Jul 31, 2020
Donald Trump Roundtable on COVID-19 Response & Storm Preparedness Transcript July 31
President Donald Trump participated in a roundtable with Gov. Ron DeSantis on the COVID-19 response and storm preparedness in Florida on July 31. Read the transcript here.
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President Donald Trump: (00:12)
Thank you very much, and thank you for being here to discuss the relentless work that we’re doing to defeat the China virus and protect the people of Florida. Great state. Just got the endorsement of the sheriffs, and they are amazing people. The law enforcement in Florida is very, very, very first grade. We appreciate that endorsement in particular.
President Donald Trump: (00:35)
First, I want to provide a update to our response and on our response to hurricane. So the hurricane is a … I’m not sure it’s a hurricane yet. Right now-
Speaker 1: (00:45)
President Donald Trump: (00:45)
… it’s sort of projected as a storm/hurricane, right? What’s going to happen? Is that looking like a hurricane to you, Ron?
Ron DeSantis: (00:52)
I think that it did reach category one status, but it’s kind of right at the border.
President Donald Trump: (00:56)
Let’s keep it there. Let’s not let it get any bigger. But it’s pretty severe nevertheless. A lot of water coming in. It’s approach approaching the Florida coast. The storm’s already passed through Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and I’ve approved emergency declarations for both of those areas.
President Donald Trump: (01:11)
FEMA is closely coordinating with Florida, with your governor, happens to be on my right. Good job, by the way, Ron. You’re doing a great job. And we’re in constant contact with Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, and anybody else that may have a problem. But we think it’s going to work out very well. We have FEMA all set to go. In some of those states, they were already there.
President Donald Trump: (01:35)
I ask all of those in the path of the storm to follow the guidance of your state, local, and tribal officials. My administration will be here for you every single step of the way. We’ve done everything we can do, and now we’re just waiting for the storm. And I guess it’s right behind me. It’s following me.
President Donald Trump: (01:53)
We’re grateful to be joined by Health and Human Services’ Secretary is doing a fantastic job on COVID or whatever you want to call it. There are many different names. All we know is it came from China, and they shouldn’t have let it happen. But Alex Azar is here. Thank you, Alex, very much. Governor Ron DeSantis doing a fantastic job. Thank you. Previous Governor and now Senator Rick Scott. He’s representing Florida very well in Washington. And I just spoke with Marco Rubio, and likewise he’s doing a great job, and he sends his regards. State Senator Wilton Simpson. Thank you very much, Senator. Great job you’re doing. State Representative Daniel Perez. Daniel, thank you, Daniel, very much.
Daniel Perez: (02:37)
Thank you, Mr. President.
President Donald Trump: (02:37)
Pinellas County Commissioner Kathleen Peters.
Kathleen Peters: (02:41)
Good to see you.
President Donald Trump: (02:41)
Hi, Kathy. Thanks very much. And CEO, Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida, Justin Senior. Thank you. Thank you, Justin, very much, very much for being here.
President Donald Trump: (02:52)
We continue to take very aggressive action to combat the virus in Florida, and your state officials are amazing. They’ve been working so hard. The rate of positive cases in Florida has now declined. It’s declining. And hospitalizations are declining in most places and pretty steadily, and we think there’s going to be a big decline starting very soon.
President Donald Trump: (03:17)
There’s currently over 21% inpatient hospital bed capacity available, so there’s plenty of bed capacity. And over 16% ICU capacity available, and some of that’s going to be emptying out as people get better. They do get better, and they get better pretty fast.
President Donald Trump: (03:34)
Statewide, we’re providing additional resources and personnel to help save lives. We remain concerned about Florida, about Miami, and in a certain area of Miami in particular, but local officials are working very hard, and we think we have that one on the right step also. The test positivity rate has declined over the last week, and in some cases very substantially, as have hospitalization levels.
President Donald Trump: (03:59)
But we must further reduce the spread, and that’s what we’re doing. We’re working closely with health officials on the ground to support this effort. The single best way to defeat the disease is personal responsibility. You’ve heard me say it. You’ve heard a lot of people say it, actually. I urge all Americans to protect the elderly. The fact is you have to do the social distancing thing. It’s very important. Socially distance, wear a mask when you cannot avoid crowded places or socially distance, and wash your hands as often as possible.
President Donald Trump: (04:33)
Almost half of all deaths nationwide have been in nursing homes and assisted living centers. And I have to say the state of Florida, with regard to the nursing homes, has done an incredible job. Really an incredible job. They watched what was happening in some places, even beyond our own country, the other countries, they were seeing what was happening with the elderly and particularly in nursing homes. And Ron, you’ve done a great job on that. Appreciate it.
President Donald Trump: (04:59)
I have to say that there’s been a big surge of the China virus in other countries, very big countries that we thought they were doing a good job. And they were. They were doing a great job in some cases. But a big headline in the Wall Street Journal just yesterday and an editorial that all of a sudden they started to surge. So countries that we thought were doing great turned out to have big difficulty. I won’t name the countries, but you know them, there are a lot of them actually.
President Donald Trump: (05:26)
The average age of those who succumb to the virus is 78 years old. We’re also closely monitoring the situation in Latin America and its impact on the United States. Latin America has more confirmed cases than anywhere else in the world. Actually, substantially more. Having a hard time.
President Donald Trump: (05:45)
We’ve sent many ventilators to Latin America. We’ve sent many ventilators to different countries in Europe, Africa, and all over the world. We’re making thousands of ventilators now a month. We started off with essentially very little, and we become a ventilator manufacturer, so to speak, and we’re helping a lot of countries. We’ve sent them to France. We’ve sent them to Italy. A lot to Italy. We sent them to Mexico. We sent them to Russia. Moscow is having a tremendous problem. And we’ve sent him to a lot of different countries, many. And we have a full supply in our country. The amazing thing is we started with very few, and not one person that needed a ventilator did not get a ventilator, so that’s a pretty amazing statistic. We have nearly 1,400 federal personnel on the ground already in Florida, including personnel supporting nursing homes. We have doctors, military doctors. They’re incredible and very talented people. And frankly, they’re very brave people, but they’re all over the state, helping with your medical folks. And Ron asked if he could get some extra people here. We did it immediately.
President Donald Trump: (06:53)
In the last week, we’ve opened five new surge testing sites in Florida. In Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood Beach, Pompano Beach, and two in Miami. We’re sending rapid test kits to 701 Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing homes in the state. We’ve also sent multiple shipments of protective equipment to all of the nursing homes. And as I said on ventilators, I can also talk about in Florida, in Miami, they have everything they need. They don’t need any. We’ve sent a lot. They don’t need any.
President Donald Trump: (07:24)
Testing-wise, we’ve tested almost 60 million people throughout the country, which is about six times more than any other country, close to six times more than any other country. If you look at India, they’re at 11 million. We’re going to be at over 60 million, so they’ve done a tremendous job in testing considering we started off with very little. It was a unknown disease, and it was an unknown test.
President Donald Trump: (07:50)
FEMA, HHS, and the private sector have delivered more than 10,000,095 masks, 43 million surgical mask, 19.7 million gowns, and 1.3 billion medical gloves to Florida. 1.3 billion gloves, Ron.
President Donald Trump: (08:07)
We’ve secured 90% of the world’s supply of remdesivir, which has been very, very successful. And I’ve sent over 143 vials to Florida hospitals as a really something that’s very special and we’re working on very hard. Operation Warp Speed today, we reached a $2-billion agreement with Sanofi and GSX to conduct clinical trials and mass produce 100 million doses of vaccine.
President Donald Trump: (08:33)
What we’ve done is a rather incredible, I have to say. We have many companies, great companies, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Pfizer, many companies are very close to getting the vaccine. We think it’s going to be in a very short time from now. And we’re set with our military to deliver the vaccine. We have a tremendous military delivery service, and that will be doing it. It’s called logistics, and they will be taking the vaccine and bringing it all over the country. And I’m sure that we’ll be supplying it beyond our country also, but we’re going to have it very soon.
President Donald Trump: (09:08)
We’re also having a tremendous work done on other treatments other than vaccines. So we have a lot of great things in the pipeline, I think things that are going to be really spectacular. I’m very excited about therapeutics because therapeutically, I think we have answers that are really looking good. In fact, if I had my choice, I’d probably initially maybe go with the therapeutics because you walk into the hospital, they get a shot or they do a transfusion depending on the company and what they’re doing. And a short time later, just people get better. So we’re looking at that very, very strongly.
President Donald Trump: (09:46)
I just want to thank Rick and Ron and everybody, done really a fantastic job. We’ve worked together so long and so hard, and this is something that came upon us. It should’ve never happened, but it came upon us, and there’s been great bravery from our doctors and our nurses, our frontline.
President Donald Trump: (10:03)
And there’s been great bravery from our doctors, and our nurses, our frontline people. And we’re very proud of what’s happening, and we’ll get rid of it. We’ll beat it. And it’ll be soon. We want to get our schools open. We want to get our businesses open. Much of the country is open. We’ve set records on number of employees, and hiring, and employment. Basically, if you look at the number, I think last month was the highest number ever hired in one month. And the month before that, we broke that record. So from that standpoint, we’ve done well. Retail sales set a record last month. So we’re doing really record increase. So we’re doing really well. And I think this will end hopefully very soon, but we’re fighting hard, and we’re fighting smart. And I’d like to ask your governor to say a few words. Please, Ron.
Ronald DeSantis: (10:47)
Thank you, Mr. President, welcome back to Florida. Thanks for all your support. We are monitoring very closely the track of Hurricane Isaias. Both the 11:00 AM and the 5:00 PM advisories from National Hurricane Center tacked it a little bit closer to the Florida coast. I think it’s pretty clear we will get, at a minimum, tropical storm force wind impacts, likely hurricane force wind impacts. We don’t know for sure whether the eye will actually interact with the coast of Florida. We’re looking actually, probably northern part of Palm Beach County. Maybe a little bit north of that is kind of where they’re going. Obviously we’ll know more. So I would just urge Floridians, just particularly if you’re from Deerfield Beach up until the Brevard-Volusia area, you are under a hurricane watch. Make sure you have your plan. Make sure you have seven days of food, and supplies, and medicine.
Ronald DeSantis: (11:39)
There could be some power outages. And it’s an ongoing, very fluid situation. As it does move west, it’s kind of weakening a tad. And if it strengthens, we think it may end up going further east. But just continue to listen to your local officials. We’ll be providing updates multiple times a day throughout the weekend. And obviously the federal government’s been great helping. We did submit for a landfall emergency declaration. So we look forward to that support. And we also want to thank the administration for supporting us with the fight against COVID-19. Anytime we needed anything, we would talk to the president, vice president, and we would get it.
Ronald DeSantis: (12:18)
So when we started to see the hospital admissions really pick up, the doctors were prescribing more Remdesivir. So we told them, “Hey, you guys have been sending us enough for when we had very low census. Now that the census is higher, can we get more? Can we move up these shipments?” And Alex was involved, the president, we got it up. And so we’ve accelerated a number of weeks of shipments. So they’ve been able to have the medications that they need. CDC put out, I think, important guidance last Friday that didn’t really get much attention, about people going back to work. A lot of employers in Florida had been demanding a negative PCR test in order to go back to work. CDC recommends against that now. And I think that is exactly the right thing compared to what we’ve seen. These PCR tests, you can test positive for 12 weeks. So we have people that are not infectious, have no live virus, and they’re getting a positive test 10 days, 20 days out.
Ronald DeSantis: (13:16)
And so CDC recommends going to a symptom-based approach. We’ve put that out, the state of Florida to all the employers, the symptom-based approach really is the more effective approach. And I think that that will just help people be able to go. If you’re symptomatic and you test positive, obviously we’re inferring live virus there. But the asymptomatic, 12 week window, and we really don’t know whether you’re infectious or not. So I think what we’re going to be doing because of what you guys have just sent us.
Ronald DeSantis: (13:45)
Additionally, the wait times on the labs, it’s just gotten backed up. We’re doing so many tests. Sometimes it takes seven to 10 days to get the results back. So what we’re going to do is we’ve already focused on our symptomatic test takers, which are a minority of the people testing. We have agreements with labs to get it turned around quicker. And then the federal government has sent us these point of care antigen tests. So we’re going to have 1,250 of those a day. So we’re going to convert some of our bigger test sites into point of care, antigen testing for symptomatic and elderly people, probably in Miami-Dade.
Ronald DeSantis: (14:19)
So this way they go, they get the result in 15 minutes, which is good for them. And then it gets reported to the state. So we have a real time understanding of the positivity and everything’s going on. When we get the test results reported, some of these tests are from two or three weeks ago. And these data dumps. So I think it’ll help us be able to understand the prevalence better. So that’s an important tool. So I just wanted to say thank you for sending those machines to us.
President Donald Trump: (14:43)
And you have the numbers in five minutes to 15 minutes or something, [inaudible 00:14:47].
Ronald DeSantis: (14:47)
President Donald Trump: (14:48)
Especially for the elderly. Rick Scott, please.
Rick Scott: (14:52)
Sure. Well, first off, when I was governor, you were very helpful in the hurricanes we had. And I talked to the governor of Puerto Rico this morning, and she was very appreciative. FEMA’s there, FEMA’s being helpful. They’ve got some flooding. So she was traveling the island, but she said … I said, “Is there anything you need out of the federal government?” And they said, “You guys have done a great job.”
President Donald Trump: (15:17)
That’s great Rick, thank you very much.
Rick Scott: (15:18)
Thanks for doing that. And I just want to thank you for your commitment to the vaccine. I know that’ll be a game changer when that happens. And I know you and your administration have been very aggressive in making sure that happens in the testing. So I just want to tell you, I think you’ve done a great job trying to make sure everybody’s getting this done as quickly as possible. I think the governor is saying some of the issues that I’m sure a lot of states are having, but I know the Trump administration is working hard. I want to thank Secretary Azar. His team has done a great job. I’m going to tell you, Steve Hahn has done a great job. I mean, if you look at what the person talked about with regard to therapeutics, that would not happen, but for HHS and but for the FDA. And the authority you gave to doctors to be able to make decisions and be doctors. And I know you’re trying to get that information as quickly as possible so people make good decisions. So I want to thank everybody.
President Donald Trump: (16:07)
Thank you, Rick. And the speed of approval is just a tiny fraction of the time that it would have been in let’s say another administration. The FDA has been fantastic. They’re getting things through, Ron, at levels that nobody ever thought possible. We’re close to a vaccine. We think we’re close to a vaccine. And that’s been a matter of months, as opposed to many years. It could be take many years. And we think we’re going to have a great answer very, very soon. Alex, please.
Sure. Thank you, Mr. President. So we’re working very closely with FEMA as well as with the emergency authorities here in Florida on the hurricane situation. And of course, would advise all Floridians follow the advice of your state and local leaders as to what to do. But that advice may be a little bit different this time because of COVID. So normally you might evacuate. This time, more advice is going to focus on sheltering in place for Floridians who live at home, as well as for those in longterm care centers like nursing homes, or for people who are hospitalized. In addition, we’re recommending and working with the state to establish shelters that would be non congregate places for sheltering in place. If you do end up at a place that’s a congregate setting, it’s the same advice that we give in a non-emergency situation. Wear face coverings, practice good physical distance, good personal hygiene.
As the president said, we’ve had just a … I think it’s an historic 24 hours on the development of therapeutics and vaccines. Under the president’s Operation Warp Speed Initiative. Yesterday afternoon, the president made a historic national call to action for people to donate plasma. So I call on Floridians, please, if you have tested positive and recovered from COVID, go to coronavirus.gov and learn how you can donate your plasma and save lives through the American Red Cross, through America’s blood banks. You can make a real difference. And then as the president said, just this morning, we announced the sixth vaccine candidates from Sanofi GSK. A hundred million doses with an option for 500 million more.
So that’s now six major historic investments to bring us vaccines coming into the fall. And then also today, out of our National Institutes of Health, the RADx initiative led by Dr. Collins, which is next generation testing and diagnostics, announced a quarter of a billion dollars of funding on seven novel diagnostics that we’re investing in. That we believe could bring millions of additional diagnostics to the table as soon as September. Thanks to your leadership. Thank you.
President Donald Trump: (18:44)
That’s right. Thank you very much, Alex, I appreciate it. Please, go ahead.
Speaker 2: (18:47)
Mr. President, thank you for being here in Florida today. We appreciate your foresight to organize our major corporations around this country to produce the type of equipment we need, the PPE we need here in the country. We’re looking forward to your leadership in the future to make sure we bring those manufacturing jobs back to the United States from all over the world, so that we’re better prepared in the future. You’ve worked very closely with our governor. The governor did a tremendous job making sure that we were protecting our most vulnerable. And so the state of Florida really shut down the longterm care facilities, and nursing homes, and other facilities. And it was the leadership from your administration, and the governor’s office, that allowed that to happen. And we’re very proud of the fact that we have the best pharmaceuticals anywhere around the world.
Speaker 2: (19:33)
And you know the half life [inaudible 00:19:35] are coming every day. Stage two and three trials for vaccines. We’re very excited that hopefully before the end of the year, we’re going to have a vaccine. But the therapeutic medicines are tremendous. And that is something for you to be very proud of. And your administration has done a tremendous job for the state of Florida and the country. So thank you.
President Donald Trump: (19:52)
And I just signed an executive order whereby the gentlemen on my right can go out and buy your prescription drugs at a number that you’d never thought possible. And I-
President Donald Trump: (20:03)
… Prescription drugs at a number that you’d never thought possible and I assume you’re going to be doing that pretty soon, Ron, right?
Ronald DeSantis: (20:06)
Yeah. No. Well, Wilton was involved in that legislation, in the legislature. So, we’re excited about it. I’ll also say, just with respect to the longterm care, your administration is sending, to a number of facilities throughout the country, nursing homes, point-of-care tests there as well. Now, we are testing all the staff every two weeks. We have over 200,000 staff, because we have over 4,000 facilities. And then if there’s an infection, then we would go and look to see if the residents need to be tested. And we’ve already tested all the residents throughout this pandemic. But the point-of-care, I think is going to be less, even for staff or residents, but for allowing visitors again. We’ve not had visitors in these places since mid March, because we feared having the introduction of the virus.
Ronald DeSantis: (20:46)
And I think that that’s the right decision to protect life, but that comes at an enormous emotional cost, because you have elderly folks who want to have that human connection. And so if you have a 15 minute test, you can have the family members go take the test, they can go in and see. That is important for health too, because mental wellbeing and everything is just really, really important. So I want to thank you for doing that. It’s really good. I think it’d be interesting, Justin really can give you a good synopsis about where the Florida trends are. I mean, if you kind of read what people will put out, versus the data we see, there’s obviously a discrepancy there and Justin’s been there. And so we talk with all his CEOs. We talk with him every day, about capacity, about the trends, about the discharges. And we’ve been able to handle this. We got some great people working very hard. But really, there was a lot of foresight into using the last few months to prepare for when we would have-
Ronald DeSantis: (21:44)
… an update.
President Donald Trump: (21:45)
Go ahead, Justin.
President Donald Trump: (21:45)
Our alliance has hospitals running from Pensacola all the way down to Miami. And we’ve seen probably between 40 and 50% of the COVID patients, positive patients, in the State of Florida. We are coming through a difficult month. But there are real reasons, and I think you touched on them in your opening remarks, for cautious optimism right now. Almost every one of our members has seen either their census leveling off, or actually starting to decline. And there’s real hope, I think, that August we’re going to see some acceleration there. The key is to keep working together. I think some of the difference makers, in terms of the outcomes in Florida and why Florida has fared relatively well, has to do with the decisions around longterm care facilities and requiring two positive tests before a patient is discharged from hospital to a longterm care facility.
I also think that the state has done an excellent job of relieving pressure on the hospitals. We have a lot of patients, elderly patients that are in the hospital, their COVID positive, but they’ve stabilized and they no longer need to be in the hospital. And you can’t discharge them to a longterm care facility, because they’re still COVID positive. That creates a lot of pressure on the hospital, to have that patient still in there, it takes up capacity. The state’s done a great job of setting up COVID only facilities, that have allowed us to get those patients out of the hospital, get them to a comfortable place where they get the treatment that they need. They get the services that they need, but the hospital has the capacity. Our hospitals are all participating in these clinical trials. Remdesivir was one that our hospital’s participated in. They’re participating in the antibody studies, and we have a lot of hope on those as well. And I think that the cooperation between the state, federal government is something that we’ve certainly seen firsthand. And we definitely appreciate all the work that’s gone in.
President Donald Trump: (23:34)
Well, you’ve really done a good job in the nursing homes. When I look at you compared to other places, frankly, you’ve really done a great job with nursing homes. I know you’re focused on it, but that’s been a very good situation compared to other places.
Ronald DeSantis: (23:46)
Yeah. I mean, so when we did these COVID only facilities, our thought is, one, we’re doing testing in the nursing homes. There’s a lot of nursing home residents who don’t develop really significant symptoms either. But if they can’t be isolated in the nursing home, where can you do it? You can send them to the hospital, but if they don’t need to be hospitalized… So we have these facilities that can accept the transfers, then when they clear the illness, then they go back. So it’s good for the resident, if they don’t have to be in the hospital, to not have to go. But then for the other residents, to not have somebody there spreading it. Because that, we obviously don’t want to see it spread anywhere, but if there’s one place we don’t want to see it spread, it’s in the longterm care facilities.
President Donald Trump: (24:24)
Well, that’s been really an amazing job. Kathleen, please.
Kathleen Peters: (24:28)
Thank you, Mr. President. It’s an honor to be here. I want to thank you and your administration, and the governor and his administration. I’ve had the wonderful privilege of serving as a mayor of a city, and then the House of Representatives and now as a county commissioner. And I’ve always held very tight to home rule. And I think that our success, particularly in Florida, is because you left it to the local communities to determine what was right for each individual community. And I think that way, we were able to just strategically come up with our approach that would really be comprehensive. And when we needed help, governor, your departments were there, they were right there to help us. And the CARES Act that we received $170 million, helped us not only prepare for PPE and do training and testing, but we’ve done a lot of training in every single nursing home.
Kathleen Peters: (25:20)
And that’s something where [inaudible 00:25:21] really stepped up and helped us with. And made sure that we had teeth that we could go in there and really ensure that they allowed us in, because at first they didn’t even allow us in. So providing the resources has been great, but allowing us the autonomy to come up with a plan that’s individualized for each individual county, I think has been the best way to attack this approach. So I really appreciate kind of taking the hands off approach, and just providing the resources and letting the local community do what they need to do. And it’s been very successful. Our positive rate now went down from a 14% to a six or 7%.
President Donald Trump: (25:54)
Wow, that’s great.
Kathleen Peters: (25:56)
So in Pinellas County, we’re doing really, really well. And our nursing homes are doing well, and our hospitals as well are having relief. And so-
President Donald Trump: (26:03)
Kathleen Peters: (26:04)
… we’re in really great shape. And so, thank you for all the resources.
President Donald Trump: (26:08)
Kathleen Peters: (26:08)
President Donald Trump: (26:09)
Really good job. Thank you very much. Please.
Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for having me. I’m the lone Miamian here at the table, but I wanted to say thank you for your leadership under this time. We have two great senators that have done a phenomenal job. And Senator Rubio, although he’s not here, has really been the flag bearer when it came to PPE. And in my district, which is in Miami, I’ve seen the small businesses survive, because of your assistance and leadership during this time. And at the same time, I think Senator Rick Scott has been very vocal, in making sure that taxpayer dollars don’t get used for some of the states that are trying to use them as a bailout.
President Donald Trump: (26:47)
And I think that’s very important. And it’s a point that you continue to hammer, along with the senator. And it’s one that we here in Florida have to continue to voice as well. But in Miami, the assistance has been so important, specifically when it comes to the elderly population. I think there’s a stat that I had seen a couple of days ago that stuck in my mind, which was roughly around $80 million has been used for meal assistance for the elderly. And I have a very elderly population in my district, and that comes out to about 9 million meals, for individuals that are not able to go out, for reasons that are private to their own. But nonetheless, it wouldn’t be possible without your leadership. So on behalf of Miami, we want to say thank you very much. And once again, welcome back home to Florida. That welcome on the way over here, I’ve never been a part of a motorcade, Mr. President, but I got chills. The love here for you is very real.
President Donald Trump: (27:39)
That was an amazing group of people, wasn’t it?
President Donald Trump: (27:41)
As long as we rode, and we rode a long time, we had tremendous crowds. And we appreciate it and we love Miami, we’ll take care of it. Okay?
President Donald Trump: (27:49)
Great job you’re doing.
President Donald Trump: (27:51)
Do you have any questions, please, for anybody?
Speaker 3: (27:56)
Mr. President, how concerned are you about your political standing in Florida, given the number of deaths we’ve been seeing in recent days?
President Donald Trump: (28:03)
Well based on the polls, I’m doing very well in Florida. And the local government is doing a fantastic job. I think we’re doing really a fantastic job and we’re getting everything that they need. They’ve, for the most part, had it anyway. We had it all stocked up and stacked up. And you remember, I used to say the cupboards were bare, federally. From the federal standpoint, we had very empty cupboards. Whether it was the military or the cupboards for medical, they were bare. And Ron, I think Ron and Rick would both say, we’ve really supplied you with a lot, not only having to do with the medical and the COVID, but having to do with a lot more, in particular, some of the hurricanes. In your time and your time, we had some really bad ones and we came through. So, the polls are looking very good. And I think when you see those crowds people along the roads, there’s a very good feeling.
Speaker 3: (28:49)
But what about the number of deaths we’ve seen in recent days here?
President Donald Trump: (28:51)
Well, I hate it anywhere. But if you look at other countries, other countries are doing terribly. This is a horrible disease. This is a disease that should have never happened. It’s something never should have been allowed to get out of China, but it did. It came here. It went to Europe. It went all over the world. It’s in 188 countries. And I will say this, proportionately, relatively, when you look at your nursing home situation, it’s a tribute to your governor and government, the job they’ve done. You’ve done a really great job. And you have a very big nursing home population. You’ve done a fantastic job. So, I think we’re doing really well in Florida. Yeah?
Speaker 4: (29:26)
Mr. President, you told Axios in an interview earlier this week that you did not bring up the intelligence assessment with Vladimir Putin, that they have been placing bounties on our soldiers heads. You said it was because no one had brought it to your attention, but it was in your Presidential Daily Briefing. Have you been reading that briefing every day?
President Donald Trump: (29:45)
I read it all the time. I see it all the time. It was never brought to my attention. I think it’s another Russia hoax. They’ve been giving me the Russia hoax, shifty Schiff and all these characters, from the day I got here. And we’re working with Russia right now on a non-proliferation agreement, nuclear, non-proliferation. And..
President Donald Trump: (30:03)
Proliferation Agreement, nuclear non-proliferation, and if we can get something like that it’d be great, but it was never brought to my attention. And because it didn’t reach the level, there were a lot of people, including Democrats, that said it never took place. If it did take place, it would have been brought to my attention. And I would take very strong action. There’s been nobody tougher with Russia or China than I have, not even by a long shot. When you look at what we’ve done compared to the past administrations, it’s not even a contest. We’ve been very tough on Russia with the sanctions and so many other things, including letting people know that we’re not so happy about what’s going on with NATO and the oil.
President Donald Trump: (30:41)
But speaking of NATO, we’ve raised $130 billion a year from countries from as you know, from our partners with NATO, 28 countries. We had seven that were paid up. Now we have a very much bigger number. We’re getting $130 billion more. That’s going to $400 billion, and that’s money to really protect themselves for the most part against Russia. So nobody’s done more against Russia, but it was never brought to my attention. And it perhaps wasn’t brought because they didn’t consider it to be real. And if it is brought to my attention, I’ll do something about it.
Press Speaker 1: (31:16)
Mr. President, what’s in your healthcare plan that’s coming on Sunday?
President Donald Trump: (31:20)
Well, we’re going to be doing a healthcare plan. We’re going to be doing a very inclusive healthcare plan. I’ll be signing it some time very soon.
Press Speaker 1: (31:27)
You said two weeks [crosstalk 00:31:28]-
President Donald Trump: (31:29)
It might be Sunday, but it’s going to be very soon. We’re also doing a full immigration plan. We’re going to take care of a lot of things that for 25 years, they’ve been trying to get an immigration plan. We’re going to be doing merit based immigration. I’m sure you’ll be happy to hear that, but it’s merit based, very powerfully merit based. It’s going to be very inclusive. It’s going to cover just about everything that most people would have said couldn’t happen. And we’ll be releasing that over the next couple of weeks.
President Donald Trump: (31:57)
We’re doing a healthcare plan. We’re doing a immigration plan and we’re doing another one that’s very important are the drugs, prescription drug prices. We pay the highest of any country in the world by far. You look at Germany and you look at UK and Canada and other countries, and they pay a fraction of what we pay. And we’re doing a series of signatures, which I’ve done. And one goes into effect very soon, but we’re doing matching grants and all sorts of things that are got to bring our drug prices down at levels that nobody ever thought possible. We’re doing things that nobody ever thought possible.
President Donald Trump: (32:34)
The bad news is the pharmaceutical companies aren’t exactly in love with Donald Trump and they’ll advertise. They’ve already started it. I see they’ve already started. Have you seen the ads? And anytime you see an ad from a pharmaceutical company against me, you know that means the drug prices are coming down. But they’re going to be coming down to a level that nobody ever thought possible. As an example, Germany has very low prices and we have very high prices, many times the amount, and we have to get, no matter what the price, lowest price in the world, that’s what they have to give us. And right now we have, by far, the highest price in the world. We’re going to allow states like Florida go to Canada and to buy their prices are much lower than ours. So they’re going to be able to buy directly from Canada rather than going through their traditional sources. And I think in the state of Florida, what will that cut the prescription drug prices?
Ronald DeSantis: (33:25)
Well, I mean, it depends on the drug, but there were some when we were doing the bill that you could get for 75% less in terms of what would Canada would charge.
President Donald Trump: (33:32)
How about that? 75% less. So they’re going to be buying it approximately 75% less. What we’re doing really, which is the most, we’re doing rebates. And the rebates are going to go to the people and they’re going to go in the form of drug reduction, drug price reduction. But we’re doing something called favored nations. And nobody thought anybody would ever do that. But look, I want what’s right for the people. And it’s been very unfair. So favored nations, meaning if another nation is paying lower and another nation is paying even lower than that, we take the lowest nation in the world and that’s what we have to pay.
President Donald Trump: (34:05)
Right now we’re paying many times the lowest nation in the world. You have some of these socialistic or social, well, I guess you could say socialistic nations, they have drugs at a low price. Well, we’ll use that to our advantage because we’re going to be getting the price that they have. Now, what’s going to happen is that price will probably have to go up and our price will go way down. And I could see 50, 60, 70%, maybe more than that reduction in prices that no other president will ever do that. And the heat I’ve taken in the last couple of weeks because of that is unbelievable. And frankly, the ads I’ve taken are unbelievable. It’s sort of incredible. You see drug companies taking these massive ads.
Ronald DeSantis: (34:42)
When we did our bill, I’ve never seen more ads in Florida that pharmaceutical was doing. I mean, I have young kids, I’m watching like Paw Patrol with them and it goes to commercial and it’s saying that Florida, they’re going to bring in all these drugs from Djibouti, it’s going to kill everybody. So, I mean, it was unbelievable how they papered the airwaves a lot of money.
President Donald Trump: (35:02)
Keep in mind, the same drug that you paid a fortune for, for half the price maybe better than that even, the exact same drug made maybe in the same factory, the same company. And you’re going to be paying a fraction of the price. But the drug companies are not happy. And look, we want them to be happy. We want them to do well with the vaccines and we want them to do well with everything, but they’ve made a fortune and that’s why they could afford the ads. That’s for sure.
President Donald Trump: (35:26)
So when you see ads against us, and me in particular because I’m the one that, I’ve signed four acts, we’ll call it executive orders. And they’re the most powerful ever signed in this industry by a factor of about 20. And it’s going to bring your drug prices down to a level that you’ve never seen before. I’m very happy about that. The drug companies don’t contribute to my campaign. I don’t need their money. I haven’t asked for their money. And if they did, it wouldn’t matter to me anyway, but I am not somebody that’s reliant on the drug companies, and we call it big pharma. Big pharma is probably the most powerful lobbyist of any lobbyist there is probably. I don’t know. Maybe the lawyer’s lobby is pretty powerful, too. But big pharma would be just about up there.
President Donald Trump: (36:12)
And we have to do what’s right. They’ve been talking about reducing drug prices ever since I can remember, ever since I’ve been starting to really watch politics with interest, which was actually at a very young age, but we’ve been talking about drug price reductions and prescription drug reductions. And I will tell you, you’re going to see the biggest reductions in the history of our country by many times. We’re not talking about a 1%. And as you know, last year for the first time in 51 years, drug prices went down marginally, but they went down. First time in 51 years. So I was president then drug prices went down first time at 51 years. Now you’re going to see numbers that you wouldn’t even believe. And it’s going to be fair.
President Donald Trump: (36:53)
It’s not fair that other countries pay a fraction of, I mean a fraction of what we do. We pay all research and development and promotional costs and everything, it’s put onto the United States. They pay nothing. Nothing. And then on top of it, they say, “This is what we’ll pay and this is what it is.” And the United States will pay the remainder of the difference. I mean, this is the way they buy. They go, and I won’t mention names of countries, but they say, “This is what we’re going to pay. The United States will make up the difference.” And that’s not going to happen anymore. Okay. Thank you all very much. We appreciate it. Thank you.
Speaker 5: (37:29)
Press, thank you.
President Donald Trump: (37:32)
Thank you very much.
Speaker 5: (37:32)
Press, thank you. Press, thank you. We’re done for today.
Speaker 6: (37:40)
Are you up for election this year?
Speaker 5: (37:42)
Press, thank you.