President Trump on Wednesday sought to project a sense of normalcy after nearly two days out of public view, releasing a direct-to-camera video of himself addressing the nation in which he called getting the coronavirus “a blessing from God” and said he would provide hundreds of thousands of doses of unapproved drugs to Americans free of charge.
“I think this was a blessing from God that I caught it,” Mr. Trump said in the nearly five-minute video, released just over three hours before Vice President Mike Pence was scheduled to debate the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, Senator Kamala Harris of California.
In a video that was supposed to have been released a day earlier, Mr. Trump explained he considered getting ill with a virus that has killed more than one million people, including more than 211,000 Americans, such a “blessing” because he ended up taking an experimental antibody cocktail, still in clinical trials, that is produced by Regeneron.
“I call that a cure,” said Mr. Trump, whose skin appeared darkened by makeup and who appeared to struggle to get air at times. He then said everyone should have access to the not-yet-approved drug for “free” and that he would make sure it was in every hospital as soon as possible.
It was the first time that Mr. Trump has acknowledged receiving care that isn’t available to any member of the general public after he said early Friday morning that he had tested positive for the virus.
Mr. Trump did not provide any details, other than referencing the military and saying they could help distribute the drug. As of now, the Department of Defense is involved in “Operation Warp Speed,” the effort to come up with a viable vaccine for the virus, in order to help distribute it once it’s available.
He ended the video by saying, “Good luck.”
The video was released a day after aides scrapped a possible live nationwide address by Mr. Trump to show him firmly in command after he had returned to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he received treatment for Covid-19.