Remarks by President Trump in Press Briefing | September 16, 2020
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room Washington, DC September 16, 2020 5:17 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you. Good afternoon. Hurricane Sally made landfall, as you know, in Alabama and Florida last night as a Category 2 hurricane, and has caused 35 inches of rainfall in some places. That's a lot.
We have hundreds of FEMA, Coast Guard; we have the National Guard personnel on the ground assisting response to the efforts. And Alabama is in great shape, and every place that we are working with the state governments - really in great shape. We are working very hard on that.
But it looks like it's going to be mostly safe, but just follow the instructions of all of your local and federal people there. We have the best people that you can have. So I want to thank everybody. I want to thank everybody for working so hard in Florida. And they're very good at this. The people in Florida handle it; they know how to handle it. And the people working there know how to handle it.
The governors have all been spoken to, and it's a combination of real spirit. And they have a tremendous esprit de corps. They have a tremendous sense of working on hurricanes; they've gotten very good at it. And we've certainly had plenty, even since I've been here. We've had a lot of them. So that's in good shape - Hurricane Sally.
We're going to talk about Big 10 football, but that's a terrific thing. We'll discuss that at the end. I just want to go into the vaccine distribution.
Today, my administration released our detailed national vaccine distribution plan, and that includes a plan to ensure that we swiftly deliver the vaccine directly to America's senior citizens in nursing homes. And it's all set. We have our military lined up. Everybody is lined up. And we think that's going to go very nicely. We're very close to that vaccine, as you know, and I think closer than most people want to say, or certainly closer than most people understand.
To get the vaccine into the hands of American people, we're fully mobilizing the awesome power of American industry and also our military. This is the largest, fastest, and most advanced vaccine distribution effort in American history, by far. I was reading where Biden was saying that, oh, he's going to have a plan. They did so bad on swine flu, you wouldn't even believe it. Take a look at their record on swine flu. In fact, the person that headed it up said it was a total disaster.
We're on track to deliver and distribute the vaccine in a very, very safe and effective manner. We think we can start sometime in October. So as soon as it is announced, we'll be able to start. That'll be from mid-October on. It may be a little bit later than that, but we'll be all set.
So as soon as it's given the go-ahead - they're doing trials, as you know - and as soon as it's given the go-ahead, we will get it out, defeat the virus.
We've manufactured all of the necessary supplies so that as soon as the FDA approves the vaccine - and, as you know, we're very close to that - we'll be able to distribute at least 100 million vaccine doses by the end of 2020 and a large number much sooner than that.
I'm calling on Biden to stop promoting his anti-vaccine theories because all they're doing is hurting the importance of what we're doing. And I know that if they were in this position, they'd be saying how wonderful it is. They're recklessly endangering lives. You can't do that.
And again, this is really a case that they're only talking - just started talking a little bit negatively, and that's only because they know we have it, or we will soon have it. And the answer to that is very soon.
The case updates - it's very interesting to see what's happening because the test positivity rate is down among all age groups and has fallen below 5 percent for the first time since this whole nightmare of the China virus began. So it's fallen below 5 percent.
The number of hospitalized patients has decreased by 43 percent from mid-July - 43 percent. Nationally, people sick with the China virus now make up only 1.5 percent of all emergency room visits. So we're down to the lowest number we've had. 1.5 percent of emergency room visits is for the China virus.
And thanks to our lifesaving therapies and treatments - I think this is the best of all, in terms of our great percentages and all the progress we've made - the fatality rate has fallen 85 percent since April - 85 percent - fatality rate.
If you look at what we've done and all of the lives that we've saved - and I'm going to ask that a graph be put up, and now it's up. This was right at the beginning. This was our prediction that if we do a really good job, we'll be at about a hundred and - 100,000 to 240,000 deaths. And we're below that substantially, and we'll see what comes out. But that would be if we did the good job. If the not-so-good job was done, you'd be between 1.5 million - I remember these numbers so well - and 2.2 million. That's quite a difference.
So we're down in this territory. And that's despite the fact that the blue states had tremendous death rates. If you take the blue states out, we're at a level that I don't think anybody in the world would be at. We're really at a very low level. But some of the states, they were blue states and blue-state-managed.
And, by the way, we'd recommend they open up their states. I think it's very important that they open up their states, because if you look at certain of them - North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and a couple of others - we have to get those states open. It's hurting people. It's hurting people far more than the disease itself.
So we would recommend that you open them; let your people have freedom. And it's unfair to your people to keep them closed at this stage. We know the vaccine - we know the vaccines are coming, but we know the problem; we understand who the vulnerable are, which is primarily people with medical problems, but in particular, people with medical problems that are older. So open up your states.
To facilitate routine testing of the nursing home residents and staff, we've delivered rapid testing devices to all 1,000 or - excuse me, 13,850 certified nursing homes nationwide. So you have 13,850 certified nursing homes nationwide, and they are being facilitated in terms of testing and testing - testing apparatus. Everything is there.
We also have new tests coming, and we have one in particular that I think I showed last night, which is literally two pieces of very fine cardboard. It's actually a lot of delicate things going on inside that cardboard, but it's an incredible test. It's very quick, it's very accurate, and moves along rapidly. We bought millions of those tests, and they're going to be distributed rapidly.
So the testing process, where - there's nobody in the world that has a testing process like ours. In addition to being a number one - number two, which is India, is close to 50 million tests behind us, I believe, Scott. Fifty million. They have 1.5 billion people.
Tomorrow, Vice President Pence will be announcing the findings of the Nursing Home Commission to continue protecting our most vulnerable, which is our senior citizens. And we're going to take good care of them.
I want to congratulate Big 10 football. It's - it's back. And I want to, in particular - I've been dealing with him - thank Commissioner Kevin Warren for the great job he did. We've been working with him for a while. There was a rumor being spread that I didn't want football back, and it was just the opposite. That was another disinformation rumor put out by the Biden campaign. And it was just the opposite. But it really spurred me into action.
I called the commissioner a couple of weeks ago, and we started really putting a lot of pressure on, frankly, because there was no reason for it not to come back. And Kevin went in and worked very hard. I want to thank the players, the coaches for working along. And they wanted it very badly - the players and coaches, in particular; the parents also. And Big 10 football just announced, as you know, that their schedule - they announced a schedule, and it's going to be great; important to have.
I want to recommend that the Pac-12 also get going, because there's no reason why Pac-12 shouldn't be playing now. And perhaps they'll start with - at least partially - I had recommended today to Kevin and others that maybe you want to start off with 25 percent of the stadium or you maybe want to start off with empty. I don't know. If it's - I think they could have fans go, frankly. But they want to be careful, they want to be safe, and they will be safe. They've got a very good testing process for the players, coaches, families, et cetera.
And so I just want to congratulate Big 10. It's going to be great. We're going to love watching that. And again, I want to recommend Pac-12 - you're the only one now. Open up. Open up, Pac-12. Get going. Said the same thing to Big 10 and they did, and now I'm saying it to Pac-12. You have time. You really have time right now. Get going.
I want to thank all of those wonderful coaches - some of whom I spoke with. And we went through a process over the last couple of weeks. And I want to thank Congressman Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, who, as you know, was a great football player. Some people know that; I know that. But Anthony was a great player, great receiver. Went to the NFL.
Also, I want to thank Tim Pataki of my staff. He worked very hard on this. And he was up day and night, working with Kevin and everybody else. So I want to thank Tim Pataki. Great job.
So Big 10 is back, and it's going to have hopefully a great season.
The Census recently found that in the second quarter of 2020, Hispanic Americans' homeownership reached a record all-time high. That's all-time in the history of our country. Yesterday, the census reported that median income for Americans increased by an unprecedented $4,400 last year to a record of $68,700.
In 2019, income inequality fell for the second straight year. The income gap widened under the Obama-Biden administration, and it widened fairly substantially, and it narrowed under the Trump administration. So there's a little fact that you didn't know. So it narrowed under us, and it widened under Obama.
Income grew more, last year alone, than over the entire eight years of Obama-Biden. And that's a big statement, but that's the way it is.
In 2019, 4.2 million Americans were lifted out of poverty. That's the largest poverty reduction under any President in history: 4.2 million Americans were lifted out of poverty.
The Hispanic American poverty rate reached the lowest level ever - history of our country. Hispanic American poverty rate - lowest level ever.
I created the greatest and fairest economy in history. The biggest gains went to lower-income Americans, as they measure that kind of thing.
We will be back to full strength very soon. We're going to have a fantastic year next year. It's looking like that. I think you're going to have an incredible third quarter. The numbers are looking very, very strong for the third quarter. We have numbers that we're going to put out tomorrow - some of the individual things. Car production, housing production, housing ownership - so many different things are just at levels that nobody thought possible as we round the turn on the pandemic.
The anti-police crusade from the Democrats and the radical left - and radical-left Democrats also - has to stop. The leftwing war on cops puts our officers in danger and our communities at very grave risk. Can't do this.
Biden described the police as "the enemy." They're not the enemy; they're the friend. They're our friend. They're helping us. And if you go to - I just saw a poll - it just came out or recently came out - where African Americans, by 84 percent, wanted more police. They wanted safe neighborhoods.
In Phoenix last night, a federal officer was gunned down in a drive-by shooting. In LA this weekend - everybody saw that - this horrible human being - or whatever you might want to call him - I think "him." They're looking all over. There trying to find him. We're going to find out. We're going to get him.
But in LA this weekend, two sheriff's deputies were ambushed and viciously shot, and they can never be the same. They're getting better, but they can never be the same.
I'll always stand by our heroes of law enforcement, and we want to stop this horrible rhetoric and stop it fast.
I want to ask Scott Atlas to say a couple of words, because I heard Biden talking today about, "He wants to come up with a distribution plan." A distribution - for the vaccine that we came up with.
A couple of things: We came up with that vaccine - it'll be announced fairly soon - but regardless, this month, next month - in a level of time that nobody thought was possible because of what we did with our FDA in terms of streamlining it. I want to thank Dr. Hahn.