President Trump’s Remarks in White House Press Briefing

President Donald Trump

  • Start by talking about some mail-in voting that just was revealed — just the news. Half a million incorrect absentee ballot applications were sent all across the state of Virginia, including to many dead people. This was an unprecedented mailing flub that’s heightened concerns about the integrity of expanding mail-in voting and mail-in voting efforts. It’s a disaster — all over Virginia, half a million votes. So that’s something you have to think about. 
  • We don’t want to have a rigged election, I know that. And you have to be very careful when you mention, as you constantly do, Russia or you mention China or you mention Iran or others that attack our election system. And when you have this mail-in voting, it’s a — it’s very susceptible. It’s something that can be easily attacked by foreign countries and by, frankly, Democrats and by Republicans. And I think that it’s something you have to start thinking about very seriously. 
  • Our system is not equipped for it. The Post Office is not equipped for it. And people should vote, like they did in World War One and World War Two. And your numbers will be — in 90 days or less, your numbers will be very good, I think — much better — on the coronavirus or the China virus. But it’s something you have to look about — look at and say, “This is just crazy.” 
  • This just came out: half a million incorrect ballot applications sent all over the state of Virginia to many people that weren’t living. They had some sent to pets — dogs. This is what we’re going to get into, and it’s going to be a disaster. And it’s going to be thought of very poorly, and it’s going to hurt our country. 
  • After our news conference Saturday night and the pro-growth announcement — we’re pro-jobs, pro-health safety — executive orders — the stock market went up 358 points today. So we — we issued those executive orders, and the stock market went up 358 points today. It’s quite a reaction.
  • The Dow Jones and the S&P 500 are now up 50 percent since March — 50 percent. Think: If you had money in there, if you put your money in in March, you have 50 percent. The Nasdaq index continues to set new records. It’s been up over 14 times; new record in Nasdaq. 
  • And the S&P 500 and the Dow — Dow Jones are going to be — I mean, the way they’re going, it looks like they’re just about going to be topping records, hopefully, soon.

SECRET SERVICE AGENT: Sir, we’re just going to have to step out in the hall.

The President was escorted out of the Briefing Room.

Briefing Resumes.

  • Thank you very much. Sorry for that. There was a shooting outside of the White House, and it seems to be very well under control. I’d like to thank the Secret Service for doing their always quick and very effective work. But there was an actual shooting, and somebody has been taken to the hospital. I don’t know the condition of the person. It seems that the person was — was shot by Secret Service. So, we’ll see what happens. 
  • And, yeah, did you have something? Go ahead.
  • Q: Mr. President, do you have any details about the shooting? Were they targeting anyone in and around the White House?
  • A: No, we — there are no details. We just found out just now. It was outside of the White House, in this area right over here. And they’ll have details for you in a little while. Somebody is taken to the hospital. It seems that the shooting was done by law enforcement at that person, at the suspect. It was the suspect who was shot. And this just took place. A couple of people outside — I noticed a man named John Roberts, who you know very well.
  • Q: Yes.
  • A: He reported that he heard shots. He was outside, and he heard two shots. 
  • Q: Mr. President, was this a threat toward you, sir?
  • A: We don’t know yet. We don’t know. They’re — they’re going to find that out.
  • Q: Do you know if the individual said anything, sir —
  • A: We don’t know that, yet. No.
  • Q — or mentioned your name, anything like that?
  • A: We don’t know that yet. 
  • Q: And you can confirm it was the Secret Service that did shoot the suspect?
  • A: It seems to be. Yeah. 
  • Q: It seems to be.
  • A: It seems to be.
  • Q: Where were you taken, Mr. President? Were you taken to the bunker?
  • A: No, we were taken just out over to the Oval Office. 
  • Q: What did Secret Service tell you when you were outside of the room?
  • A: Just told me, when he came up — you pretty much saw it like I did — he said, “Sir, could you please come with me?” So, you were surprised. I was surprised, also. I think it’s probably pretty unusual. But very, very professional people. They do a fantastic job, as you know. So, it seems to me — it seems to be, from what I was said, there was a shooting. It was law enforcement shot someone — seems to be the suspect — and the suspect is now on the way to the hospital. I can’t tell you the condition of the suspect. There was nobody else injured. There was no other law enforcement injured. And I just want to — and we’ll get on to the press conference, but I do want to thank Secret Service. They are fantastic, the job they do.
  • Q: Mr. President, was the suspect armed? Do you know? Was he armed?
  • A: From what I understand, the answer is yes.
  • Q: He was armed, Mr. President?
  • A: That’s what I understand. I don’t know. You’ll have to ask them that.
  • Q: Man or a woman?
  • Q: With what type of weapon?
  • A: I don’t know that, no. 
  • Q Was it a male or a female suspect?
  • A: I don’t know. You’ll have to get that — they’ll have a — they’ll have a detailed — maybe a briefing for you outside later. 
  • Q: Did they say anything against you, personally, Mr. President?
  • A: I don’t know. I didn’t ask that question. It might not have had anything to do with me. It might have been something else. But it was on the outside of the premises. The wall, the — as you know, the fencing, especially the new fencing that they put up, is very powerful. But it was on the outside of the White House. Okay? And they’ll have a full report — Secret Service, in a little while, will have a full report.
  • Q: Are you rattled by this at all, Mr. President?
  • A: I don’t know; do I seem rattled? It’s unfortunate that this is a world — but the world has always been a dangerous place. It’s not something that’s unique. The world has been — you look back over the centuries, the world has been a dangerous place. A very dangerous place. And it will continue, I guess, for a period of time. 
  • Q: Does this make you think differently about your personal safety inside the White House?
  • A: No, I feel very safe with the Secret Service. They’re fantastic people. They’re the best of the best, and they’re highly trained. I don’t know if anybody got to walk outside, but there were a lot of terrific-looking people ready to go if something was necessary — people at the highest level of law enforcement. There’s nobody like these people. So they just wanted me to step aside for a little while, just to make sure that everything was cleared outside, because it was right in this area.
  • Q: Why did you come back, Mr. President? Why did you decide, after that — because obviously it created a lot of commotion — what made you decide to come back and continue to the briefing?
  • A: Well, I didn’t even think about not coming back. I said, “Am I able to go back?” And they said, “You’d have to wait a little while.” I waited a little while, as you know, in the Oval Office area. And I said, “Can I get back now?” And they said, “Yes.” And they have a lot of fortification outside, just in case. But it was one person. Okay?
  • Q: Mr. President, when you said the shooting — you said the shooting was outside. How far away from the White House?
  • A: Well, they’re going to be giving you a full briefing in a little while.
  • Q: Was it pretty far from the White House? Or was it right in front of that?
  • A: I can only tell you: They’re going to going to give you a briefing. It was outside of the premises — near the fence, but outside of the premises.
  • Q: But it was near the fence, so pretty close to here.
  • A: Yeah, pretty close.


  • So, I was telling you that the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 are now 50 percent above the March level. Nasdaq is setting new records. It’s already broken the record, despite the situation of having the China virus. 
  • We have new jobs are rising ,and unemployment is falling faster than nearly anyone thought. And over the past three months, we’ve created over 9 million jobs, and that’s a record — a three-month record. If you add it up, it’s a three-month record, by far. And we’ve beaten expectations by 12 million. We’re 12 million above expectations, which is pretty remarkable.
  • Today, we had great reports on new job openings. And there’s clearly a housing boom, which has been incredible numbers in both housing and — an automobile boom. We’ve rarely seen anything like it, and it’s going on right now in America.
  • Inventories are at rock bottom. Used car sales are at record levels. And we will have rebuilt — we’re doing a rebuilding like nobody has ever seen. It’s a big plus for manufacturing and construction. So construction is getting close to record territory. Manufacturing is doing very well. The car companies are doing great. Very happy for Michigan — the state of Michigan. We have a lot of car companies moving in. A lot of plants are being built and expanded in Michigan and Ohio. There is no reason why the economy can’t grow at a 20 percent pace in the third quarter; that would be a record. 
  • And, interestingly, it’ll be a — a number that’s going to be announced before November 3rd. It gets announced probably around November 1st, which is very interesting. But it’s — it’s going to grow at a very substantial pace, based on all of the numbers we’re looking at, and probably a lot more substantial than we originally thought. 
  • We’re creating new incentives for work and jobs, and we’re also providing much-needed assistance to those who are still suffering from the effects of the pandemic contraction. And the contraction is now.
  • While we have the pandemic, we have a lot of great things happening, in terms of the vaccines and therapeutics, as you know. And I think we’ll be making tremendous progress over the next period of a few months. And certainly, before the end of the year, I think we’ll have a — a vaccine before the end of the year, very substantially, and we may have a therapeutic resolvement very quickly — very, very quickly. And, frankly, that’s the one I’d rather have faster because you’d go in, you give a transfusion or a shot to people that are very ill, and they’d be able to come out of the hospital the next day or a few days later. 
  • If the states participate in our cost sharing unemployment plan — we are going to be doing something very, very interesting with all of the things that we announced on Saturday. I don’t have to repeat what they are; you know very well. And we’ve had — we’ve had some tremendous success already if you look at what’s happening with the stock market, and people are very thrilled at what we’re doing. 
  • We’d like to get the Democrats to focus on other than what they’re focusing on, which is a bailout of poorly running states. We have many great-running states — states that are setting records. And let’s see what happens with respect to that.
  • But the — we’re looking at also considering a capital gains tax cut, which would create a lot more jobs. So we’re looking very seriously at a capital gains tax cut and also at an income tax cut for middle-income families. We’re looking at expanding the tax cuts that we’ve already done, but specifically for middle-income families, and you’ll be hearing about that in the upcoming few weeks, and I think it’ll be very exciting. 
  • So, a capital gains tax is going to be — a lot of — a lot of people put to work, and it would be a cut in the capital gains tax and also a cut in the middle-income income tax. 
  • So I now want to just discuss a little, quick brief, and then we’ll take a few more questions, but we took some. Who would’ve known we were going to take questions before we started, right? Is that right, Jennifer? But that’s the way it happens sometimes. 
  • We want to discuss, if we might, the China virus. And the world continues its fight against this horrible plague. Countries in every continent are seeing increases in cases. We have a rapid increase only in cases where — it’s very interesting: Because we’re so far ahead of testing, we have more cases. If we had much smaller testing, we’d have fewer, but we feel that having testing is a very important thing. 
  • It’s a great — it’s a great record to have. In many ways, we — we’ve tested, I guess, close to 65 million people right now, and nobody is even close to that number. No other country is close. India would be second, at 11 million, and they have 1.5 billion people. So we — we have the number-one testing anywhere in the world, by far. And we also have, I think, the highest-quality test. We have a lot of different ones, but we have the highest quality, including the short-term and the lab test. The lab tests take a little bit longer. 
  • And Dr. Birx was telling me, a little while ago, that we’re down to two days and two and a half days on getting your result on the lab test; the other ones you get them in 5 minutes to 15 minutes. So that’s exciting.
  • Countries in every continent are seeing increases in cases. In recent days, cases have rapidly increased in Japan and Australia, unfortunately, and they’re now experiencing higher peaks than they did in March.
  • To the south of the border — of our border — cases have continued to surge in Mexico, Central America, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, and throughout Latin America. It’s really the hotspot. It’s posing a major challenge for this continent. 
  • Latin America is now the region with the most number of confirmed cases, by far, despite a relative scarcity of testing. So, when you think of that, that means it’s — it’s pretty much on fire. They’re having a hard time, and we’re helping them. We’re sending them tremendous numbers of ventilators, which we’re making by the thousands every month. And we’re helping Latin America very much. 
  • It’s hard for them to come into the country because we have big sections of wall up now. The new wall is being built, which people don’t talk about. They used to talk about nothing but the wall. Now that it’s being built, they’re not talking about it so much. But it’s helped us because we’re up to almost — we’re getting close to 280 miles — 280 miles in the most important areas. So that’s helping us a lot, in terms of not having people come into the country who are infected with the coronavirus.
  • This global trend underscores the persistence of the virus, including in nations that apply the strictest and most punishing lockdowns. You have nations that are really tough on the lockdowns, and they’re getting hit very hard. That’s why my administration is pursuing a science-based approach that protects the most vulnerable, preserves hospital capacity, and focuses on the delivery and development of treatments, and, ultimately, the vaccine. 
  • I feel strongly that we will have a vaccine by the end of the year, and it’ll be put in service maybe even as we get it, because we’re all set, militarily. We’re using our military to distribute the vaccine. And, logistically, there’s nobody like this group of people. I meet with them a lot, and they’re ready to go. As soon as they have it, they’ll be going. 
  • More importantly, the therapeutics — as I said, I think therapeutics could be great, initially speaking. I think that would be — if I had my choice. But you’re going to have them both. You’re going to have them both. You’re going to have them both very soon, too. 
  • At the same time, we urge all Americans to apply commonsense mitigation. You all know what that mitigation is; everybody knows it by heart now.
  • Nearly half of all of the deaths from the China virus in the United States have occurred in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. That’s why we have delivered funding equipment and rapid testing to our nation’s nursing homes to protect those at high risk. We’re very focused on nursing homes and senior citizens’ areas. Anywhere that we have senior citizens, we’re very, very focused. 
  • We’ve delivered over 1,800 rapid point-of-care testing devices — those are very quick — and shipped over 700,000 tests to nursing homes. Nursing homes are being protected like never before.
  • The United States faces a unique range of challenges that requires our constant vigilance. America is the largest at-risk population of any developed country, by far: 1.5 million residents of nursing homes, about five times that of the United Kingdom and other European countries.
  • Our country also has a higher prevalence of underlying conditions that this virus targets. Yet, we have fewer deaths per capita than the United Kingdom and most other peer nations in Western Europe. So that’s an important — we have fewer deaths per capita than the United Kingdom and most other nations in Western Europe, and heading for even stronger numbers. But one person is too much, as far as I’m concerned. It should have never been allowed to happen. It should have never been allowed to escape China.
  • Nationwide, we continue to see encouraging signs. In the last seven days, nationwide cases declined by 14 percent, hospitalizations decreased by 7 percent, fatalities decreased by 9 percent. 
  • Arizona and Florida are improving rapidly, with fewer patients coming to emergency rooms, by far, as well as decreasing cases, decreasing fatalities, and expected — and expanded hospital capacity. So we have an expanded hospital capacity. It’s — it’s pretty dramatic when you look at it — meaning we have more room, should we need it. So, a lot of tremendous work has been done.
  • In Texas, likewise, the number of patients going to emergency rooms has dropped from July by more than two thirds. That’s a lot. Nevertheless, we continue to monitor Texas very closely — terrific governor, terrific people working on that whole situation in Texas — especially at its test positivity rate, which rose over 20 percent this weekend.
  • Overall, cases in Texas are coming down and have stabilized in the border counties — that’s, again, where you have the wall and you’re next to — in — in some cases, the wall. And, in some cases, you’ll have it very shortly; you’ll have it all built within a number of months. But those areas were hit very hard, and they’re likely cases from Mexico that come in, back and forth, from the border. They come in legally.
  • As doctors have found more effective ways to treat patients, the fatality rate continues to improve. Texas has one sixth the fatality rate of New York and New Jersey that they had in April. And the — if you look at New York and New Jersey, they worked very, very hard, but very heavy density. And they had a lot of different kinds of difficulty. 
  • The fatality rates in Florida and Arizona are between 25 and 33 percent of the peak rates of New York and New Jersey. Again, different — different climate, a different grouping, a different density — tremendously different density.
  • In California, the situation is starting to stabilize and improve throughout the major metropolitan areas. Statewide, hospitalizations continue to decline very substantially, with about 20 percent fewer inpatients now than on July 21st. California is starting to really show signs of correcting. 
  • We’re monitoring regions with increasing cases, including Boston, Chicago, and the Midwest. And we’re monitoring them very, very strongly and very, very hard. I do want to say that I think, at the end of a fairly short period of time, you’re going to be in very, very good shape all over our country. 
  • Every loss of life is tragic and all nations must work together to defeat this horrible virus. My administration is going to continue to save as many lives as possible. We are working around the clock — everybody. I mean, it’s incredible how hard they’re working. And people from other countries — we’re working with them also, and they’re working very hard. This is something that’s now attacked 188 different countries. 
  • There are wide range of factors that determine how the virus impacts a nation, such as age, underlining [underlying] conditions. Underlying conditions is a very big one. If you’re — if you’re sick in any way, if you’re — if — especially, they say, heart and diabetes. That’s not a good thing to have if you — if you’re going to have this, if you’re going to catch it. So we’re trying to protect especially those people that have problems with their heart or diabetes and levels of pre-existing immunity resulting from past exposure to other viruses, which happens.
  • We must stop politicizing the virus and instead be united in our condemnation of how this virus came to America, how this virus came to the world. And we’re going to figure it out, and we’re going to find out, and we’re very angry about it.
  • On the therapeutics and vaccine updates: Three vaccine candidates are currently in phase three clinical trials — something that would have been impossible under the previous administration or any other administration — and several others are showing considerable promise. 
  • We have great companies, very well-known companies. I think everyone in this room would know these companies, but they’re the biggest and the best in the world. And we’re working with other foreign companies and countries that have — have been really working very closely with us. 
  • We’re trading — we’re not looking to do anything but come up with the answer. And we really don’t — we don’t care; we want to come up with the answer. If it’s one of ours or one of theirs, it’s okay. We have to come up with the answer, and we’re very close to getting it. Some people think we have it. We may have it.
  • We have the best scientists in the world racing to develop a safe vaccine that will end this pandemic; save millions of lives — and that’s millions of lives all over the world; and end the harm inflicted by this virus to our society and to all other nations. Last week, the NIH began a clinical trial of remdesivir paired with another approved antiviral drug — an anti-inflammatory drug. You know that remdesivir has been very successful, and now they’re experimenting with others, including antivirals and anti-inflammatories, and they’re having some very interesting success. We’ve secured enough remdesivir to treat over 650,000 patients.
  • On Saturday, I took executive action in a signing to save American jobs and support American workers. I signed directives to give a payroll tax holiday, with the understanding that after the election — on the assumption that it would be victorious for an administration that’s done a great job — we will be ending that tax. We’ll be terminating that tax. On the other hand, the other group wants to raise taxes, and they may want to leave it where you pay it. 
  • The payroll tax is a big deal for people. It’s a tremendous saving for people. And we’re going to be doing it, and we intend to terminate it at the end of the appropriate period of time. It’s for those making less than $100,000, through end of 2020, to provide an extra $400 per week. 
  • Also, in unemployment benefits and to extend the freeze on home evictions — we want to extend the freeze so people aren’t evicted. It’s not their fault that the virus came from China. It’s China’s fault.
  • And to suspend payments on student loans through the end of the year and then beyond. And again, you know, they’re paying interest on loans, and they’re not allowed to go to their college. So we’re going to suspend payments on student loans, through the end of the year. And then another extension most likely, because it’s not fair to the students to — to have to pay when the colleges aren’t doing the job of getting open. And I think, probably, many of them could be open. 
  • I want to thank you all. I’m sorry for the disturbance before. Things happen. And if you’d like, we could take a few questions.

Additional topics covered in the answer and question portion of the briefing can be found here: August 10 Briefing

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