President Trump on Thursday vowed to end America’s reliance on China for crucial medical supplies and joked that big pharma had tried to smear him as a “socialist” for slashing drug prices.
“I have never seen so many bad commercials about me as in the last three days since I did this,” Trump told a crowd in Ohio where he is expected to sign an executive order returning production of crucial medicine to the US.
“I was called a socialist for the first time in my entire life!” he joked, describing the sky-high cost of drugs in the US a “ridiculous quagmire of political scam.”
“I have been called everything in the book and I said the other day, whenever you see a drug company advertising that Donald Trump is a bad guy — remember that your drug prices must be coming down very big, very big,” he said.
“Please remember that, because I don’t want to get all those negative votes and then Biden wins. In the first month he’ll say, ‘I dropped drug prices 78 percent’ and he won’t even know what he’s saying!”
The president in June announced his plan to dramatically lower the cost of prescription medicine by slashing the cost of insulin and allowing pharmacies to buy drugs from other countries at much lower prices.
On Thursday, Trump is expected to take that further when he signs an executive order boosting medicine production in the US, ending America’s reliance on China for medical goods.
“I promise to turn America into the premier medical manufacturer, pharmacy and drug store of the world,” he said.
“As we’ve seen in this pandemic, the United States must produce essential equipment, supplies and pharmaceuticals for ourselves,” he continued.
Reports emerged at the peak of the COVID-19 crisis of China hoarding critical medical supplies and protective equipment, leading many lawmakers to call for a return of US domestic production.
“We cannot rely on China and other nations across the globe that could one day deny us products in a time of need. We can’t do it, we can’t do it. We have to do be smart,” the president said.