PERMIAN BASIN, Texas (News Nation) – During a visit to West Texas, President Donald Trump hinted that a second round of stimulus checks could exceed the $1,200 payment amount issued in the first COVID-19 stimulus package.
Trump flew into Midland International Air and Space Port on a warm Wednesday morning for a fundraiser and to visit an oil rig, where he spoke to a crowd of energy executives and workers.
During the visit, he stopped for an exclusive interview with News Nation affiliate KMID to discuss a second round of stimulus checks, vaccine timetables, Rep. Louie Gohmert’s positive COVID-19 diagnosis and unemployment in the energy sector.
When asked if a $1,200 direct payment to Americans was enough, Trump said, “We’re going to see it may go higher than that, actually.”
“I’d like to see it be very high because I love the people, I want the people to get it, you know, the economy is going to come back,” Trump said.
Trumps comments come as Republicans and Democrats in Congress are negotiating a new stimulus package. As News Nation reported earlier this week, an area of common ground is agreement on a new round of $1,200 direct payments to Americans earning $75,000 or less. That was the amount in the Senate GOP plan announced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell this week. Trump’s comments in Texas are the first suggestion that the dollar amount on the checks could be higher.
Trump was optimistic about a vaccine and the progress of U.S. drug companies, saying he thought there would be “something” before the end of the year, “but maybe sooner than that.”
He also said he would take the vaccine.
“I would do it, yeah, I mean if I take it first they’ll say ‘he shouldn’t do it first,’ but if I take it last they’ll say ‘he shouldn’t take it last,’” Trump said.
On Thursday, Johnson & Johnson kicked off U.S. human safety trials for its COVID-19 vaccine. It’s one of several candidates in trials in the United States.
Watch the entire interview with the president in the player above.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.