Update 3/30: Well, that took a whole three days.
Trump, Thursday: “I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators.”
Reporter, today: “You’ve said repeatedly that you think some of the equipment that governors are requesting they don’t actually need.…”
Trump: “I didn’t say that. I didn’t say that. I didn’t say that.”
— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) March 30, 2020
Donald Trump called into Sean Hannity’s Fox News show Thursday night to talk about what a great job he’s been doing lately and also to accuse New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, of exaggerating the number of ventilators his state needs. Why does he think that? He just “has a feeling.”
“I have a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they’re going to be,” Trump said. “I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You know, you go into major hospitals sometimes, they’ll have two ventilators. And now all of a sudden they’re saying can we order 30,000 ventilators?”
On Hannity, Trump says he doesn’t believe NY Gov. Guomo actually needs the ventilators he’s asking for.
TRUMP: “I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators.” pic.twitter.com/tm6jXmPtdC
— Pod Save America (@PodSaveAmerica) March 27, 2020
Cuomo has been openly critical of the federal response to coronavirus containment and treatment. New York has been hit harder than any other state and is seeing a massive shortage of medical equipment.
New York needs 30,000 ventilators.
It will be the difference between life and death.
The federal government must provide these ventilators.
Only the federal government has the power to deliver.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) March 24, 2020
Our single greatest challenge is ventilators.
We need 30,000 ventilators.
We have 11,000.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) March 25, 2020
Trump responded to those pleas by sending the state 400 ventilators. “Four hundred ventilators? I need 30,000 ventilators. You want a pat on the back for sending 400 ventilators?” Cuomo said at a press conference this week. “What are we going to do with 400 ventilators when we need 30,000 ventilators? You’re missing the magnitude of the problem, and the problem is defined by the magnitude.”
Trump later sent another 4,000 ventilators, but not before insulting Cuomo’s leadership.
Trump’s claim that he doesn’t believe New York needs that many ventilators is the exact kind of thing he’s sure to deny ever having said in a week or so. Just like his belief that the coronavirus is a “hoax,” I’m calling it now: we’re going to see some angry tweets or maybe a Kellyanne Conway press tour soon blaming the “lamestream media” for making this up.
By the way, Trump is already pivoting to finding other things and people to blame for the ventilator shortage so “I don’t believe you” may have just been a momentary blip. Now he’s blaming General Motors.
this tweet shows how Trump veers between reality and unreality depending on his audience, momentary impulse or most recent advice
he faults GM for not delivering “40K much needed ventilators”
on Fox last night, he told Hannity: “I don’t believe you need 40K or 30K ventilators” https://t.co/7CILIwzoba
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) March 27, 2020
He’s really flailing, isn’t he?
Does this count as invoking the Defense Production Act? pic.twitter.com/N2cx0uavMK
— Bill Kuchman (@billkuchman) March 27, 2020
He’s also pushing a conspiracy theory going around that New York is hiding ventilators in a warehouse.
The 2K arrived Wednesday & have been deployed to the strategic stockpile
We dont know which hospitals will have the need yet-this is evolving in real time
The feds gave NYS 2K – we need 30K. We have to be smart about what we have & be able to move on a dime
Lives are at stake https://t.co/i9IpOJOCpR
— Melissa DeRosa (@melissadderosa) March 27, 2020
At least Cuomo is taking the high road in this mess.
I hope NY doesn’t ultimately need 30,000 ventilators.
But I don’t operate on opinion and hope.
I operate on facts and data and science.
All the projections say we will need 30,000-40,000 ventilators.
So that is what we will strive to have.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) March 27, 2020
(image: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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