“This great ship behind me is a 70,000-ton message of hope and solidarity to the incredible people of New York,” Trump said, standing in front of the ship as it stood moored at Naval Station Norfolk. “We’re here for you, we’re fighting for you, and we’re with you all the way.”
Trump said he was looking forward to the pending departure of the ship to New York, the hot-zone of the nation’s fight against the CCP virus.
“Who would ever think 151 countries are under attack,” Trump said of the outbreak.
The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 disease, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China before it was transmitted worldwide.
“We are one family bound together by love and loyalty, the eternal traits so perfectly embodied by the extraordinary men and women aboard this ship,” the president said of Comfort, which holds over 1,000 beds and will transport over 1,200 medical staff to help New York cope with the COVID-19 crisis.
The president said the ship would be departing ahead of schedule, adding that “it is loaded up with everything, so that’s great.”
Trump shared a photo of the ship on Twitter earlier, saying it was “loaded to the gills.”
Heading to the Great State of Virginia now, will be there shortly. The #USNSComfort is “loaded to the gills” at Naval Station Norfolk, departing for New York City this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/1ZSUweoX7x
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2020
Earlier, the White House announced in a release that Trump would travel to Norfolk on Saturday “to bid bon voyage to the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) as it leaves for New York City to the frontlines of the COVID-19 virus response. The USNS Comfort will sail well ahead of its originally scheduled departure time to answer America’s call to battle against the global pandemic here at home.”
Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly said in a Pentagon press briefing that “we’ve accelerated the plan for Comfort. We had originally been looking at April 3, but in all likelihood she’s going to be getting underway this weekend. So hopefully she’ll be there in New York by the early part of next week.”
The ship has 12 fully equipped operating rooms, eight intensive care unit beds, four radiology suites, ABC reports.
“With the courage of our doctors, and nurses, with the skill of our scientists and innovators, with the determination of the American people, and with the grace of God, we will win this war and we will win this war quickly with as little death as possible,” Trump said.
The president and Defense Secretary Mark Esper then watched the ship set sail.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Saturday the number of COVID-19 cases there climbed to 52,318 and deaths to 728.
“We have been behind this virus from day one. We are waiting to see what the virus does,” Cuomo said at a news conference. “You don’t win on defense. You win on offense. You have to get ahead of this.”
Cuomo also said Trump had approved the construction of four additional temporary hospital sites in New York City, adding 4,000 hospital beds.