Apr 24, 2020
Transcript: Donald Trump Signs Relief Bill, Says Comments on Injecting Disinfectant Were “Sarcastic”
Donald Trump signed a $484 billion coronavirus relief bill passes by the House today. He made a statement and talked with the press, saying he was, “asking a sarcastic question,” when talking about injecting disinfectant yesterday. Read the full transcript here.
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Speaker 5: (00:09)
Do you take any responsibility for these 50,000 deaths that have happened in this country?
Donald Trump: (00:15)
I think we’ve done a great job. As you know, minimal numbers were going to be 100,000 people. Minimal numbers were going to be 100,000 people and we’re going to be hopefully far below that. If we didn’t take quick action, you could have lost many millions of people. So we’re really being given a lot of credit for a lot of people. I’m not looking for credit for myself, but I am looking for credit for people in the federal government that have done such a great job and for the doctors and nurses and everybody else. Please.
Mr. President, do you have any comment on Rick Wright who says he’s going to file a whistleblower complaint?
Donald Trump: (00:50)
I don’t know the gentleman. I’m sorry. I don’t know. I don’t know how you sign a whistleblower complaint. Is that a whistleblower complaint you’re talking about? [crosstalk 00:00:59]. How do you sign a whistleblower complaint when everybody knows who he is? I know nothing about him.
Ayesha Rascoe: (01:03)
He says he was retaliated against because he refused to promote hydroxychloroquine.
Donald Trump: (01:09)
That, I don’t know. I don’t know anything about it. I don’t know-
Ayesha Rascoe: (01:09)
Did you ever ask a scientist to promote it?
Donald Trump: (01:11)
Easy. Easy. Just take it nice and easy. I don’t know anything about him. Until yesterday, I never heard of the gentleman. Okay? [crosstalk 00:01:19].
Speaker 5: (01:18)
Have you asked anyone to look into what happened to him?
Donald Trump: (01:22)
Speaker 5: (01:22)
Have you asked anyone to look into the circumstances around him?
Donald Trump: (01:25)
I have not yet. At some point I will. I guess they moved him to a different group.
Speaker 6: (01:30)
What price China should pay for spreading this virus and covering it up and lying about it?
Donald Trump: (01:35)
Well, we’re looking into it. We’re studying it. We’re investigating and we’ll see what happens. But it is something that should have been stopped early on. It could have been stopped easily in China and we don’t understand why they didn’t do it. So we’re looking into it. We’re not happy about it.
Ayesha Rascoe: (01:52)
Why don’t you know about-
Donald Trump: (01:53)
Who are you with?
Ayesha Rascoe: (01:54)
I’m with NPR. Ayesha Rascoe.
Donald Trump: (01:56)
Okay, go ahead. You opened that up. Go ahead, please. Question?
Speaker 5: (02:01)
Do you support any money for the postal service?
I can comment on that, Mr. President.
Speaker 5: (02:05)
Go ahead, postal service.
So we authorized in the last Care Act over $10 billion of a loan. My team is already actively working on that with the postal service if they need the money, and we’re dealing with that.
Donald Trump: (02:18)
The postal service is a joke because they’re handing out packages for Amazon and other internet companies, and every time they bring a package, they lose money on it. So Amazon and other internet companies and delivery companies are dropping all of their, not all of them, but a big portion of packages and whatever else they’re doing into a post office, and the post office is supposed to deliver the packages, and they lose a lot of money. The post office should raise the price of a package by approximately four times because they don’t raise them. These have been in there for a long time, but for some reason they’re very cozy with some of these companies and they don’t raise the price of a package.
Donald Trump: (03:09)
And if they raise the price of a package like they should four or five times, that’s what it should be or let Amazon build their own post office, which would be an impossible thing to do because the post office is massive and serves every little piece of the country, the post office, if they raise the price of a package by approximately four times, it would be a whole new ball game, but they don’t want to raise because they don’t want to insult Amazon and they don’t want to insult other companies perhaps that they like. The post office should raise the price of the packages to the companies, not to the people. To the companies. And if they did that it would be a whole different story. Do you agree with that, Steve?
I do. And actually we are going to put certain criteria for our postal reform program as part of the loan, and we’re looking forward to the board is recruiting a new postmaster general and doing postal reform.
Donald Trump: (04:02)
Well, I’ll go a step further. If they don’t raise the price of the service they give, which is a tremendous service, and they do a great job, and the postal workers are fantastic, but this thing’s losing billions of dollars. It has for years because for whatever reason you can imagine, they don’t want to insult Amazon and these other groups. If they don’t raise the price, I’m not signing anything. So they’ll raise the price so that they become maybe even profitable, but so they lose much less money. Okay? And if they don’t do it, I’m not signing anything and I’m not authorizing you to do anything, Steve.
Ayesha Rascoe: (04:39)
Mr. President, can you clarify your comments about injections of disinfectant? They were quite provocative.
Donald Trump: (04:45)
No, I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen. Now, disinfectant for doing this maybe on the hands would work. And I was asking the question of the gentleman who was there yesterday, Bill, because when they say that something will last three, or four hours, or six hours, but if the sun is out or if they use disinfectant, it goes away in less than a minute. Did you hear about this yesterday? But I was asking a very sarcastic question to the reporters in the room about disinfectant on the inside. But it does kill it and it would kill it on the hands and that would make things much better. That was done in the form of a sarcastic question to the reporters. Okay?
Ayesha Rascoe: (05:32)
But you were asking your medical experts to look into it.
Donald Trump: (05:32)
No, no, no.
Ayesha Rascoe: (05:32)
Were you being sarcastic with them?
Donald Trump: (05:32)
To look into whether or not sun and disinfectant on the hands, but whether or not sun can help us because he came in yesterday and he said they’ve done a big study. This is a study. This isn’t where he hasn’t done it. This is where they’ve come in with a final report that sun has a massive impact negatively on this virus. In other words, it does not live well with humidity and it doesn’t live well with sun, sunlight, heat. It doesn’t live well with heat, and sun, and disinfectant. And that’s what I brought out, and I thought it was clear. Okay, anything else?
Mr. President, could you comment a little bit on what you’re considering right now for helping the oil and gas industry? [crosstalk 00:06:17].
Donald Trump: (06:15)
Yeah, I want to help that industry. That industry got unnecessarily hurt by massive amounts of oil being produced by very big countries, oil producing countries, and they got carried away. And I got involved with those two countries to have them make peace with each other, but by the time we get involved, all of a sudden, they have billions of barrels. They never saw anything like it. Every tanker is loaded up with oil sitting out in the ocean. Oil is less than water. Nobody’s ever seen anything like it. Now in many respects for our country, automobiles and airplanes and all of the things that you have to do with the airlines, we’re tying to make the airlines work again. And we will, we just provided financing for them, which was great. We’re going to keep our airlines and all those employees totally intact.
Donald Trump: (07:11)
So in some ways, fuel cost is very low. But I’m an energy person, I love the energy business. We’re energy independent, we’re going to stay that way. We’re also filling up, as you know, John, our national strategic reserves and we’re filling up like never before and we’re frankly getting very good prices, as we should. Very good prices. So we’re filling up the reserve. That’s 75 million barrels and we’re going to have that filled up pretty soon. So it’ll be filled for the first time in a long time. And we’re doing it at a very, very low cost. So it’s good. Now, it’ll come back when the virus is gone. They lost 40% of their market because of the virus. In all fairness to even the producers and even the countries, they lost 40% of their market because people aren’t driving automobiles, they’re not doing anything.
Donald Trump: (08:01)
They’re not flying in airplanes. The airline business was essentially shut down. So all of this massive amount of fuel, and this is all over the world, this isn’t here. This is in virtually every country. As you know, I’ve been talking about 184 countries. It’s probably more than that now. 184. A friend of mine, a very sophisticated friend said, “I never knew you had 184 countries.” We actually have more than that, but 184 countries that we know of have been affected by this. So the oil business lost 40 to 50% of their market and who would’ve seen a thing like that coming? As soon as this comes back and with the cutting, the energy business will come back and it’ll come back strong. So we’re working. The energy business is very important to me and we’re going to build it up. This really hurt the energy business as much as any other business because it totally knocked out…
Donald Trump: (08:57)
The supply kept coming, and by the way, there was a lot of oil when this hit. Before it hit, there was a lot of oil. Prices were pretty low, which is a very good thing. But then we got hit by this and it was devastating to the energy business all over the world. Once this straightens out and once you get some demand and then you’re going to reduce the supply a little bit, it’ll equalize and it’s going to be great again. We will make the energy business great again [crosstalk 00:09:28], and we want to remain independent. We’re independent now. We’re totally independent on energy. We want to keep it that way. Go ahead.
Could your secretary of the nation perhaps clarify whether the government is considering taking space and energy companies?
The president has asked me to work with the secretary of energy and we’re looking at a whole bunch of alternatives. It would be premature for me to comment on any one of them, but the president has asked us to look at the range of alternatives.
Is that one of the alternatives?
Again, you can assume that’s one of the alternatives, but there’s many of them. [crosstalk 00:09:59].
Donald Trump: (09:58)
Well, what are the alternatives we can think about Steve and just in sitting here watching, the United States is the largest user of oil. We could buy oil at a great price into the future that gives them the infusion they need. And we have oil at a great price into the future. So that’s something I’d like you to think about.
It is, Mr. President, as you’ve suggested.
Donald Trump: (10:24)
Likewise, I told Steve we’re the biggest user of the airlines, United States government, and one of the ways we can help the airlines is buy tickets at a very large discount, maybe 50% off or maybe more, and you buy into four or five years worth of tickets and you infuse them with some cash. And in the meantime, we’re flying the people of our country for a fraction of the cost than it would be when the airlines get back. They will get back. So we’re thinking in terms of as additional, because the airlines are all set right down, but as an additional incentive where we buy tickets in advance at a very big discount, which I’ve liked really from the beginning. And we’re not up there. Look, the fact is that the airlines are going to be fine the way it is now, but I like that as an additional help for the airlines. I like it both ways. I like it for us too. We’re the largest user of the airlines. So you buy tickets. I don’t know. This sounds good, right, if we get a good discount?
Speaker 9: (11:25)
Wyoming appreciates what you’re doing for the energy industry as well.
Donald Trump: (11:27)
Well, Wyoming is great.
Speaker 9: (11:28)
Donald Trump: (11:28)
They’re great. And they’re lucky to have you. [crosstalk 00:11:30].
Mr. President, can I make a comment on the energy, sir? Sorry to interrupt.
Donald Trump: (11:32)
Yes, please. Go ahead.
But first I want to thank you and your administration. Your involvement on the OPEC deal was incredible, vital. It wouldn’t have happened without what you did. Your whole team has been very focused on energy. I do think one issue that a number of us are starting to have concerns about is there are big American financial institutions that the federal government has helped many times. They’re going to do well with regard to facilitating some of the Cares Act stuff. They’re starting to discriminate against American energy companies, discriminate against investment in my state, in Alaska, and I think it’s going to be really important.
Donald Trump: (12:13)
I don’t like that. That’s-
These big Wall Street banks that want the federal government to help support them, and then they discriminate against a critical sector of the U.S. economy. By the way, the sector in the 2008, 2009 recession that really drove us out of our recession. I don’t think they should be allowed to do that, sir, and I know you have concerns about that.
Donald Trump: (12:35)
I like the idea of looking into that. You’re right. That got where they were pushed by the radical left and so they’re afraid of the radical left. They shouldn’t be afraid of the radical left. They’re very nice people, AOC plus three and all of her friends. But you shouldn’t be afraid of them. You should reason with them. And if they don’t reason, you do what’s right. You cannot be discriminating against these great energy companies. And there is. I’ve heard that from them that it’s very hard. One of the banks, I think they said we want to be out of energy by 2050. That’s a long time, but they want to be out of energy. What’s that all about, they want to be out of energy? So we’re blessed in this country because we’re sitting on top of tremendous wealth. Very few countries have that kind of wealth.
Donald Trump: (13:20)
We’re bigger than Saudi Arabia, we’re bigger than Russia. We’re bigger than any other country in terms of our energy. And a lot of things like The Paris Accord, The Paris Accord basically took your wealth away. It didn’t give you the advantage. And I said I won’t sign it because it took the wealth of this country away because they didn’t want us to use our energy. They didn’t want me to use our our great asset. We have tremendous wealth. One of the interesting things, if you look at Iran, and you look at Saudi Arabia, and you look at the big, vast waterways that we patrol, years, and years, and years gratis, for nothing so that other people got rich, so that we could get oil out of there, but so that other people got rich. We never got anything. Now we get things for it, but we don’t have ships very much in there anymore.
Donald Trump: (14:11)
And with all of the conflict and all of the things, they kept saying, “Where are the American ships?” We have so much energy now, we’re sitting on so much, and it’s happened really over the last three years, three and a half years, we’ve made it. One thing that happened, John, if you look John, you were even in favor of it because you’re an energy person. But we helped Alaska, but we really helped the United States with ANWR for Dan. They did a fantastic job. Ronald Reagan tried to get it approved, he couldn’t do it. Every president tried to get ANWR, they couldn’t do it. I got it approved.
Yes, sir. Great.
Donald Trump: (14:46)
People don’t even talk about it, and that’s okay. They don’t have to talk about it. That’s why I talk about that.
We love you in Alaska. I’ll tell you that.
Donald Trump: (14:54)
But ANWR’s perhaps the largest find in the world, right? It could be, but it’s certainly one of them, but it’s been talked about for years. Maybe the largest finds anywhere in the world. And we got it approved a year ago, and you’re working on it, and it’s incredible. But Ronald Reagan could not do it. He said that was one of his big disappointments. He could not get ANWR approved. They couldn’t get it through. And we got it through, we got it passed. And that was a great achievement for everybody in this room, but it was a great achievement actually for the two of you, the big oil guys. Right? And I have to say, these senators and the people in this room, they love energy. Not that they love it, they love the jobs it produces and they like what it represents, and it gives us total independence. So it’s very important. Okay. Any other questions?
Speaker 6: (15:44)
Mr. President, just to follow up on energy, Just to put up on energy, are you satisfied with the current output by the Russians and the Saudis, or do you want them further to cut production?
Donald Trump: (15:54)
You have the mask on. Yeah, that’s great. Just for a second. See the men in front of you? Are you worried about her? Are you worried? He’s not worried. Look, he’s protected. Go ahead.
Speaker 6: (16:03)
Are you satisfied with the current cut from the Saudis and the Russians, or do you want them to further cut their production?
Donald Trump: (16:10)
Well, it could be that they further cut. I think it’s going to be natural though, really isn’t it? It’s going to be natural at this point. So I think I got them to cut maybe, what would you say? I would say-
Donald Trump: (16:24)
Well they say 10 million, but I think it’s 15 million barrels. I even heard 20 million, but it’s going to be natural. And in all fairness, Texas and Oklahoma, and if you go to North Dakota, and all of our places, it’s going to be natural. Canada’s cutting. They’ve got to cut. Right now, they’ve got to cut. [crosstalk 00:16:46]. Supply and demand is a beautiful thing, but what happened is one day, all of our demand just… Not all, 50% of our demand disappeared with this virus. They say from 40 to 50%. So you’re producing and it’s going good, price is good, price is good enough for these companies and really good for the countries. It was really good and the consumer. And then one day in, one day, it stopped. I guess you could always say it’s somebody’s fault, but it happened. Something happened that nobody thought would ever happen. Okay, yes.
Ayesha Rascoe: (17:22)
Just a couple more on hydroxychloroquine.
Donald Trump: (17:23)
Ayesha Rascoe: (17:24)
Have you or a Secretary Azar pressured or asked scientists in the administration to promote it, and are you taking-
Donald Trump: (17:32)
Well, I never spoke to a scientist, but I will tell you this, I did speak with the president of Honduras just a little while ago and I didn’t bring it up. He brought it up. He said they used the hydroxychloroquine. Then he said, “The results are so incredible with hydroxychloroquine.” This happened an hour ago. I just spoke to him, the president of Honduras. And I guess we made some available to them or whatever. He was thanking me and I said, “How has the result been?” He said, “It’s been incredible.” Now, I don’t know, he’s not a doctor I don’t think, but he thanked me and he said, “The results have been very good.” So you hear it both ways. I’ve seen all negative other than the other day I saw some study, which wasn’t good, but I saw very positive coming out of France and coming out of a lot. But here’s the president of Honduras saying how good it was. I didn’t even bring up the subject, he brought it up. So the study has to be there.
Ayesha Rascoe: (18:30)
Are you taking it?
Donald Trump: (18:30)
Look, I’m not a doctor. The study has to be done, and maybe it’s helping. If it helps, it’s great. If it doesn’t help, don’t do it. It does work with, as you know, malaria, lupus, etc., and it’s a very powerful drug. And I would say this, if it works, I think everybody would be in favor of it, but check with him. Call him, the president of Honduras, a really nice guy. We were just on the phone. You know what he needed? Ventilators. He said, “Can you give?” I said, “We can help you” because we’re going to have 110,000 made in a very short period of time, and they’ve been making them by the thousands.
Donald Trump: (19:10)
Mike Pence went out to a factory in Wisconsin just the other day, three days ago, and he came back. He could not believe how incredible the factory was. They’re making thousands of ventilators every couple of months, thousands. And countries are calling us now. France, Italy. We’re sending to Italy, France, Spain. We are making thousands and thousands of very high grade ventilators. There’s a big difference between high grade and not high grade when it comes to what those do, and we’re sending them to countries as they call. As they need them, we’re sending them all over the world. And when we asked the governors, “Do you need ventilators?” The answer is no. In fact, New York was nice. I think they sent them to Massachusetts. Yeah, please, Jeff?
Mr. President, just to follow up on the comments from yesterday, you said you were being sarcastic, but some people may have misunderstood you. Do you want to just clarify?
Donald Trump: (20:06)
Well, I think I did.
Do you want to just clarify for Americans that you don’t want people doing that?
Donald Trump: (20:09)
Yeah, I do think the disinfectant on the hands could have a very good effect. Now, Bill is going back to check that in the laboratory. It’s an amazing laboratory, by the way. It’s amazing the work they do. So he’s going to check because a hard surface, this is a hard surface, I guess maybe depending on whose hands you’re talking about, but this is a hard surface, and the disinfectant has an unbelievable, it wipes it out. You saw it. Sun, and heat, and humidity wipe it out. And this is from tests. They’ve been doing these tests for a number of months and the result… So then I said, “Well, how do we do it inside the body or even outside the body with the hands? And disinfectant, I think would work. He thinks it would work. But you use it when you’re doing your hands. I guess that’s one of the reasons they say wash your hands, but whether it’s washing your hands or disinfectant on your hands, it’s very good.”
Donald Trump: (21:10)
So they’re going to start looking at that. And there is a way of if light, if sun, sun itself, that sun has a tremendous impact on it. It kills it like in one minute. It goes from, what was it, hours to like one minute it’s dead. So I said, “You got to go back and look.” But I’d like them now to look as it pertains to the human body. Not just sitting on a railing or sitting on a wall. I’d like them to look as it pertains, because maybe there’s something there. I’m not a doctor. They have to work with the doctors, but maybe there is something to light, and the human body, and helping people that are dying. Okay?
But just to clarify that, sir, you’re not encouraging Americans to inject disinfectant?
Donald Trump: (21:57)
No, of course not. Interior wise, it was said sarcastically. It was put in the form of a question to a group of extraordinarily hostile people, namely the fake news media. Okay? So-
Some doctors felt they needed to clarify that after your comment.
Donald Trump: (22:13)
Well, of course. All they had to do was see. You know the way it was asked, I was looking at you.
No, sir. I wasn’t here yesterday.
Donald Trump: (22:18)
I know. I know.
Ayesha Rascoe: (22:18)
You were looking at Dr. Birx.
Donald Trump: (22:18)
Ayesha Rascoe: (22:18)
You were looking at Dr. Birx.
Donald Trump: (22:25)
I was looking at a Bill, I was looking at the doctor, I was looking at some of the reporters. I don’t know if you were there. Were you there? I don’t think you were there.
Ayesha Rascoe: (22:33)
I was there and I watched you ask her.
Donald Trump: (22:34)
No, not you. You were there. If you’re there, I never forget. You were.
I wasn’t there yesterday.
Donald Trump: (22:40)
You were not?
Donald Trump: (22:41)
I didn’t think you were there. Okay.
Speaker 5: (22:48)
Mr. President, I know you continue to say you’re obviously-
Donald Trump: (22:49)
Okay. Hold it one second. Any other questions from any other people? Okay. Thank you very much everybody.