President Trump said much of the responsibility to secure enough ventilators, masks and tests lies with governors, as he delivered a press conference alongside members of the Coronavirus Task Force Thursday. Mr. Trump enabled the Defense Production Act Wednesday, but says won’t implement it until he needs to, despite criticism that production of medical equipment needs to be ramped up now.
Health care providers are also still reporting a lack of the tests they need, and a backlog in processing those tests.
“First of all, governors are supposed to be doing a lot of this work and they are doing a lot of this work,” the president said Thursday. “The federal government’s not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of items and then shipping, you know, we’re not a shipping clerk. The governors are supposed to be, as with testing, the governors are supposed to be doing it.”
“We’ll help out and we’ll help out wherever we can,” he continued. “And we can buy in volume and in some cases great volume. With the masks as an example, which were really a problem, we have helped out. And there are right now millions of masks being made. But this is really for the local governments, governors and people within the state, depending on the way they divide it up.”
Still, the president added his administration is working “very hard” to secure more ventilators, and said they’ll have a much better idea of what they will need in the next couple days. Vice President Mike Pence told reporters Thursday they’re “increasingly confident” they will have the number of ventilators they need.