Trump Focuses On His Political Agenda In Latest Briefing
April 1, 2020
Trump started off tonight’s briefing focused on his political agenda, not the growing crisis consuming our nation. Trump reminded us how, during a global pandemic, he’s making it harder for Americans to get the health care they need, and continued to downplay the severity of this crisis, while managing to make it about himself.
WAR ON HEALTH CARE:
Trump praised Pence for not answering a question about how uninsured Americans will get health care during the pandemic, especially after he refused to reopen ACA enrollment.
Los Angeles Times’s Chris Megerian: “Mike Pence is dodging persistent questions from Fox News on where Americans can get insurance during the pandemic.”
McClatchy’s Francesca Chambers: “Trump calls out Pence for spending ‘five minutes’ without answering the question. ‘I think that’s one of the greatest answers I’ve ever heard, because Mike was able to speak for five minutes and not even touch your question. I said that’s what you call a great professional.’”
What Pence did manage to mention won’t actually help many uninsured Americans — waiving copays doesn’t help those who don’t have coverage and Medicaid doesn’t help those in the coverage gap who live in states that refused to expand it.
Kaiser Health News’s Julie Rovner: “Dear Mike Pence, the point of reopening ACA enrollment is for people who don’t have insurance. So insurance companies waiving copays doesn’t help them.”
CNN’s John Harwood: “Pence, defending decision not to open up Obamacare exchanges during the crisis: ‘we have Medicaid for underprivileged Americans’”
Huffington Post’s Jonathan Cohn: “Pence eventually mentions Medicaid, notes it’s all over the country. But in 14 states, including FL, GA and TX, GOP has blocked expansion so it’s not available to large numbers of working poor.”
FOCUSED ON HIS POLITICAL AGENDA:
Rather than discuss how he plans to address the nation’s testing shortage, Trump used the top of his press conference to promote his immigration agenda and unnecessary border wall.
The Atlantic’s Edward-Isaac Dovere: “A few weeks ago, Trump was thinking about stopping the coronavirus by focusing on the Mexican border. That, fair to say, wasn’t related to what was happening (and didn’t work). Today, he is talking about focusing on the Mexican border.”
CNN’s Daniel Dale: “Trump says he’s seen ‘many families’ that have been ‘wiped out’ because of drug addiction. He touts the wall repeatedly. He laments the state of illegal immigration before he took office. He calls AMLO ‘a great guy.’ ‘All of the caravans coming up…marching through Mexico…’”
Trump also took the opportunity at the White House podium to pivot into talking about his failed trade agenda with China.
CNN’s John Harwood: “Trump says he doesn’t know whether Chinese officials have lied about its number of coronavirus cases but notes that they’re buying lots of US farm products”
BuzzFeed News’s Miriam Elder: “Trump just called the coronavirus a ‘little bit of a hurdle’ to trade rates with China”
DOWNPLAYED THE CRISIS:
Trump again ignored the pleas from states across the country who need ventilators and simply said “we’re soon going to have more ventilators than we need.”
Politico’s Rachel Roubein: “Trump: ‘We’re soon going to have more ventilators than we need. We’re building thousands of ventilators right now. Now it takes us a period of time to build them.’ Trump admin yesterday put out guidance on splitting 1 ventilator between 2 patients.”
CNN’s Kaitlan Collins: “”We’re soon going to have more ventilators than we need,” Trump claims, before adding that date will come ‘fairly soon.’ He does not offer a timeline, as hospitals are warning about dire shortages.”
Trump said “the testing has been pretty amazing,” when in reality states are still struggling to get testing materials and are worried that without them they don’t know the rate at which the virus is spreading.
CNN’s Manu Raju: “‘The testing has been pretty amazing,’ Trump says, even as Fauci and others have said there is far more needed on testing”
Politico: “The Next Coronavirus Hot Spots Are In States That Aren’t Testing Enough”