East Room Washington D.C. July 7 3:12 P.M. EDT
Well, thank you very much. It's an honor to be with everybody, and very importantly, we're at the White House, and there's no place like the White House. And for those of you that this is the first time, I know exactly what you're thinking, because I was here a first time, and it was still something I'll never forget.
So it's great to have you. And our First Lady and I are pleased to welcome everybody to this wonderful place and discuss the vital importance of safety and reopening America's schools. We want to reopen the schools. Everybody wants it. The moms want it, the dads want it, the kids want it. It's time to do it.
You know, our mortality rate is, right now, at a level that people don't talk about, but it's down tenfold. Tenfold. So if you look at — deaths are way down from this horrible China virus, and it's a disgrace that it happened. It shouldn't have happened, but it did.
And the economy is coming back, and it's coming back strongly. Jobs are setting records for — two months ago, they set the record. And then again, almost 5 million new jobs last month, which is a record, and it broke our last record of a month before. So the numbers are happening much faster than anybody anticipated.
The stock market — NASDAQ just hit another record today, and the markets generally are just, really, a very small amount below where they were at the height of the market when we first had to do this about four and a half, five months ago.
And it's incredible what's happened. When you look at education, my administration has approved $13 billion for state and local education. We've approved over $6 billion to support colleges and another $6 billion in emergency grants to students, very importantly. We waived standardized testing requirements, deferred federal student loan and interest payments.
So you take a look at the student loan program — we've waived student loan and interest payments, and that is something that people haven't been hearing about and nobody talks about it, but it's a big deal.
We've pioneered new treatments that are dramatically improving the health outcomes. Vaccines are doing very well. Therapeutics are doing very well. The therapeutic research has been incredible. And I think you're going to have a lot of big things happening long before the end of the year, on both vaccines and therapeutics. Therapeutics is, I guess, a little bit of a word we can use for "on the way to a cure." But they make you better. I mean, to me, the therapeutic is even more important than the vaccine at this point because people will get better.
But the numbers are — the testing numbers are the highest they've ever been. We're almost up to 40 million in testing and — 40 million people, which is unheard of. Far more than any other country. Many times what any other country is, and therefore we have more cases. Because we're doing more testing, we have more cases. If we did half the testing, we would have far fewer cases. But people don't view it that way. What they have to view, though, is: If you look at the chart — and maybe Mike has it, but we looked at it before — if you look at the chart of deaths, deaths are way down.
So what we want to do is we want to get our schools open. We want to get them open quickly, beautifully, in the fall. And the — as you know, this is a disease that's a horrible disease, but young people do extraordinarily well. I was with the governor of New Jersey. We were talking, and he said, out of — and he mentioned a number which is a very high number, but it's a — it's a number nevertheless — thousands of people, there was only one person that died that was under 18 years old in the state of New Jersey, and that was somebody, I guess, had a problem with perhaps diabetes or something else. But one person out of thousands of people — one person died, who was under 18 years old. So that's a pretty amazing stat, when you think of it.
But I'd like to now just give the mic to our First Lady. She's going to say a few words, and then we're going to go with Mike and Karen Pence. And then we'll go around the room a little bit, say a few words. Kellyanne, you did a great job this morning. Thank you. Really great.
So, if I might, First Lady, please.
THE FIRST LADY:
Thank you. Good afternoon, everyone. The first pillar of my BE BEST initiative is children's wellbeing. And taking care of children's social, emotional, and physical health has never been more important than during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The administration has worked around the clock to protect Americans from the coronavirus, but many challenges for children and families can be just as invisible as the virus and just as dangerous.
When children are out of school, they are missing more than just time in the classroom. They're missing the laughter of their friends, learning from their teachers, and the joy of recess and play.
For children with disabilities, without access to technology or whose homes are not a safe place, the situation can be even worse.
As the start of the school year gets closer, I encourage parents, teachers, and school to teach children about the importance of CDC guidelines and to implement them when appropriate.
Children's mental health and social development must be as much of a priority as physical health. The same is true for parents. Many will be forced to make stressful choices between caring for their children and going back to work. And we must address those needs as well, as their own mental health and wellbeing.
As we continue to come together as Americans to tackle these challenges, I'm honored that you could all be here today to offer your thoughts. I look forward to working with you to make sure that America's children and families can be healthy and thriving.
Thank you very much.
Thank you very much. And, Governor, thank you. I see you sitting over there. What a job you're doing. Thank you very much for being here, Governor. Appreciate it.
Thank you. Proud to be here.
And thank you, Melania, very much.
We just heard — Mike was telling me that Governor Santis — DeSantis of Florida is doing a terrific job. He just announced that the schools will be open in the fall, and we hope that most schools are going to be open. We don't want people to make political statements or do it for political reasons. They think it's going to be good for them politically, so they keep the schools closed. No way.
So we're very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools, to get them open. And it's very important. It's very important for our country. It's very important for the wellbeing of the student and the parents. So we're going to be putting a lot of pressure on: Open your schools in the fall.
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