President Trump boasted that the U.S. would send $100 million in medical supplies to Italy despite American hospitals fretting about shortages at home due to the coronavirus epidemic.
‘We’re going to be sending approximately $100 million worth of things, of surgical and medical and hospital things to Italy,’ Trump told reporters Monday in the White House Rose Garden. ‘And Giuseppe was very, very happy, I will tell you that, they’re having a very hard time.’
Trump said he had spoken with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and made the pledge, though the White House has yet to send a readout of the call.
President Trump said in the White House Rose Garden Monday that he planned to give $100 million in medical supplies to Italy
At Monday’s press briefing, the president also debuted a new COVID-19 test that gives results in five minutes
The president predicted the U.S. would be making so much medical equipment he could dole some out to Italy, Spain and France as well
The comments came after he held a call with the nation’s governors and several from rural states warned the president that they were in need of supplies too, according to CBS News.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat who’s now running for the U.S. Senate, told the president that he’s had order of supplies cancelled because the federal government was buying them up.
‘I could give four or five examples over the last week where we have supply orders, and they’ve subsequently been cancelled, and they’re cancelled in part because what our suppliers are saying is that federal resources are requesting it and trump that,’ Bullock told Trump.
He also warned ‘we’re going to have some real problem’ across rural America if there wasn’t access to testing.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also spoke publicly of the bidding war that’s happening between states, because the federal government won’t take charge.
‘We’re in a situation where you have 50 states all competing for supplies. The federal government is also competing for supplies, private hospitals are also competing for supplies. So we’ve created a situation where you literally have hundreds of entities looking to buy the same exact materials,’ Cuomo said at a press conference Monday.
COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit in Brescia, Italy on Monday. President Trump said he told Italy’s prime minister he would send him $100 million in medical supplies
Bodies of dead patients are loaded into a refrigerated truck outside of the Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York on Monday. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said it’s a problem that every state and the federal government are bidding for the same equipment
Still, the president painted a sunny picture of the amount of medical supplies being manufactured and distributed to American hospitals amid the crisis – and said there would be more than enough to go around.
‘As we outpace what we need, we’re going to be sending them to Italy, we’re going to be sending them to France, we’re going to be sending them to Spain where they have tremendous problems,’ the president said. ‘And other countries when we can.’
The president gave a hat-tip to the ‘great companies’ who have upped the supplies in recent days.
‘We had our big first cargo plane land this morning,’ Trump also said, referring to a flight from China that landed at New York’s JFK airport.
The box containing the new COVID-19 test flies off a table in the White House Rose Garden on Monday
The USNS Comfort hospital ship also arrived in Manhattan Monday.
‘And we’re getting it from all over the world and we’re also sending things that we don’t need to other parts,’ Trump vowed, mentioning his call with Conte.
The president’s remarks came after new Ford Motor Co. pledged to produce 50,000 ventilators over the next 100 days at a Michigan plant in conjunction with General Electric’s healthcare unit.
They can then build 30,000 per month to aid patients sickened from the coronavirus. These specific ventilators rely on air pressure instead of electricity, according to Reuters.
When asked by a reporter if there would be enough ventilators for American patients Trump answered, ‘I do think so, I do think so, I think we’re going to be in very good shape.’
In the Rose Garden, Trump also gave an update on testing.
‘Today, we reached a historic milestone in our war against the coronavirus. Over 1 million Americans have now been tested,’ he said.
He also had the new COVID-19 test on display – though the box got whisked away by the Washington wind.