(Enter PRESIDENT TRUMP, VICE PRESIDENT PENCE, DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DR. DEBORAH BIRX, and SURGEON GENERAL JEROME ADAMS. They all stand in close proximity to each other and touch each other, the podium, and their faces repeatedly, without gloves or masks. Also, ATTORNEY GENERAL WILLIAM BARR stands holding a folder.)
TRUMP: Let’s get started. Lots of death. Hydroxychloroquine. Ratings. I am a doctor.
REPORTER: Millions of Americans are still waiting to get tested. Can you explain the delays?
TRUMP: First of all, sports. Secondly, anyone who wants a test gets a test. I wanted a test and I got a test.
(PENCE clears throat and gently moves toward the podium.)
PENCE: I want to build on what the president said by adding that though he is 100 percent right, I should also say that the vast majority of people who want a test will not get a test.
(DR. FAUCI leans over to the podium.)
DR. FAUCI: I want to build on what the vice president said by just adding that the virus will be with us for 18 months and kill 240,000 people.
(Horrified murmurs fill the room.)
REPORTER: So should the public be wearing masks?
(Everyone near the podium shrugs. DR. FAUCI coughs into his bare hand.)
TRUMP: Here is a man who makes pillows.
MAN WHO MAKES PILLOWS: I am a man who makes pillows.
DR. BIRX: I’d like to build on the statement of the man who makes pillows. We’ve had three months of conflicting messages on masks, so I want to clarify that it is not at all necessary that you wear a mask — unless you want to avoid contracting the virus.
(TRUMP looks at DR. BIRX, who is wearing a scarf.)
TRUMP: You could also wear a scarf. I am a scientist.
REPORTER: Healthcare workers are facing a severe shortage of personal protective equipment. What do you tell them?
TRUMP: I had an uncle who was a doctor. I’ve been to a doctor. He wasn’t wearing any protective anything. This man makes things.
(TRUMP again cedes the podium to the MAN WHO MAKES PILLOWS.)
MAN WHO MAKES PILLOWS: I make pillows.
REPORTER: There’s also a shortage of ventilators. The governor of New York says the state will need 30,000 within the week.
TRUMP: First of all, something something The Bachelor. Secondly, here is my son-in-law.
SON-IN-LAW: We have plenty of ventilators. They’re stored in a hollowed-out mountain and they don’t work. And you can’t have them.
TRUMP: Ford is making ventilators. Millions of them. Because defense.
(DEFENSE SECRETARY MARK ESPER appears and moves to the podium.)
ESPER: Just to build on that — no one is making ventilators. We tried to order some, but the online form asked for a password, which I totally knew, and then it asked my favorite animal, which is lemur, but it said it wasn’t lemur. So I took a break.
(PENCE is handed a piece of paper, reads it, and moves to the podium.)
PENCE: Our friends from Russia have just agreed to send us eleven ventilators. Our path to re-election is now clear.
REPORTER: Who will get these eleven Russian ventilators?
PENCE: Okay, we have a system. Two at a time, state governors will enter a dome made of steel tubing. Once inside the dome, the governors will be attached to rubber harnesses that allow them to spring around the dome with great speed. Using these harnesses, they will have access to a variety of weaponry and—
REPORTER: Are you describing the movie Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome?
(PENCE steps aside. He has not seen this film or any films.)
STEVE MNUCHIN: I can field this one. I used to produce movies such as The Conjuring 2. Now I am Secretary of the Treasury.
REPORTER: Secretary Mnuchin, when will Americans get their stimulus checks?
MNUCHIN: We know Americans are struggling. Unemployment will soon hit levels not seen since the Great Depression. People are hungry. They are broke. We get it. So I’m thinking 20 weeks.
(VICE PRESIDENT PENCE whispers into SECRETARY MNUCHIN’s ear.)
MNUCHIN: Or never.
(VICE PRESIDENT PENCE again whispers into SECRETARY MNUCHIN’s ear.)
MNUCHIN: The people who aren’t getting money won’t have to wait.
REPORTER: The USNS Comfort is docked in New York City. It has 1,000 beds and 1,100 staff. But there are only twenty patients being treated there.
(A MAN WITH DYED ORANGE HAIR steps up to the podium.)
MAN WITH DYED ORANGE HAIR: My name is Thomas Modly. I am the Secretary of the Navy. I do not dye my hair.
REPORTER: Patients say the process of being brought onto the hospital ship is unnecessarily complicated.
SECRETARY MODLY: Our system is very straightforward. First, a potential patient is sent to one of the many overburdened hospitals in New York City. At one of these overburdened hospitals, they are turned away and sent to a veterinary office in Delaware. At the veterinary office in Delaware, they get bloodwork done and are sent to a motel in New Jersey. In New Jersey, they’re shown a movie about puberty and sent to a Duane Reade in Connecticut. At the Duane Reade in Connecticut, they get the results of their bloodwork, and if they’re not sick, they’re welcome to board the USNS Comfort.
REPORTER: So only healthy people are allowed to come aboard your hospital ship?
SECRETARY MODLY: Listen. This is a ship, with all kinds of tiny rooms and funny little doorways. You can’t have a bunch of sick people in a place like that.
REPORTER: But the USS Theodore Roosevelt… Captain Crozier… He tried to tell you… the corona on his ship… Then you…
(The REPORTER can’t finish. It’s too easy and too hard. The MAN WHO MAKES PILLOWS steps back to the podium.)
MAN WHO MAKES PILLOWS: I am still here, at a press conference during a pandemic. I make pillows.
(PENCE whispers into his ear.)
MAN WHO MAKES PILLOWS: And they are terrible, terrible pillows.
(TRUMP returns to the podium.)
TRUMP: They really are horrible. I tried them once. They’re like twelve crusty cotton balls in a burlap sack.
MAN WHO MAKES PILLOWS: I also have an honorary doctorate from Liberty University. The one run by Jerry Falwell, Jr. The one that reopened during the pandemic. None of this is made up.
(JERRY FALWELL JR. arrives. He is coughing and feverish. He joins the producer of Conjuring 2, the MAN WHO MAKES PILLOWS, a real estate developer and his son (also a real estate developer) as the brain trust for moving the United States through the worst crisis since Word War II. DR. BIRX and DR. FAUCI are gone. WILLIAM BARR is still holding a folder. PETER NAVARRO, a known moron, arrives.)
NAVARRO: Hydroxychloroquine. Also castor oil. I am a doctor.
SON-IN-LAW: I have just gotten off the phone with Google. They have a cure for the virus.
MNUCHIN: I want to build on that by adding that Google has a website about the virus, not a cure. The website gives sick people the address of a nearby hospital. And also the phone number. Using technology.
PENCE: I want to add onto that by saying that there is no website.
REPORTER: Where did the doctors go?
WILLIAM BARR: I am holding a folder.
(SON-IN-LAW returns to the podium.)
SON-IN-LAW: I sent out a group email to my friends. Some of them are doctors. (He checks phone. He begins watching a video of someone doing the handstand challenge. He smiles.)