Trump talks vaccine, recovery and re-election in interview with WRAL's David Crabtree

Posted July 27, 2020 7:58 p.m. EDT
Updated July 28, 2020 12:38 p.m. EDT

— President Donald Trump said Monday that his administration is completely focused on developing a vaccine and other treatments to deal with coronavirus, which will allow him to rebuild the nation's shattered economy during a second four-year term.

Trump spoke exclusively with WRAL News following his tour of Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies in Morrisville, which is manufacturing a potential vaccine developed by Maryland-based Novavax. That firm is one of several with drugs in clinical trials as vaccine candidates.

"Vaccines and therapeutics, therapeutically we can solve the problem," he said. "We are having tremendous success."

Trump predicted that a vaccine would be approved by the end of the year and will be "distributed in record time."

Despite massive viral outbreaks in Florida, Texas, Arizona and some other states recently, he said he believes states are doing well in combating the virus and that their caseloads will drop rapidly in the coming weeks.

When asked whether, in hindsight, he would have attacked the pandemic differently, Trump didn't cite anything he would have changed. Instead, he ticked off a list of accomplishments, from halting flights from China early on to providing protective gear to states from a national stockpile.

Still, he acknowledged the difficulty the pandemic has created.

"The virus is a very tough thing. Every country is suffering," he said. "It's just this process. It takes a long time. We have to come up with a vaccine. We have to come up with a cure, in a sense."

The pandemic derailed what the president described as the greatest economy in world history. He said he plans to rebuild the economy and continue working on various initiatives, from lowering prescription drug prices to increasing transparency in health care costs to improving services to veterans, if he's re-elected in November.

"Nobody's accomplished more in the first 3½ years than I have," he said. "Next year is going to be the best year we've ever had, especially if we come up with therapeutics and a vaccine."

Trump expressed confidence he would carry North Carolina in November.

"We did very well in 2016, and they say that we're going to do even better this time," he said. "We've done a lot for this state. We've helped this state."

The Republican National Convention will be held in Charlotte next month, despite restrictions on mass gatherings that, for a time, had GOP officials moving part of the event to Jacksonville, Fla. Trump declined to say where he would give his acceptance speech or whether it would be a virtual appearance, saying a decision would be announced in the next week.

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