While advisers have pressed Mr. Trump to more fully acknowledge the severity of the virus’s spread, he again offered a dissonantly upbeat assessment.
Mr. Trump declared “large portions of our country” to be “corona-free,” even though no region in the United States is actually free of the virus. While he noted concern over high case levels in California, Arizona, Texas and Florida, he said: “That’s starting to head down in the right direction. And I think you’ll see it rapidly head down very soon.”
However, a new federal report found that the number of states with outbreaks serious enough to place them in the “red zone” has grown to 21. It called for more restrictions on social activity. Those states include the ones named by Mr. Trump, along with Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin. All had more than 100 new cases per 100,000 people in the past week.
The findings in the new report were sent to state officials by the White House’s coronavirus task force and obtained by The New York Times.
Mr. Trump reiterated that he had a “very good relationship” with Dr. Fauci while repeating his now routine complaint that Dr. Fauci had opposed his ban in January on most air travel from China into the United States. (Dr. Fauci initially doubted the idea but supported the final decision.)
The president, who said he was invoking the Defense Production Act for the 33rd time since the outbreak of the virus — this time to provide a $765 million loan to Kodak to produce pharmaceuticals, part of a new effort to achieve “American pharmaceutical independence” from China and other nations — insisted that he deserved more credit in relation to Dr. Fauci for his administration’s efforts to procure more ventilators and personal protective equipment and to enable more virus testing nationwide.
“He’s got this high approval rating, so why don’t I have a high approval rating with respect — and the administration — with respect to the virus?” Mr. Trump asked. “So it sort of is curious.”