REPORTER: Do you want the American people to judge you on the ballot in November by how you’ve handled this pandemic so far?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: This, among other things. I think the American people will judge us on this, but they’ll judge us on the economy that I created and that already we’re creating. We’re setting record job numbers, as you know. I think we’re going to have a very strong year next year. I think we’re going to have a very strong third quarter, a very good fourth quarter. But I think next year is going to be a record year, and I think they’re going to judge me on that.
I think they’re going to judge me on the tax cutting and the regulation cutting, which nobody has ever done to the extent that we’ve been able to do it.
On rebuilding the military, on how we’ve handled the VA: On the VA, we got Veterans Choice. Nobody thought that would be possible. That’s been many decades. They’ve been trying to get Veterans Choice. It’s called Choice, where they can go get a doctor if they have to wait on line for two weeks or five weeks or two days. And frankly, that’s been a great thing. Veterans Accountability – I think they’ll judge me on that. They’ll judge me on all of the things we’ve done.
I don’t think – and I think we can say this with surety, and it’s never ever been even challenged. In three and a half years, the first three and a half years – the first years of a presidency – I don’t think any administration, any President has accomplished so much as we’ve accomplished, from energy to health to so many other things.
And then this came in, and the plague – I call it the plague – the plague came in. A terrible thing. Should’ve been stopped. Wasn’t stopped. It came in. We had to shut things down to save potentially millions of lives. We did that, and now we’ve started them up. And I think we’ve really started it up very successfully.
REPORTER: Thank you, Mr. President. You’ve been saying for months the virus would simply disappear, and now you’re saying that it’s likely to get worse before it gets better. If it does keep getting worse, if Americans keep dying, are you responsible for them?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, the virus will disappear. It will disappear. I think that – I always like to say, as – you know, either way, when you look at it, the governors are working with me. I’m working with the governors. We’re working hand in hand. I think we’re all responsible. I view it as a team. Very good relationships with the governors. Very, very good relationships.
I could say I’m fully responsible. But, you know, one day, we had a virus come in, and I closed the borders, did a lot of things that were very good. In fact, Dr. Fauci said we saved tens of thousands of lives when I closed the border. And nobody wanted to do it. I wanted to do it. We closed the border to China. We put on the ban. We didn’t want people coming in from heavily infected China.
Fairly shortly thereafter, I closed the borders from Europe – coming in from Europe. Those were tremendous moves. We would have – if it’s one person, it’s too much. But we’re at, let’s say, 140,000; we could have double, triple, quadruple that number if we didn’t.
So we did a lot of things right. We did a lot of things right, including with equipment. So it’s a shame that it happened. It shouldn’t have happened. China should have stopped it.
President Donald Trump is asked if the American people should judge his handling of the coronavirus when they vote in November at a press conference on Tuesday.