Trump to governors: ‘You do it’
Donald Trump and Governor Mike Pence of Indiana speaking to supporters at an immigration policy speech at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Donald Trump told governors Monday that they should not wait for the federal government to find hospital ventilators that will be needed for the coronavirus surge, that they should find their own.

Later, at a press conference, Trump said he was allowing states to act more quickly by seeking their own sources rather than delaying them by a federal bureaucracy. It is exactly the kind of mixed messages that governors like Andrew Cuomo of New York and Jay Inslee of Washington State have been decrying.

The number of “surplus” federal ventilators is estimated to be about 30,000 for a projected virus population that could reach millions. In Italy, hospital officials have been triaging patient access to ventilators by age.

“Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment — try getting it yourselves,” Trump was heard to tell governors in a recording of the call. “We will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves. Point of sales, much better, much more direct if you can get it yourself.”