Jul 20, 2020
Donald Trump Briefing on COVID-19 Transcript July 20
Donald Trump met with Mitch McConnell, Steve Mnuchin, Mike Pence, and Kevin McCarthy to discuss the COVID-19 outbreak. Donald Trump said he is going to resume regular briefings about COVID-19. Read the full transcript here.
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President Donald Trump: (00:00)
Just to see what’s going at our meetings. So I figured let you come in, you’ll look and you’ll see, we have a lot of good things happening. We have tremendous progress on vaccines and therapeutics. We’re getting reports, we’re studying the reports very closely. I think people are going to be very pleasantly surprised with what’s going on the vaccine front and the therapeutic front. This is always the first topic.
President Donald Trump: (00:27)
Secondarily, but very importantly, we’re working and negotiating with the Democrats on trying to get a plan that helps small businesses, helps people, helps this country, and I think we’ve made a lot of progress on that. And the discussions are going on. Steve, do you want to say a few words as to where we are.
Steve Mnuchin: (00:45)
Yes, Mr. President. Mark and I have been working very hard over the last two weeks with Mitch and Kevin on really what we see as the focus is kids and jobs. The Recovery Act, Cares 4.0, we’ve spent an unprecedented amount money. The good news is a lot of the $3 trillion, we still have left to put in the economy and put back to work. We’re focused on starting with another trillion dollars. We think that will make a big impact. And the focus is, as I said, is really about kids, and jobs, and vaccines. We’re going to make sure that we have a vaccine by the end of the year for emergency use. And the plan is, we just updated the president and the vice president, they signed off on this. Mark and I will be meeting tomorrow with the Republicans at the lunch to give them a full briefing. And then we will also be reaching out to the Democrats to begin our discussions.
Steve Mnuchin: (01:37)
But, we are committed that by the end of this month, make sure that before the enhanced unemployment insurance expires, that we pass legislation so that we can protect Americans that are unemployed. Now, we’ve said the number one issue is we have to fix the technical fix on enhanced unemployment. We’re going to make sure that we don’t pay people more money to stay home than go to work. We want to make sure that people who can go to work safely can do so. We’ll have tax credits that incentivize businesses to bring people back to work. We’ll have tax credits for PPE, for safe work environment, and we’re going to have big incentives, money to the States for education, for schools that can open safely and do education. So, these are the priorities as well as liability protection. We want to make sure that frivolous lawsuits don’t prevent schools, universities, and businesses from reopening.
President Donald Trump: (02:35)
Mike Pence: (02:38)
Well, Mr. President, I want to say how much we appreciate the leadership in The House and Senate. Today’s conversation is a continuation of your commitment to do whatever it takes to get the American people, American businesses and communities through this very challenging time. The outbreaks across the Sunbelt are serious, but because of the support that we’ve had from, frankly leaders in both political parties in the Congress of the United States. We’re meeting this moment with expanded testing, personal protective equipment, and as you said, Mr. President, with the development and distribution of therapeutics, and a rapid development of vaccines. That will all continue. But, it’s important that the Congress come together and provide additional resources for families that have been impacted, businesses that have been impacted. We’ll make sure our healthcare workers and our States have the resources that they need, but also, Mr. President, we’re going to continue to advance policies that will make it possible for us to open up America again and open up America’s schools.
Mike Pence: (03:48)
I look forward, I know as you do, and working with the leaders that are gathered here and members of Congress in both political parties to deliver another important element of a recovery package that will keep on working until we bring our country all the way back, and reach that day that we someday put this Coronavirus in the past.
President Donald Trump: (04:09)
Mitch McConnell: (04:13)
Yeah. Tomorrow begins the process of socializing what we’ve been discussing with the administration over the last two weeks with our members. And if you’re looking for a theme here, think liability protection for those who’ve been trying to deal with the pandemic. We don’t need an epidemic of lawsuits on the heels of the pandemic we’re already short on. Kids in school, jobs and healthcare will be the theme of the proposal that we hope to come together and present to our Republicans. And then as the Secretary of The Treasury indicated, obviously you can’t the bill in the Senate without the Democrats. And we’re going to talk to them as well.
President Donald Trump: (04:57)
Kevin McCarthy: (04:58)
Yes. Just to sum up what we’re looking at, if you’re sitting at home and you’re concerned that you don’t have a job, we want to make sure you’re able to come back. We don’t think any federal money should be spent that gives you a disincentive to work. We want to make sure we have incentives to keep going. For those small businesses, we want to make sure you can stay open. We want to make sure your kids can go back to school, but go back safely, not just for the children, but for the teachers as well. We continue to make strides to make sure we get to a vaccine, that we find a cure for this virus that we did not invite, that came from a foreign land. And I think that’s the focus that we have to be a part of.
Kevin McCarthy: (05:33)
Mitch talks about, and I think the fundamental, not just for schools, but for any businesses striving, whether they can open back up or not, they should not have an attack from any lawsuits. We need to give the protection that we rebuild, restore, and renew this country to where we were before and that we can do it together. That’s why we’re working here. We’ll be reaching out to the Democrats and I hope for that moment in time, we can put politics aside. That we look at one nation. That we don’t sit back and decide to rule within a Senate, that a minority denies the ability to have this debate, that denies the ability to help America unite and solve this problem once and for all.
Kevin McCarthy: (06:11)
We are making great strides when it comes to therapies. With this warp speed, history would write about this. When we get to the moment in time that we have this vaccine, they’ll write about how fast it would and no other country could do what we did, because of the ingenuity of this nation. And that’s the focus of what we’re trying to do. The safety of this country for our students, for our teachers, and for our businesses that were back to work again, stronger and safer, and more united.
President Donald Trump: (06:38)
It came from China. It should have never been allowed to get out. They could have stopped it. They could have stopped it easily. They chose not to. And we’ll have further reports on that. But, it came from China. They could have stopped it, they didn’t. They stopped it from going into China, but they didn’t stop him from going to the rest of the world. It didn’t stop it from going to Europe, to us. They should have stopped it. They could’ve stopped it. They weren’t transparent at all. They were the opposite. It’s not good. I spoke with the president of France this morning and I spoke with the president of Egypt. And we had a very, very good conversation, both of us, and all of us and all of us together. I had many conversations with leaders all over the world over the weekend and over the last couple of weeks in particular, and this is a pandemic that is flaring up all over the place. Countries said they were in good shape, and then all of a sudden, they have big flare up.
President Donald Trump: (07:41)
I see that over the weekend, I guess on Friday, there was a record worldwide number of death, worldwide. Because when you watch the news, the local news, and you see it, it’s all about the United States. They never like to talk about what’s going on in the world. But you look at Mexico, Brazil, many countries in Europe, all over Russia, Russia’s got a tremendous problem. What’s going on is terrible. It’s terrible. This is a worldwide problem.
President Donald Trump: (08:15)
We’re helping the world with ventilators. We’re helping a lot of countries. They don’t have ventilators and we’re sending thousands of ventilators to different countries. But, I do want people to understand this is a worldwide problem caused by China, but it’s a worldwide problem. Countries are going through hell. We’re going to give you a lot of briefings in the next week and over the next few weeks as to, I think it’s very important to do it, the vaccines and the therapeutics. I think I’m going to bring some of the great companies that are working, and very successfully in the past, have worked on these things. And they’re going to tell you very specifically what they’re doing and how they’re doing, We think we’re doing very well in that regard. Those two items.
President Donald Trump: (08:59)
I think frankly, therapeutic, I like almost better at this point, you go in and you make people better. Now, we have had some very good luck with remdesivir, that’s been successful and others have been a successful. The plasma has been successful. We’re really coming up with some very good answers, meaning they are. All over the world, we’re working very closely all over the world with the vaccines and the therapeutics. So, we’re going to have some of the heads of these great companies coming in. Johnson and Johnson is doing very well in particular. They seem to be doing very well, but numerous are doing very well. It’s something that I really feel certain. I guess you can use it totally certain, but pretty damn certain that they’re going to have the vaccine. They’re going to have therapeutics and it’s going to start taking place very shortly. That will be a great thing. For the world that will be a great thing.
President Donald Trump: (09:57)
But, this is happening all over the world, not just the United States. And it’s a tough one. It’s very tough. It’s very sad when you see the death. It’s all death that could have been stopped by China. If they wanted to stop it, they could have stopped it. Okay. Thank you very much everybody. [crosstalk 00:10:16]. Thank you.
Speaker 6: (10:14)
All right, guys. Thanks, guys. Guys, let’s go. Come on, guys. Guys, let’s go. John, let’s go. Come on, guys. Guys, let’s go.
Speaker 7: (10:23)
[crosstalk 00:10:23] press. Thank you.
How important is a payroll tax cut in [inaudible 00:10:26]?
President Donald Trump: (10:26)
I think it’s very important. I think it’s a very important thing. It’s very good. It’s been proven to be successful. It’s a big saving for the people. It’s a tremendous saving. And I think it’s an incentive for companies to hire their workers back and to keep their workers. The payroll tax cut to me is very important. We’re working on it. And I don’t think there’s too much dispute as to the level of importance, John. It is a very important thing. Okay? That’s one of many elements we’re discussing. We’re discussing probably a total of 10 different elements, but payroll tax cut’s a very important one.
President Donald Trump: (11:11)
Oh, absolutely. I think, hopefully, we’ll get there, but we’re talking about a lot of things, not just the payroll tax cut.
Speaker 9: (11:16)
So, they’re bringing back the Coronavirus briefing? Do I understand you correctly?
President Donald Trump: (11:22)
Well, we had very successful briefings. I was doing them and we had a lot of people watching, record numbers watching. In the history of cable television there’s never been anything like it. And we were doing very well. And I thought it would be automatic and a lot of positive things were happening. And frankly, a lot of the country is doing well. A lot of people don’t say, as you understand, but we have had this big flare up in Florida, Texas, a couple of other places. So, I think what we’re going to do is, I’ll get involved and we’ll start doing briefings, whether it’s this afternoon or tomorrow, probably tomorrow, and I’ll do briefings. And part of the briefing, I think much more so than last time, because last time we were nowhere with vaccines or therapeutics. And, let’s say that ended six weeks ago, we’ll start them again.
President Donald Trump: (12:15)
I think it’s a great way to get information out to the public as to where we are with the vaccines, with the therapeutics, and generally speaking where we are. And so I think we’ll start that probably starting tomorrow. I’ll do it at five o’clock like we were doing. We had a good slot and a lot of people were watching and that’s a good thing. I think that Kaylee will continue hers at 11 o’clock just like they were. I’ll be discussing the, as I call it, the China virus, the China plague, I’ll be discussing it, and I’ll also be discussing perhaps some other things. But, we’re doing very well in so many different ways, but unfortunately this is something that’s very tough, but we’re going to get it solved. I think we’re going to get it solved in numerous ways, but the two best would be vaccines and therapeutics. So we’ll be having that.
Speaker 10: (13:04)
Mr. President, in Portland and other cities that are experiencing violence, there was a report out this morning that you’re considering sending 175 federal troops to these cities to help local law enforcement. Can you fill this in on that?
President Donald Trump: (13:17)
It depends on what your definition of troops is. We’re sending law enforcement. Portland was totally out of control. The Democrats, the liberal Democrats running the place had no idea what they were doing. They were ripping down for 51 days, ripping down that city, destroying the city, looting it. The level of corruption and what was going on there is incredible. And then the governor comes out, “We don’t need any help.”
President Donald Trump: (13:46)
How about Chicago? I read the numbers where many people killed over the weekend. We’re looking at Chicago too. We’re looking at New York. Look at what’s going on. All run by Democrats, all run by very liberal Democrats, all run really by radical left. But, we can’t let this happen to the cities. New York was up 348%, the crime rate, so the governor has to do something about it. And if the governor’s not going to do something about it, we’ll do something about it. But, what’s happening in New York, a place I love, I love New York and look at what’s going on over there. The woman who was shot, because you said, “Could you please not let off firecrackers?” And they turned around and shot her eight times and she died. That’s not our civilization. That’s not about us. And then the police are afraid to do anything. I know New York very well. I know the police very well, New York’s finest. And the fact is, they’re restricted from doing anything. They can’t do anything.
Speaker 10: (14:45)
So what are you planning?
President Donald Trump: (14:46)
I’m going to do something. That I can tell you. Because we’re not going to let New York, and Chicago, and Philadelphia, and Detroit, and Baltimore, and all of these, Oakland is a mess, we’re not going to let this happen in our country. All run by liberal Democrats.
Speaker 10: (15:01)
Get more federal law enforcement to some of these cities?
President Donald Trump: (15:04)
We’re going to have more federal law enforcement. That I can tell you. In Portland, they’ve done a fantastic job. They’ve been there three days and they really have done a fantastic job in a very short period of time. No problem. They grab them, a lot of people in jail. Their leaders, these are anarchists, these are not protesters. People say protesters, these people are anarchists. These are people that hate our country and we’re not going to let it go forward. And I’ll tell you what, the governor, and the mayor, and the senators out there, they’re afraid of these people. That’s the reason they don’t want us to help them. They’re afraid. I really believe they’re actually, maybe even physically afraid of these people, because what they’re doing is incredible.
President Donald Trump: (15:45)
We didn’t just go there. This wasn’t like it started right away. We went there after 51 days, we said, “We can’t let that happen anymore,” but these are anarchists. And the politicians out there, yes they’re weak, but they’re afraid of these people. They’re actually afraid of these people. That’s why they say, “We don’t want the federal government helping.” How about Chicago? Would you say they need help after this weekend? Do you know the numbers? Did you hear the numbers? Many, many shot, many, many killed. I’m not talking about one, two. Was it 18 people killed? I think more than that. And you add it up over the summer. This is worse than Afghanistan by far. This is worse than anything anyone’s ever seen. All run by the same liberal Democrats.
President Donald Trump: (16:38)
And you know what? If Biden got in, that would be true for the country. The whole country would go to hell and we’re not going to let it go to hell. Thank you very much everybody.