President Trump has not asked questions in his first in-person appearance to the press on Friday since NBC News and other media outlets forecast Joe Biden to be the winner of the presidential election.
Trump, who hasn't conceded Biden almost a week after the race ended, didn't admit that a Biden administration was just around the corner.
But he drew closer and seemed to hold himself back from making such an admission when he announced his government's efforts to have a coronavirus vaccine rapidly developed and distributed.
"Ideally, we will not go to a lockdown. I will not go – this government will not go to a lockdown," Trump said in the rose garden. "Hopefully the who – whatever happens in the future, who knows what administration will be. I think time will tell, but I can tell you that administration will not be locked down."
Trump, Vice President Mike, and other administrative officials spoke at the event, which focused almost entirely on the successes of Operation Warp Speed and barely mentioned the record highs of currently reported Covid-19 cases.
The speech in the rose garden was Trump's first personal public comment in over a week. Trump had spoken to reporters in the White House briefing room two days after the November 3 election, where he made a series of unsubstantiated allegations of election fraud before leaving without questions.
The update on Operation Warp Speed also comes five days after the pharmaceutical company Pfizer and the German biotech company BioNTech announced that their lead vaccine candidate is more than 90% effective against Covid-19 based on preliminary tests in the third phase.
Trump celebrated this breakthrough in an all-caps tweet and said the vaccine was "COMING SOON".
President-elect Biden gave a more moderate response, noting that it would be months before a vaccine could be distributed across the country.
With no evidence, Trump later accused the Food and Drug Administration of withholding vaccination results until after the election in order to hurt his chances against Biden.
For days, Trump has been falsely claiming that he won the election against Biden, who is now being elected president. Trump has circulated a number of unsupported conspiracies over widespread fraud, despite his own administration having given assurances that there is no such fraud.
Meanwhile, Trump's campaign efforts to challenge states' election results in court suffered several setbacks on Friday. The campaign dropped a legal challenge in Arizona and a judge in Michigan denied a motion to prevent that state from confirming its election results. In Pennsylvania, the state that exaggerated Biden, Commonwealth Secretary Kathy Boockvar announced that she would not order a recount of ballots.
NBC forecast on Friday that Biden would win the race in Georgia, get the Democrat 16 more votes and turn around a state that has reliably voted for the GOP presidential candidate for decades. Trump will win North Carolina, NBC also forecast Friday afternoon.