Just over one week ago, MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow called President Trump’s claim that two U.S. Navy medical ships would soon be operational “nonsense.” By Monday morning, both ships had arrived at their destinations in Los Angeles and New York City.
“There is no sign that the Navy hospital ships that the President made such a big deal of — the Comfort and the Mercy — there’s no sign that they’ll be anywhere on-site helping out anywhere in the country for weeks yet,” Maddow said during a March 20 broadcast of her show.
“The president said when he announced that those ships would be put into action against the COVID-19 epidemic. He said one of those ships would be operational in New York harbor by next week. That’s nonsense. It will not be there next week,” she claimed.
But on Monday morning, the USNS Comfort arrived in New York Harbor as crowds awaited, along with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D).
The ship houses roughly 1,000 beds and a dozen operating rooms and will be used to ease the strain that the virus outbreak has put on the city’s hospital system. Patients who have not contracted the virus but who urgently need care will be treated aboard the ship.
At its send-off from Norfolk, Virginia, on Saturday, President Trump called the ship “a 70,000-ton message of hope and solidarity to the incredible people of New York” amid the nation’s war with “an invisible enemy.”
In a news conference at its arrival in the city, Gov. Cuomo said the ship will act as a “relief valve for hospitals that are struggling now, that are over capacity all over this city.”
Mayor de Blasio called the ship’s entrance “absolutely extraordinary” and “inspiring.”
Actor Hugh Jackman captured the triumphant arrival on video and made sure to thank everyone involved in getting the ship ready to go.
“Wow, look at this — this is history. To all the doctors, all the nurses, and everyone involved with the Navy, thank you, thank you, thank you — you guys are amazing,” Jackman said.
Last Friday, the USNS Mercy arrived in Los Angeles and by Monday it was already treating patients, the Department of Defense reported.