“WE WANT TO HAVE AN ELECTION”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jul. 30, 2020) — President Trump began his press conference Thursday by expressing his sadness over the death of former presidential candidate Herman Cain, who passed away after contracting the coronavirus.
“He was a very special person; I got to know him very well,” Trump said of Cain, and extended his condolences to Cain’s wife, Gloria, and the family.
“America grieves for all 150,000 Americans who had their lives taken by this horrible, invisible enemy,” Trump said, which of late he has termed “the China virus” due to its origin in Wuhan, China. “…We’re working very hard to not only contain this horrible event, this horrible plague, but also to come up with therapeutics and vaccines, and we’re making a lot of strides.”
He said that “all over the world,” nations which initially appeared to have halted the virus are seeing resurgences. Those include Japan, Australia, Belgium, Hong Kong, and France, among others, he said. Latin America, he said, “now leads the world in confirmed infections” and is suffering from a “scarcity of testing.”
“This disease is highly contagious and presents unique challenges to our border states,” he observed. He said states “thought to be doing well” early in the pandemic such as Illinois, Maryland, Oregon and California have experienced “a big resurgence.”
“Governors that were extremely popular are not so popular anymore…it’s probably not their fault,” he said. “It’s just the way it is.”
Not since the 1917-1989 Spanish flu pandemic has anything similar afflicted the world, Trump said. “No one is immune.”
He said “a blanket shutdown” cannot be sustained long-term by any nation. “The primary purpose of a shutdown was to flatten the curve, ensure sufficient hospital capacity, and develop effective treatments and therapies to reduce mortality, and we’ve done that, but it can come rearing back when you least suspect it,” he continued. “We did the right thing initially — we saved millions of lives what we did…but a permanent shutdown would no longer be the answer at all.”
He said the U.S. has learned much about how to treat the virus since its arrival. The average age of Americans who have succumbed to it is 78, he reported, and stressed social distancing and protecting the elderly, particularly those with underlying medical conditions.
On a positive note, he reported that Arizona and Florida’s case numbers are stabilizing after sharp increases beginning last month, with Texas showing similar signs.
Earlier in the day, he visited Red Cross Headquarters to discuss plasma therapy, which involves infusing blood plasma from recovering coronavirus patients into infected patients to create antibodies.
He said Remdesivir has proven to be a “terrific” medicinal treatment which appears to work by preventing the replication of the virus in an infected patient. Other therapies’ development is under way, he said, and the mortality rate of American adults has dropped 85% since April.
Trump said his administration has taken “the most aggressive action in history to rescue American workers” during the crisis in the form of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures on federally-backed properties, and a suspension of student-loan payments for six months, with an extension planned.
He predicted that 2021 will be a year of positive growth after 7 million jobs returned to the economy in April and May. “We were the strongest country in the world; nobody close; we were outdoing everybody from China…” he said, referring to the time leading up to the pandemic.
“This could have been stopped in China; they should have stopped it, and they didn’t,” Trump said at 5:54 p.m., emphasizing that those lost to the virus will never be forgotten.
He said he wants Congress to pass additional legislation to extend unemployment benefits, which he said Republicans support. He is also seeking “a solution that will temporarily stop evictions” and further direct payments to families.
As for schools reopening, Trump said that their closure has caused “death” and that the younger the child, “the lower the risk” of contracting the coronavirus. He believes the money allocated to schools which choose to stay closed should “follow the child” so that parents can select another educational environment for their children.
“We have a lot opening, and we have a lot of states…coming back very strong,” he said.
“I got elected because I put America first,” Trump said of his first-term agenda. “We put America first, America’s families first, and America’s workers first.”
He said the tax cuts passed in late 2017 assisted the U.S. economy as well as a reduction in federal regulations.
The first reporter’s question focused on a tweet Trump issued earlier Thursday asking if the November 3 election should be postponed given a certain amount of reported fear on the part of Americans of voting in person. “You’re sending out hundreds of millions of mail-in ballots. Where are they going? Who are they being sent to?” he said, citing several recent reports, including in The Washington Post.
“I want to be standing, hopefully, hand held high, big victory, because we’re doing things with our country I think nobody else could have done,” Trump stated. “We want to have an election. I’d love to see voter ID…I want to have the election…where people actually go in” and are asked their names in standard fashion. “We’re asking for a lot of trouble…this election will be the most rigged election in history if that happens,” he concluded, referring to mail-in ballots.
As for the violence in Portland, OR, Trump said his administration is allowing the governor and mayor one more day to eject the “beehive of terrorists” who have been vandalizing the Mark O. Hatfield federal courthouse and injuring federal law-enforcement officers for the last 62 nights before he sends in the National Guard.
On Wednesday, Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf tweeted, contradicting Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, that DHS officers would remain in Portland until local officials demonstrated they had contained the violence.
Portland police have removed protesters who set up an encampment outside the courthouse, Fox News reported minutes after the presser ended.