National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien revealed in an interview Friday that the New York Times and Los Angeles Times declined to publish his recent column on American ventilator diplomacy because it “didn’t fit their narrative.”
Back in early March, many experts feared that a shortage of ventilators in America could be a public health catastrophe because there would not be enough of the life-saving machines in hospitals to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients.
The column describes in detail how the Trump administration became a world leader in the fight against the coronavirus by ramping-up production of ventilators.
The piece, which had high praise for Trump’s handling of the crisis, was published at Fox News.
Radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt asked O’Brien why his column was rejected by the Times.
“Well, first of all, I want to say I couldn’t be more pleased to have been published by Fox News. I’ve written for them for many, many years, and always honored when they publish something,” the NSC advisor replied. “I’m not sure why the mainstream press is not interested in good news, our accomplishments of the administration of fighting the virus.”
When asked if he had offered his column to the New York Times, O’Brien said, “the New York Times, L.A. Times, had a chance to run the piece, and I don’t think it fit with their narrative of how the administration is responding to the virus, which has been really outstanding. And so I think they took a pass on it.”
In the column, O’Brien describes how the president used the Defense Production Act to encourage private sector companies such as General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. to get into the ventilator production business. Existing ventilator companies like General Electric Co., Vyaire Medical Inc., ZOLL Medical Corp., and others, were encouraged to expand their production, he said.
Thanks to the Trump administration’s quick action, the United States will produce over 100,000 high-quality ventilators by the end of July 2020,” O’Brien noted in the column. “Despite irresponsible reporting to the contrary, the mechanisms put in the place by the administration to create and deliver ventilators were so successful that every single patient who needed a ventilator got one,” he wrote.
Now that the supply of ventilators has exceeded the demand here in the United States, the president has reached out to allies around the world to provide them with the life-saving machines, the NSC advisor said.
“I have been with President Trump as he has spoken with leaders from countries on six continents, including Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom and many more,” O’Brien wrote.
The president has ensured that these nations can purchase high-quality America-made ventilators to meet their medical needs. And, for countries that cannot afford ventilators, the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development are providing foreign assistance to fund their purchase. All told, President Trump has committed to providing over 14,000 high-quality ventilators for purchase and donation to nations around the globe.
Like the early China travel restrictions in January, President Trump’s quick action on ventilators is saving lives at home and around the world. Ramping up our production of ventilators represents one of the most powerful weapons in America’s public health arsenal.
O’Brien told Hewitt that the Trump administration will be able to ship over 6,000 ventilators by the end of May.
“And the great thing, Hugh, about the United States, we don’t ask for anything in return like China does. Or you know, there’s no attempt to bully these countries, he said.
The American people out of their own generosity for countries that can’t afford to order them, donate them through USAID, and for the countries that can afford them, we allocate them and let the manufacturers know that they can ship these ventilators overseas. It’s really a wonderful project.
The national security advisor said that despite what the American people hear from the mainstream media, the president has great rapport with these other foreign leaders.
“President Trump, there’s no question about it, is the best diplomatic tool we have in the country,” O’Brien declared.
And for those who have seen the back and forth with what the President calls the fake news and press conferences and that sort of thing, you know, you’ve got to see the side of the President talking to foreign leaders. He encourages them. He gives them advice. He listens to them and their stories, and what’s happening in their countries, their successes and failures. With some of the younger foreign leaders, he mentors them. He’s always telling countries, whether it’s South Africa or Paraguay or, you know, even some countries that might be adversaries how much the U.S. supports them, how much the American people love them, that want their people to get through this COVID virus.
O’Brien noted that “the whole world is waking up to the fact that we’ve had just plague after plague come out of China” in the past 20 years, including SARS, Bird Flu, Avian Flu, H1N1 and probably MERS.
“Almost uniformly, I think we’ve had either 45 or 50 calls, most of those with the President, but in some cases, because there’s been so many, he’s delegated them to me to speak with the prime ministers or presidents,” he said. “But in almost every case, the countries have expressed dismay at how China handled this, how the World Health Organization handled this virus outbreak.”
In contrast, Trump’s “bold and decisive actions saved lives,” O’Brien said. “He ensured our citizens have what they need first, and created new avenues for American ingenuity to thrive so that our supply of ventilators now exceeds demand.”
The LA Times and the New York Times didn’t think that was a story worth telling.