He delivered a virtual address on Wednesday after hosting a likely “super-spreader” ceremony at the Rose Garden to announce his Supreme Court nominee last month.
In his remarks, the president attacked his Democratic opponent Joe Biden, who the president claimed will oversee economic devastation and “punish” workers, as millions of Americans continue to file for unemployment benefits eight months into a pandemic that has killed more than 200,000 Americans and shuttered businesses in the economic fallout.
The president — speaking with a raspy voice following his illness and return to campaign rallies — told members of the Economic Clubs of New York, Florida, Washington DC, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Sheboygan that the election is a “simple” choice between “historic prosperity” and “crippling poverty and a steep depression under the radical left”.
On the mounting national debt, he claimed that “prior to the plague”, the administration was beginning to “get that number down”.
“We were getting ready to pay off ... large chunks of debt,” he said.
That has not been the case. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a government watchdog, reported this month that the president’s economic plans would add roughly $5 tn to the national debt over 10 years.
Following sweeping tax cuts for wealthy Americans and increased federal spending, the national debt and sustained federal budget deficits are set to hit their highest levels since World War II over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office projected earlier this year.
The budget deficit tripled within the fiscal year that ended on 30 September, the nonpartisan agency reported this month.
The president continued to contrast his administration by invoking an apocalyptic scenario under Democratic leadership, which would “shut down the economy", close schools, delay the release of a Covid-19 vaccine and prolong the pandemic.
The president claimed several times that the end of the public health crisis from the disease is near, despite no indication among medical experts that the viral spread is any less likely to put people at risk.
“We’re rounding that final turn," he said.
He said that an experimental drug treatment from Regeneron “made me feel very good very fast”, falsely claiming the drug is a “cure.”
“Who knows," he said. “Maybe I would have recovered beautifully anyway. All I know is once I had Regeneron, it worked out very well.”
He also claimed that the media has “undermined our public health efforts and put innocent lives in danger" but did not point to any evidence, or acknowledge that his administration has frequently downplayed the severity of the crisis.
“We must allow lower risk Americans to resume normal activity,” he said, attacking “unscientific lockdowns pushed by left-wing politicians.”
He also spoke directly to Democrats, telling them: “I don't understand your thinking.”
“I don't understand how you can be backing such policies, but you're wrong,” he said.
The president will resume campaigning at a rally in Des Moines, Iowa on Wednesday.
He also will participate in a town hall event hosted by NBC on Thursday after the Commission on Presidential Debates cancelled a debate between the two candidates after the president’s campaign declined to participate in a virtual event.
Mr Biden will participate in a separate town hall on CBS.
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