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Thu Sep 24, 2020, 11:41 AM

Trump's Remarks in Press Briefing; September 23, 2020


Remarks by President Trump in Press Briefing

Issued on: September 23, 2020

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
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. ďLateĒ being a very positive word, in this case.


Months ago, we increased our nationís procurement of the flu vaccine by 66 percent, and we ask Americans to go get their annual flu shot as early as possible. Itís possible, I would imagine, Scott, that the flu can get mixed up with the virus, and people can think itís the virus when actually itís another flu season coming on. I donít know, itís ó I hope they can keep them separate. Can they keep them separate?

DR. ATLAS: We hope so.

THE PRESIDENT: Huh? I doubt they will. Itís going to be a very interesting time.

But we have a flu season coming up. Weíve had some flu seasons, which are really massive over the years ó over many years. And we have some that are much less so. But itís still significant, so I hope they can separate them, because itís ó itís pretty close.


Weíve created the fastest economic recovery in American history. You are witnessing it. You are a part of it.

Our approach is pro-science. Bidenís approach is anti-science. If you look, itís ó I donít think they know what their approach is, although a lot of itís copied from what weíve done.

Biden opposed the China travel ban and the Europe travel ban. And the strategy that they have was just never-ending lockdowns. Weíre not locking down. Weíre actually growing at a rate that weíve never experienced before. But theyíre talking about ó if you have a question, just lock it down. Weíre not doing that, and you canít do that.

Our plan will crush the virus. And actually, Bidenís plan will crush America, if you think about it. You canít lock down. Again, weíre growing at levels that nobody has ever seen before. Our plan is unleashing a rapid recovery. Our opponentís 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 oíclock in the Rose Garden, where Iíll be putting forth my nominee for Supreme Court Justice. And I think it will be a great nominee, a brilliant nominee. As you know, itís a woman. We brought it down to five women. Itís time for a woman to ó to be chosen, with everything thatís happened and with Justice Ginsburgís passing.

We are going to go sometime tomorrow morning, as I understand it, to pay our respects. And weíll be over there, and I guess they probably put that announcement out. But thatíll be done tomorrow morning. The Vice President was there today.

And so, if you have any questions, weíll 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. Thereís been rioting in many cities across this country ó red and ó 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, weíre going to have to see what happens. You know that. Iíve been complaining very strongly about the ballots. And the ballots are a disaster. And ó and ó

Q I understand that, but people are rioting. Do you commit to making sure that ó

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, I know. I know. Yeah, no, we want ó

Q ó thereís a peaceful transferal of power?

THE PRESIDENT: We want to have ó get rid of the ballots and youíll have a very trans- ó weíll have a very peaceful ó there wonít be a transfer, frankly; thereíll be a continuation.

The ballots are out of control. You know it. And you know who knows it better than ó

Q No, sir. I donít know that.

THE PRESIDENT: ó anybody else? The Democrats know it better than anybody else.

Go ahead.

Q No, sir. Mr. President, the second question is, will you also ó

Q Thank you. Will you ó

THE PRESIDENT: Please, go ahead. Please, go ahead.

Q Why wonít you commit ó why wonít you ó

THE PRESIDENT: You asked a question.

Go ahead, please.

Q Mr. President, why wonít you ó

Q Mr. President, do you plan to ó


Q Mr. President, do you plan to meet with Barbara Lagoa at the White House?

THE PRESIDENT: Can you ó you ó I cannot hear you through your mask.

Q Iím 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 donít have a meeting planned, but she is on my list.

Q Do you ó do you have a ó

THE PRESIDENT: But I donít really talk about the meetings planned. I ó I speak to people. I talk to people. But I donít have a meeting planned. No.


Q Thank you, Mr. President. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle chimed in on the U.S. election and essentially encouraged people to vote for Joe Biden. I wanted to get your reaction to that.

THE PRESIDENT: Iím not a fan of hers. And I would say this ó and she has probably has heard that ó but, I wish a lot of luck to Harry because heís going to need it.

Yeah, please. Go ahead.

Q Mr. President, the FDA is reportedly considering stricter guidelines for the emergency authorization of a COVID vaccine. Are you okay with that?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, Iíll tell you what, weíre looking at that, and that has to be approved by the White House. We may or may not approve it. That sounds like a political move, because when you have Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, these great companies coming up with these ó the vaccines, and theyíve done testing and everything else, Iím saying, ďWhy would they have to be, you know, adding great length to the process?Ē

We want to have people not get sick. The vaccine is very important. Itís the final step. I believe itís going to be the final step. And no, weíre looking at that, but I think itís ó I think that was a political move more than anything else.


Q Are you amending ó

THE PRESIDENT: It sounded to me ó it sounded extremely political. Why would they do this when we come back with these great results? And I think you will have those great results, because why would we ó

Q Well, when do you expect this vaccine?

THE PRESIDENT: Why would we be delaying it? But weíre going to look at it. Weíre going to take a look at it. And ultimately, the White House has to approve it. And maybe we will, and maybe we wonít. But weíll be taking ó

Look, I have to leave for an emergency phone call. Iím going to let Scott and Larry finish up. Larry is going to talk about the economy.

Q Mr. President, just one more question on Breonna Taylor, if I can?

Q Whatís the emergency phone call about?

THE PRESIDENT: So Iíll be ó Iíll be back. I will see you tomorrow. A big day.

Q Mr. President, if you can, just one more question on Breonna Taylor.

THE PRESIDENT: Excuse me. Excuse me.

Q Weíre at a time right now where Americans ó

Q Whoís the call?

Q ó feel like we are on this carousel ó


Q Whoís the call?

THE PRESIDENT: I have a ó a big call. A very big call.

Q Mr. President, just one more question, if I can, on Breonna Taylor?

THE PRESIDENT: So Iíll let you take over.

Q People are protesting in the streets. What is your message to them? People feel like we are on this carousel where another black life is being taken.

MS. MCENANY: So, here we have Dr. Scott Atlas and Larry Kudlow. I encourage you all to be respectful and show a little bit of decorum here as they take your questions.


Q Dr. Atlas ó


Q Dr. Redfield today said that more than 90 percent of the population remains susceptible to coronavirus. Do you agree with that assessment?

DR. ATLAS: Yeah, I think that Dr. Redfield misstated something there. And the rea- ó

Q So he misstated last time and today?

DR. ATLAS: Iím going to answer your question if youíll let me finish.

Q Okay, please.

DR. ATLAS: The data on the susceptible that he was talking about was his surveillance data that showed that roughly 9 percent of the country has antibodies. But when you look at the CDC data state by state, much of that data is old. Some of it goes back to March or April, before many of these states had the cases. Thatís point number one.

Point number two is that the immunity to the infection is not solely determined by the percent of people who have antibodies. If you look at the research ó and thereís been about 24 papers at least on the immunity from T-cells ó thatís a different type of immunity than antibodies. And without being boring, the reality is that ó according to the papers from Sweden, Singapore, and elsewhere ó there is cross-immunity, highly likely from other infections, and there is also T-cell immunity. And the combination of those makes the antibodies a small fraction of the people that have immunity.

So the answer is no, it is not 90 percent of people that are susceptible to the infection.

Q So I guess my question is for ó Iím not a doctor; I defer to your expertise on this and to his. But so, Americans hear one thing from the CDC Director and another thing from you. Who are we to believe?

DR. ATLAS: Youíre supposed to believe the science, and Iím telling you the science.

Q So heís not telling us science?

DR. ATLAS: Iím telling you the science, and thatís the answer. And if you want to look up all the data, youíre free to. You can also talk to the following epidemiologists ó

Q I guess, why is he still going out before Congress and speaking if you say heís misstated it today and the President said he misstated last time? Americans are looking for the best information right now.

DR. ATLAS: Yeah. And Iím giving you the best information, and itís confirmed by people like Martin Kulldorff, whoís a Harvard epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School ó

Q So should we now ó

DR. ATLAS: Let me finish, please.

Q Please. Please.

DR. ATLAS: Jay Bhattacharya and John Ioannides, both epidemiologists at Stanford; Professor Gupta, University of Oxford. These are people who know the latest data on the immunology and whatís happening. And I just recited it to you.


MR. KUDLOW: Iím going to give ó Iím going to give Scott a little time off. Iím just going to give Scott a little time off.

I want to reinforce some of the things that President Trump said about the economy because thatís very much a key part of this story. Weíve got some new numbers out late last week and this week, and I wanted to underscore that.

If we can get the charts back up, I want to show you some more examples of the ďVĒ-shaped recovery. I ó actually, I can jump in here.

This is from the Census Bureau Report: change in the number of people living in poverty. During President Trumpís first three years, pre-pandemic, 6.6 million fewer people ó 6.6 million fewer people are living in poverty.

Q Whatís the number post-pandemic?

MR. KUDLOW: And the ó

Q Whatís the number post-pandemic?

MR. KUDLOW: Well, weíll have to wait and see on that. Weíre just beginning ó

Q Well, wouldnít that be more accurate ó wouldnít that be a more accurate chart?

MR. KUDLOW: Let me go to the ó under the Obama years, 787,000 people moved into poverty, so thatís a problem.

And we have the second chart ó

Q Isnít that an old chart, though?

MR. KUDLOW: ó if we get ó no, this a brand-new ó this stuff just came out late last week.

Q But when you look ó

Q It says through 2019.

MR. KUDLOW: If I ó if I may, okay?

Q I just like accurate information.

MR. KUDLOW: This is the accurate information. This is ó

Q Itís not 2020.

Q Doesnít it say through 2019, Larry?

MR. KUDLOW: This is from the Census Bureau, and it just ó

Q Itís not 2020. Itís like right now.

MR. KUDLOW: ó came back.


So I just want to say, we have more work to do with respect to the ó to the recovery and return to economic health. We have more work to do. There is still hardship, and there is still heartbreak.

Q Do you know how many Americans ó

MR. KUDLOW: But the numbers coming in ó

Q Do you know how many Americans are living in poverty, right now, today?

MR. KUDLOW: The numbers ó actually, that wonít be reported ó

Q Do you know the answer to that question?

MR. KUDLOW: That wonít be reported ó

Q Do you know the answer to that question?

MR. KUDLOW: I can only wait until the Census Bureau ó I donít know if you cover this beat or not.

Q The most recent number of the ó number of Americans living in poverty right now ó do you happen to know that answer?


Q Because weíre getting a ó you donít know that?

MR. KUDLOW: I will wait ó

Q Youíre an economic adviser and you donít know that?

MR. KUDLOW: Yes, right. If youíll just stop nitpicking, and let me explain to you.

Q Itís not nitpicking.

MR. KUDLOW: These numbers ó

Q I donít want a history lesson; I want to know whatís happening today.

MR. KUDLOW: Well, you should have a history lesson, too. It would help you understand.

Q (Inaudible.)

MR. KUDLOW: But Iím going to say to you: These are Census Bureau numbers. The most accurate, comprehensive ó they are not out yet. So Iím giving you the ones that were released late last week; they are the most up-to-date numbers.


Yes, sir.

Q Today, in California, the governor issued an executive order designed to move the state to the point where there will be no gas-powered vehicles sold by 2035. What do you make of this move thatís taking place in California? Do you expect it to spread around the country? What are the poli- ó the economic ramifications?

MR. KUDLOW: I donít expect it to spread, with respect to Governor Newsom, whom I know. It just seems like a very extreme position. I donít know how you get there.

Iíll have a look at the proposal. If thereís more detail and meat on the bones. I donít see this happening elsewhere. I donít think we should be taking any steps to get rid of fossil fuels, for example. And, by the way, there should be consumer choice for all automobiles, and that includes electric automobiles.

But Iíd have to look at the governorís proposal. It just sounds very extreme to me. I donít know how you do it.



Iím just saying: Letís be smart about some of these assistance measures. Thank you very much.

END 6:49 P.M. EDT

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