At a Coronavirus Task Force press conference Friday, President Donald Trump discussed the disembarkation of passengers from a coronavirus-stricken cruise in South Florida.
Fourteen COVID-19 virus patients were hospitalized.
In his comments, the President seemed to be weighing humanitarian concerns with logistics.
“These were people who were very, very sick. Some were dying. Some died,” Trump said at one point.
“Speaking about being fair or unfair. I allowed two very big cruise liners to dock in Florida today. Not that we’re in love with this,” the President said.
“We sent many back to Canada. The Canadians came and took them. We could’ve let them float aimlessly as they were doing,” the President added.
The President broke with Gov. Ron DeSantis this week, who was initially reluctant to allow passengers to exit the cruise onto Florida soil.
“Clearly we’re going to be willing to accept any Floridians who are on board,” DeSantis said Wednesday.
“My understanding is that most of the passengers are foreign nationals. I think that they’re working on ways to deal with that,” the Governor added.
Prior to that, DeSantis had expressed concerns about Floridians’ exposure to COVID patients.
“My concern is simply that we have worked so hard to make sure we have adequate hospital space in the event of a COVID-19 surge that we wouldn’t want those valuable beds to be taken because of the cruise ship,” DeSantis said.
“But I think that they’re working to a solution on that. I did speak with the President this morning about it. I think he would like to see a solution and I think the administration has seen a lot of the cruise ships take up a lot of resources. And so we just want to get to a point where the resources can be used for the folks here, particularly in Southern Florida where we have most of our problems with COVID-19 and not divert those elsewhere.”
DeSantis previously had wanted “medical personnel simply dispatched to that ship.”
Florida Politics’ Ryan Nicol contributed to this post.