Trump at the Lincoln Memorial
President Donald Trump told Fox News anchor Brett Baier and Martha McCollum he expects a COVID-19 vaccine before the end of the year at Sunday night’s virtual town hall held at the Lincoln Memorial.
“Look, a vaccine has never gone like it’s gone now,” the president said. “We’re so far ahead of any vaccine ever in history. You know, these things would take two, four, five, six years, 10 years. I think we’re going to have a vaccine. I’m telling you, by the end of the year, I think we’re going to have a vaccine.”
MacCallum asked Trump: “Do you think another country could beat us?”
Trump said in reply: “I don’t care. I just want to get a vaccine that works. I really don’t care, if it’s another country, I’ll take my hat off to them.”
The three sat in chairs roughly six feet apart in front of Daniel Chester French’s 1920 sculpture of President Abraham Lincoln for a format that including video questions from around the country to supplement the anchors’ inquires.
Sitting in such a stark setting, the president opened up about people in his life that he lost to COVID-19.
“I knew people who had the flu all my life, no one ever died,” Trump said. “I’ve lost three friends, one a very good friend.” That good friend was a New York City developer, who owned the St. Regis Hotel and other properties in the city. “Stanley Chera. He went to the hospital. He called me: ‘I tested positive.’”
Trump said Chera told him he was going to the hospital and he would call him the next day. “He didn’t call. I called the hospital – he’s in a coma.”
The president also said he supported for Americans looking to break out of the current social and business restrictions. “I think a lot of people want to go back. They want to go back – you see it every day. You see demonstrations all over the country and those are meaningful demonstrations – big stuff.”
Economic revival was the focus of the president’s rare working weekend at Camp David, the presidential retreat in the Catoctin Mountains just inside Maryland along the border with Pennsylvania. Trump and his team left the White House Friday at or around 5:30 p.m., and speaking with reporters he had the chance to take another shot at Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.
Trump endorsed Kemp in the 2018 GOP primary for governor, but the relationship has soured over how to reopen Georgia and also over Kemp’s choosing Kelly Koeffler to replace retired Sen. Johnny Isakson. Trump wanted Republican Rep. Doug Collins, who had been gallant in his defense of the president during the impeachment crisis.
Trump did not take the bait.
“No, no, I think it’s wonderful. I want to see us open safely, but I didn’t like spas and tattoo parlors, and I wasn’t thrilled about that,” he said. “I said nothing about Georgia, other than that. I like the states opening. They will be opening. They’re going to open safely and quickly, I hope, because we have to get our country back.”
Watch the full interview:
Trump calls Latin American allies against Maduro regime
While the president was at Camp David, he spoke to numerous world leaders, but two conversations stand out as significant: Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benítez and interim Bolivan President Jeanine Áñez.
Trump promised both leaders support in their COVID-19 programs, but the calls were really about Venezuela.
Benítez broke off diplomatic relationship Venezuela in January 2019, as soon as Nicolás Maduro was sworn in for a new term.
Áñez is the replacement for Maduro’s friend and ally Evo Morales, who resigned after 14 years in office when evidence of voter fraud tainted his election to a fourth term.
With the price of oil collapsing and word of Iranians loading up gold bricks from the Venezuelan government vaults and flying them back to Persia, the Maduro regime could be ready to finally collapse.
It was not a headline in the United States, but Caracas noticed that Thursday, the president signed executive order authorizing the Pentagon to call up reserve military personnel for the “Enhanced Department of Defense Counternarcotic Operation in the Western Hemisphere.” Another word for this project: Venezuela.
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Neil W. McCabe is a Washington-based national political reporter for The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. In addition to the Star Newspaper, he has covered the White House, Capitol Hill and national politics for One America News, Breitbart, Human Events and Townhall. Before coming to Washington, he was a staff reporter for Boston’s Catholic paper, The Pilot, and the editor of two Boston-area community papers, The Somerville News and The Alewife. McCabe is a public affairs NCO in the Army Reserve and he deployed for 15 months to Iraq as a combat historian.