On Friday’s Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Michael Patrick Leahy spoke to special guest Hogan Gidley who serves as the current Deputy Press Secretary at the White House.
During the second hour, Gidley briefed listeners on President Trump’s plans to launch a personal protective equipment (PPE) initiative for nursing homes across the nation. He also took a question from all-star panelist Clint Brewer later on in the show regarding how there is a growing trend of insurance companies who are not adhering to contractual agreements with their small businesses. Gidley advocated that the Trump administration should look into this issue and will.
Leahy: We are joined now by our longtime friend we know from Breitbart and he’s been on our program before he became the White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley. Good morning Hogan.
Gidley: Morning! Thanks so much for having me on. I hope you guys are having a good day so far.
Leahy: We are! We are and we’re delighted to have you back on the program. President Trump is making news today. He’s focused on nursing homes. I’ve been reading in the news that nursing homes have been a big problem in many states. I know in New York about a third of all cases of the 20,000 were related to residents of nursing homes. In North Carolina over half of the 400 deaths were from nursing homes. Tell us what the president is going to be doing today to make it safer for residents of nursing homes.
Gidley: Well he’s launching an initiative to deliver personal protection equipment, PPE that people talk about to more than 15,000 nursing homes across the nation. That’s important. It should be noted that obviously that nursing homes are really a safe controlled situation. A private entity situation.
But because we understand the gravity of this moment and the situation this president has really gone above and beyond what government is capable to do. And what the government is designed to do. The private partnerships that we’ve developed with corporations across the country.
He’s been able to move government at a speed that it’s not designed to do quite frankly. You’ve seen the success of that. Not just with this nursing home initiate but also with the development of ventilators. that didn’t even know they had. How we partnered with companies to build more.
We partnered with companies to not only get the air grid system in place massive cargo planes from companies overseas to bring PPE into our hot spots and other medical communities. We have about 100 flights set up and done. This is the type of thing that only Donald Trump could orchestrate. While we have faced such a serious and grave moment. It’s truly sad.
Anybody that’s lost a life you feel for their families or loved ones and friends. This has been an unprecedented crisis. But on the backside of the American spirit and we’re starting to see how we are reemerging with rebirth and reopening of this country.
Hopefully, that’s going to go safely as well because the American people have really stepped up here by listening to the guidelines and following the advice of the health experts and medical experts. And now we’re in a place in which states like Tennessee can take a look at potentially opening back up because everyone’s been following the rules. And that’s a testament to the American people.
Leahy: The president has directed FEMA to send more PPE equipment to nursing homes all around the country. There are about 15,000 around the country. 700 here in Tennessee Also, the CARES act has 80 million bucks going to nursing homes for inspections and things of that nature.
I noticed Governor Lee was up at the White House yesterday. And it looks like this initiative for nursing homes is really going to be focused here in Tennessee. The governor has committed. This is going to happen in all 700 nursing homes. The testing is going to happen here in Tennessee. Is Tennessee leading the way in this?
Gidley: Tennessee is leading the way and is one of the models we’re taking a look at. The president has been working with governors. The Governor of New Jersey obviously a Democrat and the Governor of Louisiana, a Democrat as well. He’s met with these governors not just via phone and teleconference in the last several weeks and months individually, personally, and in-person so often.
Yesterday you saw a little bit of that as well because there are some states out there that are doing a great job. As you know states are the ones that get to test and practice different policies and it becomes a blueprint for so many policies that come out of the federal government.
Tennessee is at the forefront of that. Kudos to the Volunteer State for all you guys are doing over there because you have to look and listen to what some of the guidelines we’ve put out. And we didn’t put it out on May 1. We put it out several weeks ago.
The reason we did that was that it allowed governors to talk to each other and their contiguous states and figure out the best way and best practices to begin to reopen. Listen, I understand the economy is suffering but its more than just the “economy at large.” It’s about individuals that are sacrificing their livelihoods at this time because the government has told them they have to stay home. Businesses are shutting down. People are struggling to make ends meet.
That’s why the president developed PPP to deliver paychecks to people and pass the CARES Act. We are talking almost nine trillion in assistance right now. But that’s still not going to fix or solve everything because at our core as just human beings we want to be social and we want to see our friends and families. But we also want to work.
We want to provide and get our hands dirty. And hopefully, because states like Tennessee and others have gone on to follow the guidelines and been sensible and responsible by the way they’ve been conducting themselves the opening and the rebirth will continue and will start to pick up speed across the country and hopefully, we’ll be back to normal sooner rather than later.
Leahy: Hogan, you’re the Deputy Press Secretary at the White House. A big big job. I think you are doing a great job by the way so keep it up. Here at The Tennessee Star Report, we have all-star panelists that join us every day, and today’s all-star panelist this morning is Clint Brewer who is a former journalist and public affairs strategist here in Tennessee. And Clint has a question for your Hogan. Clint, you’re on.
Brewer: Great thanks. Good morning Hogan.
Gidley: Good morning.
Brewer: So the president several weeks ago that seemed sympathetic to small businesses who are having trouble across the country with their business interruption insurance. A lot of claims are not being met with insurers because of the coronavirus/COVID-19. Typically insurance is regulated at the state level but is the White House or is the president willing to get involved further to mediating this problem/standoff between businesses and insurance companies.
Gidley: Well what you just brought up that is obviously a state issue. There is no issue to big or too small or in between at this point to have us take a look at because obviously these are not just trying times but they are unprecedented. There are all types of issues developing out of this coronavirus that so many people didn’t coming.
Thankfully the president was out ahead early and bought us some serious significant time to begin to look at some of these issues. Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci the new faces of some of this stuff made that point time and time again that time is always your friend.
But when people at the state level like you just brought up talk to him about these types of issues we are more than happy to take a look at those because we don’t want people to suffer and we don’t want abuses and obviously the promises that were made in those types of partnerships or business contracts need to be absolutely honored.
And so that’s something we’re willing to take a look at. Of course. It’s about making sure people get through this with as little suffering as possible.
Leahy: I have kind of a personal question for you. I’ve been dying to ask you this.
Leahy: What is a typical day like for (Gidley chuckles) a Deputy Press Secretary at the White House? It’s got to be a little bit crazy.
Gidley: A little bit is probably not the right word. And crazy although an extreme word seems somehow not up to what we go through every day. (Leahy laughs) It’s an honor, and a privilege and a blessing to work there. There’s no doubt that D.C. is a different animal. It’s a bubble as you know.
I promise you I much rather be in Nashville at a Vanderbilt game or in Knoxville at a Tennessee game for sure considering I’m an SEC fan of course. Hopefully, we can reopen and go back to some of that football when spring practice is over and we’ll be heading into the fall shortly here.
As far as work here is concerned, I don’t think I’ve seen a football game since I’ve taken over this position. We have a president that cares so much about the people that he never stops! I don’t know how he does it.
Leahy: Does he get more than four hours of sleep a night? He seems like he’s always awake and always working.
Gidley: If it’s four hours it’s a good night for him. That is rarely the case. And of course, it’s been well documented that he calls us at all hours of the night. He’s always reading getting information and then asking us to execute. He never stops and so we can’t either.
Leahy: Hogan Gidley White House Deputy Press Secretary, thanks for joining us. Come back again and visit us on The Tennessee Star Report.
Listen to the full second hour:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Hogan Gidley and President Trump” by Hogan Gidley.