Sidestepping Congress, Trump says he will act to deliver Americans another stimulus

EXCLUSIVE: One on One with President Trump

THE WHITE HOUSE (Gray DC) - In a broadcast exclusive, President Donald Trump tells Gray Television Washington Bureau Chief Jacqueline Policastro he’s ready to step in to provide another stimulus to Americans struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The plague came in, and it’s not the people’s fault. So, we want to take care of them,” said Trump.

The president said he wants to extend the $600 weekly benefit to unemployed Americans.

Trump maintained “the country is doing very well” in the battle against coronavirus. He encouraged Americans to continue to social distance, wash hands, and wear masks.

Policastro asked the president about his public criticism of top doctors on the White House Coronavirus Task Force. He responded with a pivot to the international struggle with the virus and the rebound of hard-hit states in the U.S.

When pressed about the spread across the country, Trump responded, “Well, I think you’re going to have it for a little while. We’re having vaccines made at a record level. I think we’re going to be very successful with the vaccines.”

Trump said our military will help deliver a vaccine once approved. Older Americans and people with medical conditions will receive the first approved vaccines.

“We’re going to be very judicious. We’re going to be smart about it,” Trump said.

Policastro and Trump also discussed the partisan battle over mail-in-voting and the plans for a march on Washington on the anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech.

Full interview with President Donald Trump

Read the full transcript of the interview here:

Jacqueline Policastro:

Mr. President, Congress is still debating over the next round of stimulus payments. If they don't act, do you plan to step in?

President Trump:

Well, I’m going to have to, because we have to take care of our people. And the problem we have is that they’re looking to Democrats to take care of states that have been poorly run. It’s bailout money. They’re looking for a trillion dollars in bailout money to bail out many states. I’m not going to name them now because it’s insulting to name them, but you know who they are. That are run by Democrats, run by the radical left in some cases. You look at what’s going on with some cities like Portland and Seattle, and they want to do bailout money for places that are run by Democrats that are doing poorly. And it has nothing to do with corona. It has to do with something much different, that’s years of neglect and not good management. And we don’t want to do that.

Jacqueline Policastro:

Do you think people on unemployment should continue to get the extra $600 each week?

President Trump:

Yeah. I want to get them. I want to get them a lot. It's not their fault. It's China's fault that this whole thing happened. We were setting records. We were doing unbelievable business. It was an incredible thing, we've never done so well. Breaking records on employment, on the stock market, although the stock market's almost what it was, which is pretty incredible in itself, but we were breaking every record you can do. And then this, the plague, I call it the plague, came in and it's not the people's fault. So we want to take care of them. Really good. Take care of them very well.

Jacqueline Policastro:

You want to prevent new coronavirus hotspots, but you're against a lockdown and a national mask mandate. So how do you plan to get the virus under control?

President Trump:

People have to watch it. And there's a big theory on many different things. Number one, it's distancing. Here we are distanced, normally we would be a little bit closer, we'd be sharing a microphone and we want to get back to those days. But you want to have distancing. You want to have great hygiene and washing the hands. People question masks, but there's no downside in wearing them. And you go with the masks and you do things and we're beating it, you take a look. Most of our country, much of our country is doing very well.

Jacqueline Policastro:

You just publicly criticized one of the top doctors on your team. Do you agree with the medical experts on the coronavirus taskforce?

President Trump:

Well, I think we're getting better very rapidly. When you look at all over the world, you look at Germany and you look at France and Spain and Italy, and there are so many places where it's coming back. This is a very, a very contagious, very difficult disease that came from China. I will tell you that, it's very difficult. But I think we're doing very well. If I showed you a map, much of the map says, it's gone. It's gone from big areas of our country. If you look at Florida now, Texas and other places where it's sort of went back or started, you may say it just started there because they didn't have much of a problem in the first place. The numbers are really good, really going down.

Jacqueline Policastro:

You sound positive today. Some of the top doctors though have talked about the spread across the country and people are still getting sick.

President Trump:

Well, I think you're going to have it for a little while. We're having vaccines made at a record level. I think we're going to be very successful with the vaccines. We're going to be making an announcement sooner than people even think. I think long before the end of the year. We also have therapeutics where they go in and they do transfusions or shots and people are going to get better, which is frankly my first choice right now, even before the vaccine. And they're doing very well therapeutically and very well with the vaccine. And again, large parts of our country are doing really well. And people don't talk about them. But if you look at the hotspots, California is getting better, the numbers are going down. Texas is really in much better shape as the numbers are going down and likewise Florida. So they were hotspots and they still are a little bit, but their numbers are going down.

Jacqueline Policastro:

Two vaccines are in the final stages of testing. What's your plan for getting millions of people vaccinated?

President Trump:

So we're all set up with our military, logistically, we're all set. We have a general who does this. He delivers usually soldiers or other things, equipment. And now he's delivering a vaccine. He's really fantastic. It's a great group. It is logistically something that's going to be incredible. We're all set to go. As soon as they have that vaccine, we're going to make it. We're all set from a manufacturing standpoint and we're all set from a logistical standpoint, it's going to be delivered very fast.

Jacqueline Policastro:

How will you decide who gets access to the vaccine first?

President Trump:

Well, we're going to be very judicious. We're going to do with the people that need it most. And frankly, the people that need it most, as you know, are elderly, especially elderly that have a problem, whether it's diabetes or a heart problem. And we will do a real job with that, but we're going to be very judicious. We're going to be smart about it.

Jacqueline Policastro:

You're thinking about issuing an executive order on mail-in voting. What would that even look like?

President Trump:

Well, we're going to see, but the post office, I can't imagine, is equipped to do this. All of a sudden, you have millions of ballots. If you look in New York, they have a real problem. They had a congressional race and it took place about seven weeks ago and they have no idea what's going on. The votes are lost. I don't know, there is fraud. There's something going on. But it's a very bad situation. If you look at Paterson, New Jersey, they had a race and it was very corrupt. I think they said about 20 percent of the ballots are not appropriate. So we want to make sure it's going to be a real election. This is a very dangerous thing, for World War I, World War II, people went and voted. Now absentee ballots are good. Where you request a ballot, you get it. It's a process you have to go through. But the universal mail-in ballots are very, very dangerous. I don't think it works. I'll be honest. And I want it to work. I think it's good for me. But I don't think it works. You're not going to have... In Nevada, they passed something yesterday. They passed it two days ago.

Jacqueline Policastro:

You're suing Nevada, correct?

President Trump:

Yeah, we're suing. It's crazy, they passed it late at night. They didn't have public meetings. They didn't have anything. And results can be in seven days after the election. That means you're not even going to know who won on election night because—

Jacqueline Policastro:

Well, look sir, Democrats say you're trying to suppress the vote.

President Trump:

No, not trying to suppress it. I want to have the vote. I want to actually have the vote. I want to have the real vote. I don't want an election to be stolen from either party. I don't want it to be stolen. But when they give the post office virtually no notice, and they say, "We're going to give millions of ballots out and you have to go and deliver them and do whatever you have to do." I mean, how can anything run like this? The post office didn't know about it. But just take a look at what's happened in New York, Carolyn Maloney. It's a mess. Take a look at Paterson, take a look at many other places. It's a mess. And it's going to be a very big embarrassment for our country.

Jacqueline Policastro:

Mr. President, one quick last question. A March on Washington is planned at the end of the month on the anniversary of the I Have a Dream speech. What's your message to people that plan to come here to Washington to march?

President Trump:

Well, I think we have a great country that is going to only get better. We were set to do numbers in employment, African-American employment, Asian. I mean, if you look Hispanic-American, the greatest numbers ever, we had them, we had the greatest numbers. We're having 160 million people working. All of these numbers were records. And then the virus came in and we had to do something. We had to close it down. We saved millions of lives. Now we're opening it up. We've got the greatest country in the world. We will do better next year than we've ever done before.

Jacqueline Policastro:

Mr. President, I appreciate your time today. Thanks very much.

President Trump:

Thank you very much. Thank you.

Jacqueline Policastro:

Thanks.

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