- The Washington Times - Friday, October 16, 2020

President Trump made an appeal to seniors in Florida on Friday, saying older Americans will be “first in line” for a coronavirus vaccine.

Speaking indoors to several hundred people — some without masks — in Fort Myers, Mr. Trump said seniors are his biggest priority. He said the administration has reached an agreement with major drug-store chains to deliver an eventual vaccine.

“I am thrilled to announce that we have just finalized a partnership with CVS and Walgreens … to immediately deliver the vaccine directly to nursing homes at no cost to our seniors,” he said.

Mr. Trump said, “I will protect you, I will defend you, and I will fight for you with every ounce of energy and conviction that I have. As president, I am deeply aware that America’s 54 million seniors have borne the heaviest burden of the ‘China Virus.’ I feel their pain.”

He said the U.S. will overcome the pandemic, and he told the audience not to listen to “the professional pessimists.” Cases of COVID-19 have been rising in at least 40 states in the past two weeks, and the U.S. has surpassed 8 million infections.

“My message to America’s seniors today is one of optimism, confidence, and hope,” Mr. Trump said. “Your sacrifice has not been in vain. We are rounding the turn. I am moving heaven and earth to safeguard our seniors from the ‘China virus,’ to deliver life-saving therapies in record time, and to distribute a safe and effective vaccine before the end of the year. Seniors will be the first in line for the vaccine and we will soon end the pandemic.”

Public polls show the president losing significant support from seniors compared with four years ago, when he won the 65-and-older voting bloc.

Older adults account for about 80 percent of all COVID-19 deaths.

The president warned that “left-wing lockdowns will crush America,” and said students need to return to school.

“As we shelter high-risk Americans with extreme vigilance, we must also allow lower-risk Americans to return to work and school,” he said. “We cannot allow unscientific, panic-driven, fear-based policies to deny our children and grandchildren their future and their dreams.”

Turning to the Democrats, Mr. Trump said presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden is leading a party that “wants to transform our nation into a country that would be no longer recognizable.”

“Seniors are under threat from a radical left movement that seeks to destroy the American way of life,” Mr. Trump said. “Their plan to delay the vaccine, delay therapies, and prolong the pandemic will cost thousands of lives. The plan by Washington Democrats to give amnesty and free healthcare to illegal border-crossers will obliterate Medicare, bankrupt your Social Security — robbing you of the benefits you have paid into your entire lives. … They care more about illegal aliens than they care about senior citizens, the Democrats.”

Mr. Trump vowed, “As long as I am president, no one will lay a hand on your Medicare or your Social Security.”

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