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Trump takes no questions in first public remarks since losing election

President Trump took no questions Friday during his first in-person speaking appearance before the press since NBC News and other outlets projected Joe Biden the winner of the presidential election.

Trump, who still has not conceded to Biden nearly a week after outlets said the race was over, did not acknowledge that a Biden administration was just around the corner.

But he came close, appearing to stop himself from making such an admission as he touted his administration’s efforts to have a coronavirus vaccine quickly developed and distributed.

“Ideally we won’t go to a lockdown. I will not go — this administration will not be going to a lockdown,” Trump said in the Rose Garden. “Hopefully the, the — whatever happens in the future, who knows which administration will be. I guess time will tell, But I can tell you this administration will not go to a lockdown.”

Trump, Vice President Mike and other administration officials spoke at the event, which focused almost entirely on Operation Warp Speed’s achievements and scarcely made mention of the record-high levels of Covid-19 cases currently being reported.

The Rose Garden speech marked Trump’s first in-person public comments in over a week. Trump had spoken to reporters two days after the Nov. 3 election in the White House briefing room, where he made a variety of unsubstantiated claims about election fraud before leaving without taking questions.

The update on Operation Warp Speed also comes five days after pharma giant Pfizer and German biotech company BioNTech announced that their leading vaccine candidate is more than 90% effective against Covid-19, based on preliminary phase three tests.

Trump had celebrated that breakthrough in an all-caps tweet, declaring it “SUCH GREAT NEWS” that the vaccine is “COMING SOON.”

President-elect Biden offered a more measured response, noting that it would still be months before a vaccine could be distributed throughout the country.

Trump, without evidence, later accused the Food and Drug Administration of withholding the vaccine results until after the election in order to hurt his chances against Biden.

For days, Trump has falsely claimed he won the election against Biden, who is now president-elect. Trump has floated an array of unsupported conspiracies about widespread fraud, despite assurances from his own administration that no such fraud exists.

Meanwhile, the Trump campaign’s efforts to challenge states’ election results in court suffered multiple setbacks earlier Friday. The campaign dropped a legal challenge in Arizona, and a judge in Michigan denied a request to block that state from certifying its election results. In Pennsylvania, the state that put Biden over the top, Commonwealth Secretary Kathy Boockvar announced that she would not order a recount of the ballots.

NBC projected Friday that Biden would win Georgia’s race, netting the Democrat 16 more electoral votes and flipping a state that has reliably voted for the GOP’s presidential nominee for decades. Trump will win North Carolina, NBC also projected Friday afternoon.

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