Earlier today President Donald Trump led a roundtable discussion with industry leaders on reopening the American economy. President Trump noted his administration built the greatest economy in American history before COVID-19 and is already at work on the “transition to greatness” to restore well-paying jobs and prosperity to all Americans.
Participating in the discussion with President Trump is: Larry Kudlow, Director of the National Economic Counsel; Ambassador Debbie Birx, M.D., White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator; Kevin Hassett, Senior Economic Advisor to the president; Tim Pataki, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Public Liaison; Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia.
External participants: Geoff Ballotti, President and CEO, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts; Brian Goldner, Chairman of the Board and CEO, Hasbro; David Hoffmann, CEO, Dunkin’ Brands; Gary Kelly, Chairman of the Board and CEO, Southwest; Rodney McMullen, Chairman and CEO, Kroger; Oscar Munoz, Executive Chairman, United; Brad Smith, President, Microsoft and Sonia Syngal, CEO, Gap Inc.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow weighs in on reopening of U.S. economy in a post-pandemic country. White the second quarter economic data has more bad news yet to be assembled and reported, the U.S. economy, workers and consumers are poised to make a Great American Recovery.
The U.S. stock market is looking forward and climbing in response to the economic reopening; while -as expected- many blue state governors are intentionally attempting to hold back their economies and planning for a federal bailout to cover their revenue shortfalls. Remove the possibility for a bailout and those governors will be forced to join the reopening.
Kudlow also appeared on Fox News this morning.
Earlier today President Trump participated in a “Rolling to Remember Ceremony” honoring our nation’s veterans and POW/MIA. The motorcycle community celebrates the event each year in Washington DC. [Video and Transcript Below]
[Transcript] – THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. And we really — you’re my friends and you’ve been supporting me right from the beginning. I appreciate that you’re here. And we’re here for you. And I told you, when you want to come back with your 600,000, we’re ready to take you. But you’re going to give us a little display on those beautiful bikes. And you’re going to be — I’ve never seen anyone do that actually. You must have special privileges. I’ve never seen anybody ride through here.
But I want to welcome you, and I want to welcome my friends. You’re the “Rolling to Remember.” And that’s what it is: “Rolling to Remember.” And we will be commemorating Memorial Day. It’s a big thing.
Together, our nation pays immortal tribute to the extraordinary courage, unflinching loyalty, and unselfish love, and supreme devotion of the American heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice. And that’s what you’re here for. It’s the ultimate sacrifice, and it is indeed. They laid down their lives to ensure the survival of American freedom. Their names are etched forever into the hearts of our people and the memory of our nation. And some of you, it’s been very close — very, very close. It’s very close to your heart. We’ll cherish them and our Gold Star families for all time. We take good care of them. They’re very special to us. Just as we’ll always remember the nearly 82,000 Americans missing in action.
We’re joined today by Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie. Where is Robert? Hi, Robert. Great job you’re doing, Robert. (Applause.)
You know, we got the Veterans Choice and Accountability. Choice is when they wait for two months to see a doctor before. They have to wait like a few hours. They outside, they get themselves a good doctor, we pay the bill, and they get taken care of. So, you know, the stories were legendary. You don’t hear bad things about the VA anymore. You used turn on — every night, you’d see a horror show. So, I want to thank you. You’ve done a fantastic job, Robert. What a great job.
Accountability, also. We got VA Accountability. Sounds easy, but when you have civil service and you have unions and you have all of this — for 40, 50 years, they’ve been trying to get rid of it. That’s — they don’t take care of our vets, we fire them. Before, you couldn’t. They were sadists. They were thieves. And I think you’ve let go of more than 8,000 people — right? — who were terrible. They’ve been trying to fire them for years. They didn’t take care of our vets. Just the opposite: They were horrible. Now they’re gone. We got them out. So that’s a big thing. So it’s Robert Wilkie. Thank you very much.
National Commander of AMVETS Jan Brown — where’s Jan? Jan, thank you very much. Good job. Good job you’ve done here. (Applause.) You got this very special group. They’re going to be doing a very special ride. I’m going to get to watch you, I hope. Right? Because I don’t know. Sometimes I look at those bikes — I don’t know, they’re pretty tough, right?
And Actor Robert Patrick, who has been in many films and television shows. I know that well. Most notably as T-1000 in “Terminator 2.” That’s not too bad, huh? (Applause.) You’re looking good. You’re looking good, Robert.
I want to especially recognize the Legendary AMVETS Riders, who made “Rolling to Remember” possible. For 32 years, Rolling Thunder — my friends — carried out a ride of remembrance. And now we’re going to continue that onward. And the Rolling Thunder people were terrific — Artie and everybody. They really were. We had a good relationship with them. You know that, right? Say — you’re going to say hello to my Artie. And I heard they were giving him a hard time a couple of years ago, and I said, “Nope. No hard time.” But people do get older, right? (Laughs.) They get a little bit — he said, “I’m getting a little older.” So, but Artie is terrific, and the whole group is terrific. And thank you for keeping this noble tradition alive and for preserving the memory of those who are missing, but never forgotten. Never forgotten.
My administration will spare no effort or resource to support the men and the women who defend our nation. We’ve secured over $2.1 trillion in funding to completely rebuild American military with two hun- — and think of that: 2.1 trillion — 2.1. Not — not billion. You know, it used to be “million.” And then, about 10 years ago, you started hearing “billion.” And now you’re starting to hear “trillion,” right? So it’s a — I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s good when we’re spending $2.1 trillion in funding on our military. Completely rebuild the milit- — the military.
Our American military now has the greatest equipment, the finest equipment it’s ever had. It’s been entirely rebuilt. Some of the equipment is still coming — all made in America, everything. And when I came here — and you people knew it better than anybody — our military was depleted, just like the shelves were empty from medical equipment.
We didn’t have ventilators. We didn’t have testing. We didn’t have anything. And now we have great testing, the best in the world. We have great ventilators. We’re making thousands and thousands of them. And we’re actually now so loaded with ventilators that we’re helping other countries, and therefore saving lives also.
But our American military, with the 281 — that’s a lot of planes — F-35 fighter jets, the best in the world; 453 Abrams tanks; 14,400 tactical combat vehicles; 2 aircraft carriers; 36 additional battleships, and much more. All made in the USA.
So importantly, we’re giving our service members the resources, tools, and equipment they need. We’re even getting brand-new, beautiful uniforms. Doesn’t sound like much. If I told you what it costs, it’s a lot — for the Army. The Army has new uniforms and they are gorgeous.
We passed the largest reform of the Department of Veterans Affairs in the — I think, in the history of the department, including VA Accountability and, I said, VA Choice. We’ve removed 8,500 VA workers who weren’t doing their job, who were taking advantage of our country and hurting our vets.
The percentage of veterans reporting they trust services — think of that, they trust services; so they report, and they say they trust services — has reached the highest in the history of the VA, Secretary. That’s a big statement. So the percentage of veterans reporting that they trust the VA and the VA services is now the highest in the history of the service. Satisfaction with the VA outpatient care has reached 89 percent, and we’re not going to rest until we have it at 100 percent, Robert.
I also formed the PREVENTS — it’s called PREVENTS Task Force. (Applause.) Well, you guys — how many of you — how many are vets here.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: All of us.
THE PRESIDENT: Big difference between now and the way it used to be, right?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Oh, yeah.
THE PRESIDENT: Big difference. I also formed the PREVENTS. I got to be careful when I ask that question. Sometimes somebody could say, “Oh, we used to like it better.” That would not be good, right? (Laughter.) You know that would go on the fake news immediately, right? That’s all they’d cover, so I have to be very careful. But thank you.
I also formed the PREVENTS Task Force to fight the tragedy of veteran suicide, which is an unbelievable tragedy. And we actually have medications that we’re working on. They have one from Johnson & Johnson, which is a inhaler, and it has been very effective. We’ve ordered, I think, thousands of units of that — thousands and thousands — and we’re using it.
When the invisible enemy struck our country, my administration quickly secured VA medical facilities. We’re keeping the sacred covenant. We’re protecting those who sacrificed so much to protect us. I was very early. In fact, out of many, many people, I was the only — the one that wanted to do it. I guess I was the only one that mattered. But I kept China out of the United States.
I put a ban on China in January, and I took a lot of heat. Joe Biden said, “Oh, he’s xenophobic.” Oh, that’s right. Yeah. But a month later, he said I was right.
As you know, Dr. Fauci, a good guy, said, “You don’t need to do that.” And then later on, when he saw that I did it and when we kept thousands — tens of thousands of people out, he said, “Donald Trump saved thousands of lives, tens of thousands of lives.” And we did.
So we did it very early, and that was a very important — the ban on Chinese people, people from China coming in. Because I was seeing how badly infected the one area, Wuhan, was, so I put a ban on.
And everybody thought — Nancy Pelosi, a month later, was in Chinatown in San Francisco. She’s dancing in the streets of Chinatown, trying to say, “It’s okay to come to the United States. It’s fine. It’s wonderful. Come on in. Bring your infection with you.” And then she said, “He should have done it earlier” — about me. And she’s dancing a month later. These people are sick.
Anyway, last year, I signed the National POW/MIA Flag Act, which requires that all federal buildings fly the POW/MIA flag, in addition to the American flag. In the months — (applause) — right? And you see them all over Washington now. And they could be separate from the flag. You can do a separate placement or you could put it under the flag.
In the months since, that righteous flag has proudly flown over the White House; you probably noticed it today. But that reminder is the work left — and we have work left. But we have to get it. We have to win the White House, otherwise a lot of the great things that we’ve done — we’re going to do great with our economy; we’re going to see — you already see it starting to happen. We’re trying to get some governors — they’re not opening up, but they’ll be opening up pretty quickly.
Today, I just spoke to CDC. We want our churches and our places of faith and worship; we want them to open. And CDC is going to be — I believe today they’re going to be issuing a very strong recommendation. And I’m going to be talking about that in a little while. But they’re going to be opening up very soon. We want our churches open. We want our places of faith, synagogues — we want them open. And that’s going to start happening. I consider them essential, and that’s one of the things we’re saying. We’re going to make that essential.
You know, they have places “essential” that aren’t essential, and they open. And yet the churches aren’t allowed to open and the synagogues and — again, places of faith — mosques, places of faith. So that’s going to — see that — you’re going to see that.
I just want to say you’ve been tremendous supporters of mine. The bikers — I call them “the bikers.” They’re bikers — for whatever reason, you liked me from the beginning and I liked you from the beginning. And I remember, I went to Hilton Head and I went to other places, and there’d would be thousands of bikes outside, and they were all in support.
And they actually said, “No, we don’t have to…” — because there was no room. There’s always — we’ve never had an empty seat, from the time I came down the escalator with our future First — First Lady. Who would have thought, right?
Remember they were saying, “What’s he doing?” And then — but there were a lot of people that thought we’d win, and we won. And we won pretty easily too: 306 to 223. That’s pretty easy. And we went through a primary that was tough, and you were there with me. We went through an election, and that tough, and you were there with me. Always there, the bikers. I think — what do I have? Ninety-eight percent? Ninety-five? We’re trying to find who are the 3 percent or the 2 percent. We’re looking for them, right? We’re all looking for them.
But I’ll never forget, I made a speech in a place. It was packed. You couldn’t get in. I said, “Fellas, I’ll do a second one.” They said, “No, no, we don’t have to hear. We know what you’re about. We know where you’re coming from, sir. We’re here to protect you. We’re not here to listen; we’re here to protect you.” I never forgot it. I never felt so safe. And there were a lot of rough guys in that little group of about 1,000 bikes, by the way. Maybe more than that. A lot of rough people. But I tell you: To me, they were beautiful people. But I never forgot that: “We’re not here to hear your speech, sir. We’re here to protect you.” And I thought it was an incredible thing.
So you’ve been my friends. I want to thank you very much for it. Get those engines started. I want to see you guys drive around and drive as fast as you can, but don’t get hurt. (Laughs.)
(The bikers complete a lap around South Lawn Drive.)
That was great. And I want to say this to Robert and Jan and every one of you — say hello to everybody. November 3rd is a big day. We don’t want to destroy this country. We’re going to make it bigger, better, greater than ever before. You’re going to see it happening very soon. We’re coming into the third quarter. That’s “transition to greatness.” Third quarter: transition.
Get out there. Work. November 3rd — November 3rd is the big day. Get all those ‘cycles going there.
But we appreciate you being here. Go have some fun. And we love you all. Thank you very much and thank you. Thank you very much, Jan. Thanks. Thank you.
On Thursday afternoon President Trump delivered remarks after a tour of the Ford Motor Company Rawsonville Components Plant in Michigan. [Video and Transcript Below]
[Transcript] THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Well, thank you very much. I like that dais very much, actually. That’s very special. Nice wood. Beautiful like the dashboards on your cars, Bill. Right?
MR. FORD: Absolutely.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. And I just heard you’re going to be having two more — two thousand more jobs right down the road for the Bronco, which is a big winner. That’s great. Fantastic job. Thank you very much, Bill.
MR. FORD: Thank you, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you. It’s right down the road. (Applause.) It’s an honor to have Bill with us. Thank you very much.
And I’m thrilled to be back in Michigan. We’ve done a lot of work in Michigan. A lot of plants are opening. A lot of plants stopped — we stopped them from closing. And we kept your workers here in Michigan and in the United States — different places, as you know, all over the United States. But it’s an honor to do it. It’s one of the reasons I’m standing here.
In fact, years ago, I was honored. Long before I ever thought of the presidential situation, I was honored in Michigan. And I said, “How come you’re losing so much of your car business to Mexico and other places?” And I asked that question very innocently; it was probably 10 years ago. The “Man of the Year” — they named me “Man of the Year” in Michigan. And I said, “What’s going on in Michigan?” And we’ve stopped it.
And thanks to a lot of great companies like Ford, a lot of things are happening here. And it’s why I’m so honored when — when Bill mentioned the plant, that you’re going to be doing 2,000. And it’s also a great success, the Bronco. So that’s really — really big news. Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.)
And I’m honored to stand on a factory floor operated by the incredible workers of Ford Motor Company. You really are tremendously talented people. I know it. I’m not sure everybody in the world knows it, but a lot of people do and they’re all going to know it after this speech. But you are really talented, great people. Thank you very much for doing a great job. (Applause.) We know what it takes. Few people have that ability. Few.
In our nation’s war against the invisible enemy, the hardworking patriots here today answered the call to serve. You proved that the American worker is “Built Ford” and you’re “Built Ford Tough.” A great expression. You still use that expression, I think, Bill. Right? That’s a great expression. And you’re — let’s see, can I use it for maybe myself? “Built Trump Tough.” I don’t know. They may say that’s a takeoff; that’s no good. You can’t do that.
And you’ve made, really, America proud and you’ve made Ford proud. And America is very proud of Ford. Right here at the Rawsonville Component Plant, you’re building a great medical arsenal to defeat the virus and cement America’s place as the leading manufacturer and exporter of ventilators anywhere in the world. We’re now getting calls from other countries — many other countries, both friend and foe, believe it or not. We get calls from foe. And we want to help them out, too. And we’re making thousands and thousands of ventilators.
And I think we really sort of started right over here. We got a call very early on from Bill and the group. And this is incredible — what’s happened and what you’ve done.
With your help, not a single American who has needed a ventilator has been denied a ventilator. Not one. And as you remember, we took over empty cupboards. The cupboards were bare. And we got into the business of ventilators and testing and all of these other things.
Now we’ve done 14 million tests. The second country is at 3 million and less than 3 million — Germany, South Korea. And they’ve done a good job, but we’re at 14 million tests, and the tests are the best of all.
But on behalf of our entire nation, I want to say thank you very much. Thank you very much for doing a great job.
Driven by the love and sweat and devotion of everyone here today, we’re saving lives, we’re forging ahead, and, as of this week, the beating heart of the American auto industry is back open for business. That started right away, didn’t it? And it starts right now. And you have all those supply chains coming in; they’re going to come through. Because if they don’t come through, just build the product right here, okay? Because, you know, that can happen, too. But we heard that. It’s a big story that — we’re starting with the cars now, and it’s going to be a big success.
In addition to many wonderful UAW workers, we’re joined by Secretary Ben Carson, who’s done a fantastic job. Where’s Ben? Ben is here. Thank you, Ben. Where is he? Oh, there he is. Hi, Ben. Thank you, Ben. Thank you. (Applause.)
And a man who has done a fantastic job for Ford — although I’ll ask Bill about this later. I’ll just find out. I want to make sure for myself. But I know — based on results, I know. CEO Jim Hackett. Jim, thank you very much. (Applause.) The word is “yes,” Jim. The word is “great job.” Great job.
Plant manager Angela Weathers. Angela, thank you very much. (Applause.) That’s a big job. That’s a big job. Do you enjoy it? Yeah, great job. Fantastic. It’s a big — big deal.
And GE Healthcare U.S. and Canada president Everett Cunningham. Thank you, Everett. (Applause.) Thank you, Everett.
Before going further, let us send our love to all of the families that have been displaced by the flooding near Midland. I spoke to your governor this morning, and we’ve sent some tremendously talented people out here. We have FEMA and we have the Army Corps of Engineers, and they can do things that, frankly, nobody else can do. The Army Corps of Engineers, what they do — so they’re very good at rebuilding dams that are busted or blown up or, for whatever reason, bad things happen.
But Americans are praying for Central Michigan. We’re going to take care of your problem. The governor and I had a great conversation this morning. And at the appropriate time, I’ll go and see the area that we’ll be fixing. We’re going to help you out. We signed a emergency declaration very quickly — very, very quickly. And we’re going to help you out very quickly also.
In recent months, this state and this country have faced great challenges. Here in the Detroit area, you were hit hard by the virus — very, very hard in this area.
As one people, we hold in our hearts the precious memory of every person that we have lost, and we’ve lost too many. One is too many. We lost too many.
It came in from China, and it should have been stopped in China. They didn’t stop it. They should have stopped it.
And as one grateful nation, we proclaim, “God bless our healthcare workers.” They’ve done an incredible job. They’re like warriors. They’re like warriors. I want to thank all of the nurses and doctors. (Applause.)
Because of the virus, Ford was forced to stop automobile production for the first time since World War Two. That’s something. But you did not despair. Your company leadership called up the White House and asked the most American of all questions: “How can we help?” True. I said, “That’s nice. That’s very nice.”
Every one of the workers in this project volunteered to take part in the greatest industrialization and mobilization project that our society has done, the American people have done in our lifetimes.
The company founded by a man named Henry Ford — good bloodlines, good bloodlines, if you believe in that stuff. You got good blood. (Laughs.) They teamed up with the company founded by Thomas Edison — that’s General Electric. It’s good stuff. That’s good stuff. And you put it all together. They’re all looking down right now and they’d be very proud of what they see.
You began the production of 50,000 lifesaving ventilators, a number that, if you go back just two months, I would say –most people would say it would be impossible to believe. The media is back there and they would have said, a couple of months ago, the creation of that many ventilators would have been not a possible thing.
Every single one of these ventilators is made in the USA, with American heart, American hands, and American pride. Just as your great grandparents produced more than one Model T every minute, just as your grandmothers and grandfathers produced a B- — B-24. You did the B-24 bombers. I saw pictures in the back. That was quite a weapon. That was quite an incredible weapon — B-24 bomber.
And just as a Ford F-150 normally drives off the line every 52 seconds, you quickly mastered this complex new machine. A ventilator is a very complicated, delicate, big, expensive machine. One month ago, Ford had never built a single ventilator. And now you’re a world leader. That’s not bad. You adopted the designs of a company that was building just 10 a week, but a very high-quality ventilator. And very soon you’ll be producing one new ventilator every single minute.
It’s an absolute amazing achievement and you’re really helping now, beyond the country; you’re helping other countries throughout the world. We have 188 countries that are fighting this terrible enemy. And ventilators are something they could never — you can do cotton swabs, you can do all of the things. You can even do testing. But ventilators are a whole different lot. It’s very tough. Great job.
Thanks to you, we’ll stockpile over 100,000 new ventilators in the next few months. And I’ve offered over 14,000 to friends and allies all around the world, and they desperately need them. Just this week, I spoke to five countries. They call me — is it possible to get ventilators to them. And I’m sending them over.
I want to recognize just a few of the exceptional Americans who made this historic feat possible. Keith Pastorino is an electrician here in Rawsonville. Keith, please tell us what you’ve done, how you like it. Come on up. Let’s see, Keith. Oh, look at Keith. (Applause.)
Thank you, Keith. I would love to grab him and shake his hand, but I guess we can’t do that, can we?
MR. PASTORINO: (Laughs.) Well, on behalf of Ford and the UAW, welcome, Mr. President.
I’m Keith Pastorino. I’m an electrician. When I first heard the news that my plant was going to be building ventilators, it only took me a minute to get a hold of my UAW. And then I decided that this was my opportunity to serve my country.
So, on the first day as a volunteer, we went full speed, seven days a week, 12 hours a shift. I would go home sore, bruised, had blisters, was bleeding, had trouble sleeping just — just because of the pains of that day. But I kept coming back because this is a great nation.
And I couldn’t say that I’d be more proud of my coworkers for their efforts and their sacrifices to build these fine Ford ventilators, respirators, face masks and face shields.
Thank you. This has been an absolute honor and a blessing. And God bless you, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Keith. (Applause.) Thank you. Great job. Great people.
We’re also joined by Gary Brabant, a quality technician. Gary — come on up, Gary. (Applause.) Thanks, Gary.
MR. BRABANT: Good afternoon. Thank you, President Trump, for the honor to tell my story. My name is Gary Brabant, and I’m a fourth-generation Ford Motor Company employee.
My grandfathers worked for Ford Motor Company during World War Two. And my father retired from Rawsonville after 41 years. I always knew growing up I wanted to work for Ford.
I am very, very proud of the part — of the part — of the ventilator project and the amazing job done by Ford and the UAW team here.
I had anxiety when I received the call to volunteer. I didn’t want to get sick or take it home to my family. However, upon arriving here on the first day, I felt safe due to the new policies and procedures put forth by our UAW health and safety team.
It’s a great feeling to know everything we are doing here and each assembly we make is saving somebody’s life.
Thank you, Mr. President, and God bless America. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Thank you, Gary. (Applause.) Thank you, Gary, very much.
With us, as well, is Adrian Price, who has helped lead this effort as one of Ford’s top engineers — highly respected. Come on up. Please, Adrian. (Applause.)
MR. PRICE: Thank you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you.
MR. PRICE: Really, thank you for the opportunity to represent my friends and colleagues who’ve been involved in project Apollo.
I’m honored to be part of a team that, over the last few weeks, has been able to produce more than 17 million of these face shields, 13 million surgical masks, 32,000 pressurized air purifying respirators, and here at the Rawson facili- — the Rawsonville facility, produce a ventilator every 60 seconds.
These feats are a testament to the skills and capabilities of the men and women at Ford Motor Company, and our UAW and other partners who have come together to do what we could do to support the battle against COVID-19. Ford Motor Company and its employees are always prepared to step up and do the right thing to support those in need, but most particularly in times of significant national crisis.
I believe these acts are part of the DNA of our company and are inspired by both the Ford family and our continuing history of service. Personally, I’m proud to be playing a part in supporting the brave men and women who are on the frontline every day putting themselves at risk to help others.
And as I stand here today, surrounded by these awesome American-made cars, SUVs, and beautiful trucks, I’m so pleased that our facilities and dealerships are safely in operation and serving the needs of our current, and maybe future, Ford and Lincoln customers.
Thank you, Mr. President. (Laughter and applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: I bought plenty of them. I bought plenty of them. Thank you, Adrian. Yep, I have a lot of those Lincolns. That’s great. Thank you very much.
The global pandemic has proven once and for all that to be a strong nation, America must be a manufacturing nation. We’re bringing it back. Six hundred thousand jobs. The previous administration said, “Manufacturing, we’re not doing that. It’s gone from this country.” They were wrong. Six hundred thousand jobs — until we had to turn it off. And now we’re going to turn it back on like never before. You’ll see numbers that you didn’t even see the last time; we’re going to rebuild it quickly. It’s going to happen very quickly.
We’re already seeing indications of that. Larry Kudlow gave some numbers that were really inspiring this morning, based on what we’re hearing and seeing.
True national independence requires economic independence. From day one, I’ve been fighting to bring back our jobs from China and many other countries. Today, I’m declaring a simple but vital national goal: The United States will be the world’s premier pharmacy, drugstore, and medical manufacturer. We’re bringing our medicines back — (applause) — and many other things, too.
We must produce critical equipment, supplies pharmaceuticals, technologies for ourselves. We cannot rely on foreign nations to take care of us, especially in times of difficulty.
In previous decades, politicians shipped away our jobs, outsourced our supply chains, and offshored our industries. They sent them abroad and we’re bringing them back. And we’ve been doing that long before this crisis. We’re bringing them back. That’s why we have so many plants being built all over the United States that make a beautiful product called cars. Bringing them back. You see it.
I told Prime Minister Abe of Japan, I said, “You got to — Shinzo, you got to get them back. Got to…” We have many Japanese companies now building car companies here. I said, “You got to bring them back.” We’ve had deficits with all of these countries for years and years and years. They were ripping us left and right. We had no idea. We had no leader that understood what the hell was happening, but now you do. I said, “You got to bring them back.”
We made a great deal with South Korea. We made a great deal. Japan — it’ll be $40 billion Japan is putting into the United States, not to mention all of the plants that they’re building. The South Korea deal was a terrible deal and we made it good. Hillary Clinton actually made that deal. She said, “It’s going to produce 250,000 jobs.” And she was right; it produced 250,000 jobs for South Korea, not for us. Wasn’t too good, was it?
But we are bringing it all back to our country, and it started long before this happened. And maybe that’s one of the reasons this happened. Maybe people weren’t so thrilled with what was going on. But we had the greatest year in the history of our country. We’re going to have it again very soon.
In this administration, we know that it matters where someone and something — where someone works on something or where something is made. As we’ve seen today, companies like your great Ford and workers like you are a national treasure. I consider Ford to be a national treasure. I consider you to be a national treasure — the talent — because that talent and culture and commitment to winning are irreplaceable.
Your patriotism cannot be outsourced. Your 117 years of incredible manufacturing heritage cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world. The talent — I see the talent. I know what talent is. I understand your world, and I understand your business. That’s why in my administration we live by two simple rules: Buy American and hire American. (Applause.)
And we have another rule that you may have heard on occasion. It’s called “America First.” We didn’t have America first; we had America last under previous presidents. They were more concerned with the world than they were concerned with their own country.
My first week in office, I withdrew from the job-wrecking Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would have destroyed the auto industry.
I don’t know, I didn’t — I never asked you about that, Bill. I mean, I think you agree. Oh, you do? Would you please stand up and just nod that you agree? That’s — (laughter) — your industry, Bill, would have been destroyed had that deal gone through. And not only yours, by the way. But other countries would have been very happy. So I don’t know. I don’t know how the hell these unions aren’t endorsing Trump instead of the standard Democrat — a Democrat that doesn’t even know where he is.
We renegotiated the catastrophic deal with South Korea to preserve the protective tariff on foreign-made pickup trucks. You know, the “chicken tax,” they call it. Right? You know what the chicken tax is? The most profitable thing you have. You know why? Because of the chicken tax. That was expiring a year ago, and I got it extended. Because of that tax, it’s one of the most profitable products. You live for that product, right?
I kept my promise to replace the NAFTA disaster with the brand-new USMCA, which is a fantastic deal for our country. Tough new requirements under the USMCA ensure more cars to be built at American plants by American labor — and even labor endorsed it. But, you know, the big thing is: You were losing all of your car indus- — you weren’t going to have a car industry left. Now people aren’t going to be moving back to Mexico, they’re not going to be moving back, and you’re going to have it the other way.
At the same time, we preserve our relationship. Mexico has actually been very nice. Our border is the strongest it’s ever been. We’re up to over 200 miles of brand-new, beautiful border wall. And that 200 miles is pristine. Nobody comes through. This is a serious wall. It’s a serious wall. And it’s incredible what we’ve done there, too. We had the best — among the best months we’ve ever had. And now, when somebody comes across, we bring them back. We don’t go through five years of litigation.
In the other days — or the older days — not so long ago, if they stepped a foot into our country, they ended up — you had to be Perry Mason. You’d end up in a court case. And it took years. You’d release them into the country, by law, and then you’d say, “Come back in five years for your trial.” And only the very stupid people came back. About 2 percent. They didn’t come back. Why should they come back? They were released into our country. We don’t do that. We don’t do that. And we want people coming into our country, but we want them to come in through merit, and we want them to come in legally. That’s very important.
I’ll continue to fight for U.S. autoworkers as we rebuild our economic strength. Our strategy for a phased and responsible reopening protects those lives — those American lives, those high-risk American lives — from the virus, while allowing those at lower risk, such as young, healthy people — where they just have a much, much lower risk — we’ve learned a lot. If you’re a certain age, you have a problem with diabetes or you have a problem with your heart, you’re a prime suspect for this horrible disease. It’s a — it’s a terrible thing.
So we’ve learned that young people do very well. Very well. Incredibly well. Older people — especially older people that have problems, they don’t do well at all. So we have to protect those people. And we want to get everybody now safely back to work. And we’re going to do that.
I spoke today about our churches. Our churches are closed. And I said to CDC — I had a great conversation. I said, “Our people want to go back to church on Sundays.” And our churches want to take care of their parishioners, their people that go to worship. And you’re going to see something come out very soon about opening up our churches.
A permanent lockdown is not a strategy for a healthy state or a healthy country. Our country wasn’t meant to be shut down. We did the right thing, but now it’s time to open it up. A never-ending lockdown would invite a public health calamity. To protect the health of our people, we must have a functioning economy. And as I said, and I’ll say it 100 times, we’re going to have an incredible year next year, right at the beginning. Even our fourth quarter is going to be very good. There’s a tremendous pent-up demand, and that includes for your cars.
Americans who need and want to return to work should not be vilified; they should be supported. Unlike many politicians and journalists, for those who earn a living with their own two hands, working remotely is just not an option. You don’t have the option of doing that. Our plan emphasizes safety and protection for returning employees.
I want to commend Ford, along with General Motors, General Electric, Fiat Chrysler, and so many other companies — a lot of them in this area — for blazing a trail to safely restart America’s economic engines. You are demonstrating that we can open our country while taking precautions like social distancing, daily medical screenings, strict hygiene. You can get tremendous numbers of very quick temperature checks. Who ever heard? They aim a camera right there, and two seconds later they tell you your temperature more accurately than the old days, where you put it under your tongue for two and a half minutes. This is a little better. But you get temperature checks.
And I want to thank you all for leading America back to work. You look at states like Florida, Georgia, and many others, where the numbers have actually gone down. They’re open, but their numbers are going down and very substantially down. With your help and our policies, this country is poised for an epic comeback. This is going to be an incredible comeback. Watch. It’s already happening.
Within the next year, we are going to be exceeding any expectation. And I’ve had a good gut feeling about a lot of things, including running for President. I said, “I think I could win.” And I guess I was right.
Everyone here today — and, by the way, I think we’re going to do better the second time. And it’s very important that we win the second time or everything that we’ve done, including manufacturing, jobs, all of this — it’s going to be not in a very good position.
Everyone here today is the heir to a majestic and noble tradition. You walk in the footsteps of those who built the Motor City in the 1920s and ‘30s, who stocked the arsenal of democracy in the 1940s, and who set the standard for automotive safety and style in the 1950s and ‘60s and beyond, and even today. Bill was showing me some of those cars. It’s incredible. I wanted to buy one, and then I heard the price. I said, “Forget it.” I said, “I’ll use one on occasion.” Right? But what a — what a car that is, huh? What a car.
Our friends and allies marveled at these triumphs of American industry, and our enemies learned that nothing can stop the strength and power and grit of the American worker. Nothing. Just like generations of Michigan manufacturers before you, each of you has done your best for America in its time of need. You love your country. You love your country so much.
Now you have a critical role to play in forging a new legacy of American greatness that will inspire and endure for generations to come. It’s a very important time in our country’s history, in our country’s life.
Because of you, the Ford name will forever stand as a symbol of American excellence, innovation, quality, and craftsmanship. And because of you, America will be strong and healthy and prosperous and free for many, many decades to come.
I want to say very powerfully, very strongly: God bless you all. God bless America. I’m proud to be here. I’m proud to be with Ford. Bill, thank you very much. Everyone, thank you very much. We’ll be back. We’ll see you a lot. Good luck. John James, thank you for being here. We’re going to have a great senator. John James. Thank you all very much. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.)
It is quite remarkable how quickly the senate can move on a confirmation vote when there is a heavy dose of self-preservation in play. Only two days after the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) voted to advance the nomination of John Ratcliffe as Director of National Intelligence (DNI), the full senate takes up the nomination and ‘presto’… Ratcliffe is confirmed. [Vote Tally Here] Huh, funny that.
Perhaps another way to look at it…. two days after the SSCI cried uncle in an attempt to rid themselves of the atomic sledgehammer of transparently perpetual sunlight known as Ric Grenell, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell rushed the quick dispatch.
Seriously, it’s a little unfair to cast a great man like John Ratcliffe as ‘less than’, because he truly is not less than anyone; however, boy howdy the deep state couldn’t get rid of their nemesis Richard “Ric” Genell quickly enough.
Mr. Grenell quietly brought more declassified sunlight upon the swamp than decades of prior transparency efforts; and he did it with a very deliberate flair, quite fun.
DNI John Ratcliffe will do an excellent job, and I seriously doubt this is the last we have seen of the Mr. Grenell.
FBI Director Grenell does have a nice ring to it.
Promoting an economic reopening, President Trump travels to Michigan today and tours the Ford Rawsonville Components Plant in Ypsilanti. The president is expected to deliver remarks to the workers and audience at 3:20pm ET.
Chopper pressers are the best pressers. Earlier today President Trump held an impromptu press availability as he departed the White House for a trip to Michigan. [Video Below Transcript ADDED]
[Transcript] – THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. So, we have a lot of good things going. We just had a meeting with Mitch McConnell and the group. And we’re working on a — a package of very positive things. We’re getting some very good numbers. It looks like the numbers are going to be very good into the future. We’re going to be very strong, starting with our transition period, which will be probably June — June, July. I think you’re going to see some very good numbers coming out. And next year is going to be an incredible economic year for this country. One of our best.
Always paying respects to the people that have lost their lives. We always have to remember that: the people that have lost their lives.
Do you have any questions? Please.
Q Mr. President, where are you on funding to Michigan? A lot of people are concerned. They’re flooded out. They said that’s the last thing they need is for a threat to come from the President.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we’re looking at the floods. We have our people from the Army Corps of Engineers there. We have FEMA there. I spoke with the governor, Governor Whitmer, yesterday, and we have a very good understanding. But we’ve moved our best people into Michigan and our most talented engineers, designers, the people from the Army Corps of Engineers. And they do these things better than probably anyone — anyone in the world.
Q What about the funding, though, that you threatened to take away the federal funding?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we’ll take a look. No, we’ll take a look. That was unrelated to that.
Q Can you explain why you’re pulling out of the Open Skies Treaty?
THE PRESIDENT: Russia and us have developed a very good relationship. As you know, we worked on the oil problem together. I think we have a very good relationship with Russia. But Russia didn’t adhere to the treaty, so until they adhere, we will pull out. But there’s a very good chance we’ll make a new agreement or do something to put that agreement back together.
But whenever there’s an agreement that another party doesn’t agree to — you know, we have many of those agreements around the world, where it’s a two-party agreement, but they don’t adhere to it and we do. When we have things like that, we pull out also. That’s why, with the arms treaties, if you look at the arms treaties, we’re probably going to make a deal with Russia on arms treaty. And China will be maybe included in that. We’ll see what happens.
But we have a lot of things. But when we have an agreement, when we have a treaty, and the other side doesn’t adhere to it — in many cases, they’re old treaties, old agreements — then we pull out also.
So I think what’s going to happen is we’re going to pull out and they’re going to come back and want to make a deal. We’ve had a very good relationship lately with Russia. And you can see that with respect to oil and what’s happening with oil.
Q What do you think about Michael Cohen getting out of jail today? He’s home now.
THE PRESIDENT: I didn’t know that.
Q He’s home. What do you think about that?
THE PRESIDENT: I didn’t know it. Nope. I didn’t know it.
Q Do you have a reaction?
Q Isn’t that going to increase tensions with Russia, though, right when you want to make things better?
THE PRESIDENT: Say it?
Q Isn’t this withdrawal going to make things be- — worse with Russia? Increase tensions?
THE PRESIDENT: No, I think that we’re going to have a very good relationship with Russia. I think that if you look at what happened with oil, where Russia, Saudi Arabia, and us got together, and we saved in our country millions of energy jobs. And you see oil now is solidifying. So it’s the best of all worlds. We’re saving the energy jobs but our drivers have a very low gasoline price.
Q Are you going to wear a mask today at the Ford plant?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I don’t know. We’re going to look at it. A lot of people have asked me that question. I want to get our country back to normal. I want to normalize.
One of the other things I want to do is get the churches open. The churches are not being treated with respect by a lot of the Democrat governors. I want to get our churches open. And we’re going to take a very strong position on that very soon.
Q What about mosques, Mr. President? What about mosques? The Muslims are going to be celebrating the end of Ramadan soon. What about mosques?
THE PRESIDENT: Mosques too, yeah. Including mosques.
Q Do you have any messages for —
THE PRESIDENT: Including mosques.
Q Do you have any messages for the Muslims who will be celebrating the end of Ramadan?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I wish them well — very well.
Q Can you talk about the AstraZeneca award? A billion dollars for 400 million doses of a potential new vaccine. How confident are you that one will be ready by the fall?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think we have a lot of — you have AstraZeneca, which is a great company, and you have others, Johnson & Johnson. We have a lot of things happening on the vaccine front, on the therapeutic front. If you look at therapeutically, we’re doing great. And on the cure front — which is the next step — I think we have tremendous things. That announcement, I heard, came out this morning. That’s a very positive announcement in addition to all of the other announcements.
We are so far ahead of where people thought we’d be. But therapeutically, it’s very interesting what’s going on — and cure. So you’re going to have a lot big announcements over the next week or two.
Q Sir, you said the funding to Michigan was another issue not related to the flood. Can you just assure people that are concerned you’re going to hold funding?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we’re helping Michigan with their flood, and we have the people to do it.
Q But what about the funding though? You said federal funding for the mail-in voting.
THE PRESIDENT: We don’t want them to do mail-in ballots because it’s going to lead to total election fraud. So we don’t want them to do mail-in ballots. We don’t want anyone to do mail-in ballots.
Now, if somebody has to mail it in because they’re sick or, by the way, because they live in the White House and they have to vote in Florida and they won’t be in Florida — if there’s a reason for it, that’s okay. If there’s a reason. But if there’s not — we don’t want — we don’t to take any chances with fraud in our elections.
Q The Chinese Parliament is poised to pass a national security law cracking down on Hong Kong. Are you aware of this? What’s your reaction?
THE PRESIDENT: I don’t know what it is because nobody knows yet. If it happens, we’ll address that issue very strongly.
Q What about your plan for G7, Mr. President?
THE PRESIDENT: So it looks like G7 may be on because we’ve done well. We’re ahead of schedule in terms of our country, and some of the other countries are doing very well. It looks like G7 will be on. A full G7. And we’ll be announcing something probably early next week.
Q Will it be June 10th? And how many world leaders have agreed?
THE PRESIDENT: I can’t hear you. You have your mask on. I can’t hear a word you’re —
Q How many world leaders have agreed to your June 10th plan?
THE PRESIDENT: We’ll be talking to you about it.
Q Sir, how long do you expect take hydroxychloroquine?
THE PRESIDENT: I think it’s another day. I had a two-week regimen of hydroxychloroquine. And I’ve taken it, I think, just about two weeks. I think it’s another day. And I’m still here. I’m still here. And I tested very positively in a — in another sense.
So, this morning —
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah. I tested positively toward negative, right? So, no, I tested perfectly this morning, meaning — meaning I tested negative.
Q Have you taken the antibody test yet?
THE PRESIDENT: But that’s a way of saying it: positively toward the negative.
Q Have you taken the antibody test yet, sir?
THE PRESIDENT: No, I have not.
Q Columbia University put out a report in The New York Times today. It said 36,000 people would’ve been saved if you guys did social distancing measures just one week earlier. Do you believe that? What’s your reaction to that?
THE PRESIDENT: I was so early. I was earlier than anybody thought. I put a ban on people coming in from China. Everybody fought me on that. They didn’t want it. Nancy Pelosi, a month later, was dancing in the streets of San Francisco in Chinatown so that people wouldn’t believe what’s happening. And I don’t even blame that. But I was way early.
Columbia is an institution that’s very liberal. It’s a — I think it’s a just a political hit job, if you want to know the truth.
Q So, do you want to have the G7 here at the White House or Camp David or what?
THE PRESIDENT: We’re going to have it probably at the White House and maybe a little combination at Camp David. But primarily at the White House. So if we do the G7, when that all comes together, probably it will be in D.C., at the White House. Okay? But there could be a piece of it at Camp David, which is nearby.
Q Are you taking antibody plasma?
Q Back on Open Skies, have you talked to any allies —
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah.
Q — about this?
THE PRESIDENT: So, again, our relationship with Russia has improved greatly, especially since the Russian hoax happened — has been proven totally false and illegal what they did. They — this was an illegal hoax and they got caught. They got caught doing a lot of bad things. So let’s see how that turns out.
But our relationship with Russia has come a long way in the last few months. I think that the Open Sky will all work out. But right now, when you have an agreement, and the other side doesn’t adhere to the agreement, we’re not going to adhere to it either. But I think something very positive will work out.
Q Are you going to go to the launch on Wednesday in Florida?
THE PRESIDENT: What?
Q The launch — the rocket launch on Wednesday in Florida?
THE PRESIDENT: I’m thinking about going. That’ll be next week to the rocket launch. I hope you’re all going to join me. I’d like to put you on the rocket, get rid of you for a while. (Laughter.)
Okay. Thank you very much. Thank you, Steve.