U.S. President Donald Trump said that he sees a possible vaccine for the coronavirus by the next general election on Nov. 3, and although he said it would not hurt him electorally, he said he wants to save lives.
“Before the end of the year, it could be much sooner,” Trump said in a radio interview with conservative journalist Geraldo Rivera on Ohio station WTAM 1100, in response to a question about when there will be a vaccine for COVID-19.
In response, Rivera asked if it would be before Nov. 3, to which the president responded, “I think in some cases, yes, possibly earlier, but right around that time.
“We have great companies, fantastic companies. These are the best companies in the world,” said Trump, who recalled that there are other countries in search of a vaccine. “Let’s see how they do. I’m with them, whoever gets one,” he said.
At another point in the interview, Trump said his only intention is to save lives. “I just want to save lives, I mean, I’m in a hurry and I’m pushing everybody. If there was another president other than me, we’d be talking about a vaccine for two years,” he said.
“I’m pushing it very hard, and I want to push it very hard, and I will, but I’m not doing it because of the votes,” he continued, “but because it’s the right thing to do.
I WANT TO SAVE LIVES, BUT IT WOULDN’T HURT MYSELF IN AN ELECTION
Later, in remarks to reporters at the White House before leaving for Ohio, where, among other events, he was to visit a plant of the Whirlpool appliance company, he reiterated his optimism about the vaccine.
“I’m optimistic that it will probably be about that date. I think we will have a vaccine before the end of the year for sure, but around that time, yes, I think so,” he said.
Asked if this could benefit him in the face of the electoral struggle against the virtual Democratic candidate, former vice president Joe Biden, the president replied, “It wouldn’t hurt, it wouldn’t hurt, but I’m not doing it for the election. I want it done quickly because I want to save a lot of lives.
Trump’s statements contrast with those of his administration officials who estimate the vaccine could be ready by the end of the year or early in 2021.
White House epidemiologist Anthony Fauci has indicated that the vaccine will likely not be widely available to all Americans until well into 2021.
A COMPLICATED RE-ELECTION FOR TRUMP
Trump’s re-election has been complicated by his management of the health and economic crises arising from the pandemic.
According to the average of surveys elaborated by the Real Clear Politics website, Biden is ahead of Trump in voting intention with 49.1%, against 42.7% for the president.
The United States is the country most affected by the coronavirus in the world, with more than 4.8 million cases detected and more than 158,600 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The pandemic has led to an unprecedented economic decline, with the economy collapsing at an annual rate of 32.9% in the second quarter of 2020, and a 9.5% decline compared to the first three months of the year, the largest declines in this indicator since records began.
The unemployment rate closed June at 11.1%, after starting the year at 3.5%.
Before his departure for Ohio, Trump tweeted, “As I leave the Oval Office for Ohio, I have notified my staff to continue working on an executive order regarding payroll tax cuts, eviction protections, unemployment extensions and student loan payment options.
NEGOTIATING ROUND FOR NEW STIMULUS PACKAGE
The president made this announcement ahead of a new round of negotiations Thursday on Capitol Hill between Democrats on the one hand and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on the other, to achieve a new stimulus package.
Prior to the meeting, the Democrats and Republicans launched accusations against each other.
In an interview with CNBC television, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said the Republicans’ refusal to recognize the needs is what stands in the way of a deal.
“They may be confused with someone who cares (about the situation). That’s the problem, see, the thing is that (Republicans) don’t believe in governance,” she said.
UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS, THE BIG STUMBLING BLOCK
Democrats want Congress to pass a $3 trillion bailout that keeps the $600 a week unemployment aid intact, while Republicans offer $1 trillion with a cut in unemployment aid to $200 a week.
The reinforcement of unemployment aid was agreed as part of the fiscal rescue plan at the end of March for a total of $2.2 trillion, the largest in the country’s history, but which has proved insufficient in view of the severity of the crisis.