President Donald Trump on Tuesday—during one of the longest White House coronavirus task force press briefings to date—warned Americans to be prepared for a very difficult road ahead as the COVID-19 crisis continues.
“Each of us has the power through our own choices and actions to save American lives and rescue the most vulnerable among us,” Trump said.
“I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead. We’re going to go through a very tough two weeks. … Very painful. Very, very painful two weeks.”
During a sobering and detailed briefing, the president updated the American public on the distribution of urgently needed resources and supplies and noted the work of Franklin Graham and Samaritan’s Purse in New York City, where SP’s Emergency Field Hospital was preparing to receive coronavirus patients from nearby Mt. Sinai Hospital.
“I just spoke with Franklin Graham, who’s an extraordinary person,” Trump said. “And Samaritan’s Purse has been like so many others, just been amazing.”
Speaking of the 68-bed Emergency Field Hospital that Samaritan’s Purse set up in the East Meadow of Central Park to provide care for critically ill COVID-19 patients, the president praised the team’s rapid and courageous response.
Near the end of the briefing, a reporter asked: “You mentioned Franklin Graham earlier. As you know, his father, Billy Graham, was a trusted spiritual advisor and friend to many presidents. A lot of your predecessors in times of national emergency have reached out to pastors and other spiritual counselors. Have you done that in this national emergency?”
Trump responded: “I have many very special people. Very many special in the evangelical Christian community. You could talk rabbis, you could talk a lot of people. I have tremendous support from religious leaders. And Franklin Graham, I just spoke to him today for an extended period of time. I told him what a fantastic job you’re doing … He loves doing it. He loves helping people. And he loves Jesus; that I can tell you.”
As the Samaritan’s Purse medical team treats patients suffering from the coronavirus, crisis-trained Rapid Response Team chaplains from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association deployed to New York City and are serving alongside Samaritan’s Purse to offer emotional and spiritual support to patients and medical staff at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.
“Right now, science doesn’t have the answer to this virus,” Franklin said on Monday at the BGEA’s Charlotte headquarters during a dedicated prayer time for the chaplains before they headed to New York City. “Hopefully, there will be a vaccine sometime, but there’s nothing now. Really, the only hope is God.”
According to Johns Hopkins University, the United States has more than 189,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 4,000 deaths. Tuesday’s COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. rose by more than 800—the largest spike yet.