Q-tip, and you gotta be able to go out and find — you know the federal government shouldn’t be forced to go and do everything. What we’ve done is incredible.”

New York Times: “State health officials and medical providers around the country say they are unable to test as many people as they would like. Many of them say the biggest challenge is getting not the diagnostic tests themselves but the supplies to process them, including chemical reagents, swabs and pipettes. Manufacturers are facing a huge global demand as every country fights the pandemic, with many attempting the widest-scale testing they have ever undertaken.”

While Democrats are fighting to secure urgently needed funds for struggling hospitals and state and local governments, Trump says he’s “not too happy with what they’re trying to get.”

TRUMP: “We’re negotiating with Democrats, and they should, frankly, approve it quickly. It’s a great thing for our country, it’s a great thing for small business and for the workers. And we’re having a hard time getting them to approve it. I think it’s going to happen. It should happen really unanimously, but they’re trying to get things and we’re not too happy with what they’re trying to get.”

Washington Post: “Pelosi told reporters on a conference call Thursday that instead of asking Democrats why they are blocking more small business money, Republicans should explain why they are standing in the way of sorely needed increases for health care facilities and state and local budgets.”

Washington Post: “Democrats have insisted on supplementing the $250 billion for small business loans with $100 billion for hospitals and $150 billion for state and local governments struggling with the pandemic.