Remarks by President Trump in Press Briefing - September 23, 2020
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room Washington, DC September 23, 2020 6:16 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello. Thank you very much. Thank you. Today, Johnson & Johnson announced that their vaccine candidate has reached the final stage of clinical trials. This is record time. This is the fourth vaccine candidate in the United States to reach the final stage of trial. So we have four candidates already at a very late date. "Late" being a very positive word, in this case.
Earlier this year, Johnson & Johnson anticipated that they would reach phase one trials by September. But due to our support under Operation Warp Speed, and to some of the incredible scientists involved, they've reached phase three trials by September - far ahead of schedule. We encourage Americans to enroll in the vaccine trial. It's not only interesting; it'll be a terrific thing for our country. We encourage everybody to enroll, as many people as we can.
Today, my administration announced that we are awarding $200 million of CARES Act funding to all 50 states to prepare to distribute the vaccine to high-risk residents, and we want to do that the instant it is approved - not the following day, but the following moment. And so we're going to be doing that, and we'll be distributing, getting it ready, because we have some great vaccines going to be coming out.
Through Operation Warp Speed, we also continue to accelerate lifesaving therapies. We're seeing promising results that our monoclonal antibody treatments - which help the immune system fight the virus and help very significantly - we're finding can reduce hospitalizations now by more than 70 percent.
By cutting the red tape and unleashing America's medical genius, we've reduced the fatality rate 85 percent since April. For individuals under 50, they've - they have a 99.98 percent rate of survival from the China virus. That's a number that's been really increasing substantially with time.
As children go back to school, we're encouraged that early research shows only a small degree of spread. Brown University conducted a study of more than 550 schools across 46 states and found that only 0.076 percent of students had confirmed cases of the virus - that's a tiny percentage - and 0.15 percent of teachers had confirmed cases.
Patients coming to the emergency room due to the virus is down to only 1.6 percent of all emergency room visits - the lowest since the pandemic began. 1.6 percent emergency room visits.
As far as protecting the vulnerable is concerned, we provided over $21 billion to our nursing homes, and we are really focused on the nursing homes. Everybody, including our governors - we have governors who are working very closely with the task force and with the Vice President and everybody involved. We've sent rapid-testing devices to nearly 14,000 certified nursing homes in the country.
This week, we're sending hundreds of thousands of additional rapid tests to nursing homes to ensure they can test staff regularly. And the staff now is being tested on a very, very powerful and on a regular basis, but very strongly at the finest level, the highest level, and the best tests.
We're encouraged that the number of Americans getting the flu vaccine is increasing by roughly 50 percent compared to last year. It's substantially up. The flu, when it's mixed with COVID, or China virus, is going to be very interesting to see what happens. But that can drive numbers. And we just don't know what that will be yet, but you'll have flu numbers and you'll have some COVID numbers.
I think we're rounding the turn very much. You see what's happening in Europe, however. They have a very big spike. Countries that we thought were doing well aren't doing well. They had some very big spikes. Very - a very big surge.
Months ago, we increased our nation's procurement of the flu vaccine by 66 percent, and we ask Americans to go get their annual flu shot as early as possible. It's possible, I would imagine, Scott, that the flu can get mixed up with the virus, and people can think it's the virus when actually it's another flu season coming on. I don't know, it's - I hope they can keep them separate. Can they keep them separate?
DR. ATLAS: We hope so.
THE PRESIDENT: Huh? I doubt they will. It's going to be a very interesting time.
But we have a flu season coming up. We've had some flu seasons, which are really massive over the years - over many years. And we have some that are much less so. But it's still significant, so I hope they can separate them, because it's - it's pretty close.
In the past four months, we've created 10.6 million jobs. We cut unemployment rate nearly in half. The unemployment rate is cut nearly in half. Larry Kudlow is here. He'll be discussing that in a little while. Retail sales are up 121 percent; that's far above what we thought. Manufacturing is up 61 percent; that's above - also above our schedule, and our schedule is a heavy schedule. Automobile production is up six-fold. Homebuilder sentiment is at the highest level in history. That's an amazing statement, Larry: the highest level in history. That means people are thinking good thoughts.
Home sales are at the highest level in nearly 15 years. Small-business optimism is higher than any time under the last administration, substantially higher. Small-business optimism - higher than at any time over the last - more than the last administration.
Today, I was proud to award nine companies and organizations with the first-ever Pledge to America's Workers Presidential Award. This award recognizes outstanding training programs that are giving Americans the skills to hone a trade and earn a great living. They're great people. Over fi- - 400 companies have competed and committed to 16 million training opportunities for the American worker, and it's really been amazing.
We've created the fastest economic recovery in American history. You are witnessing it. You are a part of it.
Our approach is pro-science. Biden's approach is anti-science. If you look, it's - I don't think they know what their approach is, although a lot of it's copied from what we've done.
Biden opposed the China travel ban and the Europe travel ban. And the strategy that they have was just never-ending lockdowns. We're not locking down. We're actually growing at a rate that we've never experienced before. But they're talking about - if you have a question, just lock it down. We're not doing that, and you can't do that.
Our plan will crush the virus. And actually, Biden's plan will crush America, if you think about it. You can't lock down. Again, we're growing at levels that nobody has ever seen before. Our plan is unleashing a rapid recovery. Our opponent's plan would hurt America very badly. It would send us into a depression.
And with all of that being said, we are going to be having a very exciting Saturday at five o'clock in the Rose Garden, where I'll be putting forth my nominee for Supreme Court Justice. And I think it will be a great nominee, a brilliant nominee. As you know, it's a woman. We brought it down to five women. It's time for a woman to - to be chosen, with everything that's happened and with Justice Ginsburg's passing.
We are going to go sometime tomorrow morning, as I understand it, to pay our respects. And we'll be over there, and I guess they probably put that announcement out. But that'll be done tomorrow morning. The Vice President was there today.
And so, if you have any questions, we'll take a few questions. Yeah.
Q Mr. President, real quickly: Win, lose, or draw in this election, will you commit here, today, for a peaceful transferal of power after the election? And there has been rioting in Louisville. There's been rioting in many cities across this country - red and - your so-called red and blue states. Will you commit to making sure that there is a peaceful transferal of power after the election?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we're going to have to see what happens. You know that. I've been complaining very strongly about the ballots. And the ballots are a disaster. And - and -
Q I understand that, but people are rioting. Do you commit to making sure that -
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, I know. I know. Yeah, no, we want -
Q - there's a peaceful transferal of power?
THE PRESIDENT: We want to have - get rid of the ballots and you'll have a very trans- - we'll have a very peaceful - there won't be a transfer, frankly; there'll be a continuation.
The ballots are out of control. You know it. And you know who knows it better than -
Q No, sir. I don't know that.
THE PRESIDENT: - anybody else? The Democrats know it better than anybody else.
Q No, sir. Mr. President, the second question is, will you also -
Q Thank you. Will you -
THE PRESIDENT: Please, go ahead. Please, go ahead.
Q Why won't you commit - why won't you -
THE PRESIDENT: You asked a question.
Go ahead, please.
Q Mr. President, why won't you -
Q Mr. President, do you plan to -
THE PRESIDENT: Say it.
Q Mr. President, do you plan to meet with Barbara Lagoa at the White House?
THE PRESIDENT: Can you - you - I cannot hear you through your mask.
Q I'm sorry. Do you plan to meet with Barbara Lagoa in Washington? And is she still on your shortlist?
THE PRESIDENT: She is on my list. I don't have a meeting planned, but she is on my list.
Q Do you - do you have a -
THE PRESIDENT: But I don't really talk about the meetings planned. I - I speak to people. I talk to people. But I don't have a meeting planned. No.
Q Do you have a response to the governor of Missouri testing positive for coronavirus?
THE PRESIDENT: I didn't know that. No.
Yeah, John, please.
Q Mr. President, we asked you earlier today about the Breonna Taylor case.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
Q Could you comment now? I assume you've been briefed on the -
THE PRESIDENT: I have.
Q - charges in the Breonna Taylor case?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I thought it was really brilliant. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is doing a fantastic job. I think he's a star. And he made a statement that I'll just read: