Pres. Trump, top US officials, appeal to foreign governments for urgent medical supplies

US makes urgent appeal for help while Trump insists 'America must never become a country that needs support.'

Nissan Tzur ,

President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump

Senior administration officials have appealed to other countries for medical supplies in order to overcome the severe shortage in the nation’s hospitals.

In a press briefing on Tuesday evening, President Trump said, “We must not rely on foreign countries for our survival. America must never become a country that needs the support of others.”

Top administration officials have turned to their counterparts in both Europe and Asia, appealing for urgently needed medical supplies that are currently lacking in the United States, as the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus continues to rise significantly.

President Trump spoke with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday, asking if South Korea would be able to supply medical equipment to the US. The South Korean president confirmed that the conversation had taken place, saying that, “The call was made in light of President Trump’s urgent request.”

He added that “President Trump praised South Korea’s [response to the outbreak] that has helped contain the spread of the coronavirus,” but was cautious in his commitment to help the world superpower, saying only that he had pledged to support critical medical supplies “if there is a local surplus.”

Several members of the Trump administration reported that David Hale, a senior official in the State Department, had asked for “a list of countries likely to agree to sell us essential medical equipment.” In an email that was sent to US ambassadors in several European and Asian countries, Hale wrote: “We are in critical need of many items, and the United States is prepared to purchase items for hundreds of millions [of dollars].” He added that the government was willing to do business with anyone “except Moscow.”

On Wednesday, the US Senate reached agreement with the White House on a $2 trillion stimulus package that includes $130 billion for hospitals, but the World Health Organization (WHO) is warning that the United States could soon become the new center of the epidemic, overtaking Europe in the number of coronavirus cases. “We are now seeing a dramatic rise in the spread of the epidemic in the United States. That country has the potential to become the new center of contagion,” said Margaret Harris, spokesperson for the WHO.