The president received backlash immediately for his comments, according to a Newsweek article.
Kenneth Raske, president of the Greater New York Hospital Association, said in a statement posted on Twitter that medical workers “deserve better” than Trump’s comments.
“New York’s health care workers are treating exploding numbers of COVID-19 patients around the clock—willingly and without complaint. My daughter, an ICU nurse at a New York City hospital, is one of them,” Raske said. “The only thing they ask for in return is adequate amounts of personal protective equipment. PPE is the single thing that separates them from being COVID-19 patients themselves.”
Barry Schapiro, an orthopedic surgeon in Florida, tweeted his disgust at the comments.
“Imagine… working grueling hours, risking everything, treating the sickest patients you’ve seen in your entire career, coming home and quarantining in the guest room isolated from your family for the foreseeable future…and then the president accuses you of being a thief.
“When a hospital goes from a typical number of patients under respiratory isolation to every ICU bed and entire units in respiratory isolation, it’s easy to imagine an increased need of 10-50x. Not understanding is one thing. Accusing us of lying and stealing is quite another.”
This is not the first time Trump has made controversial comments since the outbreak began. Last week a local NPR station announced it will no longer air live press briefings of Trump because it cannot verify his comments in real-time. Trump also predicted, with no evidence, that there will be suicides by the millions if the country did not reopen the economy by Easter. Since that statement, he has extended quarantine restrictions for another 30 days.