Speed Reads

Quotables

Trump says he doesn't speak with 'nasty' governors but it doesn't affect the federal COVID-19 response

Last week on Sean Hannity's Fox News show, President Trump said he doubted New York really needed all the ventilators they are requesting from the federal stockpile so hospitals can treat the tragic influx of COVID-19 patients. In a press conference Sunday, PBS NewsHour's Yamiche Alcindor asked Trump about how those comments might affect the parceling out of the federal stockpiles to states. Trump incorrectly claimed he "didn't say that," told Alcindor to "be nice — don't be threatening," then, after letting her finish the question, said it wouldn't affect how the equipment is distributed. Trump shared an anecdote about sending "generators" to New York and suggested they disappeared from the warehouse.

"When journalists get up and ask questions that are so threatening," Trump said, and Alcindor cut in: "I was quoting you directly from your interview with Sean Hannity." She tried to ask a second question, and Trump cut off her mic. When Trump called on CNN's Jeremy Diamond later, Diamond gave the mic to Alcindor to ask her follow-up, which was about deaths from the economic shutdown versus COVID-19.

Diamond then questioned if Trump was envisioning suggesting a regional relaxation of social distancing before April 30 — Trump said no — and asked about Trump's comments to governors on Friday: "You said, 'I want them to be appreciative.' You also said, 'if they don't treat you right, I don't call.'" "I didn't say that," Trump said. "These are direct quotes, sir," Diamond replied, reading the full quote. Trump quibbled with the "appreciative" quote but agreed he doesn't speak with certain governors, like the "nasty" Jay Inslee: "I don't like the governor of Washington, so do you know who calls? I get Mike Pence to call, I get the head of FEMA to call." He added that he wants the governors to appreciate not him, but the government's response, and called CNN "fake news." Watch the entire exchanges below, on CNN. Peter Weber