WASHINGTON—In an effort to attract better offers from governors forced into bidding wars over life-saving equipment, President Donald Trump admitted 18 new states Monday to increase competition for medical supplies. “The free market works best with some healthy competition, so by increasing the number of U.S. states to 68, we can hopefully double the cost of ventilators,” said Trump, who noted that American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Midway Atoll, Toronto, and Tijuana were among the 18 territories that had been fast-tracked into the Union. “It’s important our manufacturers are getting the best prices possible. We’re sending 300,000 surgical masks to a new state in the middle of Maine we’re calling Clovis. Nobody lives there, but it’s going to help drive up demand. The Coral Princess cruise ship is also now a state, a beautiful floating place, and they’re looking for PPE, too. We don’t have enough for them, but we’re looking forward to their bids.” At press time, Trump clarified Puerto Rico would remain an unincorporated territory.
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