Trump's Lies, Backtracking and Stupidity on Ventilators


The ventilator story gets curiouser and curiouser. Let's backtrack and fill in the pieces.

Trump On Thursday

Thursday Trump challenged Cuomo: "I don't believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators"

President Trump said on "Hannity" Thursday night that he doesn't think states need as many ventilators as they have requested from the federal government to deal with the coronavirus crisis. The president appeared to reference the dire request from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for 30,000 ventilators.

"I have a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they're going to need," the president said. "I don't believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You know, you go to major hospitals, sometimes they have two ventilators. Now all of a sudden they're saying can we order 30,000 ventilators."

"It's a highly — it's very expensive, it's a very intricate piece of equipment, you know ... heavily computerized, and you know the good ones are very, very expensive. And you know they say, uh, like Governor Cuomo and others, they say, 'We want 30,000 of them.' 30,000? Think of this, you know you go to hospitals and they will have one in the hospital, and now all of a sudden everybody is asking for these vast numbers," Mr. Trump said.

"So, look, it's a very bad situation, we haven't seen anything like it, but the end result is we've got to get back to work," Mr. Trump told Hannity. "And I think we can start by opening up certain parts of the country, you know the farm belt, certain parts of the Midwest."

Also on Thursday - Trump Complains Ventilators Cost Too Much

After Considering $1 Billion Price Tag for Ventilators, White House Has Second Thoughts.

The White House had been preparing to reveal on Wednesday a joint venture between General Motors and Ventec Life Systems that would allow for the production of as many as 80,000 desperately needed ventilators to respond to an escalating pandemic when word suddenly came down that the announcement was off.

The decision to cancel the announcement, government officials say, came after the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it needed more time to assess whether the estimated cost was prohibitive. That price tag was more than $1 billion, with several hundred million dollars to be paid upfront to General Motors to retool a car parts plant in Kokomo, Ind., where the ventilators would be made with Ventec’s technology.

Government officials said that the deal might still happen but that they are examining at least a dozen other proposals.

A General Motors spokesman said that “Project V,” as the ventilator program is known, was moving very fast, and a company official said “there’s no issue with retooling.”

Ventec and G.M. have been working at breakneck speed to leverage our collective expertise in ventilation and manufacturing to meet the needs of the country as quickly as possible and arm medical professionals with the number of ventilators needed to save lives,” said Chris O. Brooks, Ventec’s chief strategy officer.

The only thing missing was clarity from the government about how many ventilators they needed — and who would be paid to build them.

Targets have changed by the hour, officials said, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Food and Drug Administration, which approves the use of medical devices, and the White House try to figure out how many ventilators to request and how much they should cost.

Early Friday

Trump Blames GM for "Stupidly" Causing Ventilator Shortage

This is curious because on Thursday Trump questioned the need for 30,000 ventilators but on Friday he was blasting General Motors CEO Mary Barra for not being able to deliver 40,000 ventilators.

Thump then added a complaint about one of GM's plants.

Later on Friday

Please recall Trump Commands GM to Make Ventilators, But GM Already Was

Trump invoked the Defense Production Act and Ordered General Motors to Make Ventilators.

GM replied to Trump, “Ventec, GM and our supply base have been working around the clock for over a week to meet this urgent need.”

Gizmodo Chimes In

Gizmodo fills in some more curiosities in it's report Trump Threatens to 'Invoke "P"' After Finding Out How Much Ventilators Cost [Update: He Invoked P]

In the middle of a national crisis, the White House hemmed and hawed over a $1.5 billion price tag (a pittance on the U.S. federal government scale) because of the possibility they might go slightly overboard on saving potentially thousands of lives. Trump had previously asserted that a deal was on the table, but in an ominous sign, on Thursday he took to Fox News host Sean Hannity’s show to proclaim he didn’t “believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You go into major hospitals sometimes, and they’ll have two ventilators. And now all of a sudden they’re saying, ‘Can we order 30,000 ventilators?’”

Hence the frantic backtrack on Friday, when Trump vented about the high price tag of the General Motors debacle: “... things just never seem to work out. They said they were going to give us 40,000 much needed Ventilators, ‘very quickly’. Now they are saying it will only be 6000, in late April, and they want top dollar. Always a mess with Mary B. Invoke ‘P’.”

Trump only invoked the Defense Production Act on March 18, weeks after Azar initially floated the idea and after significant political pressure had built up, and then refused to use its authority until now. But of course, the delays are anybody else’s fault.

Trump was worried about a mere $1.5 billion for respirators, just moments before signing a graft-laden bailout bill that included an obscure tax change worth $170 billion to real estate moguls among other idiocies.

I will dive into the graft later today.

But that's the rest of the story on ventilators.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (66)
No. 1-23

I believe the Orange idiot. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

Dan t
Dan t

No sure of your point. At a rate of 40,000 ventilators for New York this would mean approximately 1,000,000 ventilators for the entire country, which does seem high. Trump is simply trying to hone in on the right number and right price. Cut trump some slack please. He gets input from his team and leads


This whole thing is a fucking shit-show.

And anyone who believes anything that anyone in government, or in charge of any multi-billion-dollar corporation living on what amounts to money pilfered from the taxpayer since at least 2008, says - should have their head examined.

I honestly believe that you could choose 50 people at random from the phone book and they would do a better job collectively than any of the morons we have "in charge".

Congratulations. We are witnessing - in real time - what the Peter Principle does when taken to the maximum levels of government and industry.

Dan t
Dan t

Also your headline is not correct, I don’t his comments as a lie


Mish Mish Mish---Trump is not perfect but he is way better than any Democrat I have seen in the last 20 years---Most Democrat politicians have now exposed the media and bureaucrats in DC for the deep state they are wanting to subvert the Constitution


His approval will go up again. That's for sure.



Trump deserves no slack. His day-to-day Tweets display total incompetence.

But people are entitled to believe what they want.

If and when Trump acts like a president I will gladly say so.


On average, Republicans are first in line for looting and last in line on understanding!


One thing's for certain, when the next hurricane rolls in there will be plenty of ventilators available. That and free cheese.


I think Mish ought to give a thought to what Trump is doing is not stupid but smart.

For him.

Just consider the reaction to all the stuff listed above, it gets a lot of attention and it is fun to say he's stupid.

But what if it all is purposeful chaos with two advantages: 1. He masterfully fixes it all in the end. 2. Meanwhile, for example in this case, a big hoopla and chaos conceals that 175 billion to real estate moguls, with payment to be made when he is no longer president.

175 billion, here, 175 billion there...pretty soon you're talking real money.

Stupid all the way to the bank.


If you owned a convenience store and you had to go away for a couple weeks, would you put Trump in charge of it while you're gone?

I bet not.


so Mish you went from cheering Trump to full on TDS. Interesting. Quite the 180. To each his own I guess.


NY may get those ventilators on the condition the entire state is quarantined. The risk of the disease spreading went up tremendously since people in NYC are driving to their second homes. Those people don't want to "stay at home" where it's confined and boring. Their elitist, selfish attitude is "The rules don't apply to me."


Smack - Dead on:


Even if they had the 40,000 ventilators, who will operate them? There are not enough Respiratory therapists in the country to operate all of the existing ventilators at the same time as it stands now. That isn't a problem right now, as most ventilators are not in use most of the time.

"Using mathematical models, [one] study found that the limiting factor during a pandemic-level crisis would be the number of respiratory therapists rather than ventilators," the report stated.


Its been two weeks since the big t paper run. Our Jewel store here STILL has mostly empty shelves in the paper aisle, and online Target doesnt have much to offer in paper products either. I dont see any shortage of trees -- have we really become so tight with supply lines and warehousing that there really is not one bit of "extra" anywhere even in such boring item as paper towels? What in the world are all those gigantic buildings in DuPage county along the expressways holding??


'I'm deeply concerned': Public health experts warn of coronavirus spread in more U.S. cities
Adriana Belmonte
Adriana BelmonteAssociate Editor
Yahoo FinanceMarch 28, 2020, 8:33 AM PDT

The number of coronavirus cases worldwide recently topped 500,000, and it’s expected to keep climbing.

In the U.S., where there are over 100,000 confirmed cases, certain regions are being hit significantly harder than others. And the growing number of cases is worrying many public health experts, including NYU Langone Health Assistant Professor Alison Bateman-House.

“I’m deeply concerned about where we see spikes happening right now,” Bateman-House said. “The latest I’ve seen is we anticipate spikes in Boston, which has a relatively good health care system, Detroit, [and] New Orleans. These are places that have already been hit hard for numerous reasons over the last decade or so, and now to have a public health epidemic on top of everything. I’m deeply concerned.”

Detroit, devastated by the 2008 Financial Crisis, declared bankruptcy in 2013. New Orleans, which was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina back in 2005, accounts for nearly half of all coronavirus cases in Louisiana. Some attribute it to Mardi Gras celebrations that occurred at the end of February.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said that officials in the city were likely caught by surprise until the number of cases kept growing.

“It putters along and you think you’re OK, then it starts to go up a little and then bingo — it goes up in an exponential way,” Fauci told CNN. “That’s what’s happening in New Orleans right now.”

Other public health experts were also sounding the alarm on the spread to other U.S. cities.

“Coronavirus is going to hit every city in America,” Harvard Global Health Institute Director Dr. Ashish Jha said. “There is no question about it. New York is going first. Will [the spread] be at the same ferocity? It may or may not in different cities. ... I am incredibly worried about Louisiana, and specifically New Orleans. I am very worried about Atlanta.”

‘Trying to build upon a very shaky foundation’
Although public health officials have recommended putting restrictions in place, like shelter-at-home orders, not every state has followed suit. So far, only 23 states have it on a statewide level. Other states have it on a city or county level.

“It really is your local mayors, your governors, who are making these decisions, and most of the people don’t have public health backgrounds,” Bateman-House said. “And it’s been systematically defunded for years, so you’re suddenly trying to build upon a very shaky foundation in a crisis situation.”

Social distancing has been one of the top recommendations for containing the spread of the virus. This means keeping six feet apart from others at all times, and only leaving the house for essential things, like grocery shopping or seeing the doctor. Some local officials have had to enforce social distancing measures, like police officers breaking up large groups of people on Bourbon Street in New Orleans.

“What we’re seeing across the nation is very different,” Bateman-House said. “Some places only have a few cases at this point. Other places like New York City, where I live, are in the middle of a mass epidemic. So, the responses happening on the ground are very differential, and I think that’s disturbing to those of us in the public health world who do believe that we need to implement social distancing as quickly as possible, especially given the fact that people can spread the virus before they even have the start of symptoms.”

‘We’re in the middle of a terrible, terrible situation’
More than half of the coronavirus cases in the U.S. are based out of New York, which has been deemed the national epicenter of the outbreak in the country. Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters that the city is planning to close certain streets, and possibly public parks and playgrounds to enforce social distancing.

“I think New York is probably one of the best case scenarios and right here, we’re in the middle of a terrible, terrible situation,” Bateman-House said.

With the virus starting in China and then hitting Italy particularly hard, why haven’t Americans done more to prepare for the outbreak? Bateman-House has one particular theory.

“When we started hearing the numbers from Italy, I think there was this perception amongst many people: ‘That’s Italy, it will be different here,’ sort of overestimating how good the U.S. health care system is and how, in comparison, ill-prepared the Italian system was perceived to be,” she said.

However, she continued, “the Italian health care system is actually really great, but I think we had a false sense of comfort that things would be better when they got to the United States. And now that it’s in the United States, I think the most important thing here is to keep in mind that public health is a local government responsibility. It’s not a federal responsibility. It’s not something that the CDC steps in and tells every locality what to do.”

Adriana is a reporter and editor for Yahoo Finance. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @adrianambells.


Trump could have a 90% popularity now. All he needed to do was:

  1. Put the best people he could find in charge
  2. Defer to the experts, praise them, and back them up
  3. Give the experts the resources they need
  4. Call for the country to unify in an effort to defeat this
  5. Stay out of the way

Who benefits most from a ventilator? The businesses that sell them and hospitals that charge $10’s of thousands for the application of them. What % COVID-19 patients are that are put on a ventilator ever breathe on their own again? 10%? Unfortunately it would be deeply demoralizing for Trump and the experts to give the facts about the situation which can be summed up in two words “Goodbye Granny”.


America's response to covid-19 has been an appalling series of flip-flops and disinformation. Throwing a huge amount of money into the financial system but not addressing the medical issue will not work. The article below makes the case the American government has failed in its response to covid-19.

Global Economics