On a Monday morning conference call with state governors, President Donald Trump addressed the possibility of a shortage of hospital ventilators as the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak spreads across the United States. But anyone tuned in to the media echo chamber would assume Trump’s instructions were nothing more than “Sorry, get your own ventilators.”
In fact, that’s exactly how the Daily Beast headlined its story on the conference call.
President Trump told several governors that they are largely on their own in stocking up on gear such as respirators and ventilators to fight the novel coronavirus https://t.co/2zakF0DB2l
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) March 16, 2020
Breathless reporters tweeted the first half of Trump’s message to several governors but conveniently left off the rest of his statement and the full context of the situation, ensuring many “wows” and retweets.
Trump tells governors not to wait for federal government to look for needed medical equipment on their own. “Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment—try getting it yourselves,” he told them on the call, according to recording obtained by @jmartNYT https://t.co/vlOR08SeXK
— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) March 16, 2020
NEWS: Trump told the governors on conf call this am that they should get their own ventilators, per recording of call
“We will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves"
More here, including his prediction on what more the FED may do >>>>https://t.co/bNWWRVubzE
— Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT) March 16, 2020
Trump to governors: “Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment — try getting it yourselves" https://t.co/E3Y24vhxot
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) March 16, 2020
Pres Trump told a group of governors today they should not wait for federal govt to fill growing demand for respirators needed to help people w/ coronavirus, per NYT.
“Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment — try getting it yourselves,” he said.https://t.co/TKI3L6pSwA
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) March 16, 2020
— The Hill (@thehill) March 16, 2020
“‘Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment — try getting it yourselves,’ Mr. Trump told the governors during the conference call, a recording of which was shared with The New York Times.
— Jennifer Taub (@jentaub) March 16, 2020
The president continued to suggest states need to do things like get their own ventilators and sounded a note of sunny optimism about solving the pandemic spread "quickly." https://t.co/RIFpAPABnF
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) March 16, 2020
New York Times editorial board member Mara Gay interpreted Trump’s message as “on your own,” ignoring the actual quote from Trump that included, “We will be backing you.”
Trump told governors this morning they are on their own:
“Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment — try getting it yourselves,” Mr. Trump told the governors during the conference call, a recording of which was shared with The New York Times. https://t.co/K0sont7MBc
— Mara Gay (@MaraGay) March 16, 2020
The ignored half of Trump’s message was about how efforts to secure ventilators should be a group effort between states and the federal government. “We will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves. Point of sales, much better, much more direct if you can get it yourself,” he said.
At a Monday afternoon press conference, Trump elaborated on the fastest way for states to order and obtain their own ventilators, without an extra layer of federal funding red tape getting in the way.
President @realDonaldTrump says states "are able to get ventilators and respirators … without having to go through the longer process of federal government."
"They can get them faster by getting them on their own." pic.twitter.com/soRBAFwoaF
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) March 16, 2020
Of course, speed is paramount in the current pandemic, and Trump explained to governors that ventilators would arrive “faster by getting them on their own.”
The full statement makes much more sense as to why the president would recommend governors reach out to suppliers directly, but it also doesn’t earn Twitter journalists as many of those irresistible likes and retweets.