'It's a two-way street': Trump suggests that federal coronavirus aid will be given to governors that 'treat us well'
- President Donald Trump suggested that the federal government would give aid to state governors battling the coronavirus outbreak if they "treat us well also."
- "It's a two-way street," Trump said about discussions he has had with governors about providing them with federal aid.
- State and local officials have called out Trump and the federal government for the delay in providing them with critical supplies, like masks and ventilators, as hospitals struggle to treat patients with the virus.
- Ventilators are key in treating a respiratory illness like COVID-19, but experts have warned that America faces a shortage of critical supplies in the months ahead.
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President Donald Trump on Tuesday appeared to condition giving federal aid to states battling the coronavirus outbreak if they "treat us well."
Trump spoke about providing critical support, like building new hospitals and supplying ventilators, to states hit hard by the spread of the virus during a Fox News town hall on Tuesday.
"It's a two-way street," Trump said about discussions he has had with governors about providing them with federal aid.
"They have to treat us well also, they can't say 'Oh gee, we should get this, we should get that,'" he said. "We're doing a great job."
Trump said New York was an example of how the federal government has put forward resources to support states in their coronavirus efforts.
"We're literally building hospitals and medical centers," he said. "And then I hear that there's a problem with ventilators - well, we sent them ventilators, and they could have had 15 or 16,000, all they had to do was order them two years ago. But they decided not to do it."
"They can't blame us for that," he added.
Several state and local leaders have criticized Trump's slow response to dispersing national resources to state governments. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that he has repeatedly asked Trump to provide federal aid as the city's coronavirus cases continue to spike.
"The President of the United States is from New York City, and he will not lift a finger to help his hometown," de Blasio said. "And I do not get it. I do not get it."
"I can't be blunt enough. If the president does not act, people will die who could have lived otherwise," he added.
Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker called out the federal government for the state's shortage of masks and ventilators.
"This should've been a coordinated effort by the federal government," Pritzker told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday.
Trump responded to Pritzker's comments on Twitter, saying that governors shouldn't blame the federal government "for their own shortcomings."
"We are there to back you up should you fail, and always will be!" he wrote.
Trump on Tuesday told Fox News that state governments needed to get the necessary medical supplies on their own.
"We're there to help them. They need to get the gear themselves," Trump said.
More than 54,000 coronavirus cases have been reported across all 50 states and Washington, DC, as of March 24. Over 720 people have died in the US.
Ventilators are key in treating a respiratory illness like COVID-19. But experts have warned that America faces a shortage of critical supplies in the months ahead as the number of coronavirus cases continues to grow.
A February report from the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins found that the US had about 170,000 ventilators, with 160,000 ventilators ready for use in hospitals along with about 8,900 held in a national reserve.
One expert estimated that about 1 million Americans may need ventilator treatment during the coronavirus outbreak, straining the country's resources even if all those cases do not overlap. Shortages of other medical gear like masks have already started to affect US hospitals.
Some states have called on private companies and individuals to help provide medical supplies where possible. California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a press conference on Monday that Tesla CEO Elon Musk delivered 1,000 ventilators to help California hospitals treat patients.
Get the latest coronavirus analysis and research from Business Insider Intelligence on how COVID-19 is impacting businesses.
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