Tucker Carlson is cracking down on a White House coronavirus task force member, Seema Verma, following her recent exchange with Fox News’ Martha MacCallum.
On Friday, Verma —who also serves as the head of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services— appeared on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” to discuss the Trump administration’s efforts to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
During the interview, Carlson pressed Verma for answers to the questions she seemed to avoid the previous night.
On Thursday, Martha MacCallum grilled Verma asking about the possibility of a shortage of ventilators in a possible worst-case scenario of the coronavirus. Verma never offered a definitive answer to the question.
Carlson admitted that he was so stunned by the deflection, he wanted to interview Verma, himself. He told Verma he’d watched the segment and offered his reaction to it.
“I watched that exchange last night, and I must be honest with you, I was really troubled by it,” Carlson admitted.
“Because you were asked a direct question by Martha MacCallum, ‘Do we have enough ventilators in ICU units,’ and you appeared to intentionally not answer it, so I’m going to ask you that question again and hope that we will be reassured by the answer. Do we have enough ventilators to treat a surge in cases coronavirus right now, do you believe?”
Verma offered a response to Carlson’s question. However, the answer offered no specifics.
“We have a stockpile of ventilators. So right now today we are able to address people that need ventilators,” Verma said, adding, “The president talked about ventilators today and said we’re going to purchase more to make sure that we have that backup supply. “
However, Carlson didn’t back down, as he continued to press Verma.
“Can you put some meat on those bones and give us a sense of how many ventilators are in place?” Carlson asked, adding, “How many are in the stockpile? How many do you think we will need?”
Verma insisted they were still assessing the situation working with hospitals and officials on local and state levels.
“In terms of numbers, we’re still assessing,” she said. “We’re still working with hospitals to understand what their needs are.”
Carlson went on to frame his concerns in a more specific question asking if there would be enough ventilators in the event of an uptick in positive coronavirus cases.
Verma expressed concerns about making “drastic predictions” due to the possibility of rapid changes. However, she insists President Donald Trump and his administration have worked to create “a lot more flexibility to the health care system.”
Check out the exchange below:
CMS head Seema Verma double-talk to Tucker Carlson is a TOTAL disaster. There is no compassion or concern in her voice. We are deep in #coronavirus— Peter Morley (@morethanmySLE) March 14, 2020
She will NOT answer his direct question about how many ventilators were being stockpiledpic.twitter.com/WQTUbQm1nU
The latest news follows Trump’s coronavirus briefing on Friday. At the time, he declared the coronavirus a national emergency, as reported on IJR.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a National Institutes of Health expert, also chimed in during Friday’s news conference, “We still have a long way to go. There will be many more cases. But we’ll take care of that.”