President Trump’s Remarks in Press Briefing

President Trump walking into a press conference in the White House.

President Donald Trump

  • Begin by giving an update on the economy. Economic health is vital to public health. That’s why our strategy to kill the China virus has focused on protecting those at greatest risk while allowing younger and healthy Americans to safely return to work and safely return to school. Very important. 
  • We added 1.8 million new jobs in July, exceeding predictions for the third month in a row, and adding a total of over 9.3 million jobs since May. I will say that the job growth that we’ve seen over the last three months — 9.3 million — is the single greatest three-month period of job creation in American history. That’s big stuff. That’s big news and great news. 
  • Over the past three months, the United States has surpassed market expectations by a total of 12 million new jobs. Over the last three months, the United States has added 623,000 manufacturing jobs. We’re getting them even in a pandemic which is disappearing; it’s going to disappear. 639,000 brand-new construction jobs. Over half of the new jobs are fulltime jobs, and wages are up by 4.8 percent, which is terrific. Unemployment has fallen by nearly 30 percent since April. Think of that: 30 percent since April. 
  • Hispanic American unemployment has decreased by nearly 32 percent. Jobs held by African Americans, which were hit especially hard by the shutdowns, incredibly hard, increased by nearly 1 million over the past three months, and that’s also a record. That’s a job record: African American, 1 million. It’s job record.
  • We must ensure that the progress continues. My administration has enacted over $3 trillion in historic relief since China allowed the virus to infect the world. We’ve contributed $3 trillion.
  • My Administration continues to work in good faith to reach an agreement with Democrats in Congress that will extend unemployment benefits; provide protections against evictions, the terrible thing happens with evictions. Not fair. It wasn’t their fault that we were infected with this disease from China. Get relief to American families. 
  • Yet, tragically, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer continue to insist on radical leftwing policies that have nothing to do with the China virus. Nothing to do with it at all. You have a virus that comes in, and you have people in Congress that don’t want to help our people. 
  • If Democrats continue to hold this critical relief hostage, I will act, under my authority as President, to get Americans the relief they need. What we’re talking about is deferring the payroll tax for a period of months until the end of the year. I can extend it at a certain period. Hopefully, I will be here to do the job. We’re going to do the job; we’ve been doing the job like nobody could. Nobody would, actually. We’re going to have the payroll tax go until the end of the year, and it’ll be retroactive to July 1st. We’re going to go back to July 1st, and it’ll go to the end of the year payroll tax. At the end of the year, it may be extended. We’re going to enhance unemployment benefits through the end of the year. And defer student loan payments and forgive interest until further notice, so students who are paying student loans and, in many cases, they’re not even allowed to go back into their colleges. Extend the eviction moratorium — we will be extending that so people aren’t evicted. Not their fault. 
  • We had a lengthy discussion this morning with President Macron of France, concerning numerus subjects, but in particular, the catastrophic event which took place in Beirut, Lebanon. Horrible, horrible event.
  • At 3 p.m. this afternoon, I spoke with President Aoun of Lebanon to inform him that three large aircraft are on the way, and they’re fully loaded with medical supplies, food, water, and many other things, lots of emergency equipment. Also, first responders, technicians, doctors, and nurses are on their way. This was an event like the world has not seen for a long time. A horrible event.
  • We’ll be having a conference call on Sunday with President Macron, leaders of Lebanon, and leaders from various parts of the world. Everyone wants to help. We spoke to a lot of people; they all want to help. 
  • The United States is with authorities on the ground right now in Lebanon to identify further health and humanitarian needs, and we will provide further assistance in the period to come. We’re working very closely with their government and with their leaders.
  • On behalf of the United States, I want to extend our condolences to all of the families. A much larger number of families than anybody would have at first thought, but all of those families who lost loved ones, relatives, friends in this horrible tragedy. We stand firmly with the people of Lebanon and will continue to offer our full support through this very difficult time. We have not seen anything like this in a long time.
  • As you know, earlier this week I met with American workers at the Tennessee Valley Authority who have been laid off by the leadership at the Tennessee Valley Authority. As you know, this is a form of utility. It’s been around for a long time, since FDR. The head person — not controlled by government, but it’s sort of semi-public, in a sense gets paid the highest salary in the world of government. He gets $8 million a year. That’s not a bad amount of money. It’s $8 million a year. We are not accepting that. Even though we’re not the ones that appoint him or her but, in this case, him, we’re not accepting somebody getting paid $8 million a year. This has been going on for many years. We will do something about that, and we’re already in negotiations right now, including possible termination. 
  • They and hundreds of their fellow American tech workers — the workers at TVA — were being terminated from their positions on top of all of this, and on top of the $8 million salary, and a chief of staff who makes much more than a million dollars a year. On top of all that, they were being terminated from their positions — these incredible people — in order to train the lower-cost foreign workers imported to replace them. How’s that for a law? This was set up, originally, to create jobs and economic development, and now they’re getting fired, and they’re supposed to train people for a much lower salary. It’s crazy.
  • This was a grave injustice. I fired the Chairman of the Board in response. On Friday, I fired the Chairman of the Board, along with one other Board member. That’s the one thing we have; we have the right to fire board members. I made it clear that if they did not swiftly reverse course, I would continue with these firings of the board members. We just were informed that they have agreed to change course, totally. 
  • Today, I’m proud to announce that a major victory for the workers of Tennessee and Kentucky and other areas that are covered — great states, great states — that the leadership of the TVA has canceled all of the layoffs and given hundreds of American workers their jobs back. They’re being rehired as we speak.
  • In this Administration, we live by two rules: Buy American and hire American. You can’t do that; you can’t fire all our workers and hire people back from other faraway parts of the world at lower prices, especially when they have to train the people. They can never train them as good as what you have, because they’ve been there for many years. They’ve done a fantastic job, and they love the TVA. 
  • We had a lot of people in the office the other day, a lot of the media was covering it. They love the Tennessee Valley Authority. They’re so proud to work for it. This happened and it was a terrible thing, so now they’re going to get their jobs back — they’re all going to be getting their jobs back.
  • Nearly every nation on Earth continues to combat the virus. A number of countries are seeing a surge in new cases, including Japan, the Philippines, major parts of Europe. Cases continue to surge in Latin America. That’s, right now, the most infected place anywhere in the world. They have more than doubled in recent days. Latin America is doing very little testing. They’re not really equipped to do that. It’s tough. 
  • In the United States, more than 80 percent of jurisdictions report decline in cases. We’re doing very well. You don’t hear that too often from the media, but we’re doing very well. We have a very large country, a very complex country, in a sense. More than half of America’s counties report fewer than 20 cases last week. So, if you look at that, more than half of America’s counties report fewer than 20 cases last week. But we have to remain vigilant. We’re doing very well, but we have to remain vigilant.
  • Nationally, the percentage of emergency room visits with the coronavirus symptoms is down to almost half what it was in July. The southern states that were very strong hotspots not long ago (Arizona, Texas, Florida) continue to show significant improvement, including increased availability of hospital beds. 
  • Arizona now has the smallest number of coronavirus in-patients. Since mid-June, it’s gone — the Governor was up, and we had a great meeting with Governor Ducey. The meeting was terrific. Since mid-June, they’re doing well, and it’s going down and heading down very rapidly, actually. Texas is stabilizing and improving rapidly with some progress in the Rio Grande Valley, and other communities along the border with Mexico that had shown the biggest increases in hospitalizations and deaths.
  • Florida is also stabilizing, and statewide positive test rate continues to decrease from 13 percent on July 23rd, to 8 percent this week. Florida has done very well. It’s going down; it’s heading down, actually, quite rapidly. Even Miami, which was the hottest spot in Florida, is heading downward. But Florida has done very well.
  • Texas has done very well, and rapidly. Arizona has done incredibly well. Arizona has really been a very rapid drop.
  • New Jersey and New York remain stable with less than 1 percent of emergency room visits due to the China virus. It took a devastating toll on both states, as you know. While both states really took the brunt of the infection earlier this year, thankfully we have not seen a resurgence. They’ve been doing a good job. Everybody is working very hard. Both governors are working very, very hard. We’re in touch with them. We’re supplying them with a lot of supplies as needed, if needed. But they’re needing very little right now. They’re in very good shape. We will continue to monitor the new cases.
  • Throughout this crisis, my administration has provided extraordinary support of people, equipment, medical supplies to the people of New Jersey, the people of New York, and to the people of every state, all of our states. 
  • We’re carefully monitoring California’s Central Valley, as well as San Diego, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Francisco, which are starting to stabilize and go down. 
  • We’re carefully watching regions from increasing cases, including Boston and Chicago, as well as the Midwest. We’re watching them all very carefully. It’s vital that all Americans work together to protect the vulnerable. 
  • For this reason, we’ve delivered vast amounts of protective equipment and testing supplies to nursing homes all across America. We’re focused very much on the elderly, especially the elderly where they have heart problems or diabetes problems. Diabetes is a big problem. Approximately half of all deaths have occurred in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. That’s an incredible number, when you hear half of the deaths have been in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. 
  • I met with owners and representatives of nursing homes, and they are very, very vigilant. They’re doing a very good job now. They’ve really done something that I think is special. They’re doing very well, in terms of the virus. They’re working very hard. A lot of forces came together and hit the nursing homes very hard. But the representatives of nursing homes, in some cases, the ownership of nursing homes, they’re working very hard.
  • The federal government and the private sector have delivered more than 9 million N95 masks, 27 million surgical masks, 3 million face shields, 20 million gowns, and 668 million gloves to New Jersey alone. Think of that. We provided $3.4 billion to the state of New Jersey in emergency relief funding. We happen to be in New Jersey right now, so those are great numbers. The governor is working very hard; Governor Murphy is doing a good job. We’re working very closely with him. We’ve also provided nearly $5 billion to New Jersey hospitals and healthcare facilities. 
  • Through the Paycheck Protection Program that you all know so well, we provided $23 billion to support more than 250,000 New Jersey small businesses. A lot of the small businesses that you see that are opening now and going to do well, they’re there because of what we did with Paycheck Protection.
  • On therapeutics and vaccine updates: Three vaccine candidates have now moved into phase three trials. This would be years ahead of schedule. We have done wonders with the FDA. I want to thank the FDA and all of the great people there and Dr. Hahn. But we have phase three trials already going on, which is, most people would have said, impossible to even think about. 
  • Today, Pfizer announced that it will manufacture Gilead’s drug, remdesivir where we’ve had tremendous success.
  • Last week alone, my administration procured and distributed over 120,000 vials of remdesivir, enough to treat more than 19,000 patients. Plasma treatments continue to show incredibly encouraging results, really incredible what’s going on. If you can go to a blood bank, if you’ve had this disease and beat and there are a lot of people that have, if you could go to a blood bank and donate, that would be a tremendous help.
  • The United States is only 5 percent of the world’s population, but we have conducted over 25 percent of the world’s testing. Think of that: 5 percent and we’ve given 25 percent of the world’s testing. Any proper global analysis of confirmed cases must really take this into account, because we’re constantly showing cases — cases, cases, cases are up. Well, the reason cases are up, because we’re doing a lot of testing. 
  • We’re doing much more testing than anyone else. Close to 65 million tests, where other countries have done very little testing. They’ll test people if they get sick. They’ll test people if they go into the hospital. They’ll test certain people. We’re doing tremendous testing. And we’re especially doing big testing at the nursing homes. 
  • Over the last week, the testing turnaround times have declined significantly as our major commercial labs have begun pooling samples. And we’ve also been able to send out many more of the tests, which are the 5-minute to 15-minute-result tests. Testing samples from multiple patients in one batch is also something that we’re very focused on and doing. But in the not-too-distant future, we’ll have so many tests where it’s a quick test (they call it a “quick test”) 5 minutes to 15 minutes. We won’t even have to worry too much about the process of sending and receiving. Because if you figure it takes a day to send and a day to receive and, let’s say, a day at the laboratory that’s three days right there. And the other tests, you can have them in 5 to 15 minutes.
  • Over the next two weeks, I’ll be pursuing a major executive order requiring health insurance companies to cover all pre-existing conditions for all customers. That’s a big thing. I’ve always been very strongly in favor covering pre-existing conditions. We will be pursuing a major executive order, requiring health insurance companies to cover all pre-existing conditions for all of its customers. 
  • This has never been done before, but it’s time the people of our country are properly represented and properly taken care of. 
  • This follows a series of executive orders to lower drug prices and lower prescription drug prices and significantly. We had the only year, which was last year, where drug prices went down in 51 years. But we’re talking about going down at a level that nobody has even thought possible now, even though the drug companies are running very big ads on me, but that’s usually a reason. They’re not happy. They can’t be too thrilled. But they’ve made a lot of money over the years, and prices just go up. Not fair. This includes a landmark executive order requiring drug companies to change Americans and charge Americans no more than they charge to foreign countries. They have to charge Americans no more than they charge to foreign countries. That means our country can’t be charged more. 
  • If Germany gets drugs at a very small or low price, and we’re paying many times that price in the United States because we pay for all of the research, the development, the promotion, and other things we will get what’s called a “favored-nations clause.” We’re going to have, and I signed a favored-nations clause so that the United States which is the number-one purchaser of drugs by far in the world biggest purchaser in the world, not even close. You have other countries that are bigger, if you look at India, China, et cetera. Not too many. But we have countries that are bigger, but not even close, in terms of ordering drugs. We’re the number-one country in the world. 
  • We have a favored-nation so if somebody has a drug in many cases, it comes from a plant. It comes from it’s the same pill; it’s the same medicine or medication. Whatever the lowest country charges so if Germany charges 10 cents for a pill, and we charge $2, and I only use Germany as an example, we get that for 10 cents. what’s going to happen is that’s going to go up a little bit, and ours is going to come down a whole lot. It’s the favored nations.
  • Big pharma is not happy. For too long, we’ve been forced to subsidize cheaper drug prices in foreign countries. We’ve subsidized them to a level that nobody can believe. Nobody talked about it. Everybody wondered, “How come every President that runs for office says they’re going to lower drug prices, and they never do? They go through the roof.” Over the last administration they went up, like, skyrocketing. That’s Biden. Biden is not going to be able to be able to do it. He has no clue. 
  • What’s happening is: We are going to be working to get rid of all the subsidy to foreign lands. And we’re going to give, essentially, all of the benefit that, frankly, they have as great negotiators those benefits are going to go to our people. It’s called a “favored-nations clause,” and you can look it up, and you can see. Nobody has had the courage to institute it, to call it because it’s a very big step. But it’s something that is going to drive drug prices down 50, 60, maybe even 70 percent. We’re talking about numbers that are unbelievable. 
  • I also signed an Executive Order stopping middlemen from taking advantage of Medicare patients by charging higher prices to them and pocketing the discounts for themselves. These are some of the richest people in the world. Everyone talked about middlemen. I’ve heard about them for years, on prescription drug prices — middlemen. I guess you’d have to say to be politically correct, “middlemen and women.” Middlemen. That’s the term. 
  • Say what you want about the drug companies, but at least the drug companies produce a product. They produce the pill. They produce the medication. These people make billions and billions of dollars. I don’t know who they are, but they’re very rich. They won’t be so rich anymore. 
  • This Executive Order requires these $30 billion in discounts to go straight to the American patients. The middleman is going to be knocked out, and I’m going to lose a lot of friends, even though I have no idea who these people are. 
  • On opioids, I’m pleased to announce that my administration invested an additional $100 million to fight the opioid crisis in rural America. In the midst of the China virus pandemic, we also keep fighting to end the opioid epidemic. We’ve done very well. We’ve done, prior to the virus, we were down 18, 19, and 20 percent. When you think about it, that means that you have 80 percent, and that’s not acceptable. 
  • The wall is going up. We have 276 miles of wall. It’s having a tremendous impact on drugs coming into our country already. It’ll be finished toward the end of the year. It’s had a very, very big impact.
  • On Portland: Finally, I’d like to address that situation. Portland is a disaster. It’s been a disaster for many, many years. Brave federal law enforcement officers singlehandedly — the officers, they singlehandedly saved the federal courthouse in Portland from lawless rioters and agitators and anarchists, and that’s what they are. You know, when you find Molotov cocktails in somebody’s knapsack, and they say, “No, I’m just here to have a good time.” These are really sick, disturbed people.
  • The disgraced Mayor of the city has ordered the police to stand down in the face of rioters, leaving his citizens at the mercy of this mob. He was at the mercy of the mob, too. If you saw him go out there the other day, it was terrible. He went out there and they wanted to rip him apart. But, fortunately, he had five people with him called “security.”
  • Mayor Wheeler has abdicated his duty and surrendered his city to the mob. As a result, the mob descended upon a police precinct and tried to burn it down, tear it down, rip it down, an act of attempted murder. Leftwing, violent extremism poses an increasing threat to our country, and we stop it. You have no idea how much we stop, but it’s an ideology we have to stop. “When you commit arson…” — this is a quote from the Mayor; he’s come a long way. He just made this quote. “When you commit arson with an accelerant in [the] attempt to burn down a building that is occupied by people who…have intentionally trapped inside, you are not a” demonstrator or you’re not demonstrating,” said, Mayor 2722, “You are attempting to commit murder.” That’s come a long way; he’s come a long way when he made that statement. 
  • What you’re seeing in Portland is the radical left’s agenda in action. Portland is their roadmap for America. If the radical left gets in, and they treat Joe Biden as a puppet; he’s merely a puppet. But if the radical left gets in, they look at Portland as a thing that they want. That’s what they want. Why? Who knows? Doesn’t matter. It’s a different thinking, but it’s a mess.
  • I want to thank Homeland Security. They’ve done a fantastic job. We had our people go in. They stopped any intrusion into the courthouse, and the courthouse was saved, and other federal buildings were saved. And we would like to be asked by the Mayor and the Governor. We will go in and stop the problems in Portland in 24 hours, just like we did in Minneapolis after they really hurt that city. But the National Guard went in, did a phenomenal job. It was over in three hours. After watching six days of horror, it ended in three hours. You all saw the scene of them walking right down the street, it was actually an unfortunate view, but an incredible view of how to do things. 
  • We would be able to solve the Portland situation immediately, but we are supposed to be asked. If we’re not asked and if it continues, we’ll have to make a decision. It’s a very easy thing for us to do. We could stop it very quickly. It’s been going on now for 76 days. But our buildings are very secure.
  • If the Democrats controlled in Washington, they’d pass legislation gutting every single police department in America. They truly do; many of these people want to defund the police department. At a minimum, they’re to stop money from going to the police department, but in many cases, they actually wanted to defund, completely, the police department.
  • No city, no town, and no suburb would be safe. Your suburbs would be a disaster. Your cities, your towns would be a disaster. They want every city to be a Portland or to be a Chicago, which is totally out of control, and we’re waiting for the mayor. We’ve sent people in to help them from an intelligence standpoint, but we’re waiting for them to call — the Governor, the Mayor. We could do a very good job in Chicago. Nobody’s ever seen anything like that in this country. 
  • Yet, nationwide numbers are good, despite the Chicagos and the Portlands and frankly, the New Yorks, when you look at what’s happened in New York. Three hundred and forty-eight percent increase in the last number of months. Nobody has seen anything like that. It’s so sad. To me, it’s so sad because I love New York. And it’s so sad. All it is, is horrible, horrible incompetent management by politicians that truly don’t know what they’re doing.
  • So just like we saved the courthouse, we will save the United States of America. And a vast majority of people agree with me. A vast majority. Most people. They don’t speak up as much as they could, but we know they’re there, and everybody else knows they’re there, too. 
  • With that, I’ll take a few questions from the media. They’ve been here for a long time, and they’ve been waiting outside for a long time. And they wait for these moments. So it was a lot of fun.

Topics covered in the answer and question portion of the briefing can be found here: August 7 Briefing

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