Great Britain

'I will protect you if your governor fails': Trump hails his 'good moves' in coronavirus fight

Donald Trump announced Tuesday night he will seek $250bn more from Congress to replenish a new federal program to help small businesses cope with the coronavirus lockdown as he vowed to protect all Americans and shift blame to state executives.

"I will protect you if your governor fails," Trump said during his daily Covid-19 briefing from the White House before announcing his request that lawmakers refill the Paycheck Protection Program, to which Congress initially allocated $349bn, after demand raided the account as businesses reeled from the pandemic outbreak.

The president suggested the fund should be considered "limitless" so business can stay afloat during the crisis.

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Democratic lawmakers with which his administration will have to negotiate an expected "phase four" virus economic stimulus and recovery measure also want to do more to help small businesses.

Mr Trump again endorsed trying to include a massive infrastructure measure as part of the fourth anti-virus measure. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, however, has told her members a section to spend billions on improving the countries roads, bridges, tunnels and other critical infrastructure.

Meantime, the president predicted the federal government will have 110,000 ventilators to fight the respiratory disease by June – only that he has said the next two weeks will be the "peak" of those contracting and dying from the virus. That means breathing machine models delivered in late May and June might not be of use against the coronavirus.

He noted UK officials are seeking 200 ventilators, but did not commit to providing those.

Amid questions about whether his administration is doing enough to get ventilators to hard-hit states and cities, the president announced the federal emergency medical stockpile now has 8,675 models.

Those federal ventilators are "ready to move," Mr Trump claimed, adding "our military is going to move them."

But some governors have said they are having trouble getting administration officials to commit to providing the breathing machines they need.

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