As President Trump officially kicked off his 2020 campaign in Orlando Tuesday night, he made sweeping promises to tackle two of mankind's most dreaded diseases. In front of the crowd at a packed Amway Center, Mr. Trump said his administration would work to cure cancer and again vowed to eradicate AIDS if he's elected to a second term.
The president spent much of his speech attacking familiar foes and restating his position on issues like immigration. But he also said his administration will "come up with the cures" to devastating diseases.
"We will push onward with new medical frontiers," Mr. Trump said. "We will come up with the cures to many, many problems, to many, many diseases including cancer and others. And we're getting closer all the time."
The remarks came after his son, Donald Trump Jr., mocked Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden for making a similar promise to cure cancer. "Wow, why the hell didn't you do that over the last 50 years, Joe?" Trump Jr. tweeted.
Biden, whose son Beau Biden died from brain cancer in 2015, founded the Biden Cancer Initiative and told the crowd at a recent campaign event in Iowa, "I promise you, if I'm elected president, you're going to see the single most important thing that changes America — we're going to cure cancer."
In 2018, an estimated 1,735,350 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in the United States and 609,640 people died from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society's latest statistics.
President Trump also called attention at his rally to the fight against HIV and AIDS. In his State of the Union address earlier this year, he vowed to eradicate AIDS by 2030 — though critics pointed out his budget proposal the previous year sought to divert money away from HIV/AIDS research to fund detention centers for undocumented immigrant children.
In its 2020 budget proposal, the Trump administration has requested $291 million for the first phase of an initiative to reduce new HIV infections in the U.S. The budget also calls for an increase in funding for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, to pay for health care services and support, and another $50 million to expand access to the anti-HIV drug regimen known as PrEP.
"We will eradicate AIDS in America once and for all — and we are really close," the president said at his Orlando rally.
Approximately 1.1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV today, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Some observers couldn't help but wonder about the feasibility of the president's big promises, which also included a vow to send astronauts to Mars.
Mr. Trump, who has called for the creation of a military Space Force, also spoke again about sending astronauts to the Red Planet. "We will lay the foundation for landing American astronauts on the surface of Mars," he said at Tuesday night's rally.