Impeachment Revenge Is Back as Trump Fires Intelligence Community's Chief Watchdog

While you slept late Friday night or decided to escape the hellscape of social media platforms and cable news networks that are deluged with depressing coronavirus reports by binge-watching Tiger King again, the president did something that has now become routine — fire someone who dared speak truth to power under his administration.

Trump told Congress in a letter that he is removing the Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, who will be relinquished from his position in 30 days. Trump did not name a permanent successor.

Atkinson was the agency’s chief watchdog and was the first to alert Congress last September about the whistleblower complaint involving Trump’s communications with Ukraine’s president, which ultimately led to Trump’s impeachment.

In the letter to both the Senate and House announcing Atkinson’s removal, Trump wrote that he “no longer” has confidence in Atkinson.

“As is the case with regard to other positions where I, as President, have the power of appointment… it is vital that I have the fullest confidence in the appointees serving as inspectors general,” Trump wrote. “That is no longer the case with regard to this Inspector General.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a statement on Friday night calling the move “shameful.”

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“The shameful late-night firing of Inspector General Atkinson is a brazen act against a patriotic public servant who has honorably performed his duty to protect the Constitution and our national security, as required by the law and by his oath. This latest act of reprisal against the Intelligence Community threatens to have a chilling effect against all willing to speak truth to power,” Pelosi wrote.

Democratic Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff also reacted late Friday night and accused the president of “settling [impeachment] scores.”

The list of Trump officials who were either pushed out of their jobs, reassigned or outright fired since their involvement with the impeachment process is rather lengthy. According to NPR, the list, to which Atkinson can now be added, includes:

  • Former European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland
  • Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman
  • Former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovich
  • Former Ukraine Ambassador William Taylor
  • Former Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker
  • Career foreign service officer, Jennifer Williams
  • Top U.S. adviser to President Trump on Russia and Europe, Tim Morrison

Democratic Vice-Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Mark Warner also tweeted his displeasure while citing Trump’s attempts to “undermine the integrity of the intelligence community.”

“In the midst of a national emergency, it is unconscionable that the President is once again attempting to undermine the integrity of the intelligence community by firing yet another intelligence official, the ICIG, simply for doing his job,” Warner wrote.

Warner continued, “The work of the intelligence community has never been about loyalty to a single individual — it’s about keeping us all safe from those who wish to do our country harm. We should all be deeply disturbed by ongoing attempts to politicize the nation’s intelligence agencies.”

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Dr. Fauci: ‘I Don’t Understand’ Why The Entire Country Isn’t Under Stay-At-Home Orders

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said he doesn’t know why the United States hasn’t instituted a nationwide stay-at-home order amid the spread of COVID-19, saying the country “really should be” doing so to protect American lives.

“I don’t understand why that’s not happening,” Fauci, one of the leading scientific voices behind the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, told CNN on Thursday. “The tension between federally mandated versus states’ rights to do what they want is something I don’t want to get into. But if you look at what is going on in this country, I do not understand why we are not doing that. We really should be.”

Fauci’s comments come amid increasingly dire figures related to the pandemic: At least 245,000 Americans have been infected and more than 6,100 have died. In New York, the state hardest hit so far, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said health workers would run out of ventilators in six days if stockpiles aren’t resupplied.

And those numbers are expected to grow. Fauci warned earlier this week that between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans could die of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, even if social distancing guidelines are maintained.

In the past few weeks, many states and counties around the country have instituted some form of stay-at-home orders, encouraging residents to stay inside except for essential activities, including grocery shopping and exercise. The New York Times noted that about 297 million people in 38 states and a bevy of cities are under such guidelines, although some states have not yet announced any such measures.

Many lawmakers have encouraged President Donald Trump to issue a directive, but he has so far resisted instituting a nationwide order, saying such decisions required a “little flexibility.”

“If you have a state in the Midwest, or if Alaska, for example, doesn’t have a problem, it’s awfully tough to say close it down,” Trump said on Wednesday. “We have to have a little bit of flexibility.”

The president did extend nationwide social distancing guidelines — which he initially hoped to lift by Easter — until at least the end of the month amid the sobering predictions of death rates in the country. Surgeon General Jerome Adams told NBC’s “Today” this week that those guidelines should be interpreted as stay-at-home orders.

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Fauci Suggests Need For National Lockdown As More States Issue Stay-At-Home Orders

As more U.S. states issue stay-at-home orders and the federal government recommends a 30-day period of social distancing, Dr. Anthony Fauci on Thursday suggested the need for a national lockdown, while acknowledging he does not have the authority to order one.

Nearly 40 U.S. states now have some form of a stay-at-home executive order, mandating the closure of nonessential businesses and encouraging residents to remain indoors unless absolutely necessary. But some states have been slower than others to implement the orders. They can vary highly from state to state, like exempting certain businesses and gatherings or making the orders only for certain counties rather than statewide, and they have varying degrees of enforceability. Some businesses have tried to skirt the orders by claiming their workers are “essential.”

NBC “Today” show host Savannah Guthrie asked Fauci in a Thursday interview if a national lockdown would be more effective “than this hodgepodge, piecemeal method.” Fauci, the country’s top infectious diseases official and a major fixture in the U.S. coronavirus response, agreed.

But he noted that states still have significant leeway “to make their own decision” in this situation and questioned some of the stay-at-home exemptions they’re allowing.

“I can’t make any official proclamations here, but I can say: Really seriously consider, are those exemptions appropriate when you think about what’s going on?” Fauci said. “And I urge the people of the leadership at the state level to really take a close look at those kinds of decisions.”

Fauci also said he agreed with the U.S. surgeon general’s assessment that the federal government’s new recommendations that Americans stay home and restrict activity for 30 days “amount to a national stay-at-home order.”

“That’s essentially what it is,” Fauci said. “This is inconvenient from an economic and a personal standpoint, but we just have to do it. That is our major weapon against this virus right now. We don’t have a vaccine that’s deployable. This is the only thing we have.”

To slow the spread of the virus, several countries — including China, Italy, Spain, France and India — have implemented some form of a national lockdown.

On Wednesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who leads the state with the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., acknowledged that a stringent lockdown like China’s would be impossible.

“If you have the same compliance that you had in Wuhan — Wuhan basically just locked up society — I don’t even know that if the federal government enacted the Wuhan model that the American people would comply,” he said during his daily press conference.

President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly praised his own disastrous response by trying to erase his earlier attempts to downplay the pandemic, has yet to issue a national stay-at-home order, despite calls from public health experts.

He initially suggested the state-level stay-at-home orders, business and travel restrictions and social distancing guidelines could be lifted as soon as April 12, claiming the country would be “raring to go by Easter.” He even suggested large gatherings in churches to celebrate the holiday — even though these are the kinds of events public health officials have warned against, given the potential for spreading the virus.

Earlier this week, Trump reversed course, saying that public health officials now recommend at least 30 days of restrictions.

On Thursday, Fauci said Trump is also considering a ban on domestic travel, but “no decision has been made.”

“We look at that literally every day,” he said on “CBS This Morning.” “It really depends on what city you’re talking about and from where you are coming. So this is something that you’re absolutely correct is on the table, and is discussed.”

Many states have reported new COVID-19 cases stemming from interstate travel, such as people fleeing a state with a growing number of cases and then traveling to another, therefore potentially spreading the virus and overwhelming hospital capacity in areas with fewer medical resources.

Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, who both serve on Trump’s coronavirus task force, said Tuesday that new models project the virus could kill between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans.

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George Conway Goes To Town On McConnell’s ‘Gaslighting Of The Highest Order’

Conservative attorney George Conway went after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in his latest Washington Post op-ed, admonishing him for his claim that impeachment created a distraction from coronavirus preparations.

“There should have been shame enough in orchestrating the acquittal of an impeached president who, in order to extort help for his reelection campaign, unlawfully withheld security aid to an ally,” wrote Conway, who is an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump despite his wife Kellyanne Conway serving in a senior advisory role in the administration.

“But it turns out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was just getting started.”

In an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt Tuesday, McConnell said that coronavirus first “came up while we were tied down on the impeachment trial,” which he claimed “diverted the attention of the government.”

In the column published later that day, Conway labeled this sentiment “gaslighting of the highest order.”

Walking through the coronavirus and impeachment trial timelines, the attorney pointed out that Trump blew off the outbreak as nothing to worry about numerous times during the trial, and had time to hold five campaign rallies and play golf in Mar-a-Lago during the early and even intermediate stages of the outbreak. 

Weeks after the impeachment trial concluded on Feb. 5, Trump, still downplaying the seriousness of the burgeoning outbreak, riffed at a South Carolina campaign event that his political opponents were weaponizing the virus as a “hoax” against his presidency. In early March, despite social distancing measures and cancellations of major events and gatherings, Trump said he would continue to hold 2020 campaign rallies.

He repeatedly dismissed early concerns about the outbreak and ignored warnings from intelligence and medical community professionals, leading to a delayed response in the critical window needed to prepare.

“The problem wasn’t impeachment — it was the president,” Conway wrote.

“If anything, it was McConnell and his fellow Senate Republicans’ refusal to remove him, not the impeachment itself, that helped bring us to where we are today.”

Read the full column on the Washington Post here.

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White House Predicts As Many As 240,000 U.S. Deaths From Coronavirus

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned Americans to brace for a “rough two-week period” ahead as the White House released new projections that there could be 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the U.S. from the coronavirus pandemic even if current social distancing guidelines are maintained.

Public health officials stressed that the number could be less if people change their behavior.

“We really believe we can do a lot better than that,” said Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force. That would require all Americans to take seriously their role in preventing the spread of disease, she said.

Trump called American efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus “a matter of life and death” and urged the public to heed his administration’s guidelines. He predicted the country would soon see a “light at the end of the tunnel” in the pandemic that has killed more than 3,500 Americans and infected 170,000 more.

“I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead,” Trump said. “We’re going to go through a very tough two weeks.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said the numbers are “sobering” and called on Americans to “step on the accelerator” with their collective mitigation efforts.

“We are continue to see things go up,” Fauci said. “We cannot be discouraged by that because the mitigation is actually working and will work.”

Birx said pandemic forecasts initially predicted 1.5 million to 2.2 million deaths in the U.S. But that was a worst-case scenario, without efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus through social distancing.

Birx said states that have not yet seen a spike in cases as New York has could take action to flatten the curve of rising hospitalizations and deaths.

As for the projection of 100,000-240,000 deaths, Fauci of the National Institutes of Health said: “We don’t accept that number, that that’s what it’s going to be. … We want to do much better than that.”

The comments came after Trump announced Sunday that he was extending to April 30 the social distancing guidelines that urged Americans to cease social gatherings, work from home, suspend onsite learning at schools and more in a nationwide effort to stem the spread of the virus.

It was an abrupt reversal for Trump, who spent much of last week targeting April 12 as the day he wanted to see Americans “pack the pews” for Easter Sunday services.

Many states and local governments already have stiffer controls in place on mobility and gatherings.

Trump spoke after another troubling day for the stock market, which has been in a free fall as the cononavirus ground the economy to a near-halt and left millions unemployed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 400 points, or roughly 1.9%, to seal the worst first-quarter finish of its 135-year history.

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Trump Hands Coronavirus Briefing To MyPillow Exec Who Tells Americans To Read Bible

President Donald Trump used Monday’s White House daily briefing on coronavirus to again parade out private company executives — including MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who used the platform to praise Trump and tell Americans amid a global pandemic to “read our Bibles.” 

During the briefing — meant to inform Americans about COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus — Trump handed the podium to several CEO’s of private sector companies to tout their efforts to produce sanitizer, masks and other gear for workers amid the pandemic.

MyPillow CEO Lindell said his bedding company would be dedicating 75% of its manufacturing to producing cotton face masks, aiming to get up to 50,000 a day by end of this week. He then said he would read something he wrote “off the cuff.”

“God gave us grace on Nov. 8, 2016, to change the course we were on,” Lindell said, referring to the day Trump was elected. “God had been taken out of our schools and lives. A nation had turned its back on God.”

“And I encourage you to use this time at home to get back in the ‘Word,’ read our Bibles and spend time with our families,” he added, touting “our great president” and “all the great people in this country praying daily” as key to getting through the pandemic. 

After Lindell finished his remarks, he went to shake Trump’s hand, but the president, observing a social distancing practice he had been ignoring earlier this month, did not reciprocate. When Trump took back the podium, he said he “did not know he was going to do that, but he’s a friend of mine and I do appreciate it.” 

HuffPost did not immediately get a response from the White House for comment.

The U.S. currently has the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases of any nation worldwide, with more than 155,000 reported as of midday Monday and more than 2,400 people dead. States and hospitals across the country have been struggling to test, treat and support the ballooning number of people with the illness.

Governors have continued to call out a lack of critical medical equipment, such as ventilators, and hospitals and health workers report a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) they need to stay healthy while treating patients with the virus. 

Others at Monday’s briefing included executives from tech company Honeywell, which intends to produce N95 masks in new facilities; sleepwear company Jockey International, which is donating scrubs to New York doctors; and Proctor and Gamble, which will make hand sanitizer.  

The president cued up the speakers by saying: “We’re gonna introduce you to some of the greatest business executives in the world today.” 

Earlier this month, Trump also used a White House briefing when he was still downplaying the potential threat posed by the coronavirus to praise various corporations and turn the microphone over to their executives.

In Lindell’s “off the cuff” remarks on Monday, he complimented Trump for “just a few short months ago” having the “best economy, the lowest unemployment, wages going up” in the U.S. 

Earlier this month, a record 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits in one week — more than quadruple the previous record set in 1982 — as businesses nationwide were forced to shutter to combat the further spread of the coronavirus.  

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Trump Increases Hostility Toward Reporters Questioning His Handling Of Coronavirus Crisis

President Donald Trump spent a portion of his daily coronavirus briefing on Sunday attacking White House reporters who asked objective questions about his past remarks about the coronavirus crisis.

Trump, who has always had a tense relationship with the news media, denied and attacked two different reporters who read a quote from the president back to him. He first went after PBS NewsHour’s Yamiche Alcindor ― a reporter who the president has regularly attacked as the pandemic continues.

Alcindor began her question by directly quoting Trump from a recent interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, in which the president said he does not believe New York needs all the ventilators that Gov. Andrew Cuomo said they did.

“And you know a lot ― a lot of equipment’s being asked for that I don’t think they’ll need but I’m building,” Trump told Hannity, according to the transcript. “You know, we’re building four hospitals, four medical centers and many other things we’ve developed and sent thousands of ― thousands of ventilators.”

When Alcindor asked Trump on Sunday how that thinking will impact how he fills equipment orders, the president denied that he ever made the comments on Hannity’s show.

Why don’t “you people” act “a little more positive?” Trump told Alcindor as she continued to try and finish her question. “Let me tell you something. Be nice. Don’t be threatening, don’t be threatening. Be nice.”

Trump then had Alcindor’s microphone taken away when she tried to ask her second question.

This is not the first time Trump has gone after Alcindor for her reporting during the pandemic. Earlier this month, the journalist asked about the president’s decision in 2018 to dismantle the National Security Council’s pandemic response unit. Trump said he didn’t “know anything about” it, called the question “nasty” and moved on.

Later in the briefing, CNN White House correspondent Jeremy Diamond chose to defer some of his questioning time to Alcindor so that she could ask the president her second question. Alcindor then asked which health professionals are telling Trump that more people will die from the economic impact than from coronavirus, to which Trump refused to answer directly and instead detailed a vivid scenario of a future depression.

When Alcindor gave the microphone back to Diamond, the CNN reporter read Trump’s comments back to him about wanting to be “appreciated by governors” amid the pandemic. The president, by his account, told Vice President Mike Pence not to call governors who aren’t appreciative of Trump.

“Your statement, your response and your answer is a lie,” Trump told Diamond, who read the president’s direct quote back to him and insisted that he did indeed say that statement. He then called CNN “fake news,” something he’s done from the beginning of his 2016 campaign.

Trump then continued to slam governors who don’t appreciate him enough, saying: “When they disrespect me, they disrespect the government.” He ended the interaction by having the microphone taken away. 

 

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As Death Toll Mounts, Trump Brags That His TV Ratings Are As Big As ‘The Bachelor’

President Donald Trump continued to display an unnervingly tone-deaf perspective on the mounting coronavirus threat in the U.S. by bragging about his TV ratings in not one — but five — tweets Sunday.

The former star of reality program “The Apprentice” boasted that the “ratings” of his news conferences are as high as the finale of “The Bachelor” and “Monday Night Football.” That drives the “Lamestream Media … CRAZY,” he wrote. Then, like a commercial for an upcoming TV show, Trump added: “See you at 5:00 P.M.!” — referring to Sunday’s press briefing. 

Trump appeared to miss the key point of The New York Times article he quoted about the viewership ratings. The story Wednesday explored the increasing debate among networks about whether or not to cover the president’s briefings live because they’re peppered with falsehoods and misleading information about COVID-19.

Trump’s followers on Twitter were stunned that the president would brag about his TV ratings as COVID-19 cases in the nation soared to more than 140,000 and the death toll neared 2,400 Sunday evening. Trump’s top health adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned Sunday that the death toll could hit 200,000.

George Conway, spouse of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, quipped that the president should consider giving some ratings credit to the coronavirus pandemic — as fearful Americans tune in to see what, if anything, is being done to protect them. Princeton History Professor Kevin Kruse snidely noted that 110 million Americans tuned in to watch Richard Nixon’s resignation speech. 

“This is not about your ratings, Mr. President!” former Obama administration adviser Valerie Jarrett tweeted. “This is not a reality tv show. For countless Americans, this is our reality.” 

Even Brit Hume of Fox News, who often has the president’s back, was caught off guard.

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Navy Hospital Ship Rushing To New York, Repairs Unfinished, For COVID-19 Crisis

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy’s hospital ship Comfort is putting to sea Saturday with some repairs and maintenance unfinished to help New York City cope with the coronavirus pandemic — and give President Donald Trump a public relations boost.

Trump, who has downplayed the severity of the virus but has not left Washington, D.C., since early this month, announced that he will fly on Saturday to Norfolk, Virginia, where the converted oil tanker has been undergoing long-deferred work since December.

“I think I’m going to go out and I’ll kiss it goodbye,” Trump said Thursday. “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 an incredible piece of work.”

Among the tasks that were left for later was work on the ship’s water ballast tanks, which will be done later this summer, Navy spokesman Cdr. Clay Doss told HuffPost. “All other scheduled work including engine overhauls, boiler inspections, and annual firefighting inspections was accomplished during this maintenance period,” he said. “No significant maintenance was deferred or canceled to make the ship ready to deploy to New York … The bottom line is that we wouldn’t get underway if we couldn’t do so safely and confidently ― same is true for all U.S. Navy ships.”

The Navy has stated that the 1,000-bed hospital ship with the distinctive white hull and bright red crosses is designed to handle trauma cases, not infectious disease patients, and would not be caring for those suffering from COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus. The ship and medical staff aboard would nevertheless help the city cope with the surge in illnesses there by taking some of the non-COVID-19 cases — heart attacks, accidents, et cetera ― that continue to arise and need treatment.

Trump’s announcement Thursday reflects the accelerated schedule to deploy the vessel since he first mentioned on March 18 that he would send it to New York. “They are in tip-top shape. They soon will be. They’re getting ready to come up to New York,” he said during a White House briefing about the Comfort and sister ship Mercy, while also confusing their locations and destinations. “So those two ships are being prepared to go, and they can be launched over the next week or so.”

That same day, top Defense Department and Navy officials said that while the Mercy could leave relatively quickly from San Diego northward for Los Angeles, the Comfort needed more work. “That’s not a days issue, that is a weeks issue,” Jonathan Hoffman, assistant defense secretary for public affairs, told CNBC.

Trump appeared to acknowledge that reality in a briefing Sunday, when he said the Comfort would sail in “three or four weeks.”

Three days later, the Defense Department said the ship would sail by April 2 — only to have Trump announce Thursday of the new deployment date this week.

In 2017, the 45-year-old ship was suffering among many others from the Navy’s long-running problem of “deferred maintenance” caused by an aging fleet and exacerbated by the Budget Control Act of 2011 that House Republicans demanded under President Barack Obama to shrink federal deficits.

Coast Guard forms in 2017 detailed a laundry list of necessary repairs, from a cracked turbine casing in the ship’s boiler needed for propulsion to a nonworking public address system — a critical safety feature in a 900-foot ship — to problems with the fire suppression system, according to Robert Frump, a former maritime industry journalist who now operates a blog about commercial shipping.

The Coast Guard shut off public access to the vessel inspection database last year, he said, making it impossible to determine how and when those issues were resolved. He added that it was obvious why Trump wants the ship in New York quickly: “It’s white. It looks great. A photo op, honestly.”

Despite the problems in 2017, the Comfort was deployed to Puerto Rico in 2018 after Trump received sustained criticism for his halting response to Hurricane Maria and then on a five-month goodwill trip to Latin America last year that ended in November.

“Everyone involved is interested in providing DoD assistance as quickly as possible as we work with our interagency partners to check the spread of COVID-19,” said Army Lt. Col. Chris Mitchell, a Defense Department spokesman.

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Trump Rejects New York’s Plea For Ventilators: ‘I Don’t Believe You Need’ That Many

President Donald Trump rejected calls from New York’s governor that the state needed tens of thousands of new ventilators to treat a mass of patients infected with the novel coronavirus, saying he didn’t believe those numbers were accurate.

“I have a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they’re going to be,” Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Thursday night. “I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You know, you go into major hospitals sometimes, they’ll have two ventilators. And now all of a sudden they’re saying can we order 30,000 ventilators?”

He added: “Look, it’s a very bad situation. We haven’t seen anything like it, but the end result is we’ve got to get back to work, and I think we can start by opening up certain parts of the country.”

The president’s statements came as public health officials declared the United States the leading country in terms of coronavirus cases with more than 81,300 infected. More than 1,000 people have been killed by the virus, many in New York, which has the worst outbreak in the nation.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) warned Thursday that the state’s hospitals could soon be overwhelmed with patients afflicted with the COVID-19 disease, noting more than 5,200 people had been hospitalized, including 1,290 in intensive care.

On Tuesday Cuomo said the Federal Emergency Management Agency was sending 400 ventilators after he warned that the state needed thousands more to deal with an impending “apex” of its infection rate that he estimated would take place in a few weeks.

“What am I going to do with 400 ventilators when I need 30,000?” Cuomo said at a news conference at Manhattan’s Javits Center, which is being turned into a makeshift hospital to treat New Yorkers. “You want a pat on the back for sending 400 ventilators? You’re missing the magnitude of the problem.”

Trump later said 4,000 additional ventilators would be sent to New York’s hospital system, but he blasted the governor’s leadership, saying he had a chance to buy the machines in 2015 but “turned it down.” Cuomo has ordered that 7,000 more be purchased but warned it’s still not nearly enough. The state approved a plan to allow two patients to share one ventilator if needed as infections grow more dire.

The president has been insistent that the country can soon “open up” after many states have urged residents to self-isolate and socially distance in their communities to halt the spread of the virus. He’s pushed the Easter holiday weekend as his deadline, despite warnings from health officials that doing so could spell disaster.

“I think we can open up sections, quadrants, keep them going until the whole country’s opened up,” Trump told Hannity on Thursday. “The people want to get back to work. They want to get back.”

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