Remarks by President Trump in Press Briefing | September 4, 2020
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room Washington D.C. September 4, 2020 5:45 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody, very much. Thank you. So, as we begin Labor Day Weekend, America's unprecedented economic recovery continues. You see what's going on. It's been pretty amazing. The United States economy added today - announced this morning - 1.4 million jobs last month, bringing the total to over 10.6 million jobs created in just four months. That's a record, by far.
In August, we added 249,000 retail jobs; 174,000 leisure and hospitality jobs; and 29,000 new manufacturing jobs. The unemployment rate plummeted to 8.4 percent, the second-largest, single-month drop ever recorded, surpassed only by our big decline in June.
Last month, we saw large declines in the unemployment rate for African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans - very big declines. We're witnessing the fastest labor market recovery from any economic crisis in history, by far.
By contrast, the last administration had the slowest, weakest, and worst recovery in American history. That was well documented, as you know.
This year, the United States has seen the smallest economic contraction of any major Western nation, and we are recovering at a much faster rate than any other nation.
Business confidence is higher today in America than in any other G7 or EU country - that covers a lot of territory. So we have the business confidence is higher than many - than any of those countries.
In July, retail sales not only recovered, but reached a new all-time high. So think of that: retail sales. That's a very basic statistic, and it's a big statistic. It not only recovered, but reached the highest level ever. Auto sales have surged to an incredible 74 percent since their April low and are nearly back to their pre-virus levels. And that's been a tremendous thing. Used cars and new cars have been both doing incredibly well.
Mortgage applications were 27 percent higher in August than during the same period last year. Homebuilder sentiment reached the highest level on record, indicating that more high-paying construction jobs are on the way. Homebuilding has been great and lending has been really incredible. U.S. manufacturing activity reached a 19-month high in August.
While my administration has fought every day to restore prosperity, however, Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats in Congress are holding additional China virus relief hostage to - to reasons that nobody understands. I guess I do; I think I understand. It's called politics.
And speaking of politics, I think North Carolina, I think that Michigan and Pennsylvania and other states, they should open. The governors - the Democrat governors - should open their states. They'll open them on November 4th. But they should open them now. It's very unfair to the people to have those shutdowns continuing at the level that they're continuing.
Democrats are insisting on a massive taxpayer bailout of badly run blue states, stimulus checks for illegal aliens, and the mass release of inmates from jail. They want to release a lot of inmates, some of them for very serious reasons. They want to release them from jail. They want that part - as part of a stimulus package, can you believe it?
It's time for the Democrats in Congress to start working across the aisle and put the American people first.
Now, we have $300 billion in a - an account that we didn't use - $300 billion. And we are willing to use that. I would be willing to release it, subject to Congress, and use that as stimulus money, and it would go right to the American people. So we have $300 billion sitting in an account that we didn't need because things are going so well with the economy.
But it would be a very appropriate thing to release that to the American people, and I am willing to do it; all we need as a signoff. But that doesn't mean that we're going to release prisoners. Some prisoners - some very vicious people, actually. We're not going to put them on the streets like the Democrats want us to, and we're not going to give stimulus checks to illegal aliens. They came into the country illegally, and now we give them a check? We want to give the checks to the American people.
So, remember, we have $300 million [billion]; it's there. We don't need the money. We don't need anything. Just let that money get released to the American people.
As our economy rebounds, there's only one thing that could stop the extraordinary economic comeback and wipe out the future of American workers - and that's what the Democrats want to do with a $4 trillion tax hike - implementing things that will be really bad for our country. And this will just absolutely cripple what we're doing on regulations and so many other elements of success.
We had the greatest economy in history, prior to the China virus coming in. Now they want to stop regulations. They want to bring up regulations to a level - stop the things that we're doing, which are at a much smaller level, and bring up regulations at a level that nobody has ever seen before.
They want to do things that will make it impossible for any economy to grow. They want to ban fracking. And as you saw - ban, ban, ban. And all of a sudden, he sees his polls going down, and now he says, "Well, I was only talking about not maybe banning fracking," but he wants to ban fracking.
And it doesn't matter what he wants to ban; the people that control him want to ban fracking. And whether it's Pennsylvania, Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota - so many other states - you can't ban fracking. That would be a disaster - Ohio. They want to abolish American energy - I mean, that's what's going to happen; adopt disastrous trade deals; and inflict a devastating shutdown.
As you know, he said we want to shut it down: "We would be willing to shut it down." And you don't shut down when we're setting records. And, by the way, we're rounding the corner. We're rounding the corner on the virus.
Joe Biden's blanket shutdown would collapse our economy. It would cause countless deaths from suicide, drug, alcohol abuse, heart disease, and more. You know, shutdowns cause a lot of problems - a lot of very serious problems - more so than the virus itself. Biden's plan is not a solution; it's a virtual surrender.
And our country is doing so well. We're starting to do so well. I think we're going to have a great third quarter. I mean, you're going to see for yourself because the numbers will be announced sometime prior to the election on November 3rd.
And as you know, Joe spent his entire career sending American jobs to China and other faraway countries. For 47 years, people were pillaging our country - taking our jobs, taking our companies. And that's never going to change with that mindset and with that group. Biden is not going to be standing up to these foreign countries. He's not going to be standing up - maybe more importantly - to the people that run the Democrat Party. He doesn't have the strength to do that.
He refuses even to condemn Antifa - a bad group, a far-left domestic terrorist organization. He doesn't want to say anything bad about it. His plan to appease to the domestic terrorists is the exact opposite of what I'm doing now. I think you saw that last night.
Yesterday, the U.S. Marshals - we sent them in. U.S. Marshals. We were waiting for local government to take care of it, but they didn't do that, so the U.S. Marshals went in - law enforcement. They took down the Antifa member who murdered a man in the middle of a street in Portland. The suspect was killed after drawing a weapon, when officers attempted to take him into custody. They wanted to take him in - the U.S. Marshals, incredible people.
So I want to thank them for their strength, their bravery. And I really do wish that the mayor of Portland and the governor of Oregon would get going and stop the crime in that city. It'd be so easy to do.
While we're focused on creating good-paying jobs, the radical left is focused on unleashing vi- - really violent mobs. And you see that. Whether you're conservative or liberal; Republican, Democrat, or independent, we must all agree the need for peace and order and safety.
Under my administration, law enforcement is conducting arrests nationwide of rioters, looters, and domestic terrorists. The reason we didn't put Chicago into our list - where we're holding back funds from some of these states and cities that are doing such a poor job, such an incompetent job - a job that nobody can even imagine how bad. And we're holding it back until they get their act together.
And we are having a lot of people in Chicago right now, and you notice that their numbers are going down rapidly. But we have - we've deployed a lot of federal law enforcement inside of Chicago, and they're taking out quite a few people. And they're being arrested; they're being put in jail. And that's why you see those numbers going down. That's why you see that, with respect to the mayor, we did not hold back funds in Chicago.
But New York is experiencing a tremendous crime wave; in some cases, up over 300 percent. And they have to do something quickly.
We just spoke to Mayor Bowser, and she's willing to do whatever is necessary. We had a very good talk with her. That's in D.C.
And the other places, they speak for themselves.
We're working with the state and local authorities to comb through hours of video tape, identifying arrest suspects; and prosecute lawbreakers. We've already got over 300 in jail, and we have tremendous evidence.
And I want to thank the media for helping us out because they're taking different angles - we have it from every different angle. You can't probably have any better than what we've got. We see it from the sky and the ground, and from the right and from the left. So when they say they didn't do it, we say, "Well, what's this?" So we get that from the media, free of charge.
Under Operation LeGend, we've surged federal law enforcement to cities plagued by violent crime. The initiative has already resulted in tremendous success. And nationwide, we have over 2,000 arrests. We don't talk about it too much, but now we might as well. So we've arrested over 2,000 criminals. They're criminals. And in a single month, murder rate in Chicago - as you know, and as I said - it was cut in half, actually.
So, on the China virus front, the nations of Europe have experienced a 38 percent greater excess mortality than the United States - 38 percent more greater excess mortality than the United States. A lot of you don't want to report that. And if we took New York out of the equation, there's nobody even close. The job we've done is incredible. And we don't get any credit for it, but we've done an incredible job.
Through Operation Warp Speed, we have three vaccines in the final stage of clinical trials. Yesterday, Pfizer announced - I just spoke to the head of Pfizer, great guy. They announced that it expects to have the results of its trial very, very shortly - next month - but very shortly.
We remain on track to deliver a vaccine before the end of the year and maybe even before November 1st. We think we can probably have it sometime during the month of October. And Pfizer is among the leaders, as you know, and it's a great company. Johnson & Johnson also doing very well. Moderna. We have some really great companies. They're all doing very well. They're all in final stages, and I think you're going to see results that are shockingly good.
Finally, I want to provide you with a brief update of the virus. Cases in the United States have declined 28 percent nationwide over the last month, and hospitalizations and deaths have continued to decline over the past week - very substantially decline.
Thanks to America's medical genius, the mortality rate has been reduced by 85 percent in April. Mortality rate reduced by 85 percent. Hospital lengths of stay are one third of their average length in April. So the hospitalization is down. The length of stay is way down.
In order to keep making progress against the virus, we ask all Americans to remain vigilant, especially over Labors Da- - Labor Day. You know, you have the Labor Day Weekend coming upon us immediately - I guess we can say - pretty immediately. And we need everybody to be careful, to apply common sense, and do all of the things that we've told you to do as quickly - as much as you can - social distancing, wearing a mask whenever the distancing is not possible, and staying like - staying with a group that you know.
Let's just try and get through this one weekend, and I think we have a chance of doing that. Just social distance, wash your hands - all of the hygiene things that we speak about. And we're really rounding the turn.
And the vaccines are coming. The therapeutics have already come, but they continue to come. The convalescent plasma has had a tremendous impact already; you see what's happening there. And remdesivir has been incredible.
So we have a lot of things happening. We have a lot of therapeutics coming out. I think - from the standpoint of common sense, I guess, therapeutics, to me - right now, you go into a hospital, you give somebody a shot or - or a transfusion. It might be a transfusion; probably more than 50 percent are actually transfusions. And they'll leave the hospital shortly thereafter. I mean, to me, that's more important, in a certain sense, than the vaccine. But the vaccines will be great over the long term; the therapeutics over the short term.
And also knowing you have the therapeutics, I think, is great from the standpoint of mind - from the standpoint of the mind. That's great.