Update (1845ET): As the Q&A wore on, Trump insisted that the US will now be in a position to lend ventilators to other countries, before bashing the media for reporting numbers from China and other countries that are obviously unrealistic.
Then, a Fox News reporter asked about the Wuhan Institute of Virology and whether the US had considered the possibility that the virus might have leaked.
Trump’s response was extremely interesting, to say the least.
“More and more we’re hearing the story…we are doing a very thorough examination of this horrible situation that happened.”
As a follow-up, the reporter continued, “did you ever discuss with him concerns about lax safety protocols about that lab?”
Trump replied: “I don’t want to talk about what I discussed with him about the laboratory. I just don’t want to talk about it,” Trump responded.
Wow. Well, now you’ve got to tell us. We imagine we aren’t the only ones who are extremely curious about what was said during that conversation.
Trump then launched on a tirade about the WHO, then, just as he was about to end it, a reporter asked “if Dr. Tedros was removed, would you change your mind?” Trump paused for a second to consider it, then kept walking.
Anybody who wants to review Trump’s answer, the exchange begins at around the 1:51 mark in the video below.
* * *
Update (1750ET): Starting 20 minutes late, the first thing President Trump did during tonight’s press conference was to announce another press conference to be held tomorrow afternoon to unveil “guidelines” about reopening the economy.
He then went on to tout a new partnership to deliver the antibody tests that Cuomo talked about earlier – promising 20 million in the next few weeks. He also said that more than 3.3 million Americans have already been tested for the virus.
Trump then shared another video montage that was basically an advertisement for General Motors.
“I know you get nervous when you saw we had a clip to play but that was from General Motors…they’re making ventilators and cranking them out of the factory at a rate you wouldn’t believe.”
Citing projections used by the administration, Trump said Wednesday that across the US, it appears that the outbreak has reached its ‘peak’, in keeping with the timeline laid out by him and Gov Cuomo earlier this month.
Notably, the president broke out into rambling tirades about Democrats in the Senate allegedly obstructing the appointment of Trump administration judicial appointees and other federal appointments for the bureaucracy. Trump exclaimed that people who have “left very good jobs” have been left waiting “2,3 years” because Dems are taking their sweet ass time with these appointments.
“They’re trying to put us through the mill…when you talk about partisanship…and it’s never ever happened before,” Trump insisted.
Cable news channels used these tirades and the GM video as excuses to “cut away” from the briefing.
CNN and MSNBC have their feed of the White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing delayed by roughly 15 seconds so they can see what is said before it airs and they can cut away so viewers won’t see anything that does not advance their left-wing agenda pic.twitter.com/AfVzdAnhSy
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) April 15, 2020
* * *
Update (1705ET): As we wait for the meeting to begin, we’d like to highlight this Bloomberg report from earlier claiming that the president has abandoned the idea of forming a second task force to focus on reopening the economy – a trial balloon that elicited a pretty tepid response from both insiders and the public – and has instead held a “marathon” series of calls with business leaders on Wednesday.
As the outbreak shows signs of plateauing in the country, corporate executives are being asked to advise Trump on how to resume something approaching normal business and social life. Trump was scheduled to speak with more than 200 leaders from nearly every corner of the U.S. economy in four calls.
Several of the companies and other participants said they found out they were invited only after Trump announced their names in a Rose Garden news conference on Tuesday or from a subsequent White House statement. They said they didn’t know the format or the purpose of the calls, and some expressed doubt the exercise would be productive.
The calls began Wednesday morning in Washington. The White House said the discussions would include chief executive officers of some of the country’s largest and most prominent companies, including Tim Cook of Apple Inc., Doug McMillon of Walmart Inc. and Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase & Co.
We suspect we’ll be hearing more about the contents of these calls tonight. Oh and btw…
…the briefing’s once again been postponed.
White House news conference today at 5:30 P.M. Eastern. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 15, 2020
* * *
Wednesday night’s press briefing is slated to begin at 5pmET, but when the show will actually start is anybody’s guess.
Watch it live below: