Trump hails coronavirus 'cure,' saying it would have taken another year if he hadn't been infected

President talks of national deployment of antibody drug, but House Democrats say they would have to give him the funds

John T. Bennett
Washington Bureau Chief
Friday 09 October 2020 18:21 BST
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Donald Trump on Friday claimed the coronavirus medication cocktail he was given is a “cure,” hailing his infection as something of a miracle that will help people get over the sometimes-deadly virus “immediately” – but one that would not have been available for a year without his sickness.

“People are going to get immediately better, like I did," the president said on what might be the final day of his shorter-than-normal Covid convalescence, hailing  Regeneron Pharmaceuticals' antibody cocktail as the drug that he pushed to get at Walter Reed military hospital last weekend as the medication that could save “hundreds of thousands” of Americans’ lives.

“A day later, I was fine,” Mr Trump said, claiming he felt better on Sunday despite his military doctor and White House aides as late in the week as Monday saying he was not yet out of the woods. “This is better than the vaccine, and it's going out as we speak.”

Only that a senior Democratic aide, however, says the administration would need Congress to allocate the large sum of money a national deployment of the Regeneron firm’s drug and a similar one developed by Eli Lilly.

The president made the announcement on an appearance on the Rush Limbaugh Show, the nationally syndicated radio program popular with conservatives. 

He offered Mr Limbaugh and his listeners an update on his condition, seven days after he was diagnosed with coronavirus.

“I’m free. I feel perfect,” the president said. “I’m not taking anything. It was primarily this one drug.”

The president said Thursday night he would like to hold a campaign rally in Florida, a key battleground state in which Democratic nominee Joe Biden has pulled ahead in several polls. That came during an even telephone interview on Fox News during which he could be hear weazing and coughing.

Mr Trump brushed off those symptoms a day later.

“There’s always that linger thing for a couple of days,” he said. “It’s called ‘that lingering thing’.”

The first hour of his appearance was Mr Limbaugh heaping praise on Mr Trump and the two of them complaining that his time in office has not been equally hailed by Democrats and his other critics.

Despite his audience being almost exclusively conservatives, the host went on an extend diatribe basically pleading with his listeners to vote for the president.

He called Mr Trump “a man who believes America is good and decent and great.” But those who support Mr Bide as "people who … believe America is unjust and immoral from its founding.

“That’s why you’re undermined and your successes are hidden,” Mr Limbaugh said. “If you love America ... you don’t have a choice in this election. Your only choice is President Trump.”

Meantime, the two did talk some policy. 

While talking about healthcare, Mr Trump pledged to protect people with pre-existing conditions even if the Supreme Court, as many experts are predicting, get rid of the 2011 Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.

“I want to terminate Obamacare, and then come up with – and we have it," the president said. Fact check: Republicans in Congress and his own Domestic Policy Council have never released a plan that would replace the 2011 law with their own health plan.

The appearance was hailed as a “radio rally” since the president has been unable to hit the campaign trail since he got coronavirus then it spread through the West Wing and his campaign team. He dropped some of his rally lines, including calling Speaker Nancy Pelosi a “nut job.” 

He accused Mr Biden of being “out of it” and “in a daze.” In an uncomfortable moment, he said black Americans “don’t dig” Mr Biden.

The president seemed angry that an internal Justice Department investigation into its Russia 2016 election meddling probe that included his campaign reportedly won’t be released until after Election Day.

“I’ll tell him that to his face,” the president said of Attorney General William Barr, one of his most loyal Cabinet members.

In a remarkable moment, the sitting president of the United States acknowledged and seemed to confirm he is being investigated by the Justice Department’s Southern District of New York. "I have to beat that off," he said of New York-based probes of him, his business and his family.



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