Breakdown: Coronavirus Task Force Briefing April 13, 2020
NewsPresident Donald Trump

Breakdown: Coronavirus Task Force Briefing April 13, 2020

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As of Monday evening, the coronavirus has infected at least 1,918,855 people and killed 119,588 worldwide, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. More than 581,000 patients have been identified in the US, including over 23,600 deaths.

President Trump and members of his Coronavirus Task Force held a press briefing on the coronavirus at the White House Monday evening.

  • President Trump opened Monday’s briefing by having Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-diseases expert  clarify comments he said in a Sunday morning talk show when he said that the administration “could have saved lives” if the U.S. had acted sooner. Fauci told reporters the question was a “hypothetical question” with his response taken out of context and the president “listened to the recommendation and went to the mitigation.”
  • Trump said he is not going to fire Dr. Fauci, a key member of his administration’s coronavirus task force, despite a retweet from a user who used a #FireFauci hashtag. The President acknowledged that he saw the hashtag and responded “I retweeted somebody” and then added “that is somebody’s opinion.” Trump added that both him and Dr. Fauci are on the same page and he thinks “he’s terrific.”
  • Trump played a four-minute video montage of a timeline of the administration’s response to the coronavirus, compiled by White House social media director and assistant to the president Dan Scavino, including praising from a bipartisan array of governors. The president said after the video ended that there are “hundreds of clips just like that” and “we’re getting fake news and I like to have it corrected.”
  • Trump said the White House will announce names tomorrow of the creation of a committee or “a number of committees” focused on reopening the country and “finalize new and very important guidelines to give governors the information they need to start safely opening their states.”
  • Trump gave a preview into how the economic task force will be structured, saying that there will be various committees such as transportation, religion and manufacturing, and that more details will come Tuesday.
  • Trump said he will ask for a “major delay” to the 2020 Census to make sure it is completed “safely and accurately,” saying the Census Bureau will ask Congress for a 120 day extension.
  • When asked about Governors on both the Northeast Coast and West Coast coordinating within their regions on when to open their states, Trump said he wouldn’t undermine their efforts but also that “they can’t do anything without the authority of the president.”
  • Vice President Mike Pence offered a stronger defense in explaining how the president can exert absolute authority during national emergencies because it is “unquestionably plenary.”
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program has so far distributed and confirmed $230 billion in loans for business in need. He added that 80 million Americans will receive up to $1,200 in stimulus money in their direct deposit by Wednesday.
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Mona Salama