WASHINGTON - Here is a transcript of tomorrow’s briefing by the coronavirus task force:
PRES. TRUMP: Good morning. I want to update you on our efforts to defeat the Chinese Virus. Today I have closed the border to travel by all non-U.S. citizens coming from China.
REPORTER: Mr. President, you did that on Feb. 2.
TRUMP: That’s right, and I intend to keep doing it until we defeat the invisible enemy, as I call it. It’s invisible. You can’t see it. Mike, do you want to add anything?
MIKE PENCE: Thank you Mr. President. Your bold action in stopping Chinese people from crossing our border has saved millions of lives.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI: Me? Well, yes, sure, closing the border was good. Actually, Italy banned all travel from China three days before the U.S. did. But let’s look forward. We want to flatten the curve. We want more of a mound, not a spike.
TRUMP: Last night I invoked the Presidential Podium Act of 1937. As you know, we’ve been using an outdated, bulky microphone left here by the Obama aAdministration. I touched it repeatedly, lowering it for Tony, then raising it for Mike, then lowering it for Deborah, then raising it for myself. The act gives me broad power to deal with this, but I didn’t have to use it. I received a call from Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart. He said, “Mr. President, I want to help. I’m giving you two tiny podium mics.” And here they are on our podium. I call it the People’s Podium. They’re beautiful microphones. I want to thank Doug and all the great CEOs who have praised me for acting quickly to close the border to the Chinese who are responsible for this war, as I like to call it.
REPORTER: Has there been any progress in stopping the virus?
TRUMP: That’s a nasty question. Really nasty. But I will tell you, I heard Dr. Laura Ingraham say on TV that there could be dozens of miracle cures that will save us. I have a hunch she’s right.
REPORTER: Laura Ingraham is a host on Fox News Channel. She’s not a doctor.
TRUMP: I don’t know anything about that. Tony.
FAUCI: Me? Well, sure, many of us in the medical profession are skeptical of people who would mislead the public. On the other hand, the president has hope. He hopes that Ms. Ingraham is a doctor. But it’s really about the curve. Where are we on the curve?
DR. DEBORAH BIRX: Thank you Mr. President. I’d like to ask Americans to read both sides of this sheet of paper that we have deployed rapidly to all 50 states. It says the president acted quickly to close the border to travelers from China. That’s something all citizens should think about, especially millennials who will write our history. They must remember how quickly the president stopped people coming from China.
REPORTER: Mr. President, hospitals are running out of supplies...
TRUMP: That’s another nasty question. I took a call just this morning from Donnie Arnold, the CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines. He said he’s giving us dozens of big, beautiful ships to deliver masks to hospitals all over America - in Omaha, Des Moines, Kansas City - wherever we need to get supplies quickly.
REPORTER: Sir, those cities are land locked. Besides, ocean vessels are slow, right?
DR. BEN CARSON: The American spirit is under attack, but we can do anything we want if we put our minds to it. Remember, the president acted quickly to stop Chinese from coming here.
TRUMP: Tony, do you have something to add?
FAUCI: Now? Well, ok, I think the president means we will do whatever it takes to distribute supplies. Naval experts probably wouldn’t use cruise ships for supply missions to the Midwest, but I see nothing wrong with exploring all options. We’re on a curve which we must flatten and make it more of a mound. Not a curve, a mound.
REPORTER: What do you say to scared Americans?
TRUMP: I say, trust me. What the hell do you have to lose?
Peter Funt is a writer and speaker.