Photo of Donald Trump

Remarks at a White House Coronavirus Task Force Press Briefing

March 15, 2020

The President. Beautiful day outside. And I think we have some great things to talk about. I'll start by discussing the Federal Reserve. As you know, it just happened minutes ago, but, to me, it makes me very happy. And I want to congratulate the Federal Reserve.

For starters, they've lowered the Fed rate from what it was, which was 1, to 1.25. And it's been lowered down to zero, to 0.25 or .25. So it's 0 to .25. That's a big difference. It's quite a bit. It's about a point.

And, in addition, very importantly, the Federal Reserve is the—going to be purchasing $500 billion of treasuries and $200 billion of mortgage-backed securities. And that number can increase. But they're going to start with that, and that's really good news. It's really great for our country. It's something that we're very happy. I have to say this: I'm very happy. And they did it in one step; they didn't do it in four steps over a long period of time. They did it in one step.

And I think that people in the market should be very thrilled. And that brings us—we're the strongest country in the world, by far, financially and every other way. And that brings us in line with what other countries are. They're actually—they actually have negative rates. But look, we got it down to potentially zero. So that's a big step, and I'm very happy they did it.

And you will not hear anything bad about me unless it's about a month or two from now. So I congratulate the Federal Reserve. I think it's terrific. It just came out, just as we spoke. I wasn't going to mention Federal Reserve or anything else, but this came out as we were walking up.

I want to thank the people at Google and Google Communications, because, as you know, they substantiated what I said on Friday. The head of Google, who's a great gentleman, said— called us, and he apologized. I don't know where the press got their fake news, but they got it someplace. But as you know—this is from Google—they put out a release. And you guys can figure it out yourselves. And how that got out—and I'm sure you'll all apologize. But it would be great if we could really give the news correctly. It would be so, so wonderful.

I just had a phone call with very impressive people, the biggest in the world, in the world of stores and groceries and all. And I'll give you the names: Dave Clark, Whole Foods; Mark Clouse, CEO of Campbell Soup Company; Brian Cornell, CEO of Target; Randy Edeker, chairman and CEO, president of Hy-Vee; Jeff Harmening, CEO of General Mills, a great company; Kevin Hourican, president and CEO of Sysco; Craig Jelinek, CEO of Costco; Todd Jones, CEO of Publix Super Markets; Donnie King, Tyson Foods; David MacLennan, chairman and CEO of Cargill. Rodney McMullen, CEO, chairman of Kroger, a big company; Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart—he's been fantastic; Doug was here, as you know, on Friday, and he watched the market go up 2,000 points; on Friday, it went up 2,000, almost 2,000 points—Todd Vasos, CEO of Dollar General Corporation; and Vivek Sankaran, president and CEO of Albertsons.

So these are all phenomenal companies. These are great companies. We had a long conversation with them. And they've—they're going to work 24 hours around the clock keeping their store stocked.

I would like to say that people shouldn't go out and buy. We're going to all be great. We're going to be so good. We're going to do—what's happened with the Fed is phenomenal news.

What's happening with all of these incredible companies is phenomenal news.

But you don't have to buy so much. Take it easy. Just relax. People are going in, and they're buying more. I remember—I guess, during the conversation, Doug of Walmart said that they're buying more than they buy at Christmas. Relax. We're doing great. It all will pass.

The folks that we spoke to, they've done a fantastic job. They're going to meet the needs of the public. They're going around the clock, if they have to. And they're committed to the communities where they're serving and which they serve so beautifully and have for a long time. And they're buying a lot of additional things to sell. But again, they actually have asked me to say, "Could you buy a little bit less, please?" I think—I thought I'd never hear that from a retailer.

All of them are working hand in hand with the Federal Government, as well as the State and local leaders, to ensure food and essentials are constantly available. And they'll do it. There's no shortages. We have no shortages—other than people are buying anywhere from three to five times what they would normally buy. It's going to be there for a long time.

We're doing numbers, and there's a pent-up demand that's incredible. When this passes, when this goes through, you're going to see numbers—I think, I predict; I guess I'm allowed to predict just like Wall Street people are allowed to predict, and they're pretty much in agreement— you're going to see there's a pent-up demand like a lot of people, including me, haven't seen before. But this has to get through.

They know they're getting through the crisis and will require an all-of-America approach, and that's very important. They're committed to remaining open during this crisis. Totally open. They have to stay open. Those stores have to stay open. They supply our country.

Our supply chains in America are the most powerful in the world, and they're all working very hard. They're working around the clock. And the stores are stocking up at a level that's beyond Christmastime. And it's great. It was very reassuring speaking to these people. They have it totally in hand.

There's no need for anybody in the country to hoard essential food supplies. They said to me, "Could you please tell them just go and buy, enjoy it." Have a nice dinner. Relax. Because there's plenty. But you don't have to buy the quantities, because it's hard to refill the stores on a basis as rapid as they're refilling them.

And we're using the full power of the Federal Government to defeat the coronavirus, and we will do whatever it takes. And we're doing, I think, really, really well. A lot of good things are going to happen.

I want to thank all of the people standing behind me. You know, these are phenomenal people, and we have some of them right over here. But the people behind me have been working around the clock, and they're doing an incredible job.

We see what's happening. We see what's going on in other countries. We're looking at— we're learning from watching other countries, frankly. This is a very contagious virus. It's incredible. But it's something that we have tremendous control of.

I think, very important, the young people and people of good health and groups of people just are not strongly affected. Elderly people that are not well or not well in certain respects are, really, a very dangerous group. We have to watch them. We have to protect them very much. We have to really watch over them and protect them, because they are very vulnerable.

And with that, if it's okay, I'm just going to go and make some calls. I'm talking about Federal Reserve. I think it's a tremendous thing that took place just now. I didn't know I'd be surprised on a Sunday. I don't know if that's ever happened on a Sunday before. [Laughter] But I would think there are a lot of people on Wall Street that are very happy. And I can tell you that I'm very happy. I didn't expect this, and I like being surprised.

So our Vice President, who's doing an incredible job, is going to take over. And I will see you probably tomorrow. Thank you very much.

Q. Mr. President——

Q. Should bars and restaurants close?

[The briefing continued with remarks by Vice President Michael R. Pence and other Task Force members.]

NOTE: The President spoke at 5:15 p.m. in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer, Google, Inc. The transcript released by the Office of the Press Secretary included the entire briefing.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks at a White House Coronavirus Task Force Press Briefing Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/341505

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