Remarks in Fort Myers, Florida
The President. Thank you. What a nice group!
Audience members. U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!
The President. Thank you. Thank you very much. Beautiful, thank you. [Laughter]
Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
The President. Thank you very much. Please.
We're going to be talking to our great senior citizens. That's what I'm here for today. We love our senior citizens.
And I'm honored to be here in Fort Myers to reaffirm my solemn pledge to America's seniors. It's so important to me. I happen to be a senior. [Laughter] I will protect you, I will defend you, and I will fight for you with every ounce of energy and conviction that I have. You devoted your life to this country, and I am devoting my life to you.
My administration is working every day to give our amazing senior citizens the care, support, and respect that you deserve. And you understand that. We've worked together for a long time.
As President, I'm deeply aware that America's 54 million seniors have borne the heaviest burden of the China virus. Many older Americans have endured months of isolation, missing weddings, births, graduations, church, and family reunions. You know that very well. You know it all too well.
My heart breaks for every grieving family that has lost a precious loved one. I feel their anguish, and I mourn their loss. I feel their pain. I know that the terrible pain that they have gone through, and you lose someone, and there's nothing to describe what you have to bear. There's nothing to describe it. In times of challenge, we turn to our fellow Americans for a shoulder to lean on, and we turn to God for healing and strength. And together, we will overcome. We will overcome.
My message to American seniors today is one of optimism, confidence, and hope. Your sacrifice has not been in vain. The light at the end of the tunnel is near. We are rounding the turn. I say that all the time. Some of the media doesn't like hearing it. But I say it all the time: We're rounding that turn.
Don't listen to the cynics and angry partisans and professional pessimists. We are Americans, and we will prevail. We are prevailing, and we are. It's amazing what's happening, if you look at what's going on. It's been really very amazing.
I'm moving heaven and earth to safeguard our seniors from the China virus, to deliver lifesaving therapies in record time, and to distribute a safe and effective vaccine before the end of the year. And we're really doing it, even sooner than that. You see what's going on. We have the vaccines getting ready to go.
Seniors will be the first in line for the vaccine. And we will soon be ending this pandemic. Hasn't happened, a thing like this, since 1918, 1917. And that was a bad one too. That was a real bad one. I will not rest until we've eradicated this plague from our country and our lives and our world. We want it out. When the China virus arrived, we launched the largest mobilization since World War II. Our aggressive and early action saved more than 2 million lives compared to the best estimates from last spring. You remember when they were giving you estimates.
Since the beginning, our Nation's seniors have been my top priority. It was obvious very early on that it was affecting the seniors—not young people. Young people are—they have that strong immune system. And I give all credit to them, but they have a strong immune system. And 99.99—think of that.
But when you get into people that have a few more years, it's a little bit more difficult. When you get a lot more years, it's a lot more difficult. But what they've done with therapeutics now and what they've done with all of the other things that they're doing, it's incredible.
We heightened mitigation and surged testing to protect those at highest risk. We sent billions and billions of dollars in funding to personal protective equipment and distributed rapid testing to 15,400 nursing homes all over the country. We've worked with a lot of Governors. No, we've worked with a lot of Governors. And some have done a great job, and some have done a not a great job, and some have done a very poor job, actually. But some have done a great job. But we're working very closely with the Governors of States.
Just this week, even the New York Times—this was shocking—was forced to admit that, quote, "Experts are saying with genuine confidence that the pandemic in the United States will be over far sooner than they expected." And—[applause]. And they're right. But I was shocked to hear it coming out of the New York Times, right? I was a little—and it's thanks to my administration's Operation Warp Speed. Incredible people.
Because of advances in treatment we pioneered—and we have many treatments, but because of these great advances, we've reached the point where the fatality rate is reduced by 85 percent since April. And now it's up to probably 91 percent. Well, I'm here, I'll tell you. [Laughter]
Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
The President. Thank you.
Well, I don't know what they gave me, but give me some more of it right now, and you can have some. No, I know exactly what they gave me. It was actually pretty amazing.
I'm also working with the FDA and HHS to make the antibody treatment that I received—it's called Regeneron, plus—also, it's incredible. And you know, what they what they can do today is incredible. And they felt very confident, even 6 months ago, when they started. Think of it: We got this all done in a very short period of time. And now we're going for emergency use because we're going to make it available to everyone who needs it for free—anybody in the country.
And Eli Lilly is making a very similar drug. And, Alex, they're working very hard on that, right? Alex Azar. So thank you very much—because I want people to get it, and we're getting it free. Right? So we've got to do that. If you need it. If you don't need it, that's even better, okay? That's even better. But if you need it—right?—you get it.
It's really pretty amazing what happened, because I wasn't feeling great. And the next day, I wake up, and I'm saying, like, "Who can I fight today?" [Laughter] Thank you.
So our groundbreaking therapies have significantly approved—and improved our outcomes for elderly patients, but I'll not relent until all American seniors are safe. You're going to be safe—a hundred-percent safe. And we're right—we're at a point where, really, so much progress has been made. Under Operation Warp Speed, we're on track to deliver at least 100 million doses of a vaccine this year—and could even be a little bit sooner than what they were originally anticipating—with hundreds of millions more to quickly follow, Alex. Remember that, Alex.
Today I'm thrilled to announce that we have just finalized the partnership with CVS and Walgreens—two places you know pretty well, I guess—[laughter]—to immediately deliver the vaccine directly to nursing homes at no cost to our seniors. No cost. Right? No cost. And once you have that vaccine—these are very effective. Once you have that vaccine, you can open those doors and say, "Here I am." [Laughter]
But with everything that I say and everything I do, if you feel safer at home—and you know, we can all be like, "Let's get out there." And I felt, as President—I knew there was risk, but I had to be out. I can't just be locked in a basement, to put it—[applause]—just lock him in a basement. I felt I had to be out there.
We'd see Gold Star families who would say—and they've been looking forward, for months, to coming to the White House and many, many other people—military people and heads of state. And I know you put yourself at risk, but you can't—you have to lead your life.
But I say this: There are people also that would rather stay in place, stay where you are. And to those people—and I understand that very well: Stay. Just relax. Stay until it's gone. And it will be gone, but stay. Don't feel badly or don't feel good about it. Just stay. If you feel safe, stay.
I'm working as hard as I can so you can kiss and hug your children and grandchildren very soon. That's something I missed also, I will be honest with you.
As we shelter high-risk Americans with extreme vigilance, we must also allow lower risk Americans to return to work and return to school. I mean, children should go to school.
My young son Barron had it. And he had it, and all of a sudden, he doesn't have it. It's like—you know, it was a different—it's a whole different deal. And they should go to school, and they have to. Because, you know, I talk about the cure, right? It cannot be worse than the problem itself. It's a very simple statement. But the cure cannot be worse than the problem itself.
And with young children, they have to go to school. They have to be with other kids. They have to grow up. You can't—they can't lose a year of their life.
And if you look at some of, you know, these lockdowns that the Democrats are doing in some States—if you look at North Carolina and Pennsylvania and Michigan—we won the case against her in Michigan. I mean, she's running like—[applause]—she's running, like, a prison, except for her husband, who's allowed to go boating. That doesn't work out somehow. [Laughter] Fortunately, they caught him. He was going to go on the lake, boating. Oh, that's nice. But nobody else was allowed to do it.
But we won the case against her for Michigan, and we freed up the State, and it's a great thing. I mean, it's a great thing. We freed up the State.
Because that whole thing, with the drugs and alcohol and depression and all of the horrible things—we could go over a long list of things—but we can't let that happen. So we want the Democrat—radical left, in many cases—Democrats—we want them to open their States. Open up your States. And we are very careful with our seniors, and that's different. But open up your States. Get it back.
Despite punishing, society-wide lockdowns in Europe—I don't know if you've been watching—they're now experiencing a massive surge in cases. Daily cases are 2,500-percent higher in the United Kingdom, as an example, and 722-percent higher in Europe than in the United States. Okay? Think of that. No, think of that. And we wish them—and we're working with them closely. We're making ventilators for them—for many of the countries over there.
We became the ventilator king. I mean, we didn't have many ventilators. We had—really, we inherited bare cupboards. I say, "The cupboards were bare." And many of the States, they had—cupboards were bare. And now they're loaded up, and they're ready.
But we make—the hardest thing are the ventilators because of the complexity of the machine, and the cost and the size and—but the pure complexity. And we make thousands of ventilators now a month, and we're sending them all over the world. We're all set with the ventilators, but we're sending them all over the world. But hopefully, you won't need them. Soon, you won't even need them. I really think you're going to not need the ventilators, hopefully, soon—very soon.
But sadly, in Europe, the average daily deaths are really soaring: 402-percent higher in the United Kingdom; 493-percent higher in Europe. Meanwhile, in the United States, deaths have decreased by 37 percent. So that's something, right? So the fake news doesn't want to tell you that. Right? They just—they don't want—they want no piece of that. They don't want anything to do with that.
So whether you're Republican or Democrat, we must choose facts over fear—we have to; science over hysteria; hope over despair; and the common good over partisan politics. And again, stay—if you feel good, if you feel safe—because it's going to be gone—stay where you are. Don't leave. Don't say, "Oh gee, I have to get out. The President said, 'Let's get out.'" Stay where you are. I have a lot of friends, they're strong people. They're senior citizens. Great people. Very successful people.
Hi. Look, she is waving. [Laughter] Hi. Thank you. Thank you, hon.
But you know, they're tough actually. And—but they—you know, they feel comfortable, until this is gone. And there are people—and I do that. Do that. I might do that. If I weren't in this position, maybe I'd be doing it myself. [Laughter] In this position, it's a little tougher.
But we cannot allow unscientific, panic-driven, fear-based policies to deny our children and grandchildren their future and their dreams. We can't take a year or 2 years out of their life. There's a whole social thing going on there too.
These left-wing lockdowns will crush America. And my plan is very simple: We're going to crush the virus and go back to exactly where we were. We're almost getting back there now.
So, together, we will end this pandemic, we will rebuild our economy, and we will ensure our seniors can live long, happy, secure, and healthy lives with your grandchildren and your children. You're going to hug them, right? It's good.
Under my leadership, next year will be one of the greatest years in the history of our country economically. We're grateful to be joined today by Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar. Alex, we're counting on you. We're counting on you. I'm going to blame him if this stuff doesn't happen fast. Right?
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services—a fantastic woman—Administrator Seema Verma. Thank you, Seema. Great job you're doing.
And a friend of mine who's become very, very popular. I guess that was what that big applause was. I was backstage, and I said, "Who just came in?" I thought Elvis entered the room. [Laughter] It was your Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis. Stand up, Ron. That's great, Ron. Great.
And by the way, we have some crowd. You see what's going on outside? The mayor said he's never seen anything—he's never seen anything like that. He's never seen anything. No, that's a lot—there's a lot of love outside, I want to tell you. It's—that's a lot of love. And you know, we're leading in the State of Florida, just so we understand. By perhaps a lot.
Also with us, some warriors: Representatives Gus Bilirakis. Gus. Gus. Great job, Gus. And another friend of mine—these are really terrific people—Greg Steube. Greg. Thank you very much, Greg. Thank you.
Thanks, as well, to Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson. Randy. Thank you. Thank you, Randy. Good job, Randy. That's quite a crowd, huh?
Mayor Randy Henderson of Fort Myers, Florida. Welcome to town, Mr. President.
The President. That's good. [Laughter] Thank you very much.
And Cape Coral Mayor Joe Coviello. Joe Coviello. Thank you Joe. Great job. Great job.
We're also tremendously honored to be joined by World War II and Korean war veteran, a very brave guy, Wally Cortese. Wally Cortese. Thank you, Wally. You look good, Wally. I'll tell you, two wars, and you're looking good. Thank you, Wally. Appreciate it. Beautiful. Thank you very much.
Thanks also to all of the members of the VFW Golden Gate Honor Guard. They're with us today. Thank you. That's so great, huh? That's so great. VFW. Fantastic job. Thank you very much for being here.
As I fight to protect our amazing seniors from the China virus, I'm also fighting to protect you from another danger, one which threatens everything we cherish, value, and worked our entire lives to build and to defend. As we gather today, seniors are under threat from a radical-left movement that seeks to destroy the American way of life. We're not going to allow it.
And you know one thing: Sleepy Joe can do nothing about it. [Laughter]
The left has been taken over by Socialists and Marxists and extremists, and they have. They want to transform our Nation into a country that would no longer be recognizable. And their agenda will shatter America's seniors. Their plan to delay the vaccine, delay therapies, and prolong the pandemic will cost thousands and thousands of lives, will be horrifying for our country.
Their plan for higher taxes—they want to quadruple taxes; every company will move out. They'll go back to where they came. We had tremendous people, tremendous companies come into our country. We're bringing tremendous jobs—160 million jobs. We've never had anything like it before the plague, and then we're building it back up again.
Last 4 months, we've set records on employment, on hiring, employment. And you know, a number that, let's say a year ago, wouldn't have sounded great, but now sounds incredible: 7.8-percent unemployment. Think of it. People were talking about 42 percent. We're back down to 7.8, and we'll be soon down to the number where we were 7 months ago. Pretty amazing.
I never thought I'd be happy with 7.8 percent, but you know, when you think about it—right?—it's—they were talking 39 percent, 42 percent. Ron, 7.8 is a pretty—an amazing thing. We did that in a rapid fashion. Nobody has ever seen anything like it, actually.
Their plan for higher taxes and crippling regulations, however, would crater our economy. They're insane energy polices—because you know they're going to be fracking.
Hey, Biden, for a year and a half, was saying, "There will be no fracking." Then, he lucks out; he gets the nomination, because Elizabeth Warren refused to get out. [Laughter] So Bernie—a second time. That happened twice to Bernie. Bernie—he's a hell of a loser, that's one thing I'll say. [Laughter] He knows how to lose. Well, he knows how to lose. And loses—he goes back to work like nothing happened. [Laughter] No, they took it away from him twice. I think the second time, in a way, worse—because she stayed in, and she took the votes. And Sleepy Joe just got in there. [Laughter] That's why you've got to be careful. You've got to be careful. You never know what happens.
But if you take a look—and we can't let any of this stuff happen. And you look at what's happened to other countries where they've had this philosophy, where they've had this ideology. We can't let. But you watch what they're saying about the fracking, where he said, "No, there"—And he said it with such—you know, it's not like, "Well, I'll think about it." He's doing the same thing with the courts right now. They're going to pack the Supreme Court. You see what they want to do.
Audience members. Boo!
The President. That would be destruction of our country. But you take a look. So he says, "No, there will be no fracking." These are the words. "There will be no fracking. You don't understand what I just said. There will be no fracking." You know, and he gets very agitated. [Laughter] "There would be no fracking." [Laughter]
And he gets the nomination, goes to Pennsylvania. They inform him that they have a million jobs, and fracking is a big deal. And they like inexpensive energy. Right? And so he goes from "There will be no fracking," with great anger, to "I never said there wouldn't be fracking." [Laughter]
It's the craziest thing. If that ever happened to me—[laughter]—and the media doesn't even talk about it. That's just one of many things. Then, he does the thing with the courts. You see that, right? He goes, "I'll tell you after the election what I'm going to do." How important is it? Because he's going to put on radical-left, crazy judges that will destroy your lives.
You know, it's the most important. They've always said—I've always heard—Ron, I've always heard this: that the most important thing a President does is pick Supreme Court Justices, right? I would say maybe the military, you know? But—but let's say it's right there. And they have to—he has to create a list of more than just that. He has to create a list and let you know. And he has to pick from that list. That's what I did. I created a list of 25 people—highly, highly capable people. And a lot of people said that's why I won the election, actually. So I don't know if that's true or not, but it was a very important part, Mayor. You understand, Mayors. You know that.
So their insane energy policies will abolish millions of jobs and cost seniors thousands of dollars per year in higher energy bills. Their antipolice agenda will empower violent mobs and put every community at risk.
Their antisuburban agenda threatens the property values of millions of American seniors, and your families, who own homes in residential neighborhoods in the suburbs. I'm saving the suburbs. You know, people were saying, "Well, women in the suburbs, do they like Trump?" I said: "Yes, they like me. You know why they like me? Because I'm saving their homes." That's why they like me. They may not like me, but they like what I'm doing—[laughter]—and that's more important.
Oh, boy, they have these crazy people. The people on television, "I don't know if suburban women"—suburban women want security, they want safety, they want law and order. They want their homes to be protected. The socialist ideology that they will use and indoctrinate our youth with is—it's like poisonous anti-American propaganda. The plan by Washington Democrats to give amnesty and free health care to illegal border crossers will obliterate Medicare, bankrupt your Social Security, robbing you of the benefits that you've paid for your entire lives.
You know, look, take a look at Venezuela. You know, people don't realize that was a wealthy country 18, 17 years ago. It was so wealthy. And it's gone from being wealthy—they don't have medicine. They don't have food. They don't have water. They don't have anything. And it's—you know, it can happen here, just a much larger version with that ideology. And that's the ideology that they're looking at. It's crazy.
These radicals will destroy Medicare with totally open borders. And by the way, you know the wall? It's up to almost 400 miles. Four hundred. Four hundred miles. And it goes down deep—tunneling. It goes down deep and up very high. No, it's had a tremendous—we've never had a stronger southern border than we have right now. It will be finished very soon. We're doing 10 miles a week. That's a lot. Ten miles a week. Army Corps of Engineers are also doing Lake Okeechobee and lots of other things. Right? They're doing a good job, right?
They're giving away your benefits—that's what they want to do—to anyone in the world who trespasses into our country. And you know, we all have big hearts, and we want to take care of people. But when you say, "We're going to give you free health care. We're going to give you college education"—I sarcastically said once, "We're going to give you a beautiful, brandnew Rolls Royce"—[laughter]—okay?—"if you're an illegal immigrant." And CNN went, and they said, "The President lied to the seniors." [Laughter] You know, they just don't get it. They get it. Actually, unfortunately, they get it more than you would think. They're a little bit on the evil side. [Laughter]
But you know, they—you're going to bring millions of people. You're going to bring millions and millions of people. It's like when you say "free health care" and "free education" and "free this and that," millions of people are going to pour into the country. It's not going to be stoppable. And we can't let that happen. They care more about illegal aliens than they care about senior citizens, the Democrats.
The left is coming after me because I'm defending you, and that's true. That's why they come after me every day. But we caught them on the Russian hoax. We finally caught them after 2½ years—the Russian hoax. Turned out to be the exact opposite: They're the ones that were playing with Russia. That was a beauty. Hillary—Crooked Hillary.
Audience member. Lock her up!
The President. No, they're the ones. Yes. [Laughter]
Audience members. Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up!
The President. Yes. I agree with you. I used to just be quiet. I agree with you a hundred percent. They paid—they paid—millions and millions of dollars they paid. And they tried to show it. It was the greatest hoax and the greatest political crime in the history of our country. That's what they committed.
But I'm the only one standing between their open borders and extremism and the health care benefits that you've earned and paid for—all your life you paid for. As long as I'm President, no one will lay a hand on your Medicare or your Social Security.
As a candidate, I made a sacred promise that I'd strengthen, protect, and defend your Medicare benefits, and that's exactly what I've done. I've done that, right?
My administration has fought to deliver greater security, affordability, fairness, economic stability to our Nation's seniors. Under 8 years of the previous administration, premiums for Medicare health plans went up, including a 25-percent increase right here in Florida. That's for the previous people.
Under my administration, we've lowered Medicare Advantage premiums by a number nobody even believes—34 percent nationwide. And today it's the lowest level in 14 years. Did you know that, Ron? That's not a bad thing for you to put into your speech, right? Who would think that? [Laughter] No, but seriously, we've brought it way down. They've done a great—this group over here, they've done a great job.
Thanks to our efforts, there are 2,000—[applause]. Thank you. There are 2,000 more Medicare Advantage plans today than there were 3 years ago, Seema. Huh? That's incredible. Think of it. That means more choice and more competition for better care at a much lower cost.
When we rapidly expanded telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries during the pandemic, the number of telehealth users increased from 14,000 a week to 1.7 million a week. What's that percentage?
Yet all of this danger—it's all in danger, because if these other people get in, they will end all of that. The telehealth, it's—you know, it's interesting. We've learned something. For children, they're much better in a classroom than they are on a laptop. Okay? Children. But for your health, and what you can do, you can do so much of it. It's such a big percentage. Better than going out and going through—this telehealth has been amazing. It's been really incredible. It's been an incredible thing.
So it's increased like 6-, 7,000—I think 6,500 percent. And it's probably the only thing that came out of this whole deal that we really can take pleasure at: telehealth. So it's been really an incredible thing that's happened.
Over 130 Democrats in Congress, including far-left Senator Kamala Harris, who is the most left——
Audience members. Boo!
The President. [Laughter] I said, "He'll never choose her because nobody treated him worse than her." Nobody. [Laughter] Plus, she was—her poll numbers were sinking. She never even got to Iowa. She never got there. And when I said, "Oh"—and by the way, did Mike Pence do a good job the other day? Right? He's a good man. Did a great job.
Audience member. [Inaudible]
The President. And I had a great—thank you. I had a really—[laughter]—I had a lot of fun last night with that. That was a nice—[laughter]—that was a nice evening. It was a nice, pleasurable evening, as I have somebody going totally crazy last night. [Laughter]
"But I told you—I told you that." She told me she's going to—oh, okay I believe you, right? [Laughter] No, but I understand that worked out very well last night. That's what the word is. So that's good. Another evening in paradise, I call it. [Laughter]
They're sponsoring a socialist health care plan that would annihilate your Medicare. The Democrats' policy proposals may go by different names—they put all sorts of names. They say "single payer" or so-called the "public option," but really, they're all based on the same core promise: raiding Medicare to fund a socialist health care takeover. And it's going to destroy your Medicare. That's the one thing you know for sure.
Every one of their plans involves rationing care, restricting access, denying coverage, slashing quality, extending wait times, and massively raising your taxes. Other than that, it's actually quite good. [Laughter] As we know from seeing these left-wing policies in action around the world, seniors will be the victims. And that's what happens. The first to go are the seniors. The victims are really the seniors. It's—you know, this is nothing that unique.
Socialist health care plans always end up denying care and coverage to the sick and the elderly in order to control costs. And they always feel that this is the easiest way to do it. We must not let them bring this lethal and deadly agenda to America. Don't let it happen. You've got to vote them out. Get out and vote.
Democrat health care proposals would abolish private insurance for 180 million Americans. Just so you know, there are many people—they've had a good life, they've done well, they have private plans. They are unbelievable. They love their plan. Those plans are gone. Those plans are gone.
They'd abolish the Medicare Advantage program that benefits 24 million seniors, including one out of two Hispanic seniors and one out of three African American seniors who enrolled in the Medicare Advantage, right? And that would all be ended, it would be abolished for big, fat, ugly socialized medicine. You go to a hospital—if you don't feel good, go to a hospital room and wait for 3 days to see a doctor.
I will never allow that to happen. Under my administration, your Medicare Advantage is safe, your benefits are protected, and I will always protect patients with preexisting conditions. Always. Always. [Applause] Always.
They always play that card, right? You know, remember, they used to say, "Oh, he's going to give up"—first they said I was going to be in a war within the first week. [Laughter] Whatever happened to that, right? [Laughter] Just the opposite. Our great warriors are coming home. They're all coming home. They're all coming home.
Look at North Korea; they thought it would be a war—in a war immediately with North Korea. How's that worked out, right? It's worked out very nicely. You know, talk; we'll talk, keep talking. [Laughter] But it worked out very well.
But the other thing they'd say, "He will destroy your Social Security." Really? Did I? I said, "No." No, they're going to destroy, because they'll destroy our country. They'll destroy your Social Security, and they'll destroy your country. And Joe won't have any idea what happened because he's gone. Let's face it. [Laughter] He's gone.
Another critical issue for senior citizens is the price of prescription drugs. This is something I'm very proud of, because we've lowered Part D prescription drug premiums by 12 percent, saving senior citizens $1.9 billion. But the big is yet to come.
I stood up to big pharma, and that's not easy. They've got big money. They're the biggest lobbyists in this country, by far. And I signed an Executive order implementing a "most favored nations" policy for the United States. You know, for years, you've heard we pay more for drugs than any other country. Well, that's not even close. We pay much more.
And then, other countries, that we know very well, take advantage of us, and they pay a fraction. I mean, a—you wouldn't even believe how much less. But a fraction. Ten cents for a pill as opposed to two dollars for a pill. Same pill from the same lab, plant. Right? And I instituted a "favored nations" clause. I said, "If Germany or some other country is getting our stuff low, I want a favored nations." Meaning, I want it for the same price. And they have gone crazy.
I have never seen so many ads. They put on more ads against me now than Sleepy Joe Biden. [Laughter] I'm telling you. And they understand, and it's—you know, look, it should have been done a long time ago. This should have been done years ago. Plus, I got rid of the middlemen. And I gave Ron DeSantis the right to go to Canada in the meantime, because I think eventually you'll be using this. But in the meantime, you'll also be getting the rebates. Okay? Rebates—you know who they go to? The middlemen. You know how rich the middlemen are? I'm rich. These guys blow everyone away. I don't know—nobody even knows who the hell they are. Did you ever hear—does anybody know a middleman?
Audience member. [Inaudible]—Biden! [Laughter]
The President. We'd like to meet.
Yes, it's Biden's son. It's Hunter. [Laughter] Oh, it's Hunter. Oh—I'll bet you Hunter is a middleman; he's collecting—he's like a vacuum cleaner. He follows his father around collecting. What a disgrace. It's a crime family. You want to know something? It's a crime family. He's following his father. Hunter Biden is a middleman. Oh, that's wild. No, these people are amazing. These middlemen—you're right.
Hunter made no money until his father became Vice President, and now he's like a vacuum cleaner. [Laughter] His father goes to Germany; Hunter is right there. "Hey, give me a couple of million." Not couple of million; a hell of a lot more than a couple of million. That's a shame. I'll tell you what: It's an organized crime family, as far as I'm concerned.
I capped out-of-pocket costs. And the way they get protected by big tech and by the media—the media doesn't want to ask—you know, they didn't ask—this is the hottest subject there is right now. And I didn't watch Sleepy Joe last night. I just wanted to see what he looked like. He wasn't looking too good. [Laughter] I just couldn't watch. It was too painful. [Laughter] But you know, they didn't—I understand that they did not ask him a question about this. Can you believe it?
No, think of it. And Stephanopoulos interviewed me 2 weeks ago, and it was a—you know, he was nasty. [Laughter] He was nasty. I mean, he was tough. He was—he's a tough guy. I watched last night—the little stuff I watched—and what I heard, it was like softballs everywhere. It was so—but he didn't—this is the hottest subject there is. They didn't ask him one question about their corruption in the family. They didn't ask him one question about how big tech is protecting him.
Big tech is not allowing anybody—right. How about this? They took down, I guess, Kayleigh, but they took—how about Kayleigh? Is she great? No, but they took down her Twitter site because she had the audacity to put up an article written in the New York Post, which is one of the biggest newspapers in the country. I think it's the oldest newspaper in the country. And they put up a article, and they took down her site. Can you believe what's going on in this country?
And then, they talk about "freedom of the press." They also said last night—it was very interesting; they talked about the transition, the friendly transition. "Will you agree to the friendly transition"—and of course, the answer is "yes." First of all, I don't think there's going to be a transition—[laughter]—because we're going to win. But, you know. Let's hope we don't have to worry about it.
No, but think of this. They get up, "We demand a friendly transition." And yet we caught them spying on my campaign and trying to take down the President of the United States. Right? That wasn't too friendly. Right? That wasn't too friendly. And they—and we caught them cold.
Anyway, let's get back to the medical parts of the world. This is much simpler to understand if you think about it. But I capped out-of-pocket costs for insulin at $35 a month. People were going—literally, they were going bankrupt over insulin, or they weren't getting the insulin, which is a terrible thing. So it's $35 a month or less for seniors in many Medicare drug plans, saving them an average of nearly $450. I mean, that's a tremendous saving. Right?
In many cases, much less than 35. Seema, in many cases, much less than the 35, right? Did you say $1, in some cases? What's your lowest number? Come on, Seema, let's hear it.
Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma. [Inaudible]
The President. Huh? I—she doesn't want to get too much. I think maybe one dollar is too much. Okay. She's very straight. She's a straight player. And you brought it down from what number? The 35, down from what, Seema?
Administrator Verma. [Inaudible]
The President. Tremendously, yes. It's a great job, but you—you did that. But she would come up to me for a year and a half, she's talking about the insulin. The insulin is the biggest—it's such a problem for people, where they just—they'd go without it. They had no choice because it was too expensive.
So, great job, both of you. Thank you very much.
I also announced that more than 35 million Medicare beneficiaries will soon receive a card in the mail with $200 that you can use to help pay for prescription drugs.
But I was going to tell you, I've allowed Ron DeSantis now to go to Canada and buy your prescription drugs. Now, why am I doing that? Because before all of the favored nations and everything kick in—which, ultimately, I think that's what you're going to be using more than anything—but Canada gets the drugs for about 50 percent of what we get them for. Same drug, same exact pill, company, everything—Johnson & Johnson, whatever the company.
Ron is going to buy from Canada, and he's just cut your price in half. Right? Right? When are you starting that, Ron? When do you think you'll start?
Governor Ronald D. DeSantis of Florida. [Inaudible]
The President. When?
Gov. DeSantis. Very soon.
The President. Very soon. So, Alex, get him approved up, okay? Whatever you have to do. I think it's great. You know, some people say, "Well that doesn't"—my attitude is: Whatever the hell it takes. We have this terrible system that's taken years and years to rig, like the ballots. Right? Like the ballots. It's taken them years and years to rig. So they're very simple: Go buy from Canada. We get rid of the middleman. We get rid of all of this nonsense. You like that, Mayor? You like that, Mayor? Both of you? It's pretty great, Ron. Do it fast, Ron. Do it fast.
To care for—I mean, you're not going to believe what's going to be happening with your numbers. I mean, they're coming down big. We're not talking about 1 percent. I mean, I don't even want to mention it, but last year, out of 51 years, this is the first time that prescription drug prices have come down in 51 years. They didn't even come down much. They came down, like, 1 percent, which I don't want to mention in one way, but in another way, it tells you something. First time in 51 years where drug prices come down. But now you're talking about a 50-, 60-, 70-, and 80-percent reduction in your prescription drug prices. So we've got to get it all finished up.
Wouldn't it be terrible if Sleepy Joe took this over—the system that I've created? And you people will say: "Man, has he been a great President. Look at what he's done." Like, as an example, transparency starts on January 1. I said to my people, "You couldn't start it, like, in August—back?" They said, "Sir, you have to go statutorily here, here, here." I say, "Yes, but I'd better win this damn election." Because can you imagine, Mayor? He'll be saying: "Boy, I'm getting a lot of credit. What the hell did Trump do? This is unbelievable." And I promise you, they won't give the credit to us, will they? Huh? No. But I think we're not going to have to worry about it. I hope that. So get out and vote, vote, vote.
To care for our Nation's veterans, I signed into law VA Choice and VA Accountability. Nobody thought that would be possible. [Applause] Right? Nobody thought that would be possible. And we've also invested billions and billions of dollars in research and innovative treatments for Alzheimer's disease, kidney disease, sickle cell disease, AIDS, cancer, and many other illnesses.
And I will say this: AIDS will be eradicated in this country now in 6 years. I started right at the beginning. President Obama should have started—he could have started it 2 years before, 2½ years before. They wasted 2 years. But we started it right at the beginning of the administration, and it was a 10-year program. We're down to 6 years. In 6 years, it will be essentially eradicated in our country. Think of that. Who would have thought that? It's an amazing thing. Should have been started before I got into office. It could have been.
Day after day, I'm fighting to defend our seniors from the virus, from big pharma—oh, they love me—[laughter]—special interests, and from the radical, socialist left. American seniors remind us that we've inherited an incredible, extraordinary legacy.
You're the generation that defeated fascism and triumphed over communism, sent American astronauts to the Moon. You built our country into the greatest and most powerful Nation the world has ever known. And frankly, right now, it's more powerful than it ever was. When I took over, we had a depleted military.
We have—now our military—we have the greatest weapons on Earth. We are the envy of the world. We have the greatest weapons—the missiles, rockets, tanks, the tankers, the freight-—freighters, the boats, the ships, the jet fighters—F-35s, the F-18s, F-16s. Nobody has the equipment that we have in the world; not even close—even the hypersonic missiles.
You know, under the Obama administration, they stole our plans for hypersonic. That's the superduper. I call them the "superduper missiles," the ones that go so fast, you can't even see them. And now we have that. You probably read about it last night. We have the fastest, by far, in the world.
No, we're doing a great job. And our seniors and generations of Americans before you, they did not pour out their heart and soul and blood and tears for this country only now to surrender our freedom, our flag, and our American way of life.
You, as seniors, have protected us. And now, I, as a senior, and all of my people, we are protecting you. Right? Your courage, your leadership, your patriotism, and your faith are an inspiration to us all. And with your help, we will transcend every obstacle, defeat every threat, and triumph over every single challenge. We will lift our Nation to new heights of greatness and glory, and America will emerge stronger, more united, more independent, and more prosperous than ever before.
For our Nation, for our great seniors, and for our beloved children and grandchildren, the best is yet to come. Thank you. God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you very much.
NOTE: The President spoke at 1:58 p.m. at the Caloosa Sound Convention Center and Amphitheater. In his remarks, he referred to Gov. Gretchen B. Whitmer of Michigan and her husband, Marc Mallory; Democratic Presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden, Jr., and his son Hunter; Sens. Elizabeth A. Warren and Bernard Sanders; 2016 Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton; Savannah Guthrie, host, NBC News's "Today" program, in her capacity as the moderator for the NBC town hall event with the President at the Pérez Art Museum Miami in Miami, FL, on October 15; George R. Stephanopoulos, coanchor, ABC's "Good Morning America" program; and White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
Donald J. Trump, Remarks in Fort Myers, Florida Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/346019