President Donald Trump honored a group of nurses at the White House on Wednesday, thanking them for their efforts to fight the coronavirus.
“America’s nurses are waging a war against the invisible enemy,” he said.”They’re fighting on the frontlines of the battle risking their health to save lives of fellow citizens.”
The president signed a proclamation in honor of National Nurses Day and met with six nurses and the presidents of the American Nurses Association and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.
One reporter questioned whether the president was sending the wrong message to Americans for meeting a group of nurses who were not socially distancing in the Oval Office and were not wearing masks.
“I’m trying to be nice, I’m signing a bill and you criticize us,” Trump replied.
The president turned and looked straight into the camera and said, “Look, here’s a story. There’s not a single thing I can do to satisfy the media, the Democrats, and the fake news.”
Sophia Thomas, the president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, defended their actions in the Oval Office, noting that they had all been tested negative for the coronavirus.
“We’re all COVID-19 free, we were all tested, we’re not socially distancing if we’re all negative, and we wouldn’t do anything to harm our president, obviously,” she said.
The president asked the nurses whether they had enough personal protection equipment after reports of shortages in some areas.
Thomas said that she had reused her N95 mask for weeks in New Orleans and that PPE was “sporadic” for a while at her location but was “manageable.”
“Sporadic for you, but not sporadic for a lot of other people,” Trump replied.
“I agree Mr. President, absolutely,” Thomas replied.
Many of the other nurses said they had sufficient supplies. One nurse from New Jersey said she hated news reports of medical shortages because they alarmed medical staff.
“It makes it so much worse for us nurses to work,” she said. “We’re seeing the reality of it, but to hear it on constantly … in reality, I’m not seeing it. I’m in a hot zone right now.”
“You know why? Because they’re fake news, that’s why,” the president replied.
Trump also praised Luke Adams, a nurse who volunteered to work in New York City.
“He lives in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania — good place. When he heard the call of volunteers in New York Luke drove to the epicenter of the outbreak and slept in his car for nine days so he could help care for the sick,” he said.
Adams said that many nurses had to isolate themselves from loved ones as they cared for the people hospitalized by the coronavirus.
“A lot of us have been forced away from our partners, turned away from our children. We’ve slept on concrete floors or in cars. And we did these things not for our own benefit or safety.”
First Lady Melania Trump also thanked nurses in a video released on social media.
The White House / YouTube