James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
5:37 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Nice to be with you all. Good evening.
Before providing today’s update on the China virus, I want to address the violence, looting, and rioting taking place in the Democrat-controlled cities of New York, Portland, Chicago, and Seattle. The mayors and governors of these states and cities have an absolute duty to use all resources necessary to end the violence and all of the injury and death.
New York City has an army of great police. I know them very well. And the law enforcement and the New York’s Finest are as good as it gets, and they should be allowed to do their job. If they do their job, if they’re allowed to do their job, the New York City problem will be solved and be solved quickly. They do it well.
The mayor, Bill de Blasio, should immediately hire back all of the police who were fired without justification. They were fired. I guess that’s part of “Defund the Police” by the Democrats. They should hire New York City’s Finest back. You have some incredible policemen doing specific jobs that nobody else can do, actually, when it comes to terrorism and other things.
Together, the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois have 25,000 police officers, sheriffs, and Guardsmen available to quell any violence. They can do it very quickly, very easily if allowed to do their jobs — again, if allowed to do their jobs. Our police, our law enforcement is incredible, but they have to be allowed to do their jobs. The Democrats or the radical-left Democrats — or both, because they’re becoming one and the same, if you look at election results — the Democrats are being taken over by the radical left.
The city of Portland and the state of Oregon have 10,000 fine officers and Guardsmen available. Seattle, Washington, and Washington State have 10,000 available. So Seattle — the city of Seattle and Washington State itself, they have great people. They have to be allowed to do their job. I’m urging them to deploy these resources to protect their citizens and to stop the violence and all of the things that we watch on television going on — although a lot of the, unfortunately, fake news don’t like to put it on because it shows that the Democrats are doing a very bad job of law enforcement. They have to put it on. They have to be honest with the people of this country.
But I’m offering all available federal support requested to stop the violence and arrest the criminals. We have to be asked by the governors or the mayors, and we’ll be there very rapidly. It’s ready, willing, and able. We’re all ready, willing, and able to go to these jurisdictions and take care of them. We’ll do them very quickly. You saw what happened in Minneapolis; they ripped the city apart. When the National Guard went in, it ended immediately. It was immediate and lasted.
These acts of destruction are not isolated incidents, but demonstrate the pattern of violent, leftwing extremism that you get to see if you’re watching the right news program. Under any rational definition, the arson attack on the police precinct in Portland would be considered an act of leftwing domestic terrorism. They really are anarchists. These are leftwing anarchists. They are anarchists. And I’m directing the Department of Justice to stop these anarchists — immediately, to stop them — and to work with the city and the state to get the job done.
Local authorities have to investigate and prosecute all of these crimes immediately. We’ll work with you. And the local authorities know who they are. They know where they come from. They know a lot about them. They ought to get their act together and get it done, and we’re ready to help. If you need that help — you shouldn’t need that help, actually. You should be able to do it yourselves and get it done very well. Again, you have excellent police and law enforcement, but you have to let them do their job.
What you’re seeing in Portland and Seattle, New York, Chicago is really the Democrat roadmap for America. They want every city in America to resemble Portland, in a form. They want to pass federal legislation gutting and hamstringing every police department in America. They want to get rid of your Second Amendment. They want to end cash bail; close prisons; defund police departments — or at least largely defund. You see that with New York. A billion dollars they took out of their police department, and crime has gone through the roof. And appoint far-left prosecutors who side with the criminals and target law-abiding citizens. If the left gains power, no city, town, or suburb in our country will be safe.
On the vaccine front, some very good news. Today, I met with the leaders of Operation Warp Speed, our historic undertaking to produce a safe and effective vaccine in record time.
We heard an update from the top scientists and the government and the leaders of pharmaceutical companies, which, right now, aren’t too thrilled with me. They’re taking millions of dollars’ worth of ads because I’ve created a favored-nation status for drugs, which is going to reduce drug prices by 40, 50, 60, and maybe even 70 percent in some cases — numbers that have never been heard or thought of. So when you see those ads, remember: That means your drug prices are coming down. When you see ads attacking your President, it’s very simple — that means drug prices are going to be falling very soon.
This evening, I’m pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement with Moderna to manufacture and deliver 100 million doses of their coronavirus vaccine candidate. The federal government will own these vaccine doses; we’re buying them.
Recently, we also secured partnerships with Johnson & Johnson, as well as Sanofi and GSX [GSK] to support the large-scale manufacturing of their vaccines. Doing very well on those vaccines — tremendous promise in every single one of them, and we have many of them. And they’re years ahead of schedule. This would have been — if it were in the previous administration or any of the previous administrations, where we are now would have taken years.
Three vaccine candidates are now in phase three trials already — the final stage of clinical trials. This is the final stage. We are investing in the development and manufacture of the top six vaccine candidates to ensure rapid delivery. The military is ready to go. They’re ready to deliver a vaccine to Americans as soon as one is fully approved by the FDA, and we’re moving very close to that approval.
We’re on track to rapidly produce 100 million doses, as soon as the vaccine is approved, and up to 500 million shortly thereafter. So we’ll have 600 million doses. Operation Warp Speed is the largest and most advanced operation of its kind anywhere in the world and anywhere in history.
We’ve treated more than 86,000 Americans with convalescent plasma. A recent Mayo Clinic study found that this treatment may produce results which are incredible. We look to a reduction and reduced mortality rate by 50 percent, and possibly even more than 50 percent.
I urge Americans who have recovered from the virus to go to Coronavirus.gov and sign up and donate. We would really appreciate that because it’s been very successful — unbelievably successful — and we would love you to go and donate.
As we continue to confront the global pandemic, the United States economy is rebounding with strength like nobody thought possible. You’ve seen the numbers. You see what’s going on yesterday, today — and tomorrow, in my opinion. We’re very poised for a great third quarter and very poised for some great stock market numbers and 401(k) numbers and everything else.
Today, the Dow Jones passed 28,000 points for the first time, more than a 50 percent surge since just March. So we’ve increased by 50 percent more than since just March. It has gained approximately 9,500 points that same period — March — and has recovered nearly all of its value since the virus struck our nation — think of that.
America’s economy is incredible, and its economic recovery is outpacing our peer nations. Last quarter, the European Union’s GDP decline was nearly 40 percent worse than the United States. So it’s 40 percent worse than the United States. We’ve built such a strong base that we’re able to do things and sustain better than anybody in the world, by far.
France’s GDP decline was nearly 80 percent worse than ours. And Spain experienced an economic contraction twice as severe as the United States.
Nationwide, we continue to see improvements in our fight against the pandemic — very substantial improvements. Since last week, 87 percent of the counties in the United States report declining cases. Think of that: 87 percent of the counties in the United States, they reported declining cases.
Mortality has declined by 7 percent, and hospitalizations are declining rapidly. States that were primary hotspots, such as Florida, Texas, and Arizona have reduced cases by nearly 25 percent. But all Americans must remain vigilant, practice good hygiene, socially distance, wear a mask whenever possible. Whenever you are getting too close to people, wear a mask. And protect the elderly — always protect the elderly.
Since the end of July, the seven-day average for cases in the United States has fallen by nearly 20 percent, but the virus continues to increase in nations across the globe.
Last week, France and Germany both recorded their highest daily number of new cases in three months — not that I want to bring that up, but might as well explain it to the media. The seven-day case average for Germany has increased by 62 percent since last week, unfortunately — and that is truly unfortunate. It’s increased 82 percent in France, 113 percent in Spain, and 30 percent in the United Kingdom. Those are big increases. Cases are also rapidly increasing in the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, Switzerland, Slovakia, Estonia, and other European countries. And in our country, they’re going down. We will be seeing that even more rapidly as time goes by — a short time.
Even though America is the largest at-risk population — including 1.5 million residents of nursing homes, about five times that of other European countries — Europe has experienced a nearly 40 percent higher excess mortality rate than the United States. We also have fewer deaths per capita, excluding the disastrous deaths from the New York tri-state area — which had a very, very hard time — and did better than our peer nations of Western Europe, thanks to our excellent and highly advanced medical care and skill — something that the news doesn’t tell you. They don’t tell you that. They don’t like to tell you that.
The United States has now conducted more than 66 million tests, far more than any other nation in the world. India, which has a population of 1.5 billion people, has done 24 million. So we’re at 66 million. And think of it: India is at 24 million, and India is second.
The entire region of Latin America, comprising 33 countries, has conducted 25 million tests. Yet, Latin America has more confirmed cases, by far, than the United States.
As we safely restore our great economy and reopen our schools — and hopefully we can watch colleges play football. We want to get football in colleges. These are young, strong people. They won’t have a big problem with the China virus. So we want to see college football start, and, hopefully, a lot of great people are going to be out there. They’re going to be out there, playing football, and they’ll be able to fight it off. And hopefully, it won’t bother them one bit. Most of them will never get it, statistically. But we know we’ll see more cases at some point, and we will eventually develop sufficient immunity, in addition to everything else that we’re doing.
So, college football, get out there and play football. People want to see it. And stand for your American flag, stand for your national anthem because people are not happy when that doesn’t happen.
You look at the NBA and what’s happening with the NBA and their poor ratings. I don’t know; can’t imagine why. But they didn’t stand, they didn’t show respect to our flag. They didn’t show respect to our anth- — our National Anthem. And maybe that’s having an impact, but just not good.
The NFL had its problems, two years ago, when that happened. They went way down in their ratings and their fans, and they struggled back. And now, all of a sudden, they’re putting themselves in the same position. So stand for your flag and stand for the National Anthem, and I think you’re going to do fantastically well. Because a lot of people aren’t going to watch if you don’t; I’m one of them.
That’s why our strategy and attention are focused on preventing the cases that are most likely to require discussing the opening of schools, hospitalization, or produce any death. We have to maintain vigilance over our elderly population. We’ve learned that, I think, more than any single event, Scott. We have to be very vigilant all over, but we have to really protect our elderly population, and especially our elderly population that has problems with heart, lung, any form of sickness — diabetes, in particular.
And we are, at the same time, in very good shape with respect to hospital room and hospital overcrowding. We’re in great shape.
On the nursing-home front, protecting our nursing home residents is a critical focus of our strategy. HHS recently announced that they will use the Provider Relief Fund to deliver an additional $5 billion to further protect nursing homes and long-term care facilities as they continue to combat the China virus.
We’ve delivered over 1,800 rapid point-of-care testing devices to nursing homes. And we’re in the process of delivering these vice- — devices to all 15,000 Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing homes by the end of September. So they’re going to have very, very rapid tests. They won’t have to wait around two or three days or four days.
And that number has come down very substantially, compared to what it was. When you send it to the labs, you get very accurate tests, but it takes a period of time to send it, to check it, and then to send it back. But we are now at a position where we’re sending very, very rapid tests — 5 minutes to 15 minutes.
We will care for America’s seniors as we develop the vaccine and therapeutics. And therapeutics are coming along very, very well. We think we have some great answers on therapeutics, and you’ll be hearing that — about them in the very near future. I’m very much into the world of therapeutics, where you go into the hospital, and you give a shot, or you do what you have to do with a, perhaps, transfusion. There’s combinations of what you can do, and people get better. I like that very much. I like that very, very much.
And that could even precede — and it’s successful in getting it — that will, I think, probably, even precede vaccines. But therapeutically, we’re doing very, very well. A lot of people are going to be very happy when they see some of the numbers that we’re — that I’m seeing, and some of the results.
So, tremendous things are happening on the vaccine front and the therapeutic front, and our country should be very proud of itself. We’re going to get it delivered very rapidly, as soon as it comes out.
Okay. Questions, please? Please, go ahead.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Twenty million people are due to be evicted from their homes next month.
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah.
Q And are you — do you fear that this could be your Herbert Hoover mo- — moment if you do not reach a deal with Congress to set up a new CARES Act?
THE PRESIDENT: No, we are — we are not allowing that to happen. We’re stopping evictions. We are stopping evictions. We’re not going to let that happen.
Q And also —
THE PRESIDENT: We’re not going to evict people. We’re not going to let people — the Democrats, maybe they don’t care, but I care. And we signed an executive offer — you know, executive order. You know that, right? And we are not letting people be evicted.
Q There was a suggestion —
THE PRESIDENT: Please.
Q Thank you. Thank you, President Trump. If I could have two questions, I’d like to ask you one about Senator Harris’s record and then a different one about FISA abuse.
THE PRESIDENT: Sure.
Q So, regarding Senator Harris’s record: You had a pretty quick response to that. You had an ad out that said that she was a “phony.” And I wanted to drill down —
THE PRESIDENT: That she was a what?
Q A phony. A phony.
THE PRESIDENT: Oh.
Q And I wanted to ask about a specific example that a lot of people thought was a phony moment. As San Francisco DA, she oversaw, according to the Mercury News, 1,900 marijuana convictions. But she was asked in an interview last year if she had smoked marijuana, and she appeared to joke and, according to some people, lie, and say that she was listening to Snoop Dogg and Tupac, while — their music hadn’t come out at the time, while she said she was smoking pot and listening to it. Why would she lie about that? Do you see that as more evidence — is her past on marijuana a liability?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, she lied. I mean, she said things that were untrue. She is a person that’s told many, many stories that weren’t true. She’s very big into raising taxes. She wants to slash funds for our military at a level that nobody has — can even believe.
She is against fracking. Fracking is — she’s against petroleum products. I mean, how do you do that and go into Pennsylvania or Ohio or Oklahoma or the great state of Texas? She is against fracking; fracking is a big deal.
She is in favor of socialized medicine, where you’re going to lose your doctors, you’re going to lose your plans. She wants to take your healthcare plans away from 180 million Americans — 180 million Americans that are very happy with their health insurance. And she wants to take that away.
So she was my number-one pick. I mean, she was — as they would say, because hopefully you’ll start college football — she was my number-one draft pick. And we’ll see how she works out.
She did very, very poorly in the primaries, as you know. She was expected to do well, and she was — she ended up at right around 2 percent, and spent a lot of money. She had a lot of things happening. And so I was a little surprised that he picked her. I’ve been watching her for a long time, and I was a little surprised.
She was extraordinarily nasty to Kavanaugh — Judge Kavanaugh, then; now Justice Kavanaugh. She was nasty to a level that was just a horrible thing. The way she was — the way she treated now-Justice Kavanaugh. And I won’t forget that soon.
So she did very poorly in the primaries, and now she’s chosen. So let’s see how that all works out.
Q Should supporters of marijuana legalization vote for you, rather than her, because she convicted so many people in the past?
THE PRESIDENT: I can’t tell you what she’s voting for. I don’t think she knows what — I think Joe knows even less than she does. But I was only surprised at the pick. A lot of people were saying, “That might be the pick.” I was more surprised than anything else, because she did so poorly. Many people did much better than her in the primary. She did very poorly in the primaries. And that’s like a poll. You know, that’s like a poll.
Q Can I also ask you about FISA abuse, President Trump?
THE PRESIDENT: Go ahead.
Q Yes, about FISA abuse: So, now it’s widely accepted among Republicans that there was FISA abuse in —
THE PRESIDENT: Tremendous FISA abuse.
Q The Justice Department IG has found out, with Carter Page foreign application. But we were actually warned in 2013 that the Surveillance Court was, allegedly, a rubber stamp. It was approving surveillance.
And I was wondering — I don’t think, as President, you’ve commented on Edward Snowden, but do you think he should be allowed to return without going to prison?
THE PRESIDENT: So as far FISA abuse is concerned, there was tremendous FISA abuse. It’s amazing that it’s taken this long. And everyone knows that it’s been proven very substantially. Not only FISA abuse — changing documents and putting documents in front of the FISA court and courts that are disgraceful that they could have done it.
And the fact is we caught Joe Biden, President Obama, the whole group. You can look at Brennan and Comey and Clapper and the whole group. We caught them spying on our campaign. This was an illegal act like no other illegal act. This was treason. This was at the highest level of treason. And Obama and Biden got caught spying on my campaign, using intelligence agencies of the United States government to do it, both before and after the election. So before the election and then after I won, they continued. It’s totally illegal activity, and now we just have to see what’s happening.
But as far as Kamala is concerned, she’s a big tax raiser, she’s a big slasher of funds for our military, and she’s got a lot of difficult things that she’s going to have to explain. Plus, she was very, very nasty to — one of the reasons it surprised me, she was very — she was probably nastier than even Pocahontas to Joe Biden. She was very disrespectful to Joe Biden. And it’s hard to pick somebody that’s that disrespectful. When she said things during the debates — during the Democrat primary debates — that were horrible about Sleepy Joe. And I would think that he wouldn’t have picked.
OAN, please. Please. Thank you very much.
Q Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President. Yesterday, Seattle City Council voted to cut funding for their police department, and the chief — the police chief there, Carmen Best; the first black woman to serve in that capacity — she resigned hours later. What does this say about our country? And what does this say about the Defund Police movement?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think that Seattle, in spite of all that they’ve been through, with the embarrassment of having a radical left group — Antifa and others — take over a big portion of the city of Seattle — we’re talking about a big city, a major city. That they allowed that to happen is incredible. That it took so long to fix is incredible. And the only reason they went in is because they knew we were going in the following day, and so they preceded us. They didn’t want that to happen. They don’t want to be embarrassed.
And the people just gave up. They weren’t — they were exhausted from having taken over a city for so long.
The police commissioner seems like a very good woman. They were going to slash her salary by 40 or 50 percent. And they cut a tremendous amount off the police department — really, where people are saying it’s not sustainable as a good police department. And, again, those police are good also, but they’re not allowed to do their job.
So I think it’s a shame. I hate to see her go, because she did, in her own way, a very good job, but she wasn’t effective in convincing the mayor and the city council to give the funds that were needed or just leave the funds the way they are.
They’ve done a big — a big defund, a big part of it. And it’ll probably get worse before people realize this is a tragic error, before people start dying and getting hurt very badly. So I think Seattle has made a tragic mistake. I think Portland has no clue as to what they’re doing. They have no clue. And hopefully, there’ll be asking for help because we can solve their problem very, very quickly.
Yeah, go ahead.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Two quick questions. One on Senator Harris: Very simply, is she going to help former Vice President Biden’s chances in November? Or is she going to hurt his chances?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I like Vice President Mike Pence much better. He is solid as a rock. He’s been a fantastic Vice President. He’s done everything you can do. He’s respected by every religious group. Whether it’s evangelical, whether it’s any other group, they respect Mike Pence.
He’s been a great Vice President, and I will take him over Kamala and the horrible way she, again, treated Justice Kavanaugh. That was a horrible event. I thought it was terrible for her. I thought it was terrible for our nation. I thought she was the meanest, the most horrible, most disrespectful of anybody in the U.S. Senate.
She’s also known, from what I understand, as being just about the most liberal person in the U.S. Senate. And I would have thought that Biden would have tried to stay away from that a little bit. Because with what they’re doing with open borders and sanctuary cities — where they’re trying to protect sanctuary cities, which is also protecting a large number of criminals; with all of the things that they’re doing — Second Amendment. They want to take away your Second Amendment or modify it to a point where it’s essentially no longer the Second Amendment. I would have thought he would have gone a different way.
Thank you very much, everybody.
6:06 P.M. EDT