President Donald Trump commended Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and said he has done a “fantastic job” during a Thursday press conference.
“My administration is doing everything possible to support the state-led management of nursing homes and here today is a governor who I happen to like a lot,” said Trump. “And he’s done a fantastic job, and a fantastic state. A state that I happen to like a lot. It’s called Tennessee.”
Lee joined the president at the White House Thursday for a press conference on their efforts to protect elderly populations in nursing homes from the coronavirus.
LIVE: POTUS Delivers Remarks on Protecting America's Seniors https://t.co/CCZrEZ9XxH
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) April 30, 2020
“For some reason they like me. I haven’t figured that out, but they like me in Tennessee,” Trump added.
The governor said during the press conference that the state has committed to testing “every resident and every staff in every one of our 700 long-term care facilities.”
“It will be a great undertaking but it honors the value of these lives in those facilities, lives that have protected our country in the hardest of times,” Lee said. “It’s time for us to protect them.”
As of Friday, Tennessee had 478 confirmed COVID-19 cases across 43 long-term care facilities. The Gallatin Center for Rehabilitation in Sumner County has the largest outbreak of any nursing home in Tennessee with 162 cases and 23 deaths. Nursing homes across the state have reported a total of 44 coronavirus-related deaths, according to the Tennessee Department of Health.
The Life Care Center of Athens has also seen a significant uptick in cases with 93 confirmed cases as of Friday.
“No effort will be spared to give America’s seniors the care and support and devotion and love they have earned,” the president said Thursday.
Gov. Lee joined Fox News Friday morning to discuss his meeting with the president and thanked Trump for working hard “to make sure the federal effort is supportive and complementary of the states.”
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— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) May 1, 2020
“It’s really our turn to protect them and as the most vulnerable in this coronavirus effort we have to put a real emphasis there,” Lee said of Tennessee’s nursing home population. “We know it’s where the greatest risk is and it’s where the greatest focus should be put.”
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