President Donald Trump on Monday night said he doesn’t think there’s any more he could have done to improve his performance since he took office more than three years ago.
“I’m not sure I could have done any more,” Trump told WRAL, a local news station in North Carolina — the state where he is expected to accept the Republican bid for a second term in August. The President has said he will formally confirm those details by early next week.
“We’ve done more than I think any administration has done,” Trump told the NBC-affiliated station when asked to reflect on his term as President, adding that “nobody even challenges that.”
But the President has been widely criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike for his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has quickly spun out of control in the United States. More than 4.2 million cases have been reported across the country and the virus has killed more than 146,000 people nationwide according to the CDC. On Friday, White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx compared the dire situation in California, Florida and Texas to “three New Yorks,” as the virus spread like wildfire in those states. The President on Monday countered those statements, claiming that the situation in those hotspots is beginning to improve and they’re doing “very well.”
Without commenting directly about any kind of federal response to the crisis — Trump had suspended even his own daily briefings until recently — the President touted a decision he made months ago to ban travel from China to the United States. That ban he said is among his biggest achievements amid the pandemic — that apparently no other decision since has been able to outshine.
The President has meanwhile renewed praise for an unproven claim that an anti-malaria drug can be used to effectively treat COVID-19, even though the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci and others have warned of the danger of encouraging its use as treatment.
The President lamented that “things were really starting to come together” before what he called “the plague from China” made landfall in the United States, but argued that since that time “we shut it down” — even as cases continue to climb and the President’s team of experts warn that thousands more people will die if adequate action to curb the virus is not established quickly.
“We’re going to have a tremendous next year,” Trump said, adding that this year, “we’re going to have a great third quarter.”
But new data from the Census Bureau last week showed that the number of employed people fell by more than 4 million last week — marking the fourth consecutive week of decline.