BOSTON (CBS) — Gov. Charlie Baker told President Donald Trump that Massachusetts is trying to buy coronavirus supplies but is losing out to the federal government. The president talked to Baker and other state executives in a conference call Thursday.
Baker said the state has followed through on Trump’s recommendation that they try to secure their own supplies like ventilators and other equipment, but it’s not working.
“We took very seriously the push that you made previously on one of these calls, that we should not just rely on the stockpile and that we should go out and buy stuff and put in orders and try to create pressure on manufacturers and distributors,” Baker said. “On three big orders we lost to the feds.”
Baker asked Trump for guidance on what states can do to get their own supplies.
“I got a feeling that if somebody has a chance to sell to you or has a chance to sell to me, I’m going to lose every one of those,” Baker told the president.
“We do like you going out and seeing what you can get, seeing if you can get it faster,” Trump replied. “Price is always a component of that also, maybe that’s why you lost to the feds – that’s probably why.”
Vice President Mike Pence said the federal government wants to help states and healthcare providers access the supply chain as it becomes more robust.
“As American industry is stepping forward very aggressively and with the changes Congress just enacted and the president signed, we’re going to continue to make more and more [personal protective equipment] available,” Pence said.
The Baker administration said earlier Thursday that it hopes to be able to test 3,500 people a day for the coronavirus. There have been 328 positive tests so far in Massachusetts.