Trump to Iowa voters: Coronavirus vaccine is ‘a few short weeks’ away

By: - November 1, 2020 6:11 pm

President Trump dances on stage after a rally at the Dubuque airport, Nov. 1, 2020. (Screen shot of event livestream)

President Donald Trump unleashed another free-wheeling — and, at times, factually challenged — stream of pronouncements in Iowa Sunday afternoon as the race for the presidency entered the home stretch.

Speaking at a rally in Dubuque, Trump told his supporters a vaccine for the coronavirus is just “a few short weeks” away, and warned that if the Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, is elected, he would “turn America into a prison state, locking you down while letting the far-left rioters roam free to loot and burn.”

The president called the former vice president “a corrupt politician” who is backed by criminals.

“Joe Biden is the candidate of rioters, looters and arsonists — it’s hard to believe,” Trump said. “Gun-grabbers, flag burners, Marxists, lobbyists and special interests … I am the candidate of farmers, factory workers, police officers, hard-working people and law-abiding patriots.”

Trump said a Biden victory would “end America as we know it” and turn the nation into a “socialist country.” He called out Biden for what he said was the former vice president’s plan to “raise your taxes.” As Trump described it, “his whole campaign is, ‘We will raise your taxes.’ … He wants to give you the largest tax increase in history.”

Biden has repeatedly denounced rioters and looters, and said he will not raise taxes on anyone on making less than $400,000 per year.

Trump’s visit came as a new Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll showed him pulling ahead of Biden, with a lead of 7 percentage points. The two candidates were tied in the newspaper’s September poll.

Joe Biden’s statement on President Trump’s Iowa visit:

“President Trump hasn’t just failed the Hawkeye State — he’s given up on even trying to lead. More than 130,000 Iowans have tested positive for COVID-19, more than 1,700 have lost their lives, and the economy has been devastated. But the only thing President Trump is offering the people of Iowa is more excuses and lies — not a plan to get the virus under control. Iowans have had enough. They deserve leaders they can count on to fight for them, not for the wealthy and well-connected — and who don’t quit on saving lives, but who will end this crisis. As President, I’ll work to not only stop COVID-19, but to build our economy back better for working people for generations to come.”

The president also claimed Democrats intend to “indoctrinate your children with anti-American lies and force you to subsidize extreme late-term abortion … They want to abolish religious liberty and they want to ban God from the public square.”

In recent weeks, COVID-19 has spread at an unprecedented rate, with new infections totaling almost 100,000 per day, the highest level since the beginning of the pandemic. More than 20 states, including Iowa, recently reported their worst-ever weeks for new infection.

While no vaccine has been identified and approved, let alone manufactured and distributed, the president suggested that it would soon be in the hands of America’s most vulnerable citizens. The election, he said, would be a choice between a “deadly Biden lockdown” and a “safe vaccine that ends the pandemic.”

Citing his own recovery from the virus as evidence of the “groundbreaking therapeutics” that are now available, Trump reiterated his claim that his 14-year-old son, Barron, recovered from the virus within minutes of being diagnosed.

“Now, Barron’s a young guy, he’s 14,” Trump said. The doctor came to see me and said, ‘Sir, your son has tested positive.’ I said, ‘For what? Tested positive for what?” He said, ‘Covid.’ … And I go, ‘Wow. That’s bad. That’s not good.’ Like, 12 minutes later, I saw the great White House doctor. ‘How’s Barron doing?’ ‘Oh, he’s OK … No problems.’ Like, 12 minutes! I said, “Barron, you feeling OK?’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘What was wrong?’ ‘I had nothing wrong with me.’ ”

On Thursday, the same day America recorded 1,060 additional deaths from COVID-19, the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., told Fox News that COVID-19 deaths had fallen to “almost nothing.”

At Sunday’s rally, the president said “we will mass distribute the vaccine in just a few short weeks and we will quickly eradicate the virus” and the nation will return to normal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said a vaccine roll-out is most likely six to nine months away.

“The vaccines are coming,” Trump said Sunday. “They’re coming in a matter of weeks. It’s all set. We’re going to be delivering them to our elderly. We’re gonna start with the elderly, the military, logistically they’re the best in the world, they’re gonna be delivering it. And without the vaccine — you’re gonna have the vaccine, but without it we’re rounding the corner.”

More than 46,000 people were hospitalized with the virus late last week, according to the COVID Tracking Project. The nation is averaging more than 800 deaths per day.

Among those on hand and cheering the president’s remarks: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, who took the stage at Trump’s invitation and predicted a victory in Iowa.

“We are so proud to have you here,” Reynolds told Trump. “Thank you for everything.”

Also on hand was Republican U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, who is locked in a tight battle for re-election, and her GOP colleague from Iowa, U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley.

“President Trump, we love you,” Ernst said. “There is not a finer president and one who has done so much for our farmers and our ranchers and our biofuels producers. President Trump, Iowa loves you, I love you and God bless you.”

Grassley also praised the president, predicting, “Iowa is going to vote for you big time. And we’re going to have such a successful election that CNN and MSNBC are going to have change their policies when they realize that for four years they couldn’t get you out of office and the people back you up.”

Trump was last in Iowa on Oct. 14, when he held a rally at the Des Moines International Airport. Vice President Mike Pence held a rally at the airport last week and the Trump campaign announced a Des Moines appearance by Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, on Monday at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.  Biden made his first Iowa stop since the caucuses Friday at the fairgrounds, holding a drive-in rally to maintain social distancing among supporters.

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Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.