President Donald Trump on Friday downplayed April’s 14.7% unemployment rate amid the coronavirus pandemic, claiming that “those jobs will be back and they’ll be back very soon.”
“It’s fully expected, there’s no surprise, everybody knows this,” he told “Fox and Friends.”
Trump also said he will “probably” have an antibody test for the coronavirus. It was revealed Thursday he had tested negative for the virus after contact with a military service member who had tested positive — a personal valet who had brought him Diet Cokes in the Oval Office.
Trump said he had contact with the valet on Tuesday. He’s said he will now get daily testing, even as he’s rejected as impractical similar testing for Americans he’s encouraging to go back to work.
Later Friday, the president confirmed that Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, Katie Miller, who’s married to top Trump policy adviser Stephen Miller, tested positive for the coronavirus earlier in the day.
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Here are Friday’s most significant developments in Washington:
Trump downplays as ‘fully expected’ worst unemployment numbers since Great Depression New ABC News/Ipsos poll shows Americans by 30-point margin resist reopening now Pence press secretary married to top Trump adviser tests positive for coronavirus Trump tells ‘Fox and Friends’ he will ‘probably’ have an antibody test for the coronavirus Trump and World War II vets in their 90s mark 75th anniversary of VE Day with wreath-laying, none wear masks Trump plays down worst unemployment numbers since Great Depression
President Trump reacted on “Fox and Friends” to the latest jobs numbers soon after they were released this morning, downplaying the devastating figures.
He sought to deflect any blame that could be assigned to him as president and expressed optimism for an economic comeback.
“It’s fully expected there’s no surprise, everybody knows this. Somebody said ‘oh, look at this.’ Well, even the Democrats aren’t blaming me for that but what I can do is I’ll bring it back,” Trump said.
The president continued to hit his message that the country has to view themselves as “warriors” and get back to work, optimistically predicting a strong comeback.
“Those jobs will all be back and they’ll be back very soon and next year we’re going to have a phenomenal year. People are ready to go. We’ve got to get it open. People are ready to go,” he said.
Defending his own performance, Trump said: “We were the envy of the world, and then they came in and they explained it and they said sir, you have to turn it off. We have to close the country, and I said ‘Say it again.’ They said, ‘sir, you have to close the country.’”
— ABC News’ Jordyn Phelps and Ben Gittleson Trump reveals new details about contact with infected personal valet
In his “Fox and Friends” interview, President Trump said his personal valets have “already started” wearing masks.
He said the valet who tested positive for coronavirus “was in the room” on Tuesday, although it wasn’t clear whether he meant the Oval Office where it’s been reported the man brought the president his Diet Cokes.
“This was a gentleman, very good guy, but he was, I guess, off for three or four days, and then he was off over the weekend, and off on Monday, and on Tuesday, he was in the room, and very virtually, I don’t think any contact, but he was in the room, and then I went to get tested, and I tested fine, ” Trump said. “You know, negative, I guess you’d say, negative, and then I got tested a second time, and I tested negative, so — and Mike Pence likewise, because Mike would be there sometimes, you know, when he’d walk in. But he was not there for a while, and he’s a fine young guy, so it’s just one of those things.”
He added that the valet had been tested “four days before.”
President Trump now gets daily coronavirus testing but one test he said he has not had, at least not yet, is an antibody test.
“No I haven’t but we’re getting that…I will do that…at some point probably soon I will be,” Trump said, suggesting he will be getting an antibody test in the future, though he offered no details on when that might happen.
The president added that he’s tested “a lot, that’s for sure.
Asked if he would send a rapid COVID-19 testing device to Biden if the former vice president and presumed Democratic presidential nominee asked for one, Trump said he would.
“Yes, 100 percent,” Trump said. “I’d love to see him get out of the basement so he can speak, because he’s locked in a basement somewhere, and he — every time he talks, it’s, like, a good thing… They don’t want him to come out,” he claimed.
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“I’ll give them the test immediately. We would have it to them today. Nobody’s ever asked me for the test. I mean, if somebody asked, I would make sure that one of the Abbotts…” — he went on to describe the Abbott rapid testing devices. “We would have them a machine or two today if they needed it.”
— ABC News’ Jordyn Phelps and Ben Gittleson Trump doesn’t wear mask at ceremony with WWII veterans in their 90s
President Trump, along with first lady Melania Trump, marked the 75th anniversary of VE Day by visiting the World War II Memorial with seven veterans of the historic conflict.
Masks were not worn by the president, first lady or the veterans who are all in their 90s, the group health experts have said are the most at risk for death due to coronavirus.
The president and first lady kept a few feet of distance between themselves and the veterans as they greeted the veterans.
At her Friday briefing afterward, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters, all wearing masks, that it was the president’s choice whether to wear a face covering and it was the veterans’ decision to attend the event.
“This president is regularly tested,” she said. “This president will make the decision as to whether to wear a mask or not. I can tell you that those veterans are protected. They made the choice to come here because they’ve chosen to put their nation first.
“They wanted to be with their commander in chief on this momentous day and it was their choice to come here and I can tell you that the president always puts the safety of our veterans first and of the American people first,” she said.
Later, ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl asked the president during his meeting with Republican members of Congress in the State Dining Room if he considered wearing a mask when with the WWII veterans.
Trump said he didn’t do so because he was “very far away from them” and “the wind was blowing so hard in such a direction that if the plague ever reached them, I’d be very surprised.”
— ABC News’ Elizabeth Thomas and Ben Gittleson Pence press secretary tests positive for coronavirus
President Donald Trump confirmed Friday that Vice President Pence’s press secretary Katie Miller is the White House staffer who tested positive for the coronavirus earlier in the day.
Miller is married to another top White House aide, Trump’s senior policy adviser, Stephen Miller.
“She’s a wonderful young woman, Katie,” Trump told ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl when he asked if the president had any information on the sick staffer, whose identity until then had been kept anonymous. “It’s — I believe the press person. Right? It’s a press person. So, she tested positive, out of the blue,” he said.
Multiple sources confirm to ABC News that Miller is in fact the staffer who tested positive.
Trump said she “hasn’t come into contact with me” and that she “spends some time with the vice president.”
Pence’s aide testing positive for the coronavirus, comes one day after it was revealed that a personal valet for President Trump also had tested positive.
The aide testing positive Friday morning delayed Pence’s plane from taking off for a trip to Iowa.
“Out of abundance of caution we went back and looked into all the person’s contacts most recently,” a senior administration official told press pool reporters traveling with Pence. “And so out of an abundance of caution, that’s why we asked some of our staff to deplane. Nobody else was exhibiting any symptoms or having any feeling of sickness, but we asked them to go get tested and go home out of abundance of caution,” the official said, according to a pool report. White House, Birx say detailed CDC reopening guidelines ‘in the editing process’
The White House on Friday echoed Dr. Deborah Birx, the coronavirus response coordinator, who said she’s still working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on detailed reopening guidelines for states during the pandemic even though a White House task force official had said the guidelines wouldn’t be issued because those decisions are up to local officials.
“We’re working with the CDC on a whole series of products, from how to improve community mitigation, what to do about contact tracing, how to improve surveillance, and certainly these more detailed guidelines about child care and camps. Those are still being worked on. No one has stopped those guidelines. We’re still in editing,” she told CNN Thursday night.
Asked about the apparent disconnect at her briefing Friday, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany blamed the leak of the draft guidelines on a “rogue employee” and denied they had been blocked, saying they were “still in the editing process.”
What to know about Coronavirus: How it started and how to protect yourself: Coronavirus explained What to do if you have symptoms: Coronavirus symptomsTracking the spread in the US and Worldwide: Coronavirus map
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