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Remarks in an Exchange With Reporters Prior to Departure for Phoenix, Arizona

May 05, 2020

The President. Hello, everybody. So, I'm leaving for Arizona. We're going to be at the Honeywell plant, which is doing great work for us. And it'll be, I think, a great day. I love Arizona.

Go ahead, please.

Alleged Coup Attempt in Venezuela

Q. What happened in Venezuela, sir? Apparently a couple of Americans were detained.

The President. I just got information. Nothing to do with our Government, but I just got information on that.

Q. What happened?

The President. So we'll—well, we'll find out. We just heard about it. But whatever it is, we'll let you know. But it has nothing to do with our Government.

Q. Okay.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony S. Fauci/Congressional Oversight of Executive Branch/Resumption of Economic and Commercial Activity/China

Q. Why won't you let Fauci testify in the House? Dr. Fauci.

The President. Because the House is a setup. The House is a bunch of Trump haters. They put every Trump hater on the committee. The same old stuff. They, frankly, want our situation to be unsuccessful, which means death. Which means death. And our situation is going to be very successful. The House has put on a committee, an oversight committee, of Maxine Waters and Maloney and the same people. And it's just a setup.

But Dr. Fauci will be testifying in front of the Senate, and he looks forward to doing that.

Q. But they do control appropriations. Don't they have leverage?

Q. Mr. President, are you concerned at all by the——

The President. But the House—I will tell you, the House, they should be ashamed of themselves. And frankly, the Democrats should be ashamed, because they don't want us to succeed. They want us to fail so they can win an election, which they're not going to win.

But they want us—think of it: They do everything they can to make things as bad as possible. And right now the stock market's way up. Everybody's excited. They're going back to work safely, but they're going back to work. We're opening up our country again. And this is what we're doing. And I'll tell you, the whole world is excited watching us because we're leading the world.

Q. Mr. President, are you concerned at all——

The President. And what happened should never, ever have happened. China should have informed us that they had a problem.

Q. Mr. President, are you concerned at all by some of the recent modeling? China

Q. Have you spoken to Xi Jinping at all?

The President. Say it?

Q. Have you spoken to President Xi about your frustrations with China?

The President. I have not spoken to him. No, I have not spoken to him.

Q. Do you plan on talking to him?

The President. I might. But I haven't spoken to President Xi. I have not.

Yes, Jennifer [Jennifer Jacobs, Bloomberg News].

Coronavirus Prevalence and Mortality Projections/Resumption of Economic and Commercial Activity

Q. Mr. President, if the New York Times numbers about the virus increasing are wrong, what are your current—[inaudible]?

The President. Well, it's a report. And that's a report with no mitigation. So based on no mitigation, but we're doing a lot of mitigation. And, frankly, when the people report back, they're going to be social distancing and they're going to be washing their hands and they're going to be doing the things that you're supposed to do. We won't be going into stadiums full bore yet, you know, for events and soccer and football and all of the different events—baseball. I hope baseball can get going.

But they won't be going in full bore yet. At some point, hopefully, in the not-too-distant future. But that report is a no-mitigation report, and we are mitigating.

Q. Mr. President, I——

Coronavirus Outbreak in China

Q. Have you heard a definitive answer as to where the virus came from? Have you heard a definitive answer?

The President. Well, we're—yes, I think we do. But I'm going to—we'll be reporting on it over the next period of time, Steve [Steve A. Holland, Reuters]. We'll be reporting. There'll be plenty of people ask me that question, and we will be reporting very definitively over a period of time.

The President's Travel to Arizona/Coronavirus Testing Access

Q. Sir, do you have any concerns about all the people who are going to be traveling with you today and their potential to be exposed to the virus as they go back and forth?

The President. No, I don't have any. Everybody traveling has been tested. We have great testing. And literally, they've been tested over the last hour. And the test result comes back in 5 minutes. We have great testing, or they wouldn't be allowed to travel with me. I mean, would—it's not my choice; it's a very strong group of people that want to make sure they are tested, including Secret Service.

So they're all tested, everybody traveling on the plane. The only question I can't answer: Has the press been tested? And I suspect, maybe—has the press been tested?

Q. Yes.

The President. Steve, have you been tested? Q. Not today, but the group——

The President. Well, I trust you.

Q. ——the group traveling with you——

The President. I trust you.

Q. You're also going——

The President's Travel to Arizona/Protective Face Masks/Coronavirus Testing Access

Q. Are you planning to wear a mask, sir?

The President. Say it?

Q. Are you planning to wear a mask, sir?

The President. It's a—I think it's a masked facility, right?

Q. Are you going to wear a mask?

The President. If it's a masked facility, I will. Yes. I don't know if it's a masked facility. But Honeywell—we're going to see Honeywell. They have done an incredible job on many fronts. And so I'm going to pay my respects to a great company and a great State: the State of Arizona.

Q. They do make N95 masks.

The President. They make N95, yes. And they do—and they make them good. They don't make the ones that don't work, like we got sent from certain other countries. No, no, like other people got sent from other countries.

We're making massive numbers of masks. We're making our ventilators. We have the best testing anywhere in the world—not even close. The antibody test, you see what's going on with that. That's going to be something that I don't even—look, we have so much testing. I don't think you need that kind of testing or that much testing, but some people disagree with me and some people agree with me. But we have the greatest testing in the world, and we have the most testing in the world.

Resumption of Economic and Commercial Activity

Q. Mr. President, many of the States that are beginning to reopen, they're not following your criteria in terms of having 2 weeks of reduced cases.

The President. Well, the Governors have——

Q. Why do you think that is?

The President. It's a fair question. The Governors have—I have given them great discretion. I respect the Governors. And I've given them great discretion. If, however, I see somebody doing something that's egregious or wrong, I will stop it in 2 seconds. Many of the Governors have called me up and asked my opinion. But—and really, a lot of them have. And the relationship is very good.

But, you know, the Governors are given—like on a story like that, where they're going down and they're going down rapidly, but maybe it's short of the 14 days—they're given a certain amount of discretion. If I see something wrong, though, we will stop it.

Coronavirus Statistical Models/Negative Impacts of Stay-at-Home Orders/Economic Recovery Efforts Q. Mr. President, on the IHME model, which is now showing 134,000 deaths by August, doubling its previous prediction, are you concerned that that's happening because some of these States are relaxing guidelines too early?

The President. No. No, I'm not, because that assumes no mitigation.

Q. It assumes less.

The President. And we're going to have mitigation. No, we're letting people out. But the fact that we're letting people go and go to their jobs—they have to do it.

You know, if they held people any longer with the shutdowns, you're going to lose people that way too. And you already have, I'm sure. But between drug abuse and—I mean, they say suicide, a lot of different things.

There's no win—just so you know, there's no great win one way or the other, but I'll tell you where there is a win: We're going to build a country. I did it once. Two months ago, we had the greatest economy in the history of the world, the best employment numbers we've ever had in history, right? I mean everybody agrees. Even CNN agrees with that one.

But I will say this: We're going to do it again. And that's what we're starting. And I view these last couple of days as the beginning. We're going to build the greatest economy in the world again, and it's going to happen pretty fast.

Q. Do you believe the death toll numbers? Do you believe them?

Coronavirus Mitigation Efforts/Coronavirus Statistical Models

Q. If the model is correct, sir, is it acceptable to have several tens of thousands——

The President. Well, that's with no mitigation. We're doing mitigation. We have a lot of mitigation. The fact that they're out—they're mitigating. They're social distancing. They all know that. They're washing their hands a lot. But we have to get our country open. We have to open our country.

So you have all reports—look, models have been very inaccurate. I've seen models that are very inaccurate.

Q. What if they are accurate, sir?

The President. But, you know, one model that's very important is that if we did this a different way, we would have lost more—much more than 2 million people. And we did it the right way. We did everything right. But now it's time to go back to work.

So I'm going to Arizona. I will see you there. Thank you. Thank you.

Q. So one question, sir?

The President. Thank you.

Coronavirus Outbreak in China

Q. So what do you want China to do now? What is your expectations from China now?

The President. We want them to be transparent. We want to find out what happened so it never happens again. Okay?

NOTE: The President spoke at 10:21 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House prior to boarding Marine One. In his remarks, he referred to Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney. A reporter referred to Airan Berry and Luke Denman, employees of Florida-based private security firm Silvercorp USA, who were apprehended by Venezuelan authorities on May 4 during an attempted incursion into Venezuela.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks in an Exchange With Reporters Prior to Departure for Phoenix, Arizona Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/341918

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