Trump Told Governors to Get Respirators and Ventilators by 'Yourselves' Amid Coronavirus Pandemic: Report

President Donald Trump recently told a group of governors during a conference call to obtain ventilators and respirators by "yourselves," according to a report by The New York Times.

"Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment—try getting it yourselves," Trump told the group of governors, according to the Times. "We will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves. Points of sales, much better, much more direct if you can get it yourself."

According to an email sent to Newsweek by the White House, Trump "said they should also get materials as well."

The Times also reported that many of the governors were surprised by Trump's comments, considering that they have been waiting for the federal government to provide them with equipment, personnel and financial aid amid the nation's coronavirus outbreak.

Trump's call with the governors comes as cases of the novel coronavirus continue to surge in the U.S. The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has infected over 4,000 people in the U.S. and caused at least 71 deaths.

Despite the continuing increase of cases in the U.S., during his call with the governors Trump sounded positive, saying, "We're going to get it remedied and hopefully very quickly."

U.S. President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks to the media about the nation's coronavirus outbreak in the White House's press briefing room on March 15. Tasos Katopodis/Getty

"We broke down a system that was broken, very badly broken," Trump said, adding that his administration will create a system to combat the outbreak that he thinks "is going to be the talk of the world."

Trump's comments during the call came shortly after Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, gave a different view on the coronavirus outbreak.

While appearing on CNN's State of the Union, Fauci stated that "if we go about our daily lives and not worry about everything, that it's not going to happen, it could happen.

"And it could be worse," he said when asked if hundreds or thousands of Americans could die from the virus.

Throughout the outbreak, Trump's administration has continued to receive criticism for its handling of the health crisis.

At a Monday press conference, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo suggested that the U.S. needs to see an increase in federal leadership to help stop the spread of the virus.

"This is a national problem, and we need federal leadership," Cuomo said in regard to the bans on public gatherings that have been implemented by a number of governors. "You need federal parameters to stop the national patchwork of density reduction closings."

Trump has also been criticized by Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden.

"We have an administration that is largely incompetent and whose incompetence and recklessness have threatened the lives of many, many people in our country," Sanders said at a speech in Burlington, Vermont, on March 12.

"This virus laid bare the severe shortcomings of the current administration," Biden said at a speech in Wilmington, Delaware, the same day.