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As some states relax lock-in restrictions and the country’s economy begins to recover, President Trump predicted at a Fox News virtual town hall on Sunday that a coronavirus vaccine may be available by December. .
“I think we will have a vaccine by the end of the year,” Trump told moderators, Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum of Fox News, saying he was “very confident” in the assessment. “We will have a vaccine much sooner than later. “
Asked by MacCallum if he was concerned about the potential risks of a vaccine acceleration and human trials, Trump replied, “No, because they are volunteers. They know what they are getting into … They want to help the process. “
The schedule was considerably ahead of previous estimates by public and private sector experts at the start of the pandemic, who said that a vaccine could take up to 18 months or more. But, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, said this weekend that it was “doable if things got to the right place” to have a vaccine by January.
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Trump also predicted that the United States would be independent of antibiotics, without needing to rely on China in two years. The Republicans said it was “crazy” that America would depend on China, an opponent, for essential supplies, including antibiotics.
Trump went on to say that Democrats and the media, who laughed at him for touting the possible benefits of hydroxychloroquine in the fight against coronaviruses, were politically motivated and “don’t want to see a good result.” Some media organizations have even reported that an Arizona couple had used aquarium cleaner because they thought it contained hydroxychloroquine; the woman in the case, who claimed that she followed Trump’s advice despite Trump’s open attack on social media, is now under criminal investigation for the poisoned death of her husband.
Trump has always recognized in White House coronavirus briefings starting March 19 that hydroxychloroquine may not work but is worth trying in some patients, based on preliminary studies showing promising results possible. New non-rigorous data, however, called these indicators into question.
Joe Biden and other Democrats, Trump said, had originally labeled his travel ban to China in January as xenophobic, before changing his tone. When Baier asked Trump about a recent Biden tweet saying that Trump had left the United States “unprepared” for a pandemic, Trump was immediately dismissive.
“Joe Biden didn’t write this,” said Trump. “It was written by a young man who got very good grades in school. At a previous Fox News town hall in March, Trump also hinted that Biden was no longer mentally competent.
Sunday’s Mayor’s event, broadcast live from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. ET at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., Sunday evening, was titled “America Together: Returning to Work”. It featured video questions submitted by viewers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
After what he called a “weekend of work” at Camp David, Trump returned to the White House on Sunday afternoon. The president has faced a series of cascading challenges in recent days, including protesters in Michigan who stormed the state capital to protest orders to stay at home, reports the chief of North Korea was alive and well despite a CNN report that he was on the verge of death, and an apparent discord within his administration as to the potential threat still posed by the coronavirus.
“Lots of people want to go back,” Trump said to Baier and MacCallum. “You see protests across the country – and they are significant protests. … Now we have to open it. We have to open it safely, but we need to open it as quickly as possible. “
Asked by MacCallum if he ever considers himself going too far in pushing for a national stop, Trump replied, “No, we did the right thing. He added that millions of lives had been saved – but, he conceded, “I think about it. “
Trump said he lost three friends to the coronavirus: “It is a very advanced, very horrible thing that we are fighting. But, with all this, we have learned a lot about it. It affects the elderly … This thing is vicious. And she can take you out. But the children are doing very well. Young children do better than adolescents. “
At the same time, Trump said that some states, including Virginia, don’t open fast enough. He also shot at California, where Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, ordered the beaches in Orange County – prompting hundreds of protesters to flood the city of Huntington Beach in protest.
The “plague,” as Trump calls the coronavirus, will pass soon, he said, adding that the students will return to school in the fall.
City Hall came amidst other swirling developments in Washington. The Justice Department’s explosive new revelations, for example, have largely supported Trump’s claims that FBI officials have stealthily worked to target some of his former senior officials.
Among other revelations, FBI communications have made it clear that senior office officials have discussed their motives for interrogating former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn in the White House on January 24, 2017 – and openly asked if their ” objective “was” to make him lie, so that we could prosecute him or have him sent away. “
Returning to the White House, Trump tweeted Sunday that the intelligence community had justified him on another subject.
“Intelligence has just told me that I was right and that they didn’t bring up the subject of the CoronaVirus until the end of January, just before I ban China from the United States,” wrote Trump, apparently contradicting an earlier report in The Washington. Publish. “Besides, they only spoke of the virus in a very non-threatening or factual way … The fake news was again wrong, as always, and tens of thousands of lives were saved by my EARLY BAN from China in our country. The people who are allowed to us have been subjected to scrutiny and tested American citizens, and as such, I welcome them with open arms! “
Responding to a question from viewers on the Post report on Sunday, Trump said the best Democrats are opposed to his measures to ban travel from China. Trump said that on January 23 he had indeed received an intelligence report on the virus, but that indicated that it would not be a major threat. Trump has said information will be released on Monday to support his claim.
Politico reported that the Trump administration held a coronavirus briefing for senators on January 24, but that it was “uncrowded” in part because it “was held on the same day as the deadline for that the senators submit their questions of dismissal ”.
Trump’s appearance at the Lincoln Memorial was his first interview with Baier and MacCallum from Fox News town hall in Scranton, Pennsylvania on March 5.
But the country’s political and economic landscape has changed dramatically in the past few weeks since Trump’s last city hall, which welcomed an audience in person at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Even then, Trump made sure to brag about his decision to close most trips from China in January, even though Democrats and some media organizations initially called the decision xenophobic.
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“One of the things I have done is that I have closed the borders to China and other regions that are very badly affected and that really have a lot of problems – I mean, countries and regions of countries that have had a lot of problems, “Trump told a member of the public at the town hall. “And, I closed them very early, against the advice of almost everyone, and we received rave reviews. “
Still at the town hall in March, Trump touted his Gallup poll numbers, which showed relatively high scores for the administration’s coronavirus response. These numbers have increased by six points in the past two weeks, according to the latest Gallup poll.
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The new survey found that 49% of people approved of the current president and 47% disagreed, a personal best with Gallup for Trump.
Two weeks ago, 43 percent approved the chair, according to the pollster. Trump also got a 49 percent approval rating in mid-March, according to Gallup, before his rating plunged 6 points in the first half of April.
However, Fox News polls have shown that Biden remained a strong rival to Trump at the start of the campaign and progressed in the major states.
Morgan Phillips of Fox News contributed to this report.