President Donald Trump speaks during an event at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, Ohio, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. (AP Photo…
President Donald Trump speaks during an event at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, Ohio, August 6, 2020.

WHITE HOUSE - U.S. President Donald Trump is predicting a COVID-19 vaccine might be ready by this year’s election, less than 90 days away.  

“I’m optimistic that it’ll probably be around that date,” Trump told reporters on the White House South Lawn on Thursday.  

“It wouldn’t hurt” his reelection chances to have the vaccine available by the November 3 election, he acknowledged. “I’m doing it not for the election. I want it fast because I want to save a lot of lives.”  

Later, during remarks at a washing machine factory in Ohio, Trump reiterated there would be a vaccine soon: “I hope long before the end of the year.”  

The scientific community, including prominent infectious disease experts such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is member of the White House coronavirus task force, however, expects that none of the numerous vaccine candidates now undergoing human trials will be ready until the end of the year or early 2021.

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Trump spoke Thursday about the vaccine and the therapeutic treatments for COVID-19 patients during a visit to the critical election swing state of Ohio, where polls show him in a virtual tie with the presumptive Democratic Party nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden.

FILE - Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks about his plans to combat racial inequality at a campaign event in Wilmington, Delaware, July 28, 2020.

“We’re going to win bigger in Ohio than we did four years ago,” predicted Trump, speaking to a group of supporters on arrival in Cleveland on Thursday.  

“He’s against God. He’s against guns,” Trump said of Biden. “I don’t think he’s going to do well in Ohio.”  

No Republican candidate has ever won the presidential election, or reelection, without taking Ohio. Trump, in 2016, captured nearly 52% of the vote in the state against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.  

Trump’s standing in Ohio and other key states this year has been hurt by unfavorable public perception of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.  

During the 2016 campaign, Trump promised a revival for American manufacturing, something he highlighted in his remarks Thursday at a Whirlpool factory.  

The president told the company’s workers he had gone beyond fulfilling the economic commitments made during the campaign four years ago.  

“We produce more than I promise,” he said.  

President Donald Trump wears a mask as he talks with employees as he tours the Whirlpool Corporation facility in Clyde, Ohio, Aug. 6, 2020.

During the next four years, Trump said, he will bring back American jobs and factories using every tool at his disposal, including tariffs, countervailing duties and new trade deals.  

At the factory, the president announced that earlier in the day he had signed a proclamation reimposing 10% tariffs on some Canadian aluminum products.  

Canada vowed to hit back against the tariffs. 

"In response to the American tariffs, Canada intends to swiftly impose dollar-for-dollar countermeasures," Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said. 

Trump also on Thursday signed an executive order intended to ensure that essential medicines are manufactured in the United States.    

Earlier, at Burke Lakefront Airport in downtown Cleveland, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine had been scheduled to greet the president on the tarmac. However, just before Trump’s departure from Washington, the governor’s office announced that DeWine had tested positive for the coronavirus following standard protocol testing ahead of meeting the president.  

FILE - Ohio Governor Mike DeWine speaks during an interview at the Governor's Residence in Columbus, Ohio, Dec. 13, 2019.

In a second more sensitive COVID-19 test administered Thursday in Columbus, DeWine tested negative for the coronavirus, according to the governor’s office. 

Ohio Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted, who also took a COVID-19 test Thursday but had a negative result, stood in for the governor to greet Trump.  

DeWine, in late July, issued a statewide mask mandate after previously reversing course on the idea in April.  

Breaking ranks with other Republican governors, DeWine was one of the first state leaders to take steps to slow the spread of the virus, including promoting wearing of masks and social distancing.  

Ohio has reported nearly 100,000 COVID-19 cases and about 3,600 deaths, according to the state health department’s COVID website.   


What Happens Next?

What It Means to Become President-Elect in the US

In the United States, Democrat Joe Biden is being called the president-elect.

President-elect is a descriptive term not an official office. As such, Biden has no power in the government, and he would not until he is inaugurated at noon on January 20, 2021.

American news networks, which track all of the vote counting, determined on November 7 that Biden’s lead had become insurmountable in Pennsylvania, putting him over the 270 electoral votes needed to be president. Within minutes of determining his lead was mathematically assured, they projected him as the winner.

That is why news organizations, including VOA, are calling Biden the "projected winner."

Sometimes, in the case of particularly close elections, when news networks make this call, the other candidate does not concede victory. President Donald Trump has not done so, alleging voter fraud without substantial evidence and vowing to fight on. The president’s position has left Washington lawmakers divided, with Republicans backing a legal inquiry into allegations of vote fraud, even as they celebrate other congressional lawmakers who won their races.

When will the dispute be resolved?

The U.S. election won’t be officially certified for weeks. In the meantime, court challenges and state recounts could occur.

So far, the Trump administration has not provided evidence for any fraud that could overturn the result, but there is still time for more legal challenges.

Once states have certified the vote, pledged electors then cast their votes in the Electoral College in mid-December. Congress then certifies the overall Electoral College result in early January, about two weeks before Inauguration Day.