Trump predicts coronavirus threat will soon end in speech to governors
By Steven Nelson and Bob Fredericks
New York Post
WASHINGTON — President Trump on Monday touted the economy during wide-ranging remarks at a White House business session with the nation’s governors — and predicted that the deadly coronavirus would no longer pose a threat once warmer weather arrived.
“The heat, generally speaking, kills this kind of virus,” Trump said in the State Dining Room.
“A lot of people think that goes away in April as the heat comes in,” Trump said without explaining further. “We’re in great shape though, we have 12 cases, 11 cases, but we’re in very good shape.”
Trump also took a shot at Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, the only Republican to vote to remove him from office in his impeachment trial.
“How’s Mitt Romney? You keep him. We don’t want him,” he said to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, who did not respond.
And Trump again insisted that Americans with pre-existing medical conditions would always have access to health insurance — even as his administration is trying to kill the Affordable Care Act in the courts.
“Pre-existing, we’ll always have,” he said, because it was part of “society” now. But he said it’s “not ObamaCare anymore” because of the repeal of the individual mandate.
He then turned his attention to the booming economy.
“We’re in the midst of a great American comeback,” the president said in the address, which touched on many points he also made in last week’s State of the Union address.
“We’re creating the most prosperous economy and most inclusive society ever to exist, actually. We’re the No. 1 country in the world right now in terms of the economy,” he said, asserting that his administration had defied expectations that China’s economy would have surpassed the US’ by now.
“We are now so far ahead of China in terms of our economy. Nobody’s going to catch us,” Trump said.
Asked about what was next on his trade agenda, the president ripped into Europe and the EU.
“We’ve been taken advantage of by a lot of countries, allies. The next thing would be Europe, we’ll talk to them very seriously. There’s been a tremendous [trade] deficit with Europe. They put up barriers,” he said.
“Europe has been treating us really badly. The European Union was formed so they can treat us badly, so they’ve done their job,” he claimed.
The commander-in-chief praised his administration’s promotion of “opportunity zones” to stimulate local economies and patted himself on the back for criminal justice reform.
“We’re fighting every day to expand opportunities for African Americans,” he said, referring to opportunity zones. “There’s never been anything like it.”
The passage of “landmark criminal justice reform,” he said, was intended to “give former prisoners a second chance.”
He also promoted his deregulatory agenda, criticizing states such as California for their approach to housing policy, which has contributed to a surge in homelessness
“They don’t know what they’re doing,” he said.
And he praised ICE for taking a hard line on illegal immigration, and credited state and local governments for cracking down on “thousands and thousands of killers and gang members.”
He also repeated what he said was a joke about staying in office beyond his two-term limit, expressing hope that his successor will follow his policies.
“I won’t joke by saying 9, 13, 15 … it drives them crazy,” he said, referring to his critics and the press.
And he boasted about increased spending by other NATO members on his watch.
“The US was paying everything, essentially, we were paying 100 percent. I raised $130 billion, and I raised $400 billion in a second meeting,” he asserted.