Update (1910ET): To recap, President Trump gave a nod to the US taking an equity stake in companies which receive coronavirus-related taxpayer bailouts, with the condition that they be prohibited from conducting stock buybacks or increasing executive bonuses.
"We don’t want that," Trump said during today's briefing. "Some companies, as you know, did stock buybacks. It’s very hard to tell them not to but I would tell them not to."
When asked whether he thought the US should take equity stakes in companies that receive assistance - an idea floated Wednesday by White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Wednesday, Trump replied "I do, I really do.:
As for the no-buybacks or bonuses, Trump said "It takes many, many people -- in this case -- to tango. Conditions like that would be O.K. with me."
"People are coming in for money, in some cases no fault of their own but in some cases where they did certain things over the course of the years including buying back stock," Trump added, hinting that his administration would be less likely to give assistance to companies which have previously engaged in buybacks.
"You know, they bought back stock and they paid a high price for it, as it turned out. Maybe I view that as a little bit differently than somebody that didn’t, than somebody that built plants all over the United States -- of which there were plenty of them too."
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Update (1250ET): The press conference has ended. Here are a few more highlights.
- TRUMP SUPPORTS U.S. TAKING EQUITY STAKES IN COMPANIES IT AIDS
- TRUMP SAYS JAPAN'S ABE HASN'T YET MADE DECISION ON OLYMPICS
- TRUMP SAYS LOW OIL PRICES DEVASTATING TO RUSSIA
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Update (1215ET): An FDA spokesperson has just contradicted the president's claim that the agency had approved a malaria medicine for the treatment of Covid-19. According to the spokesman, who was speaking to a reporter via phone, no approval has been given.
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Update (1210ET): President trump confirmed he was open to the virus bailouts being predicated on restrictions from the companies receiving them including no bonuses, no buybacks, and an equity stake:
- *TRUMP SAYS HE'S FINE WITH AID CONDITIONS ON BUYBACKS, BONUSES
- *TRUMP: DON'T WANT VIRUS AID TO GO TO STOCK BUYBACKS, BONUSES
- *TRUMP: DON'T WANT TO PICK WINNERS AND LOSERS IN VIRUS RELIEF
- *TRUMP SUPPORTS U.S. TAKING EQUITY STAKES IN COMPANIES IT AIDS
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Update (1150ET): As expected, President Trump said Thursday that several new medications have been approved by the FDA for immediate treatment due to the exceptional circumstances. The drugs approved have been used for other reasons, but weren't approved for use against the coronavirus.
Trump also said he was pushing through a "right to try" plan that would increase access to experimental drugs and vaccines.
Though he sounded extremely tired, the market took the news as a positive.
- TRUMP SAYS FDA HAS APPROVED CHLOROQUINE FOR USE IN COVID-19
- TRUMP: FDA HAS APPROVED `COMPASSIONATE USE' FOR SOME PATIENTS
- TRIALS ARE UNDERWAY FOR NEW REMEDIES
- TRUMP SAYS PROMISING THERAPIES PRODUCED BY GILEAD
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Update (1115ET): As we wait for Trump, Pence and the rest of the team, WSJ has published an update.
- TRUMP IS EXPECTED TO DETAIL A RANGE OF NEW VIRUS THERAPIES THAT MIGHT HELP PATIENTS BUT ARE IN VERY EARLY TESTING - WSJ
As WSJ reports, Trump's new plan has seen pushback from the FDA:
The White House, desperate to get drugs to Americans amid a coronavirus pandemic, plans to detail a range of therapies that might help patients but all of which are in very early testing, according to people familiar with the matter.
The plan is expected to be detailed by President Trump at a briefing Thursday, the people said.
The plan could be controversial. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the White House was urging an executive order that would take virtually all investigational drugs and allow them to be used quickly against the coronavirus, a step that senior officials of the Food and Drug Administration pushed back on because they contend the step could likely harm patients.
In an interview on Fox News Wednesday night, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that Mr. Trump is "going to make sure that even drugs on an experimental basis get available to the American people."
Andre Kalil, a University of Nebraska Medical Center professor who is testing one drug, remdesivir, said, “There are a number of drugs being tested, but at this time there is not a single drug proven or safe to treat Covid-19.”
Of course, the last time the administration followed the FDA's advice on how to manage the crisis response, it led to the shortage of tests that has badly worsened the crisis.
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Steve Mnuchin, Larry Kudlow and other members of the Trump Administration have been spitting out stimulus-package facts like Powerball numbers over the last day - $850 billion, $1 trillion, $1.3 trillion, 2 $1,000 checks, 2 $2,000 checks, weekly checks until this thing is finally over - but hopefully Mnuchin has firmed up some details.
Thursday's task force briefing is set to start at 11 amET, though we suspect the task force will be at least 15 minutes late:
Mitch McConnell said yesterday that he hopes to pass the administration's third coronavirus bill by eod on Friday, and has promised to not allow senators to leave until the job is done.