President Trump on Thursday said that he had canceled campaign rallies planned for Nevada and could decide down the road whether to can other planned rallies over the threat of the coronavirus.
“We cancelled one that we were thinking of doing in Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada. We had about three of them in Nevada actually and we had four or five of them we were thinking about,” Trump said during an Oval Office meeting with Prime Minister Leo Varadkar of Ireland in his first public comments on his upcoming campaign events.
“We had a big one in Tampa — all sold out. I think we’ll probably not do it. We need a little separation until such time as this goes away. It is going to go away,” he added, repeating his contention that the virus would be neutralized, possibly “within two months.”
“In the meantime, we want to lose as few people as possible. What is the number as of this morning? Is it 32 deaths? Think of it, [the] United States because of what I did and what the administration did with china, we have 32 deaths at this point,” he continued, referring to travel restrictions he placed on people from China.
“Other countries have many deaths. Thirty-two is a lot … but when you look at the kind of number that you are seeing coming out of other countries it is pretty amazing when you think of it.”
The president also predicted that the tanking stock market — which fell by almost 10 percent on Thursday, its biggest decline since the crash of 1987 — would recover quickly, but that it was more important to keep people alive.
“I don’t want people to die, whether it affects the stock market or not,” he said. “The only thing worse is you lose thousands [and] thousands of people.”
The commander in chief also again defended the country’s progress testing people for the virus.
“They had a million tests up now over the next few days. They’ll have 4 million — if you go to the right area, you will get the tests. With that being said, millions are being produced. It is a brand new thing that is happening, millions are being produced.”
The president’s comments contradicted those of Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who told lawmakers Thursday that the nation’s testing record to date was “a failing.”
“The idea of anybody getting it easily the way people in other countries are doing it, we’re not set up for that. Do I think we should be? Yes. But we’re not,” Fauci testified.
Trump, who called for a bipartisan effort to combat the virus during his Oval Office address Wednesday night, also rejected Democrats proposal to increase spending to help people hurt financially by the pandemic.
“No, there are things in there that had nothing to do of what we are talking about. It is not a way for them to get some of the goodies they have been able to get for the last 25 years,” he said, dismissing a plan put forward by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer.