- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 19, 2020

President Trump on Tuesday pointed to the decline in coronavirus cases, even as states open up, as proof the U.S. can bounce back from the pandemic and enjoy an economic revival.

“It’s already happening, you see what’s going on. We’re opening up,” he told reporters after speaking to the Senate GOP’s weekly luncheon at the Capitol.

Mr. Trump relayed his optimism as transmission appears to be slowing, with the U.S. recording about 20,000-25,000 infections per day, compared to about 30,000-35,000 in late April.

The death toll, however, surpassed 90,000 on Monday.

Mr. Trump said he talked about “everything you can discuss” with the Senate GOP, which will defend its majority this November in the face of polls that suggest they’ll have a fight on their hands.

Mr. Trump defended their record on deregulation and tweaks to Obamacare, claiming he’s the most productive president ever in the face of unrelenting investigations.

“We have a lot of positive things happening, both in terms of the country and the election that’s coming,” Mr. Trump said.

“Nobody’s accomplished what we’ve accomplished in a relatively short period of time,” he added. “Nobody’s done anywhere close to what we’ve done.”

He defended his handling of the pandemic, which has upended his agenda in a campaign year, saying the virus “should have been stopped by China.”

And he renewed his defense of hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment for COVID-19, saying it’s a longstanding medicine for malaria and other maladies.

He refused to respond to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said the president shouldn’t take the unproven drug because there are side effects and he is “morbidly obese.”

“I don’t respond to her. I think she’s a waste of time,” Mr. Trump said.

Vice President Mike Pence, whose spokeswoman tested positive for COVID-19, told Fox News he is not taking hydroxychloroquine.”But I would never begrudge any American taking the advice of their physician,” he said.

“Hydroxychloroquine is a drug that’s been around for more than 40 years for treatment of malaria.”

“But, early in this process, the FDA approved what’s called off-label use where physicians could prescribe hydroxychloroquine in terms they deemed appropriate,” Mr. Pence said. “So my physician has not recommended that, but I wouldn’t hesitate to take the counsel of my doctor. Any American should do likewise.”

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