Media slam President Trump's COVID-19 briefings

This is a rush transcript from "The Five," March 26, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: We'll be also looking at this tomorrow with New York Cardinal Dolan (Inaudible). And now, in the middle of this, you can't go to church. You could still pray. A nation is. Here we go.

JESSE WATTERS, FOX NEWS HOST: Hello, everybody. I am Jesse Watters, along with Juan Williams, Dana Perino, Greg Gutfeld, and Dagen McDowell. It is 5:00 in New York City, and this is The Five. Breaking news from the White House, at any moment, President Trump will be holding a Coronavirus task force briefing. He is expected to address a plan to slowly reopen parts of the economy.

The federal government working on publishing new safety guidelines for states and will classify counties as either high, medium, or low risk, of spreading the virus. We're expecting a lot more news on that. Plus, much needed relief could soon be coming to Americans. After a record three million workers filed unemployment claims, the Senate unanimously passing $2 trillion Coronavirus stimulus package.

The House is expected to vote on it tomorrow. And after delaying the bill for days with their wish list, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is now attacking Republicans for what's in it.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): We did jiu-jitsu on it that it went from a corporate first proposal to Republicans put forth in the Senate, to a workers' first Democratic workers' first legislation. Can you believe that almost -- I think was -- every Republican -- 49 Republicans last night voted in the Senate to deprive those on unemployment insurance of the additional $600 a week.

How could it be? We want more. There are so many things we didn't get in any of these bills yet in the way that we need to.


WATTERS: All right. So Mr. Gutfeld, we have millions of Americans filing for unemployment. And it looks like some of the money -- you know, if you are married with a few kids, you're going to get a couple thousand dollar check in the mail in about three weeks. Is it going to be enough? Are you just too out of touch because you are so successful that you have no idea?

GREG GUTFELD, FOX NEWS HOST: Probably that. No, I just -- the idea of Pelosi pointing her finger at anybody, she was pushing arts funding in the middle of a pandemic. That is like demanding a haircut during a tsunami. She is completely wrong and out of it. The 3.2 million jobless numbers is a reminder to all of us here on TV that we are here -- telling you stay at home.

And we are complaining that we can't go to a restaurant or, you know, hear Schwarzenegger lecturing you from his hot tub or that the NBA might be delayed, or that the sequels to your favorite movies might come out on time. There are millions of people at home because of the decisions that we want to make. I mean, these decisions are to stop a pandemic. But we cannot pretend for a minute that there aren't consequences.

There are people out of work who are going to be suffering. And that is why we need a phased return to the economy, which the media has been lying about. It's not about getting -- letting old people die. It's about getting the young and the healthy and the people who are disease-free back into the workplace in specific areas of the country.

So you can protect grandma and grandpa, so they can stay home and not worry and maybe self-distance until they can later come out. So that's what I hope we're going to be doing soon.

WATTERS: Yeah. That is something that MSNBC has been talking about, Juan. I think it's kind of a false dichotomy. Here's Joe Scarborough making the argument that Greg referenced. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It seems that Republicans that are making the argument. Let the World War II vets die. Let the Korean War vets die. Let the Vietnam vets die. Let everybody in that generation die, because we are worried about Boeing. It is the born (ph). It is the weakest among us. It is senior citizens who they are ready to euthanize, because they want Boeing's corporate earnings to not to dip too low.


WATTERS: Now, Juan, you don't really believe that, do you?

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS HOST: No. I said to you yesterday, Jesse. I think the president spoke to it explicitly when he said that zero deaths are acceptable. And I hope that he feels that in his heart. He has been pushing to reopen despite the advice coming from the scientists and the doctors. And again, I would -- you know, I think they are the people we should be listening to right now.

I think we are not in an ultimate economic crisis at the moment. I think we are in a tremendous, you know, once in a lifetime type of health emergency. And by the way, I think by dealing with the pandemic, we help the economy. If we go back too soon and we have to repeat this, I think there will be a problem for our economy, because consumer confidence will not return.

And therefore, the spending won't be there. So that's why I think when I see this jobs number, to me it's cataclysmic. It's shocking, because it's not just the 3.3 million. You are talking about everybody else in that family. You are talking about the kids. You are talking about the grandparents. So to me, when we see the Democrats make an effort and it took some delay delays.

You guys have pointed out to put families and the people who are being put out of work first, to put small businesses first, and to say that when it comes to big business, to the big corporations, the Wall Street types, you guys are going to have to be transparent. You can't use this for buybacks and executive --


WILLIAMS: I think that's exactly right. We need to get this bill right and not be involved in a lot of recrimination about too big to fail as what happened, you know, back in 08, 09.

WATTERS: Dana, so Nancy says that she did jiu-jitsu on this thing. What specifically is going to claim credit for doing if this becomes a very successful relief package?

DANA PERINO, FOX NEWS HOST: Well, I think the spin from the Democrats has been pretty good, although it's a little galling. Let me just tell you that I think that the actual things that are in the bill for the $500 billion to keep employers from laying-off employees. How is that not pro-worker? To me, that's pro-worker. I also -- on the buy back thing.

I can read the Wall Street Journal just as well as anybody else. And that it's just -- it's false the way that that's been portrayed. But let me tell you couple of things that Nancy Pelosi wanted to get in the bill and didn't. She wanted a mandated vote by mail. They wanted $4 billion for that.

WATTERS: Billion?

PERINO: Four hundred million dollars was that -- that was OK, billion, OK? They got $400 million. They wanted to ban voter ID laws in some states in this bill. That doesn't make sense.


PERINO: All right? They wanted to have fuel standards for vehicles and planes. They wanted collective bargaining power. How is that going to help people? They wanted -- and then this whole idea also about the pay raises for Congress. That's not in the bill either, right? The $25 million is to go to help them try to figure out how to tele-work while we are socially distanced.

And whether you think $25 million is too much, whatever. But I think that Nancy Pelosi is claiming credit for things that she actually doesn't deserve credit for. And actually, the Republicans were able to strip out things that we would be screaming about if they were in the bill when it passes tomorrow.

WATTERS: Dagen, the stock market likes it. In the last three days, I think 20 percent of the market came back. What are you hearing on the street?

DAGEN MCDOWELL, FOX NEWS HOST: Well, I am hearing from the people who are unemployed who need the unemployment benefits in this bill. And by the way, this was written by the White House and Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, who negotiated with the Senate. So this is Nancy Pelosi gasping for relevancy, because she got iced out of this deal getting put together.

And she's trying to put her tiny little fingerprints all over it. But secondly, these are people who are unemployed and these are businesses. Half of the jobs in this country are with small and medium sized businesses. These are businesses that got shutdown overnight to fight a virus. And these are people who millions of them and millions more laid-off to fight a virus.

And you have to rescue both, because employees need employers. People who work need a place to go and work. And I just hope that these idiots in Congress do some online course work while they're at home, not helping anybody about how the Federal Reserve works, because this $450 billion, roughly that is going to the Treasury Department. It's not a slush fund.

It will actually be used to backstop loans made by the Federal Reserve, to guess what, businesses in this country. And so for every dollar the Treasury gets, the Fed can lend $10. So that's how leverage works. This is basics. I think Pat Toomey might be the only person in the Senate who understands this. So I hope the idiots go back to online school when -- while they are sitting at home not helping anybody.

GUTFELD: Hey, Jesse. I -- to quick things, how is the media going to express legitimate concern over the 3.28 million newly unemployed when they demonize other people for expressing that same adult concern? They have -- like Dagen says, they have no expertise in cost-benefit-analysis. Secondly, that's the first time I saw that Joe Scarborough clip. And that is mind- blowing.

I think we kind of let him off a little easy. When he said that the administration wants World War II vets to die, that we want to euthanize vets, this guy, Scarborough is a nut-bag. And he has been on the wrong side of everything. If his terrible batting average had been in any other kind of employment other than TV commentary, he would not be employed.

It's only in our employment -- in our commentary world that an idiot like Joe Scarborough could still make a living.

WATTERS: You know, it's interesting what you said about the media's sympathy towards people that are filing for unemployment, because that's what the president has been so concerned about is the massive amounts of people being laid-off. And he's been hit by that same media for expressing those concerns. And now, they're pulling their --


WATTERS: Everyone is concerned about that, Juan. You can be concerned about people getting laid-off and people getting sick. It doesn't have to be either or.

WILLIAMS: Right. But I'm saying what do you think this whole fight was about for the entire week over this bill? It was Democrats pushing back against the idea that there was a lack of transparency for this $500 billion that was being made available to these big corporations without the promise that they would not fire people, without the promise that there would be some transparency.

Accountability for how the administration used the money. And it wouldn't simply be amount rewarding their political favorites, the cronyism.


WATTERS: So everyone gets credit?


WILLIAMS: No. I am just saying if Democrats had not fought, this bill would not be about making sure that those people who filed in record numbers for unemployment were getting it.


WATTERS: They fought for that and then they fought for the Green New Deal, OK? We get it, Juan. They used it as a bargaining chip.

WILLIAMS: So energy renewable jobs, forget about it?


WATTERS: You want to reduce emissions. Let's get one thing first done, and then we can worry about gases.


MCDOWELL: Speaking of gases, we're going to stop talking about Congress and start talking about the media. We are still waiting for a briefing from President Trump and the White House Coronavirus task force. Initially, the media had been complaining about a lack of those very briefings. But now, they almost -- they're almost a daily presence in our lives.

But momentum is building to stop airing these briefings. The New York Times with this headline, quote, "Trump's briefings are a ratings hit. Should networks cover them live?" And some in the media say we should not show them at all.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If it were up to me, and it's not, I would stop putting those briefings on live TV. Not out of spite, but because it's misinformation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These briefings are substitutes for the rallies. There's no question there. It's his outlet. It's his ability to stay on stage. He knows he can dominate the newscast.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is also -- Trump using this as a political platform to promote the messages that he is not able to promote at rallies, because he can't hold rallies right now.


MCDOWELL: Here's President Trump clashing with the media.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Just so you'll understand. Are you ready? I think there are certain people that would like it not to open so quickly. I think there's certain people that would like it do financially poorly, because they think that would be very good as far as defeating me at the polls. I think it's very clear that there are people in your profession that write fake news.

You do. She does. We've done one hell of a job. Nobody has done the job that we've done. And it's lucky that you have this group here right now for this problem.


MCDOWELL: Dana, I'm going to you first -- worked at the White House, the insanity of is, is they don't want the American people to hear from the president of the United States live in the greatest crisis of our lives. That's how nuts this is.

PERINO: Yeah. I don't really understand how somebody's political analysis of the president's briefing is more important than the president's briefing, while he is, you know, basically commanding the ship. And I know that a lot of them don't like it that President Trump is the president, but he is the president. And he is the one that is entrusted in making decisions that have to do with our livelihoods and our health.

And the thing that he has done is surround himself with people at those briefings that also take questions. They have never seen anything like this, where you could have a briefing the last 2.5 hours. I mean, maybe that's part of the frustration for the media. They want to see their own faces on TV. But here's the thing.

There are a lot of great places, including here at Fox News, where you can get the full information. If your local station or your local radio decides not to cover it, have got a place to go.

MCDOWELL: Greg, just -- talk about the fact that these individuals would rather hear themselves speak than a president providing information to all Americans who care about their health and their loved ones.

GUTFELD: Incompetent people fear competition, because the competition exposes their own idiocy. For exam -- this is not a -- this argument should sound familiar to anybody who worked at Fox. Because you are successful, don't air them. That was the same argument when Fox News came up, because if you can't beat them, get rid of them. And that's the whole thing.

So Trump gets on the air. We all know that if he -- he is a ratings winner. We saw that. That's how CNN and Morning Joe elected him. They put him on their air all the time. And then he became president, and now they're, like, how dare he? Well, they should cover him, because he happens to be the commander-in-chief during a pandemic.

You know what? reported on -- Meghan Markle is forbidding Prince Harry from visiting his father. That's what they're covering.


GUTFELD: But the pandemic briefing, forget that.

MCDOWELL: Juan, you've been a lifelong newsman. You can't be in favor of this.

WILLIAMS: Well, I think he is the president. And so I always think you have got to cover what the president has to say. But I -- he has turned this into basically a political rally event. It's the Trump show. So everyday, he gets this Trump show platform. And he does deliver a lot of misinformation. He's, you know, when he's asked how he is doing, he is doing perfectly.

It's as perfect as the call to the Ukrainian president. When he's asked about Governor Cuomo --


MCDOWELL: I see what you did there.


MCDOWELL: I see what you did.

WILLIAMS: Hang on. Let me finish.

MCDOWELL: I see what you did.


WILLIAMS: Hang on a second. Hang on. Hang on. Hang on a second, Dagen. Dagen, he said that. I didn't say that. He said it was as perfect as his phone call to the Ukrainians. And he says things like we've caught up totally with the testing, with regard to South Korea, when in fact, south - - we're far behind. South Korea is a much smaller country than we are.

I think they've tested like 1 out of every 150 people. We've tested 1 out of every 900, and we are way behind. So he says all these things. People come to these briefings for real information. And instead, they are getting a political presentation. And I think that's why a lot of people say, yes, he is the president.

You have got to make sure the American people have access to what he is saying. But now, the question arises. As a journalist, are we supposed to just say whatever he says is fine?



GUTFELD: -- only person left on the Earth that takes Trump word for word. What he is trying to do is present optimism. And Fauci is the good cop. He is the good cop. Fauci is the bad cop. They both want the same thing. But you're acting like this is 2016 all over again, where when he says something, it's directionally true.

Sometimes, he gets some little things wrong. But the American public actually understands it. It's only inside the beltway journalists who are always wrong on this. And that's why you are always so far behind on the real stories.


GUTFELD: Because you sit there and you just --


WILLIAMS: I think the real story is that the people want leadership they can trust.


WILLIAMS: I think that's why Dr. Fauci ha -- they are not getting it from Trump. They get it from Fauci. They get from Dr. Birx.


GUTFELD: So Trump is doing a terrible job, Juan?


WILLIAMS: No. Trump's doing a bang-up job of putting on a TV show that gets great ratings.

GUTFELD: There you go. You just can't do it, can you, Juan? You can't admit a little bit.



MCDOWELL: Let Jesse get in here.


WATTERS: The media worrying about misinformation is like the mafia worrying about crime. Look in the mirror. CNN lied for two years. We should take them off the air. Come on. This is what they are worried about. President Trump has turned the media into C-SPAN. That's all they are now. They point a camera and they take live press conferences.

And they can't add their analysts and their pundits and reporters to spin it, slice and dice it, and edit it, and put special sauce, and serve it to the public. They get stuff wrong now. And the American people are in the mood for raw material. And they don't want anymore spin. The media thinks that they are smarter than the president.

And they have to point out every little time that they think they are smarter and they got him. But that's not true, because the American public trusts the president more than they trust the media. They like him more. And it's because he is more compelling. He is more honest and he's more straightforward. And that's the truth.

Because when he goes up there, you are not only getting a real face-to-face reality. You are getting a man that is pretty entertaining. And that can speak in solid gold sound bites that every American can understand. They are jealous of him. They don't have anybody on those networks that can compete with that kind of talent. They don't have it in Hollywood.

They don't have it at CNN. They don't have it anywhere. And instead of realizing the deficiency and trying to work on improving their performance, they are trying to censor the president of the United States. How insane is that? If you want to fact-check him, Juan, fact-check him afterwards when you have the 13 little boxes on the screen like we do right now.

Fact-check him all day long, but don't cut him off in the middle of a press conference.

MCDOWELL: Dana, go ahead.

WILLIAMS: I think he's the one who is trying to take our time, Jesse. Say we're jealous of him. I think he's trying to impose himself on the news coverage.

WATTERS: This is the American people's time.

WILLIAMS: There is no filter.


WILLIAMS: If you have a political leader who is just, like, spouting at the American people, you know, at some point you got to wonder, is that propagandistic?

WATTERS: Juan, reporters are asking great questions, and we are getting great answers. And some of the questions are so good. The task force is going back and saying oh, I didn't thought about it that way and they delivering more news about that same question the next day. It's helping the American people.

PERINO: OK. This is what I was going to say, is that when the president tweeted around 5:00 o'clock that he would be on -- around 5:10 and they're going to focus on this question of the what are these guidelines going to be that will tell people -- state governments, local government, companies, workers. You can bet people want to tune into that, because they're going to talk about what are the guidelines going to be.

How are we going to get people back to work? How are going to do this responsibly and with sensitivity and maybe with some technology? It's possible that we are going to be able to have this finger-prick test soon that would tell people you've it. Maybe you're immune now. And now, you can go back to work. There's also going to be the possibility of doing, like, in South Korea, where you get your temperature taken before you were allowed into the workplace or a shop if you wanted to buy groceries.

Like, they're going to provide information that is actually really vital. So I can't imagine people not wanting to take this press conference, this one in particular coming up, because this is the beginning of the president laying out how we are going to get back to work in a responsible way.

MCDOWELL: These are people who want to shut the president down who lied about Russia collusion for literally years. And now, they are playing doctor on television. That's what they are doing. They -- again, they learned their medical knowledge from Fletch. That's how smart they are.


PERINO: Fletch, that's a throwback.


WILLIAMS: President Trump and the Coronavirus task force briefing is going to start any moment now, so stay with us. But in the meantime, hospitals in the outbreaks epicenter, which as you know is New York City, they're being overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients and cases in the state, now top 37,000 people. One hospital in the city, a single hospital, folks, is reporting 13 deaths within 24 hours.

Doctors are warning of apocalyptic type conditions. And healthcare workers now saying they don't have enough protective gear. Some nurses forced to wear trash bags, trash bags, to keep themselves safe. And in Boston, local news outlets reporting more than 100 hospital workers have, in fact, contracted the virus. I think what we're seeing now, Dana, is this thing is, you know, spreading into areas of the country that previously weren't being hit.

I noticed particularly in the south, New Orleans, they are saying they are having just a surge of virus confirmations. How do you take that?

PERINO: Well, I think that it is showing what Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx have been telling us for weeks is coming true. Like, we know that the social distancing is having an impact to try to slow the rate of people that need hospitalization. So that's good. One of the reasons to take the president's briefings is I believe it was just yesterday or the day before.

That the president announced he was allowing the major disaster declaration for Louisiana or the emergency declaration, because that allows some funds to get there for what they're going to need. And different states are going to have different problems. Louisiana, one of the problems was big parties at Mardi Gras, OK?

So we know that that's a highly dense situation. Now, take up it there in Wyoming, where my family is from. Like, this is not there, at least yet. And it's not overwhelming the situation yet. But that governor also ordering stay at home now, so you this phase coming, and you can also hopefully start to see after this briefing then what does the other side look like?

So I think it all is going according to how Fauci and Birx have been telling the president from the beginning it was going to go.

WILLIAMS: And Jesse, what do you think about the hospital workers? You know, the poor people having to go to work that they don't have the proper garb so they are putting on garbage bags. And now, there's the question, you know, do the nurses, the doctors, all of the people who make things happen at the hospital keep going to work or do they say, hey, we can't handle it?

WATTERS: Well, I hope they don't stop going to work, because that's the best we have right now, Juan. Governor Cuomo says that they have enough equipment right now for the hospitals. I guess maybe there is disconnect, because you've obviously seen pictures of people with that type of garb. I spoke to a guy today who is a doctor at Cornell Medical up in New York City.

And he says he is confident now. And here's why. He knows how to not get Coronavirus. And he is on the frontlines. He says one of the biggest mistakes you can make is touching your face. He says if you do everything to avoid touching your face that is the number one way to transmit something. You touch someone. You shake their hand. You touch a surface, and you haven't been purling.

Or you're in a small room with someone for 30 to 45 minutes who is infected, and then you touch your face. That is the number one way that this thing gets transmitted. So you have got to stop touching your face. And you have to carry Purell around everywhere. And you have to really watch out what surfaces you're touching.

But with that knowledge, everybody can social-distance and stay clean. And that's how we're going to get this thing solves eventually.

MCDOWELL: I just want to --


WILLIAMS: Hey, Greg, what do you think -- oh, go ahead, Dagen, sorry.

MCDOWELL: I just quickly want to point out. One of my friends is working in an emergency room. And they think he actually got double pneumonia from Coronavirus, like, several weeks ago and wasn't diagnosed with it. And these people are putting their lives on the line to save New Yorkers. And they would gladly do it for every single American. Never forget that.

GUTFELD: Just -- I just want to add before the president comes out, a very important question. Who are the patients that are dying? Were they previously healthy, young patients? And did they receive any of the Hydroxychloroquine plus the antibiotics? Because I'm interested in knowing has anybody died from that drug?

Because I haven't heard it, all I've heard, anecdotally from doctors, is that when you get that drug, you get better. So you got to demand that. If you have symptoms, you've got to talk to your doctor. We don't know anything about the patients that are succumbing.

WILLIAMS: Greg, this is a Fox News alert. President Trump and the White House Coronavirus task force holding a briefing. Let's listen in.

TRUMP: -- what you're doing. Look at all of those empty seats. Never seen it like that, oh, boy. Well, how the world has changed. How the world has changed, right? But it's going to end up being better than ever. I want to thank you very much for being here. And I would like to update you on the steps we are taking on our ongoing fight to defeat the virus.

This morning, at 7:55, I spoke to the leaders of the G20. We had a great meeting. And we have a lot of different ideas, a lot of good ideas. We're working together. The leaders gathered virtually around the world to discuss the whole subject of the problem that right now 151 nations have got. We have President Alberto Fernandez of Argentina, Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia.

President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, President Xi of China, President Emmanuel Macron of France. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, Prime Minister Modi of India, President Widodo of Indonesia, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, of Italy, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan. Congratulations to Japan on making a great decision on the Olympics.

They'll make it next year, 2021. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico, I want to thank the president of Mexico for having done such a great job with respect to the military. We have 27,000 Mexican soldiers on our southern border, and very few people are getting through. I can tell you that. We have to keep it that way. And we have a great relationship with Mexico now.

President Putin of Russia, King Solomon of Saudi Arabia. President Ramaphosa of South Africa, President Moon of, as you know, a country that we spend a lot of time in, South Korea. We are working very hard on that. Prime Minister Sanchez of Spain, President Erdogan of Turkey. Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom, President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Council Charles Michel, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, World Health Organization Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Bank President David Malpass, and the International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva.

So that's a big group, but it's a great group. It's -- and they were all there, every one of them. We talked about the problem and hopefully won't be a problem for too much longer. The United States is working with our friends and partners around the world to stop the spread of the virus and coordinate our efforts.

We discussed how vitally important it is for all of our nations to immediately share information and data. And we've been doing that to a large extent, but we'll do it even more so. And to inform our -- I guess you could say, for each of us on the fight that we've got going one way or the other, it's a little bit different, but we're handling it a little bit in different ways, but there is great uniformity. I think we had a -- it was a terrific meeting. Tremendous spirit, among all of those countries, yet 20 countries plus the other people that I mentioned and a tremendous spirit to get this over with.

After the meeting with the world leaders, I spoke with the governors of our 50 states and territories. Our team has been in constant communication with the governors and we had a -- we had a terrific meeting. Somebody in the fake news said that one of the governors said, oh, we need Tom Brady. I said yes, he meant that in a positive way. He said, we need Tom Brady. We're going to do great and he meant it very positively, but they took it differently. They think Tom Brady should be leading the effort. That's only fake news. And I like Tom Brady. I spoke to him the other day. He's great guy.

But I wish the news could be -- could be real. I wish it could be honest. I wish it weren't corrupt. But so much of it is. It's so sad to say, just so sad to say. We had a great meeting. I tell you what, I'm sure you have tapes of the meeting. I'm sure that you were able to get tapes very easily, see it, 50 governors plus. And maybe you had tapes, you'd say it was really -- I mean, there was no contention. I would say virtually none.

I would say maybe one person that was a little tiny bit of a raising of a voice, a little wise guy, a little bit. But he was usually a big wise guy, not so much anymore. We saw to it that he wouldn't be so much anymore. But he is -- we had it -- I mean, I would rate -- Mike was there. A lot of the folks at the back were there, and it was a -- it was a great meeting. It took place at about 12:00.

So we went from the G-20, to the governors. We also spoke about the economic relief with the governors and the package that we're moving through Congress to deliver much needed financial assistance to hard- working families and small businesses. I want to thank Democrats and Republicans in the Senate for unanimously passing the largest financial relief package in American history, 96 to zero. And I have to say, it's the largest by far. And I'm profoundly grateful that both parties came together to provide relief for American workers and families in this hour of need.

The House of Representatives must now pass this bill hopefully without delay. I think it's got tremendous support. When you're at 96 to nothing and as you know, a couple of those people are quarantined and one Rand Paul is -- he's actually got it, but he'll be better soon. He's been a great guy. He's been a great friend of mine, actually.

The massive $2.2 trillion relief package includes job retention loans for small businesses with loan forgiveness, available for businesses that keep their workers on the payroll. It's pretty good, loan forgiveness, keep the workers on the payroll. It's pretty good. Direct cash payments will be available to American citizens earning less than $99,000 per year, $3,400 for the typical family of four. Expanded unemployment benefits, the average worker who has lost his or her job will receive 100 percent of their salary for up to four full months.

These are things that by the way, we have plenty more to go and but they're things that nobody's ever had any package like this done. And I just want to thank them. Hopefully, it'll get approved equally easily in the House really. I think it will go through pretty well from what I hear virtually everybody. There could be one vote, one vote, one grandstander, maybe. You might have one grandstander. And for that, we'll have to come back and take a little more time and it'll pass. It'll just take a little longer. But let's see whether or not we have a grandstander.

Critical support for the hardest-hit industries with a ban on corporate stock buybacks and tough new safeguards to prevent executive compensation abuse. Over $100 billion for our amazing doctors, nurses, and hospitals. $45 billion for the disaster relief fund, more than doubling the amount available. This is tremendous stuff.

$27 billion dollars for the coronavirus response including a $16 billion to build up the strategic national stockpile with critical supplies including masks, respirators and all sorts of pharmaceuticals. $3.5 billion to expand assistance to childcare providers and child care benefits to health care workers, first responders and others on the frontlines of the crisis.

And these are really brave, incredible people have to say. And some of them are getting sick, and some of them are getting very sick, and some of them don't even recover. They're incredible people. $1 billion for Defense Production Act procurement. We are as you know, using the act, but we use it only when necessary. We use it as leverage. We generally don't have to use it to accomplish what we want to accomplish.

As of today, FEMA has shipped over nine million N-95 masks, 20 million face masks, 3.1 million face shields, nearly 6,000 ventilators, 2.6 million gowns, 14.6 million gloves. And we're sending more every day, and we've got tremendous amounts of equipment coming in. A lot of great companies are making equipment right now.

The ventilators, obviously, they take a little longer to make, but we have a lot of companies making them, and we're going to be in great shape. We took over an empty shelf. We took over a very depleted place in a lot of ways. As you know, the testing is going very, very well. And that was obsolete and broken and we fixed it and it's been going really good.

And I think very importantly, the stockpile, we're really filling it up and we fill it up rapidly, but we get it out. Sometimes we have it sent directly to the states instead. And again, the state has to be doing this kind of a thing also. We're sort of a -- we look -- we look from behind a little bit and we look at how are they doing and if they need help we do it. But it's their first responsibility. Sometimes they just can't get it.

But we load it up and we send it out. But if we can, we have it sent directly to the state. We want it to go directly to the point where we want it. I can now announce something that I think is incredible what they've done in the Navy. Because the incredible Naval Hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, which is incredible, actually, when you see it inside, will be underway to New York City on Saturday.

So it's going to be leaving on Saturday rather than three weeks from now. They did the maintenance quickly and there was going to be there for quite a while longer, another three or four weeks and it should be arriving. I told the Governor 20 minutes ago, Governor Cuomo that the ship will be arriving at New York Harbor on Monday. I think I'm going to go out and I'll kiss it goodbye. I'll go -- I'll go to -- it's in Virginia as you know. And I will go and we'll be waving together because I suspect the media will be following. John, are you going to be following? Maybe. You never know.

It's a great ship. It's a great vessel, right. So if you want to go, I'll see you there, and if you don't, that's OK. After being fully loaded with medical supplies, it's going to be -- it's loaded up to the top and it's over at the Norfolk Naval Base. That's where it departs. It is expected then to -- we're saving about three to four weeks by the incredible work done by the Navy. And I actually look forward to Saturday to see it go.

The ship will arrive and I believe it's going to get a little bit of a ceremony. There's something very beautiful about it. It's incredible piece of work. It's going to be landing at Pier 90 in Manhattan to provide hospital surge capacity for the New York metropolitan area. So it's a surge capacity.

They may use it for this or they may have other people coming in from hospitals, unrelated to the virus, and then they'll use those hospitals on land. They'll use those hospital for a virus. But we'll see how they do it. They could you do it either way. One way or the other, whichever one is best. But it could be because it's set up so well for a regular hospital that they may take people out of hospitals and then use those rooms for the virus.

The National Institute of Health in the private sector, working closely with the FDA, continue to collaborate to discover and test treatments and therapies that can effectively reduce the duration and symptoms of the virus and help -- very much help people to recover. And I'm firmly committed to bringing these treatments to market very quickly.

We have a -- we have a lot of tests going on with regard to different medicines. And I hope -- I hope we get lucky. I hope we hit. A lot of talented scientists and doctors are working on therapeutics, cure, vaccines. I think we're doing very well. Tony may speak to that a little bit later, but I think we're doing very well with regard to the vaccines. I think we're doing well with regard to a lot of the things I just mentioned, but we'll have to see what happens. We're going to know fairly soon about a lot of them. But it's very advanced and the vaccines are very advanced prior to as you know, a fairly reasonably long test period of -- in that case over a year.

Every American should be proud of the incredible spirit our country is brought to this effort. It's been incredible. Citizens from all walks of life have come together to turn the tide in this battle. We're witnessing the extraordinary power of American unity like a lot of people have never seen even getting a vote. You're talking about trillions of dollars and you get a vote of 96 did nothing.

We are waging war and this virus using every financial, scientific, medical, pharmaceutical, and military resource to halt it spread and protect our citizens. I want to express our tremendous thanks to the American people for continuing to practice social distancing, like you people are practicing right here. It's -- I don't know, this room may never be the same. Maintaining good hygiene and follow government guidelines, Vice President Pence lifts up that card every time. And it's not very complicated, but hopefully, you can do that. And your commitment will make all the difference in the world. And that's one of the big ones will be for a while. Stay home. Just relax. Stay home. We're making a lot of progress.

As we continue to gather more information and accelerate the testing, where we're doing record numbers of tests now far more than any other country has done. I told you yesterday, eight days here because you heard so much about South Korea. The media kept talking about South Korea, South Korea. We have a great relationship with President Moon in South Korea. But when I hear so much about South Korea, so in eight days -- in eight days, we do more testing than they did in eight weeks. And it's a very highly sophisticated test.

We'll be able to deploy even more data-driven and targeted approaches to slow the ultimately -- you know, it's a very devastating thing, but we will vanquish this virus and it's -- a lot of progress has been made. That's why earlier today, I said a letter to America's governors describing how we will be using the data to update existing guidance on social distancing which will be developed in close coordination with our nation's public health, officials, and scientists.

Because of the sacrifices of our great doctors, and nurses, and healthcare professionals, the brilliance of our scientists, and researchers, and the goodness and generosity of our people, I know that we will achieve victory and quickly return to the path of exceptional health, safety, and prosperity for all of our citizens.

We have to get back to work. Our people want to work. They want to go back. They have to go back. And we're going to be talking about dates. We're going to be talking with a lot of great professionals. But this is a country that was built on getting it done. And our people want to go back to work. I'm hearing -- I'm hearing it loud and clear from everybody. So we'll see what happens. We're going to have a lot more information early next week and we'll be reporting that back.

But I just want to leave it with you. We have to go back. This is the United States of America. They don't want to sit around and wait, and there'll be practicing. And by the way, a lot of people misinterpret when I say go back. They're going to be practicing as much as you can, social distancing, and washing your hands, and not shaking hands, and all of the things that we talked about so much, but they have to go back to work. Our country has to go back. Our country is based on that. And I think it's going to happen pretty quickly. I think it's going to happen pretty quickly. A lot of progress is made, but we got to go back to work.

We may take sections of our country, we may take large sections of our country that aren't so seriously affected, and we may do it that way. But we've got to start the process pretty soon. So, we'll be talking to you a little bit more about that next week. And with that, if you have any questions, you could ask, and then I'm going to have the vice president stay behind and he's going to take questions and also introduce some of the people. You could ask them some questions. John, please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, employment numbers outdated 3.3 million. I take it not a surprise, but still a staggering number. I'm wondering about your perspective on that?

TRUMP: Well, it's nobody's fault. Certainly, not in this country. Nobody's fault. We got very lucky when we made a decision not to allow people in from China at a very early date. I say that because some people don't want to accept it. But this was a great decision made by our country. Well, there's -- the numbers that you're talking about, were big country, they'd be far greater, far, far bigger.

So when I heard the number -- I mean, I heard it could be six million, it could be seven million. It's 3.3 or 3.2, but it's a lot of jobs. But I think we'll come back we're strong. The sooner we get back to work -- you know, every day that we stay out, it gets harder to bring it back very quickly. And our people don't want to stay in.

So I know those numbers, John, but I think you'll see a very fast turnaround once we have a victory over the hidden enemy, as I say. It's a hidden enemy. Sometimes a hidden enemy is a lot tougher than somebody that stares you in the face, right? So we'll see what happens. But I mean, they're fully expected numbers, at least. I mean, at least. Steve, please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a U.S. proposal to deploy some troops along the Canadian border. And Prime Minister Trudeau is complaining about that. Why is that necessary?

TRUMP: Well, we have very strong deployments on the southern border, as you know, with Mexico and we had some troops up in Canada, but I'll find out about that. I guess it's equal justice to a certain extent. But in Canada, we have -- we do have troops along the border.

You know, we have a lot of things coming in from Canada. We have trade, some illegal trade that we don't like. We have very strong sanctions on some. We have very strong tariffs on dumping steel. And we don't like steel coming through our border that's been dumped in Canada so they can avoid the tariff.

You know, I charge a lot of tariff for the steel. And it's been great for our steel companies, because now they can really go -- you look at what's happened with steel. It's been pretty incredible. But we've taken in billions and billions of dollars in tariffs on steel. And much of it comes in from China, but they can come through the Canadian border, too. So we're always watching for that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I'm reading the numbers correctly, the United States now has surpassed China as the country with the highest number of virus cases. Does this surprise you at all? Is it following a predictable trajectory?

TRUMP: No, I think it's a tribute to our testing. You know, number one, you don't know what the numbers are in China. China tells you the numbers -- and I'm speaking to President Xi tonight, I believe. We'll have a good conversation, I'm sure, but you just don't know. You know, what are the numbers? But I think it's a tribute to the testing. We're testing tremendous numbers of people. And every day the way the system works -- and I want to thank especially Roche has been fantastic, great company. They've done a tremendous amount.

Deborah was telling me before that they were really -- they've really stepped up to the plate and done great, as have other of the companies. But it seems that they're really doing it particularly well. So, you know, we'll see what happens there. But it's a tribute to the amount of testing that we're doing. We're doing tremendous testing. And I'm sure you're not able to tell what China is testing or not testing. I think that's a little hard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, on the 3.3 the jobless claims. You just suggested it's six to seven million. A lot of those workers --

TRUMP: I didn't say that. You're wrong. I didn't say that. I said some people are projecting that would be six or seven, and it's, I believe, 3.3.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You came with 3.3. Millions of Americans out of work, some of them will be losing their insurance. What's your plan to make sure -- no fault of your own, as you just mentioned. They stay insured. Are you willing to plus up the subsidies for some of the exchanges under ObamaCare, expand Medicaid, what's being considered?

TRUMP: Well, I mean the things I just read to you are being considered, and other things are being considered. People are going to be getting paychecks, and it's not their fault. What happened to them is not their fault. So we're doing -- we're doing a lot of different things on health insurance. We have meetings on it today. We're taking care of our people. This is not their fault what happened, and we're taking care.

We're starting off by sending them very big checks. I think for a family of four, it's about $3,000. And we're taking care of our people. We're taking care of our workers. This was not -- you know, as I say, this was a financial crisis. This was a health crisis, a medical crisis. We're going to take care of our people. Please, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The National Restaurant Association came out (INAUDIBLE) with a survey this morning saying that three percent of all restaurants in this country have shuttered for good in the past three weeks. And the projection is that 11 percent more are going to close in the next 30 days. So what do you say to a restaurant owner who is looking at his sheets and thinks he has to close within the next 30 days?

TRUMP: Well, I hate to -- I know the business very well. I understand the restaurant business is a very delicate business. It's a business that is not easy. You know, I always say in a restaurant business, you can serve 30 great meals to a person or a family and they love it. One bad meal, number 31, they never come back again. It's a very tough business. But they're great people that run restaurants.

And I've heard three percent could be lost, and you could go as high as 10 or 11 percent. But they'll all come back in one form or another. It might be a different restaurant. But it's going to be a great business for a lot of people. And we're making it easy for people to -- look what we're doing -- what we're doing in terms of loans, what we're doing in terms of salaries, they'll all come back. It may not be the same restaurant, it may not be the same ownership, but they'll all be back. Yes, sir, please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You mention the pledges from American companies to provide supplies. But is it -- does it -- as we top 81,000 cases in the U.S., does it make sense to read as using the Defense Production Act?

TRUMP: Well, I talk about the Defense Production Act a lot, and I've -- you know, I've enacted it. I have it. I can do it with a pen. And we have actually used it on two minor occasions, and then we could withdraw it. But for the most part, the companies, we don't need it. We say we need this, and they say, don't bother, we're going to do it.

I mean, we were dealing with Ford, General Motors, 3M, we're dealing with great companies. They want to do this. They want to do this. They're doing things that that frankly, they don't need somebody to walk over there with a -- with a hammer and say, do it. They are getting it done. They're making tremendous amounts of equipment, tremendous amounts.

And when this is over, we're going to be fully stockpiled, which they would have never been, except for a circumstance. This was -- this was something that nobody has ever thought could happen to this country. I'm not even blaming. Look, we inherited a broken situation, but I don't totally blame the people that were before me in this administration. Nobody would have ever thought of thing like this could have happened.

But the production act, Defense Production Act is a wonderful thing, but I just haven't had to use it. They know it's activated. They know I can use it. Maybe that frightens them a little bit. You know, it's got tremendous power. But I haven't had to. Please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, sir. A question for me, and then another question, if you'll let me, from some of my colleagues who are social distancing.

TRUMP: Where are they? There were all outside trying to get in. I know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first question has to do with cruise liners like Carnival and Royal Caribbean. They want this really bad, but they're worried that because they offshored to places like Panama, and Liberia, they might not qualify. (INAUDIBLE) has said that they should move back to the United States. before they get a check. Do you agree? Should they pay U.S. taxes to get U.S. Taxpayer Relief?

TRUMP: So I'm a big fan of Senator Hawley. And I also like the idea. There were some senators that didn't want to do anything like Carnival great company, but they're based in different places. I won't tell you why. I could tell you exactly where they're based, but I won't do that. But they're based in actually more than one places. You know, ships are registered on different locations.

I do like the concept of perhaps coming in and registering here, coming into the United States. It's -- you know, it's very tough to make a loan to a company when they're based in a different country. But with that being said, they have thousands and thousands of people that work there and maybe almost as importantly that work onshore filling the ships with goods and products. And the cruise line business is very important. And I know Carnival, what a great job they do, Micky Arison. And I would think that we could stick with Senator Hawley and maybe really look at that very seriously.

Look, it's a big business. It's a great business. It's a business that employs tremendous number of people outside of the ship itself. I mean, you look -- you look at these ports, it's loaded up with shops and people that are involved with the ship. So we're going to work very hard on the cruise line business, and we're going to try and work something out. But I like the concept. Yes, go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, sir. The Senate bill includes aid that's directly tied to the airlines. And since before the pandemic, Boeing was already suffering from, you know, the losses of 737 airplanes. Do you think it's appropriate to use this legislation to sort of provide them with $17 billion of aid on top of, you know, $25 billion that they could qualify for as a passenger airline and another $4 billion that they could qualify for, as a hardware airline? Is that fair?

TRUMP: So the airline business is a very tough business. Over many years, it's been very, very tough. It's got everything. It's got labor, it's got very strong, powerful -- you know, you look at the cost of these airliners. Everything is tough, very highly technological. You look at how complicated, how complex. It's got unions, it's got everything.

The airline business, generally speaking, as you know, it's a very tough business, always been a very tough business. With that being said, we have to keep our airlines going. And we're going to be using some. Now, maybe we'll take a piece of the airlines for the country, for our country where we loan money and we take a piece which are all fully ready. We're ready to go.

But if we didn't do that, we'd end up with no airlines, and we can't do that. The airline business is very vital to our country. It's a tough business. We have to understand that. So not -- I mean, I could tell you other businesses that are different kinds of business. They're very good businesses, but airlines have always been very, very tough. Please.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, please. I didn't called you. I called this gentleman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Thanks a lot. On Monday --

TRUMP: Who are you with? Who are you with?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm with Bloomberg.

TRUMP: Has Michael doing good?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, on Monday, did you speak with Chinese President Xi before you urged Americans to not blame Asian-Americans for the coronavirus? We've noticed that Xi has backed off that language. I know you're speaking with him --

TRUMP: No, I did not. I'm speaking to him tonight. It's scheduled to go tonight. I'll have a call with President Xi of China. We have a very good relationship. No, I didn't like when they came up -- and it wasn't him. Somebody at a lower level, mid-level, we found out pretty much. But they made a statement that our soldiers brought it into China. Now, it came from China.

And, you know, we just signed a very big deal with China. They're paying us a lot of money in tariffs, and other things. They never paid us 10 cents. Look, China has taken advantage of the United States until I came here with sleepy Joe Biden and Obama and Bush and everybody else. I'm not blaming them. I'm blaming everybody. They were allowed to $500 billion a year, they would take it out.

We had trade deficits that were so large, nobody's ever seen anything like it, and we've changed it. Look, now we're taking in billions of dollars, and we gave some to our farmers because China, you know, they targeted our farmers, and our farmers are very happy. And our farmers got through a very rough period because of what I was able to do. I took the money from China and gave it to the farmers. And we had plenty leftover after that.

Now we're going into a phase two negotiation with China. But we're getting 25 percent on $250 billion, and then we're getting a lot on money after that. So we've never had a deal with China. China took advantage of the United States. And you know what, I don't blame China for that. I blame the people that we're right here because they should have never allowed it to happen. But the relationship with China has been a very good one. John?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, did President Xi asked you to calm that language down or to not use that language?

TRUMP: He never asked me to calm it down, no. Somebody might have spoken to somebody but nobody spoke to me about it. I think it was time though, because, you know, I talked about the Chinese virus and I made it. That's where it came from. You know, if you look at Ebola, if you look at all, the Lyme, right? The Lyme, Connecticut, you look at all these different horrible diseases, they seem to come with the name with a location, and this was the Chinese virus.

But I don't have to say if they feel so strongly about it, we'll see. But you know, we have -- we just made a great deal with China. Great, hopefully for both parties. But we made a deal with China and we're going to do another one, it looks like. They want to do it very badly. Maybe they want to wait like Iran.

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