President Trump had a message for the families of the 70,000-plus Americans who are now dead from COVID-19.
‘I want to say I love you,’ he told ABC News’ David Muir in an interview that was broadcast Tuesday night. ‘And to the people that have lost somebody, there’s nobody – I don’t sleep at nights thinking about it – there’s nobody that’s taken it harder than me.’
Over the course of the interview, the president suggested that there would be ‘more death’ due to the coronavirus pandemic, as states begin the process of allowing businesses to reopen.
President Trump was asked what his message would be to families of the deceased. He told ABC News’ David Muir, ‘I want to say I love you,’ later adding ‘there’s nobody that’s taken it harder than me’
ABC News’ David Muir asked if there would be more coronavirus deaths as the country moved to reopen. The president first said ‘it’s possible’ and then revised that by saying ‘there’ll be more death’
David Muir (left) said his temperature was taken before his sit-down with President Trump (right) and the two sat at least 11 feet apart
‘It’s possible there will be some because you won’t be locked into an apartment or a house or whatever it is,’ the president said. ‘But at the same time, we’re going to practice social distancing, we’re going to be washing hands, we’re going to be doing a lot of the things that we’ve learned to do over the last period of time.’
The president said the reality is, ‘We can’t sit in the house for the next three years.’
‘There’ll be more death, than the virus will pass, with or without a vaccine,’ he again suggested.
There’s no evidence yet that the coronavirus will simply go away, or that it’s seasonal.
‘And I think we’re doing very well on the vaccines but, with or without a vaccine, it’s going to pass and we’re going to be back to normal. But it’s been a rough process. There is no question about it,’ Trump said.
Several weeks ago, on April 17, Trump said he expected ‘around 60,000, maybe 65,000’ Americans dead of the coronavirus.
Ten days later he used 70,000 as the benchmark.
The death toll surpassed 70,000 earlier Tuesday.
On Friday, he said ‘hopefully’ the full tally would be below 100,000 lives lost.
During Sunday night’s Fox News Channel town hall at the Lincoln Memorial, Trump acknowledged he kept giving himself a higher ceiling.
‘I used to say 65,000. Now I’m saying 80 or 90 and it goes up and it goes up rapidly,’ Trump told the anchors. ‘But it’s still going to be, no matter how you look at it, at the very lower end of the plane if we did the shutdown.’
The president had put the original ’15 Days to Slow the Spread’ in place when medical experts cited a death count in the millions if no social distancing was practiced.
To the family members of victims Trump said, ‘I want to say that we’re doing everything that we can.’
‘We love you, we’re with you, we’re working with you, we’re supplying vast amounts of money like never before, we want that money to get to the people and we want them to get better,’ Trump said.
‘No matter how well we do next year – I think our economy is going to be raging, it’s going to be so good – no matter how well, those people can never ever replace somebody they love,’ the president continued.
‘But we’re going to have something that they’re going to be very proud of,’ he added.
Muir and his ABC News team interviewed Trump during his first big trip out of the White House since the coronavirus pandemic struck.
Trump traveled to Phoenix, Arizona where he toured a Honeywell N95 mask plant – and didn’t wear a mask.
Muir said during the ‘World News Tonight’ broadcast his temperature was taken before the sit-down and he sat at least 11 feet away from Trump.
‘There were no handshakes with the president this time,’ Muir said.