Trump says US can never declare ‘total victory’ over virus

Trump says US can never declare ‘total victory’ over virus

Trump says US can never declare ‘total victory’ over virus

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Thursday that he believes the U.S. can never declare “total victory” over the coronavirus because too many people have died. But he added that he will count it a win when the virus is gone and the economy fully reopened.

With more than 60,000 Americans fallen to the virus, Trump pointed out that the death rate in the U.S. was lower than in many other countries, and he offered the optimistic prediction that the battered economy would be vastly improved in a matter of months and “spectacular” by 2021.

He also said he was considering ordering that U.S. flags at the White House and elsewhere be lowered to half-staff to honour those killed by the virus — now more than all U.S. troops killed during the Vietnam War — as he pushed back against criticism from presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden that he lacks “empathy or concern” for Americans.

“I want the virus gone, and we want to have a vibrant economy,” Trump said at a White House event designed to highlight the administration’s efforts to protect residents of nursing homes grappling with the virus.

Speaking of the nation overall, Trump said he didn’t want people “sitting 6 feet apart. I want our country back. I want people to go out and see football games and baseball games and basketball and hockey and golf and all of these sports and not worry about getting sick and violently ill.”

Earlier in the week, Biden called on Trump to order White House flags to be lowered to half-staff and accused the president of talking more about how he’s been inconvenienced by the virus than about Americans affected by the pandemic.

Asked about Biden’s criticism, Trump said lowering the flags was among the steps he would be discussing with his advisers later Thursday as he considers how to honour the fallen. He also dismissed Biden’s criticism.

“I don’t think anybody can feel any worse than I do about all of the death and destruction that is so needless,” Trump said. “Nobody’s thinking about it more. Nobody has spent more time, late in the evening, thinking about what’s happened to this country in a short period of time. But at the same time, we have to get our country open again.”

Trump is trying to turn the page on the virus, even as the nation’s death toll continues to climb and jobless claims rise.

While economists are warning of serious long-term economic damage, Trump is predicting a strong fourth quarter thanks to pent-up demand.

“I feel it,” Trump said in comments earlier in the day during an Oval Office meeting with New Jersey’s Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy. “I think sometimes what I feel is better than what I think, unfortunately or fortunately.”

Separately, Trump announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency will soon be sending supplemental personal protective equipment to the nation’s 15,400 nursing homes, adding $81 million in spending to increase inspection of such facilities, and that he was establishing a new coronavirus commission for safety and quality in nursing homes. He added that his administration was also finalizing a new federal rule requiring nursing homes to report on virus testing to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and post testing details online.

“I guess you could call it a little bit of a weak spot because things are happening in nursing homes, and we’re not happy about that,” Trump said.

It was a rare, albeit muted, acknowledgement of a shortcoming in his administration’s virus response. More than 11,000 U.S. coronavirus deaths have been connected to U.S. nursing homes.

The moves to bolster nursing home safety come as his campaign advisers have grown increasingly concerned that fallout from the virus outbreak is eroding Trump’s support among older voters.

Aides have warned the president that seniors, who are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19, have been rattled by the administration’s scattershot handling of the crisis and Trump’s increasingly contentious daily press briefings, according to two campaign officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations.

Older Americans are an important component in Trump’s reelection strategy. People older than 45 composed a larger share of voters than the national average in 2016 in all six states that both sides consider the most likely to determine the next president, especially Arizona, Michigan and, above all, Florida.

It has been more than two decades since a Democratic candidate won seniors, but the Trump campaign has begun to fear that Biden could be poised to do the same or at least cut into Trump’s margin with the group.

Trump had centred his reelection message before the outbreak around his stewardship of a strong economy. But with more than 30 million Americans filing jobless claims and the stock market plunging from record highs in recent weeks, the president’s prosperity pitch to voters has become complicated.

Economists have warned a sharp comeback may not be realistic. They point to expected flare-ups that could force reopened businesses to shut down again, concerns that employees and consumers afraid of contracting the virus could continue to stay home, and the fact that shuttered businesses may not open again. With so much of the economy paralyzed, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that economic activity will plunge this quarter at a 40% annual rate.


Madhani reported from Chicago. Associated Press writer Jonathan Lemire in New York contributed to this report.

Aamer Madhani, Kevin Freking And Jill Colvin, The Associated Press

Donald Trump

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Trump says US can never declare ‘total victory’ over virus

Just Posted

A damaged unicorn statue is shown in a field outside of Delia, Alta. in this undated handout photo. It’s not often police can report that a unicorn has been found, but it was the truth Saturday when RCMP said a stolen, stainless-steel statue of the mythical beast had been located in a field not far from where he’d been taken. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Mounties get their unicorn; stolen statue of mythical beast found in Alberta field

Police are still looking for suspects, and have called in their forensics experts to help

There were six additional deaths across Alberta reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,926 since the beginning of the pandemic. (File photo)
Dr. Wayne John Edwards, 66, died Tuesday at Chinook Regional Hospital. (Cornerstone Funeral Home)
Lethbridge doctor becomes 7th Alberta health-care worker to die from COVID-19

Dr. Wayne John Edwards, who was 66, died Tuesday at the Chinook Regional Hospital in the southern Alberta city

National Volunteer Week runs April 18th to 24th.
photo submitted
Celebrating the commitment of volunteers in Rimbey

National Volunteer Week runs April 18th to 24th

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

A vial of some of the first 500,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada secured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Canada’s 2nd blood clot confirmed in Alberta after AstraZeneca vaccine

The male patient, who is in his 60s, is said to be recovering

The funeral of Britain’s Prince Philip in Windsor, England, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Philip died April 9 at the age of 99. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)
PHOTOS: Prince Philip laid to rest Saturday as sombre queen sits alone

The entire royal procession and funeral took place out of public view within the grounds of Windsor Castle

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Doses of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine in a freezer trailer, to be transported to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pfizer to increase vaccine deliveries in Canada as Moderna supply slashed

Moderna plans to ship 650,000 doses of its vaccine to Canada by the end of the month, instead of the expected 1.2 million

A empty classroom is pictured at Eric Hamber Secondary school in Vancouver, B.C. Monday, March 23, 2020. The Alberta government says schools in Calgary will move to at-home learning starting Monday for students in grades 7 to 12.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Calgary schools to shift to at-home learning for grades 7 to 12 due to COVID-19

The change, due to COVID-19, is to last for two weeks

Most Read