President Trump on Friday tiptoed to the edge of conceding that Democrat Joseph R. Biden won the election, then stepped back from the brink.
During a Rose Garden event about the development of a vaccine for COVID-19, Mr. Trump said the economy is rebounding strongly and he won’t consider another lockdown of businesses.
“This administration will not be going to a lockdown,” the president said. “Hopefully the, the, uh, whatever happens in the future, who knows which administration will be. I guess time will tell. But I can tell you, this administration will not go to a lockdown. Lockdowns cost lives.”
After his address, Mr. Trump didn’t take questions from reporters about the election.
It was the president’s first public remarks since Mr. Biden was declared the winner of the election on Saturday. The presumptive president-elect now has won 306 electoral votes with his victory in Georgia on Friday, although a statewide recount will be conducted.
Mr. Trump has 232 electoral votes. His campaign is still contesting the results in several states where the election margins are close.
A COVID adviser to Mr. Biden, Dr. Michael Osterholm, said this week that a business lockdown of for four to six weeks could help control cases of the virus and hospitalizations to a manageable level. But other advisers to Mr. Biden say the Democrat is not considering a lockdown when he is inaugurated on Jan. 20.
Earlier Friday, Vice President Mike Pence told young supporters that Mr. Trump is committed to pursuing legal challenges in hopes of overturning the election outcome.
“We’re going to fight for an outcome in this election that wins us four more years,” he told the Young America Foundation.