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Federal Emergency Management Agency Headquarters
Washington, D.C.

2:04 P.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Well, on behalf of President Donald Trump and the White House Coronavirus Task Force, allow me to welcome all of the governors who are joining us for this video teleconference.  And more importantly, thank you.  Thank you for the leadership that each of one of you are showing in your states.

Yesterday, the President took specific action with regard to California, Washington State, and New York.  We’ll talk about that in a bit.  But I know, in speaking with so many of you myself, the regular contacts that we have had with you, the extraordinary leadership that’s being demonstrated by our governors all across the states and territories of this nation.

And so, first and foremost, just allow me to say thank you, not just on behalf of the President and our team, but what I know is on behalf of the American people.

We’re going to speak today about issues that you all continue to focus on and continue to be the focus of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

We’ll be meeting later this afternoon.  But as you can see, we are here at FEMA.  It was now a little bit more than 10 days ago that the President signed the emergency declaration.  And it goes without saying that — that FEMA is now the hub of all of our efforts.

Pete Gaynor will share with you a bit about how we have operationalized the President’s vision for a response to the threat of the coronavirus threat that is locally executed, state-managed, and federally supported.

It is FEMA’s mission.  It’s what every governor on this call knows they’re good at.  No one better in the world.  And, Pete, I want to thank you and 20,000 strong, the team here at FEMA, stepping up, stepping into the gap, fully integrating HHS and working with the White House Coronavirus Task Force and all these governors.  You’re doing a phenomenal job.

I hope that yesterday’s action, where the President signed major disaster declarations; initiated Title 32 authority for three states to stand up your National Guard with full federal support; the deployment of field hospitals in those states; and the deployment of PPE on an ongoing basis gives each of you confidence that — that we’re going to do whatever it takes to make sure that our states and your courageous local health officials have the support that you need to meet this moment.

Dr. Deborah Birx will talk about some progress that we are making on data, understanding what — what the circumstances in the ground are, better focusing our resources at the point of the need, and also some very important breakthroughs on ventilators and how we’re going to partner with you to expand the capacity of ventilators going forward.

But before I dismiss the media, again, let me just say thank you to all the governors.  I mean, this — it really is what makes America different, that we have 50 CEOs of states and several territories who are with us here today.  You are leading the efforts in your states.  The federal government is coming along behind you, supporting you, resourcing you with expertise, personnel.  And it is a real partnership that is precisely — it’s precisely how the American people expect us to work.

And I just left the President a few minutes ago.  He was on the phone with a governor when I was leaving the Oval Office.  And I just hope all of you know that while we will continue to use these large forums, not only to share information, but we’ll have an ongoing conversation about what you’re dealing with at the local level.

But I hope you all know that, should any need arise, contacting your regional administrator for FEMA, letting them know what you’re specific needs are.  But I hope it goes without saying: I’m a phone call away to any governor on this call.  And as you go through the ordinary processes, you should not hesitate to reach me, and I think you also know the President — the President values the relationship and the leadership represented by everyone here.

So, with that, we’ll have the media step out.  We’ll brief them afterwards.  Thank you all very much.


2:09 P.M. EDT