- The Washington Times - Friday, May 22, 2020

President Trump used a White House event for veterans Friday to tout his accomplishments ahead of the November election and rally bikers to his side, saying they seem to like him and the feeling is mutual.

“I liked you from the beginning,” Mr. Trump said.

“November 3rd’s a big day, we don’t want to destroy this country,” Mr. Trump added.

Mr. Trump ticked through his efforts to overhaul the Department of Veterans Affairs and to better fund the military.

“We’ve secured over $2.1 trillion in funding to completely rebuild the American military,” Mr. Trump told bikers in an address from the Blue Room Balcony to representatives of AMVETS (America Veterans “Rolling to Remember Ceremony: Honoring Our Nation’s Veterans and POW/MIA).”



“Drive as fast as you can but don’t get hurt,” Mr. Trump said, before the riders revved their engines on the South Lawn to the opening riff of Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine.”

The bikers normally come thundering into Washington by the thousands each Memorial Day weekend, though because of COVID-19, they are holding a virtual event that encourages bikers to ride 22 miles in their communities to recognize the 22 veterans who die by suicide every day.

Speaking from a safe distance behind the White House, Mr. Trump defended his efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic as the U.S. death toll inches closer to 100,000, saying he had to rebuild medical stockpiles.

“We didn’t have ventilators, we didn’t have testing, we didn’t have anything,” Mr. Trump said.

An initial test developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention failed in mid-February, putting the country behind in diagnostics.

Mr. Trump slammed former Vice President Joseph R. Biden for criticizing his decision to restrict travel from China. He also criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for touring Chinatown in San Francisco as the outbreak ramped up.

“These people are sick,” Mr. Trump said, before pivoting back to his list of accomplishments.

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