May 21, 2020
Donald Trump Meeting Transcript with African American Leaders in Michigan
Donald Trump met with African American leaders ahead of his Michigan Ford tour. Read the full transcript of the listening session here.
Transcribe Your Own Content
Try Rev for free and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.
Donald Trump: (08:34)
Well, thank you very much and I’m honored to be here at the Detroit area with so many incredible, dedicated African American leaders. Just saying hello to a lot of my good friends outside. We’re joined today by secretary Ben Carson and Scott Turner of the White House Opportunity Revitalization Council. Thank you very much, Scott. Ben, thank you very much. Very exciting being here.
Donald Trump: (09:10)
Before we begin, let me say that my administration is working closely with state and local officials following the terrible flooding in Midland County. Our prayers are with those, all of the family members affected, and we’re working very hard. We have the Army Corps of Engineers already galvanized. They’re all there. You have top leadership there. The dam breaks were very bad, very severe. They were old and perhaps there was a mistake made somewhere along the line, but there’s a lot of water coming in and there’s nobody better to handle this. Nobody anywhere in the world, better to handle this situation than the Army Corps of Engineers. So we have them at the top, they’re here and they’re ready to start moving.
Donald Trump: (09:53)
As our nation battles the invisible enemy, African American communities have been hit very hard, including in Detroit. As you know, it’s been a very, very difficult time for certain areas of this country. Detroit happens to be one of them. My administration is working relentlessly to rush supplies and resources to these communities and to protect the health, safety, and economic opportunity of all African Americans and all Americans. We have done a tremendous job in the state of Michigan, not only in terms of bringing autos back, auto productions back, but also in terms of fighting the virus. We’re fighting it and we’re fighting it very, very hard.
Donald Trump: (10:35)
It came from China. We’re not happy about it all. We just signed to trade deal, the ink wasn’t dry, and all of a sudden this floated in. We are not going to take it lightly. The federal government has sent 11 million pieces of personal protective equipment to Michigan and 1,720 hospital beds built right here at Detroit, incredible job. That was done largely by FEMA, but also the Army Corps of Engineers. We delivered over $2 billion of community health centers, including $6 million for 8 health centers in Detroit, and people from Detroit and friends from the area have said it’s incredible the job that we’ve done. We’ve made a lot of governors look very good.
Donald Trump: (11:22)
Working with the private sector, over 400 community testing sites are open nationwide. We’re the number one tester for this virus in the entire world. There’s nobody close. We did almost 14 million tests. Number two is Germany at three million, I think South Korea probably at about almost three million. It goes down to the list. We’re at 14 million deaths. Very close to that. 70% are in socially vulnerable areas with the testing, and with 1000 more sites opening by the end of May, we’ll have a record number of sites. Many of the sites are open in Detroit and all across Michigan. In some cases, as an example, Florida, and I guess I’ve heard from about six governors where they have far more testing than they have people that need the test, so that’s something.
Donald Trump: (12:14)
Nobody’s done the job on testing like we have. Nobody’s done the job on ventilators like we have, you’re going to see that in a little while at the Ford plant where they’re making thousands and thousands of ventilators. And nobody that’s needed a ventilator in this entire country has not gotten one, and very importantly, all over the world now they’re calling us for help with ventilators. They’re very hard to make and they’re calling for help on ventilators.
Donald Trump: (12:39)
On Tuesday we announced $315 million in federal funding for Michigan to increase testing and contact tracing and disease surveillance, so we’re going all out. We want to make sure everything’s absolutely perfect. A lot of people are looking into other things, like as an example, vaccines and therapeutics. Therapeutically we’re doing some things that are, I think going to be released pretty soon that are amazing. And for the cure, ultimately for the cure. And I think the cure, the therapeutics, and the vaccines that are happening right now, I think you’re going to be very impressed over the next number of weeks. Today they had an announcement that was a very important announcement. Ben, I think you saw that.
Donald Trump: (13:24)
I signed legislation providing over $600 billion in massive relief for workers and small businesses, including at least $60 billion for smaller financial institutions, including those that serve minority communities. One of the beautiful things that Scott Turner’s done, he’s a real leader, he’s led so well from his days at the NFL where he was known as being fast, but maybe even more than speed, being tough. He was a tough guy. People told me that that had to tackle up and that had to go against him. They weren’t thrilled. I mentioned your name, they weren’t happy. But Scott’s done an incredible job with opportunities zones. He worked with me and with Senator Tim Scott. I have to tell you, what a great guy. From South Carolina, he was … he had an idea and it was an idea that we took it and we made it work, and I want to thank you for the great job you’re doing, Scott.
Scott Turner: (14:19)
Thank you, sir.
Donald Trump: (14:21)
Before the virus, African-American unemployment reached its lowest level in history and African-American poverty reached the slowest level in history. We never had more people from the African American community working in this country. It was, in terms of total, almost 160 million people, and African Americans set a new record. Out of that 160, African-American unemployment and employment was the best. They were the best numbers that we’ve ever had. That goes for many others. Also, Asian Americans, you know that, we sent records with Asian Americans and Hispanic Americans. Then we had the plague flow in from China, and now we’re doing it again. You’re going to see some incredible numbers. Starting in June, July you’re going to see some incredible numbers, because it’s coming back and it’s coming back fast.
Donald Trump: (15:10)
I spoke to the CDC today about churches. We’ve got to get our churches open, we’ve got to get our country open. These governors have to start doing what they’re supposed to be doing. Together we passed also criminal justice reform, which is a big deal. And that’s something that could not be passed without us. I will tell you, I have a very good friend of mine. Where, you’re coming from Cleveland?
Speaker 6: (15:34)
Donald Trump: (15:34)
To be here, I’m very impressed with you.
Speaker 6: (15:35)
My buddy is here, I had to.
Donald Trump: (15:35)
Thank you. Well, your buddy is here, I’ll tell you that.
Speaker 6: (15:39)
Donald Trump: (15:40)
But we did pass criminal justice reform. You were one of my advisors.
Speaker 6: (15:46)
Yes, sir. Prison reform as well.
Donald Trump: (15:48)
Prison reform, a lot of things that nobody else would have done and nobody else could have done. And the Democrats, I don’t even know if they tried, but if they did and they couldn’t get it done. So we got it done. Thank you very much.
Donald Trump: (15:59)
We delivered record funding for HBCUs and made the funding permanent, so every year I would have people come from the black colleges, small, large, all sizes. They would come in, colleges and universities and then ask me for money. After the third year, I said, “Man, what’s going on over here? What’s happening? Why do you keep coming every year?” They had it. They needed it every single year. One man said to me, “We feel like beggars. We keep coming to the white house every year.” I said, “Why don’t we make it permanent, make it long term?” And I got it approved. So now your historically black colleges and universities, small and large, great schools, they have long term funding. The only thing is I said … some of them became friends of mine, the leaders of these colleges. I said, “I won’t be seeing you anymore.” They didn’t mind that, actually, because now they can have a life of making their schools great and making that colleges great. But we did that, and I think most people …
Donald Trump: (17:03)
..and making their colleges great. But we did that, and I think most people don’t even know about that, but every year, three years, I got to see the same people and would come in and there’d be 36, 38, 40 in the oval office. We’d take a picture; I’d say, “How come you keep coming back?” And they said, “Because it’s a year to year deal.” I said, “That’s unbelievable.” For many years, year to year, so they have to come in and beg. You said, we feel like beggars. I said, “Not going to happen anymore.” We got it done permanently. Pretty good, right? Will anybody write about it? No, but that’s okay. I think the people know. As long as the people know Scott, you’ve got to get the word out. My pastor has to get the word out.
Donald Trump: (17:39)
How are you? Nice to see you.
Donald Trump: (17:41)
We created nearly 9,000 opportunities zones, including 94 right here in Detroit. And we’re opening and we’re rebuilding and we’re doing a job, and you can see the numbers start coming in. The projections came in yesterday. Larry Kudlow was telling me the projections are looking really good. So we built the greatest economy in the world, greatest economy in the history of the world, better than China by a lot. China had the worst year they had in 67 years before the virus came in. They were doing… Look, I want everybody to do well, but we were doing better than anybody, and it wasn’t even close. There wasn’t anybody even close to us, and now I’m going to do it again. We had to shut it off. They came in, and we did the right thing. We would have lost million of lives. We did the right thing, but now we’re opening up again.
Donald Trump: (18:31)
We’re going to open our churches. I think CDC is going to put something out very soon. I spoke to them today. I think they’re going to put something out very soon. We’ve got to open our churches. People want to go, and I saw a scene today where people are trying to break into a church to go into the church, not to break in and steal something. They want to be in their church. I said, you better put it out, and they’re doing it. And they’re going to be issuing something today or tomorrow on churches. We’ve got to get our churches open. So with that, I’d just like to thank everybody for being here; you’re friends, you’re great people, and supporters, but forget the word supporter. I don’t care. I want to take care of everybody. And a man who’s done an incredible job for me is Ben Carson. Ben, please say a few words.
Ben Carson: (19:13)
Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you all for being here today and for welcoming us here and for your tremendous resilience that we’ve seen in this area. It’s said that crisis reveals character, and the COVID-19 national emergency has revealed the indomitable spirit of the people of Michigan and the men and women of the automobile industry. As the secretary of HUD, in conjunction with the president, I’ve directed our department to do everything within our power to help the American workers and their families remain in their homes, prevent this location and receive the critical services from the federal government. That includes allocating more than $12 billion under the Cares Act. The Cares Act is the single biggest economic relief package in American history. And as a member of the White House coronavirus task force, I’ve also had the privilege of working with some of our leaders, not only to respond to COVID-19, but to set America back on a path of reopening.
Ben Carson: (20:25)
And as we’re seeing here at Ford today, the path to putting Americans back in business is already well underway, and we appreciate those efforts. As the president said, before this virus came along, we were humming along, making really records in terms of African American, Hispanic American, Asian American in unemployment women, it was the best employment numbers in 71 years. This is really a historic period, and what we need to recognize is that the economic infrastructure that created that economic renaissance is still there. We have to make sure that it’s not destroyed. And the way to do that obviously is to get people back to work again. That’s why the emphasis is on that, while at the same time, maintaining a strong emphasis on making sure that our people are healthy. And I think it’s become part of the American DNA now. We’ve learned about sanitizing everything, including our hands, being careful about the kinds of things that we touch that are being touched by multiple people, social distancing, wearing masks when we can’t social distance. You’ll notice that, at this table, we are social distancing.
Ben Carson: (21:50)
Now President Trump and this administration have organized the largest national mobilization since World War II, providing PPE, providing ventilators. Detroit, which was once the most prosperous city in the nation because of its industrial infrastructure, now it’s showing what it can do in other portions of Michigan, what it can do in the manufacturing arena; real superstars. And we’ve also been renewing and expanding our focus on helping the communities that have been hit the hardest. Three and a half weeks ago, the president asked us, in the opportunity and revitalization committee, to focus on those individuals who are underserved, who have been hit the hardest in our economy. And we’re looking at it. We’re looking at their physical health, we’re also looking at their economic health, and we’re looking at the things really caused them to have more problems than the general population. Yes, there may be more hypertension, there may be more diabetes, there may be more obesity and asthma, but we also have to ask ourself, why are there more of those things? And we have to address those issues.
Ben Carson: (23:16)
And that’s why all the different agencies and the government have combined to put together a program that will address these things on a sustainable basis. And we need to just remember that we have to bridge the gap because we have a very strong economy. We just have to bridge the gap until we get beyond this coronavirus. As the president mentioned, there’s tremendous progress being made in terms of therapeutics, in terms of vaccines. And if there is a second wave, and it’s not clear whether there will be, but if there is, believe me, we’re going to be ready for it. But we’re also going to be ready to recapture the spirit that created the most powerful and dynamic economy the world has ever known. It is just around the corner, and I believe that we’re going to make it. We’ve learned that in times of plenty, the incredible blessings of the Lord are with us. And when times are not so good, we also know that this too will pass. We will learn from this, and we will be stronger than ever.
Donald Trump: (24:25)
Thank you very much Ben, appreciate it. A young man who has got a tremendous future. He’s going to be a senator, hopefully soon. He’s representing a state that has already fallen in love with him. I saw him… A few years ago I watched him on television. I said, “Who is that guy?” And I found out his name was John James. And I said, he’s going to be fantastic, and he ran a great race. And now he’s running a race that’s incredible. He loves the people. He wants to help the people. He’s running for the United States Senate. Everybody knows that in this great state, Michigan. John, would just say a few words, please?
John James: (25:06)
Yes, Mr. President. And Mr. President, thank you for coming.
Donald Trump: (25:08)
John James: (25:09)
I’m tremendously honored to have the opportunity to speak on behalf of the state and communities who have extraordinary needs, to the president of United States of America. We’re one of the hardest hit states for CODIV, and now devastation has struck central Michigan, where more than 10,000 have been evacuated. Our hearts and minds and prayers are with them. Small businesses continue to need support. Our food banks have capacity needs and shelters need funds, which is why we’ve repurposed our campaign funds in large part, giving back a nickel for every dollar we raise to help feed the hungry, to help clothe the naked, to help heal the sick and take care of our veterans. Recently, we’ve given 200,000 to a medical facility in Detroit, in-person testing Detroiters in the toughest hit area in the country, and working with my friend, representative Whitsett, distributing hundreds of thousands of meals.
John James: (26:01)
I’m not going to steal her thunder. She’s going great work. At our logistics company, automotive company headquartered in Detroit, we were able to help her there. We actually process and ship material made in this plant, sir, and we sell them abroad. We keep American jobs here by making people buy our American goods. We ship Americans goods, not American jobs. So, I’ve said for a long time, sir, you don’t need to go to Venezuela to see the effects of socialism. You can ride right down the highway in Detroit. And I recently pinned an op at the Michigan Chronicle about how 40% of Michigan COVID deaths were African Americans. And when you look at the 14% of us that’s made up, it gets to Secretary Carson, Dr. Carson’s comment about made having a more sustainable path. Mr. President, I believe and agree with you that the 21st century prosperity agenda that focuses on economic security, health and wellness, and having leaders with personal stake in addressing generational poverty among blacks in Michigan and around the country is something that you’ve agreed with and you’ve set your mind to.
John James: (27:04)
Because as we all know, both natural and manmade disasters always have a way of unmasking generations of disinvestment and exploitation of African Americans. I think that a great start is something that you’ve already done, Mr. President. This is the motor city. This is arsenal democracy. And when called upon, Michigan, Detroiters stood up. We’re making ventilators right past this pipe and drape because you called, the president called, the nation called and Michigan stood up. I believe that you know us for cars and trucks. I think in the future, you can know us for planes and rockets. Mr. President, you’re moving jobs back from overseas, you’re moving chip manufacturers to Arizona, you’re bringing pharmaceutical manufacturers to Virginia.
John James: (27:42)
I think we have an opportunity to bring aerospace and rockets back to Michigan. Now you signed an order, Mr. President, executive order 13806, way back before this crisis came, assessing and strengthening the manufacturing and defense industrial base and supply chain resiliency of the United States. You know when you signed that Mr. President? You signed that in July 2017. I don’t think that you’d been president at that time for, eight months at that point or seven months at that point?
John James: (28:10)
And you were already thinking about our supply chain and sustainability and repatriation of jobs and our economic strength. I want to thank you for that foresight, Mr. President. I think we can build on that by expanding the national emergency declaration to encompass the economic threat of our national security, our economic health. I think that Michigan, once again, can stand up when called by its president, in looking at additional opportunities for F35, in looking at launch initiatives with [inaudible 00:11:35], for a space and polar orbit, but also Taycom expansion. Sir, we have the workforce here, but we need data. We need training and we need jobs in order to emerge from this with a more sustainable path that Dr. Carson laid out, and like you have been laying out for the better part of the past four years. Mr. President, things made here are better, and I trust the people in the state of Michigan and the United States of America. So, I’m looking forward to working with you and anybody else who wants to protect American jobs and protecting American health. So, thank you for being here, Mr. President.
Donald Trump: (29:06)
Well, thank you, John. You’re doing a fantastic job. I’m getting all sorts of reports, glowing reports, and if you do come to Washington, you have my ear. And your gentlemen that you’re opposing, I’ll tell you, nobody even knows who he is. Nobody knows who he is, nobody never heard of him, and he’s a Senator. So go out and do the job, finish the job. And you’re going to bring a lot of wealth back to this state because it deserves it, okay? Thank you very much, John. Really great job. I want to just call out Ja’Ron Smith. He’s been here with me from the beginning. We never call him out. He works so hard. I say, I want to call him out, he doesn’t want to be. I don’t know, he’s not a shy man, but he’s a very capable man, and you’ve been right from the beginning, and I want to thank you. If you’d like to say something, you can. He never wants to even bother, but this is one tough, smart cookie. Go ahead, Ja’Ron.
Ja’Ron Smith: (29:57)
Well, I’ll say first of all, Mr. President, thank you so much for your leadership. A lot of the challenges that are in African American community are historic in nature. Of course, the COVID pandemic has shined a bright light on some of those historic disparities, rather it’s access to capital or if it’s access to healthcare or the environments that people grow up in. What we’ve established through the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council that you set up two years ago, set off to take upon that challenge, to change it. When you ran and wanted to make the country great, it was making the land of opportunity again, opportunity for all Americans, rather you’re African American in Detroit or you’re from Appalachia a or Hispanic American living in San Antonio. Everyone should get a chance to be a part of the American dream.
Ja’Ron Smith: (30:47)
And since we had that infrastructure in place, the White House Revitalization Council, it made it easy for us to renew that focus and help with the recovery of underserved communities. And through that council, we’re developing even more muscle with partners here at this table to help us really change the way we’ve ever done things for these vulnerable populations. And I believe that through your leadership, we’re going to arise out of the ashes of this like a Phoenix, stronger than ever. And so thank you so much, and we look forward to continuing to work with you.
Donald Trump: (31:19)
Well, I just want to thank you for being an incredible talent in the White House, and a friend of Jared and a friend of the administration. You’ve done a fantastic job. Thank you very much, Ja’Ron, appreciate it. Representative Karen Whitsett, a highly respected person, loved in the Detroit area. She only wanted one thing; she wants to take care of people. She doesn’t care if they’re Republicans, Democrats, she couldn’t care less, and I saw her story on television. It’s an incredible story, but she’s an incredible woman. And I don’t care if she’s a Democrat or Republican, I just think it’s very important that we keep her here and healthy and she will take care of whoever she has to take care of, and it’s an honor to see you, and I really appreciate… If you’d like to say a couple of words Karen please.
Karen Whitsett: (32:09)
Well, thank you Mr. President. It’s just an honor and a pleasure to be here and that you wanted to include me in this wonderful conversation. I am truly honored and humbled to be before you right now, to be able to discuss some of the issues that have transpired in my community. I thank Dr. Carson for pointing out some of the most troubling things that we do have going on in the community, but you have started working on these things long before now. And I do, Mr. President, give you a lot of credit for that, and I thank you for it.
Donald Trump: (32:38)
Karen Whitsett: (32:40)
We, as a community, have been struggling. And as you know, our poverty level is extremely high in the area, and everyone is not meant to go to college. So one of the things I would like to point out is that training is a necessity and a need, as John has mentioned. That is something that is imperative for the community. If we have proper training, then we can change our renters into homeowners. We can change the dynamic of my community that I have been in since 1969. And my husband and I, we grew up on the same street. We’ve been there since, like I said, 1969, and my in-laws still live a few doors down from me. And I know how great our-
Donald Trump: (33:14)
You get along with them still?
Karen Whitsett: (33:16)
Yes, I still do. I love my mother-in-law.
Donald Trump: (33:19)
One of the few.
Karen Whitsett: (33:23)
As I was saying that it’s imperative that I know that our community can change. I know it can go back to. I know how wonderful it was before, and I know what it can grow back into being. If we can turn renters into homeowners, if we could put the dollar back into the community, if we can change the lives of single mothers that are struggling to make ends meet, which we have been doing with food distribution, but food distribution is not the end all. We don’t want to stay where people are asking for things constantly. We want people to be able to stand on their own two feet and be resilient within their own community and take pride in that, as well as being able to, as you addressed about the historical black colleges…
… as well as being able to… as you addressed about the historical black colleges, I would love to see a historical black college in the city of Detroit, I think that would be amazing. And I think you’re just the president to be able to make that happen.
Donald Trump: (34:13)
It’s an interesting idea, actually.
I think that you can make that happen.
Donald Trump: (34:16)
May be a lot of money, you’re all set. So, I don’t know, maybe we can work something out.
I think you can make it happen.
Donald Trump: (34:22)
We’ll talk about that.
I would love to talk about.
Donald Trump: (34:24)
We’ll talk about that, thank you.
Also, funding for home repairs for our seniors. Our seniors are really struggling and everyone does not have children. Everyone does not have a spouse and they don’t have family they can count on. So our seniors are suffering because they do not have money for repairs for their roofs, for ramps and for their porches. And that’s something that’s extremely important to them and to be able to maintain, as you know, to be able to maintain seniors in their homes is life changing.
I mean, we have programs that assist, but we don’t have programs that directly address this within the community to be able to empower seniors to stay in their homes. And I think we can make a whole world of difference by doing that. And you’ve considered everything else that I wanted to talk about.
Donald Trump: (35:08)
But I think your idea about historically black colleges, universities coming here, one real good one?
Donald Trump: (35:16)
I think it’s a great idea.
Donald Trump: (35:17)
With all you said that really… I remember everything you said word-for-word, but you know what? That was an idea I hadn’t heard of. I don’t know if anyone’s ever thought of that, but John, you want to start working on that place?
Donald Trump: (35:29)
Isn’t that a good idea?
That’s a great idea and I got a couple of ideas, exactly where to put it, Karen.
Donald Trump: (35:34)
I don’t know, that might’ve been a filler for you. It might’ve been just a filler, but it wasn’t a filler up here.
No, it’s not a filler. It’s not a filler.
Donald Trump: (35:41)
We’re going to have John James work on it. If John works on it, I bet you it happens.
Oh, I know it’ll happen. I mean, John James is the man to make that happen. We’ve been working really great together and I’m looking forward to continue working with you and the White House to be able to continue and Ja’Ron has been awesome to work with. So I thank you.
Donald Trump: (35:57)
Say hello to your husband.
I will, he’s actually in the car.
Donald Trump: (36:00)
Oh, he’s in the car? Can we bring him in please? Is he all right? I mean, why is he in the car? Can’t make it Scott? He doesn’t qualify? Would you do me a favor? Could you have somebody go out and find him, take his car, let him come in. He only saved your life, right?
He only saved my life.
Donald Trump: (36:17)
She was not feeling too well one night and she said, “Would you do me a favor, go down to the store and get a particular thing?” And that was a big evening. No, he does not deserve to be sitting in a car. Let’s bring him in, okay.
No, and I also took a note from you and so I actually filed a lawsuit to the governor today as well. So I thought that you would like to know that.
Donald Trump: (36:36)
That sounds very good. You got my note, right?
Yes, I do.
Donald Trump: (36:39)
Good. Thank you very much, great job. Scott, could you say a few words please? Outstanding guy.
Yes, sir. Thank you, Mr. President, and I’m so humble to be here with you, sir. And thank you for your leadership, really your heart for America and the heartbeat of America. And thank you all for being here, servant leaders at this table this afternoon. And so I’m honored to sit with you. Detroit as I wrote down and Secretary Carson, having roots here, I wrote down, Detroit is the epitome of hard work and ingenuity and innovativeness. And I think that same spirit and resolve is still here in Detroit and so I’m grateful to be here.
And Ja’Ron talked about the White House opportunity and revitalization council and how the spirit of that council is economic development and also community development and social impact. To see those inside of the communities in which we serve to thrive and to benefit and for long-term sustainability.
And I just want to encourage everyone to hear that our vision and our spirit is still the same. We are not unaware, we are not oblivious to the severity of the COVID, but our mission remains. Our face is set like Flint, we are steadfast or we’re not going to be moved by this. The President has refocused and repurposed the council with a broader vision. And that’s why we’re here today to hear from you, to share with you, to create partnerships as Ja’Ron talked about in coalitions.
But Mr. President, we are in the right place at the right time. And I believe Detroit can be a shining example through the recovery during the COVID and after the COVID and that America could see. Americans want to go to work. We are working people and small business drives America.
And we’re in a great place today and to not just to take the tour, but to have a meeting, but a great example of what hard work can do in this country and career and technical setting. Education is not a one size fit all representative, so career and technical centers in HBCUs and educating our young people for generations to come is so important to us.
And that’s why we’re here because long after all of us are gone, what we talk about here today and beyond today will affect those that come behind us. And that’s my heart for being here. So when those that come behind us will benefit for what we do today. And we are about outcomes and this administration and results for all Americans because that’s our team, the United States of America. So Mr. President, thank you.
Donald Trump: (39:19)
Thank you very much.
But really, it’s just a great honor to serve you.
Donald Trump: (39:22)
And thanks for doing a great job. You’re really doing a great job. So a man called me and he said, “You got to open the churches, you got to open them.” And he’s somebody I respect a lot. And I watched him defending me a long-time ago, long before I even did this. And he was so tough. He was so brutal. The last thing I thought he was, was a pastor. And then I found out he was a pastor and he’s a great pastor and he’s loved in his community. And I’d like to ask my friend, Pastor Darrell Scott, to say a few words. You are terrific.
Pastor Darrell Scott: (39:54)
Thank you, Mr. President. Listen, we are attempting to navigate. We are, when I say we, I’m speaking of you as our leader in this administration. We’re attempting to navigate our way through uncharted waters right now. We are going through a crisis that has been it’s unprecedented in modern history. And so we’re learning more about this challenge every day, information is being updated every day, but information is also being outdated every day.
Pastor Darrell Scott: (40:22)
Things we thought three months ago, we don’t think today. So we’re navigating our way through this and we have to all be on one accord in this. I thank you, Mr. President, for your bold leadership.
Donald Trump: (40:33)
Pastor Darrell Scott: (40:33)
I really believe that the effects of this pandemic would have been much more severe if it had not been for measures that you enacted and that this administration has enacted in conjunction with the state governments to try to contain and curtail the spread as much as possible. This President has pledged to give assistance to underserved communities that are impacted by this COVID- 19 virus.
Pastor Darrell Scott: (41:01)
He has pledged to give us assistance in those areas, which will actually coincide with the President’s already existing initiatives in the urban communities throughout this country. This assistance that he provides regarding this COVID-19 virus will be another layer, it will add another layer to the President’s already existing urban revitalization efforts. This President’s providing PPP loans that are focused in and on minority and urban and underserved and disadvantaged and distress communities.
Pastor Darrell Scott: (41:33)
You’ve already stated how you’re providing unprecedented funding for HBCUs, he’s provided billions for entities that are staples in the black community, childcare centers so they can remain open during this time. You’re also providing underserved communities with testing and healthcare resources so that no one is reached or no one is denied access to vital equipment and vital testing.
Pastor Darrell Scott: (42:01)
You’ve committed to discovering and addressing the reasons why some communities, particularly the black community, seems to be affected more so than others. And you’re making sure that the federal government is also going to cover health costs for those that are uninsured or underinsured. We thank you for this. Our country has been placed on pause. The pause has not stopped. We’ve been on pause, but we’re about to press go and get back going again. I said it before unashamedly, and I’ll say it again, this President has been… I’ve lived under 12 presidential administrations. I was born during Eisenhower’s administration. This President has been the most pro-black president in my lifetime. But when I say pro I’m saying it pro in the sense of being proactive, he’s been proactive rather than reactive to issues concerning minority, underserved and disadvantaged communities than any other president in my lifetime.
Pastor Darrell Scott: (42:59)
I really believe history is going to be kinder to you, Mr. President, then fake news media is today.
Donald Trump: (43:06)
Can’t be any worse. Thank you.
Pastor Darrell Scott: (43:10)
And you tried to initiate action to restrict travel from other countries and we’re seeing that you were a visionary in that area. And I know you’re doing your very best. I know you have the heart of this country in your heart, and I know you’re doing your very best to preserve this great union. As far as I’m concerned myself, my business partner, Kareem Lanier, the company that we have. We have raised a billion dollars in liquidity to help provide PPP loans to businesses that are in need of, in conjunction with The Cares Act.
Pastor Darrell Scott: (43:49)
And I thank you that you’ve directed the White House opportunity and revitalization counseling. You couldn’t think of anyone more capable than Dr. Carson and Scott Turner here to engage with and focus on our communities that have been in fact impacted by this. And they have been interacting with a number of coalitions. They’re doing a great job. So we thank you. And Mr. President, we have your back.
Donald Trump: (44:14)
Thank you, Darrell.
Pastor Darrell Scott: (44:14)
We know you have our back as well.
Donald Trump: (44:14)
Pastor Darrell Scott: (44:14)
So God bless you.
Donald Trump: (44:18)
Thank you very much, Darrell. Now, I’m going to be making a tour of the factory with the head of Ford and some other people, and I’d love you all to join me if you could. Would anyone like to say anything? Yes, please.
Dr. Audrey Gregory: (44:30)
Hi. I’m Dr. Audrey Gregory, I am a nurse. And I’m also the Chief Executive Officer of Detroit Medical Center. Yes, so when we talk about the impact of COVID-19, I lived it, I staffed it and we went through it together. From the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve always had the focus of making sure that our patients are cared for and our staff were cared for. And so we began rapid testing and talking about partnership.
Dr. Audrey Gregory: (45:04)
We were able to do this with Wayne State University. And by the way, just as a note off my scripts, we do have medical students from Meharry at Detroit Medical Center, which is a HBCU.
Donald Trump: (45:16)
Oh Good. Very good.
Dr. Audrey Gregory: (45:17)
So we have done many things, we have partnered with the city, we have partnered with the state. And I think many of the steps we have taken has gotten us to the point where I’m proud to say that we’re starting to see a decline in the state of Michigan.
Dr. Audrey Gregory: (45:31)
I will pause here though, Mr. President, to say, thank you. I am filled with pride and actually humbled by the fact that the President of the United States has taken time out of his day, just to stop and listen to what I have to say.
Donald Trump: (45:45)
Very nice. That’s very nice, thank you very much.
Dr. Audrey Gregory: (45:48)
So where healthcare is concerned since I am representing the healthcare organizations, we’re now at the point, and Dr. Carson certainly alluded to some of the chronic underlying issues that the black community faces. And so we’re at the point now in or journey where we’re encouraging people to return to hospitals, return to the emergency rooms, because we want to make sure that the chronic issues are addressed. I would be remiss if I did not pause to say thank you to the incredible frontline workers that have just given heart, soul, muscle and sweat to make this a possibility even for us. Not just at the Detroit Medical Center, but throughout our city. The strength and their commitment and their dedication has been humbling and also inspiring. I believe with all my heart, that they’re the reason along with all our community members who have taken on this fight that we’re winning this battle. So some of the highlights, is the facts and Ja’Ron and I have talked, we’ve certainly worked through strategies for the black community, so thank you. One of the things to his point is that the pandemic has certainly just brought to light some of the disparities that have already existed. And I will say that I’m honored to be appointed to our state’s coronavirus taskforce and through that, the goal of the taskforce is really to address some of the equities and figure out in the long run what do we need to do differently?
Dr. Audrey Gregory: (47:23)
And so we hope to continue this fight, Mr. President, as you know, hospitals were significantly impacted or inability to do any kind of, some of our scheduled work that has certainly impacted us. So I do want to pause though and say, thank you. We have received incredible support from your administration and not just the formal things. And so I actually left a letter for you signed by myself and the Michigan Hospital Association, just to not only thank you, but to ask you continue the work that you’re already doing, which is relief efforts across the country for healthcare organization.
Dr. Audrey Gregory: (48:08)
And so we look forward to continue to work with you, but I want to add just my personal experience, but as a nurse, a mom and a hospital administrator, I’m home, it was a weekend afternoon and my phone rang and I picked it up and someone said, “This is Rear Admiral John P., you won’t get my last name, but this is who I am. I’m calling on behalf of the administration, Dr. Gregory, what do you need? My job is to help you to get what you need?”
Donald Trump: (48:38)
I love John. I love John.
Dr. Audrey Gregory: (48:39)
Once I recovered and knew it wasn’t a spam call, it was a great relationship, not just for me, but for the hospitals in Detroit. And I think the moment that wild me, because I’m so big on follow through is that a few days later, the Rear Admiral called me and said, “Dr. Gregory, did you get what you need?” And so there is my script and then there is my personal story of engagement and what it takes to get us there. So the hospital community on their behalf, I want to thank the state and federal government for swift financial support.
Dr. Audrey Gregory: (49:17)
The federal government, what all that you’ve distributed so far, we thank you. This has helped our hospitals to remotely stay somewhat liquid, but there’s a lot more work to do. And I want to thank Ford, who has worked with us. Some of our PPE have been from Ford, and then thank you for signing legislation to support healthcare facilities. Now, the ongoing support for Detroit is vital and Michigan hospitals need help to continue to ensure financial viability. But I just wanted to pause to say, thank you for being with us in this fight.
Donald Trump: (49:53)
Thank you very much. Very nice. I appreciate that very much. Alfonso, if you could, and I guess we’re going to be a little bit late. We have the head of Ford waiting for us right now, we’re going to walk through the plant. So we’ll go perhaps quickly and I think we have Robin going to speak too, right? So why don’t we go quickly and we’ll take a couple of questions from the fake news, and then we’ll go and tour the plant. Thank you.
Speaker 7: (50:14)
Yes, Mr. President. I’d like to say this, it’s an honor to be here. And it’s an honor to be invited out. As a developer, working with several communities in the state of Michigan, I believe that the opportunity zone has been a great opportunity. Ja’Ron and his staff, his team, has done a great job and we appreciate you having the foresight to put them on the ground here.
Donald Trump: (50:35)
Speaker 7: (50:35)
In fact, they’re doing such a great job, I received calls asking for Mr. Smith’s address. They think they’re going to go to his office and talk to him because he’s-
Donald Trump: (50:43)
He’s the big power.
Speaker 7: (50:45)
Yeah, he’s doing a great job. So as a developer, talking with several mayors that welcome you in Wayne County and said, you’re more than welcome to come to the city whenever you want or the Vice President. I would just like to say thank you and the opportunities zone and what it brings to the communities is very good. And we have some projects that’s actually…
… is very good and we have some projects that are actually shovel ready now that the pandemic is slowing and it’s allowing us to get back to our daily routine. We’re looking forward to getting the shovel to the ground.
Donald Trump: (51:13)
Thank you, very much. Thanks, Alfonso, I appreciate it. I heard you’re doing really well, too. That’s great. Robin?
Hello, hi Mr. President, how are you? It’s such an honor to meet you.
Donald Trump: (51:22)
Thank you. It’s my honor.
I want to first tell you, thank you so much. I am a COVID-19 survivor and I got diagnosed probably about a month, month and a half ago as positive. And I’m just sitting at home and watching TV and heard you talk hydroxychloroquine and talked to my doctor. We took it and within five days I’m here to say I’m good to go.
Donald Trump: (51:48)
A lot of people have said that.
Yes. And so I want to first-
Donald Trump: (51:52)
I go off it tomorrow I think.
Donald Trump: (51:55)
I took a lot. I was exposed to a couple of people and I said, “Let’s give it a shot.” The doctor said he recommends it, but I looked at the story of Karen and many others. And I said, “What do we have to lose?” That’s what I said. Anyway. So you had a good experience?
I had an excellent experience.
Donald Trump: (52:15)
A lot of people do.
I used to have bronchitis as a child. And so to have that breathing interaction going on again from, I’m telling my age, from about 30 or 40 years later, it’s just like, “Whoa, what’s going on here?” So to be able to get that particular prescription and be able to take in and to be able to breathe again within hours was just amazing. So, and I’ll be honest-
Donald Trump: (52:45)
If you had the bronchitis problem, you’re a prime target of this invisible enemy.
Right, yeah. Actually, I had thought I grew out of it. You know how they say you grow out of things? And so I haven’t had an actual episode since I was 13 years old.
Donald Trump: (53:00)
So to have one when I’m now 50, which I might as well tell it now, it’s just like, “Okay, wow, where did this come from?” It was quite a little scary thing. But I must admit, like I said within hours-
Donald Trump: (53:14)
How bad did it get?
I had to really calm myself down and kind of go through it.
Donald Trump: (53:20)
But the disease itself, was it a rough bout or was it made much easier
Yes, oh yeah. Night sweats, the whole nine yards, fever, coughing, little weird cough. The cough wasn’t the same as a normal cough, it’s kind of a weird type of cough.
Donald Trump: (53:35)
Right, I understand.
But yeah, I went through the whole gambit of it. But thank God I was able to stay at home and I did recover.
Donald Trump: (53:41)
And you hear a lot of different stories, especially with Karen. I’ve met Karen a couple of times. I know Alfonso from doing the opportunity zones, development, things like that, in real estate. But that was something that was a little bit scary. So I do actually, just from watching you on TV and hearing you talk about it, I was able to call my doctor and say, “Listen, hey, let’s try this because this must be what’s going on. And then I need to get tested on top of that.” So at that time we had to have prescriptions to get tested. And so he wrote the script, we got it done and I was positive. And then we got the hydroxychloroquine, actually we call it a cocktail with Zithromycin and the zinc. And, like I said, I took it at 8:30, 9:00 at night, 9:30 that morning, 9:30 in the morning, by 4:00 or 5:00 I was breathing good.
Donald Trump: (54:32)
There are many people with that experience, they just don’t want to write about it. It’s too bad.
So I first want to thank you-
Donald Trump: (54:37)
Many, many people.
Thank you for that information, because information is key. And when you’re in real estate, you realize the more information that you know, the more things you can get done. And I am very thankful for that. And, like I said, we’re working in our opportunities zones, we thank you for that in Detroit. Our property values and everything in Detroit is moving up. We have a lot of heavy players that are doing a lot of things in those zones to bring those property values backs up for our residents. And that’s amazing. So I thank you a lot for that.
Donald Trump: (55:08)
Thank you, that’s a great story. Thank you very much. I appreciate it. Do you have any questions real fast, folks? Any questions for anybody in the room?
Donald Trump: (55:16)
Mr. President, I’ll remove this. I had a negative test this morning, so it should be good.
Donald Trump: (55:22)
We’ve heard from a number of people over the last few weeks, Mr. President, as the numbers have started to go down, the number of deaths have started to go down, hospital capacity has increased. You say that the goal of mitigation was to ensure that the hospitals did not become overwhelmed. We appear, for the most part, to be at that point. So why not just reopen the country on a more rapid basis than we are now? What are your thoughts on that?
Donald Trump: (55:47)
Well, we want them to reopen John. The numbers are going down very substantially without question. I mean, very powerfully going down. You look at Florida, you look at Georgia, you look at many other states, the numbers are going down and they’ve been open, or very substantially open, and pretty much completely open in some cases. And we want them to reopen. I mean, literally I just got off the phone with CDC and I talked about churches. I said, “I want the churches to open and the people want the churches to open.” And I think you’ll have something come down very soon from CDC. We want to get our churches back. Our country is coming back. We did the right thing, I think you would agree. I think we would have had well over a million, it could have been up a million and a half to two and a half million people dead.
Donald Trump: (56:34)
And so we did the right thing. It would have been a horrible… Can you imagine if you, saw what we have now and multiply that times 15 or 20 times? So we did the right thing, but we now want to get going. And we also learned a lot about the disease during this time. Nobody knew. We learned about the tremendous contagion and the problems. We learned a lot of very important facts. But now it’s time for our country to open again. And I think you will start with churches. I think you will start with some other states that have been very resistant. You have a lot of, unfortunately this case, Democrat governors. I think they think it’s good politics to keep it closed, but what are they doing? They’re hurting themselves. I don’t think it is good politics. They are hurting themselves. They’re hurting their state and it’s not good.
Donald Trump: (57:23)
So I think you’re going to see, pretty much, I think they’re being forced to open, frankly. The people want to get out, you’ll break the country if you don’t. And I think they look at it as a possible November question. It’s not a November question, it happens to be very bad for them. So you’re going to see that happening, I think John. I think that your third quarter is going to be that transition quarter, we’re almost there. It’s going to be the transition quarter and it’s going to be a really good, but the fourth quarter is going to be big. And next year is going to be a big year for this country.
How close are we to, in your words, “breaking the country,” unless we start the reopening process more quickly?
Donald Trump: (58:04)
Well, I think we’re very close to opening up the rest. I think there’s a lot of pressure put on certain governors that should be further along. They should be further along than they are and they should not be doing what they’re doing. So we’ll see what happens, but the country is going to be in a very good place. Very good place. And we have a lot of ammunition left. You know what that means. There is a lot of ammunition left in the country in terms of the fed, the treasury, and all the people that are working on it. We have a lot of ammunition left, unlimited ammunition if we need it, but we won’t need it. Thank you.
Speaker 8: (58:40)
Mr. President, are you prioritizing the reopening of churches over other establishment and what makes churches more important?
Donald Trump: (58:49)
No, not at all but I think churches, to me, they are so important in terms of the psyche of our country. To me, they use the word “essential.” I think churches are essential. So important. People want to be in their churches. It’s wonderful to sit home and watch something on a laptop, but it can never be the same as being in a church and being with your friends and they want to have it open. And I think that’s going to be happening very shortly, very, very shortly. So that’ll be put out maybe tomorrow, maybe today. Okay? Thank you.
Speaker 9: (59:19)
Mr. President, you had said yesterday in a tweet that you might withdraw funding from Michigan. Later in the afternoon you seemed to say that wasn’t necessary. Is that threat still on the table, sir?
Donald Trump: (59:29)
I didn’t say it wasn’t necessary I said that I might have to do that. Yeah. We’re not going to go to voting by mail. Voting by mail is wrought with fraud and abuse and people don’t get their ballots that happen to be in a certain district, whether it’s Republican or Democrat, thousands of ballots are sent out, but they don’t happen to get them, so people are calling, “Where’s my ballot?” They call in a panic. “Where is it? Where is it? The election is coming.” And all of a sudden the election comes, it goes, and they say, “Hey, I never gotten a ballot, but wow, that didn’t affect.” But it did affect because thousands of people that happens to. You go and you vote. And ideally you vote with voter ID. And then you really have an election.
Donald Trump: (01:00:13)
But this country, you go out and you buy things and you have your picture. If you want to vote, the most important thing you could do is vote, and they don’t want to go voter ID. So ideally that would be the ideal. There are many places that have that, many places don’t. But no, we don’t want to have vote by mail. We want people to vote now.
Donald Trump: (01:00:33)
If you’re President of the United States and if you vote in Florida and you can’t be there, you should be able to send in a ballot. If you’re not well, you’re feeling terrible, you’re sick, you have a reasonable excuse, just a reasonable excuse, you should be able to vote by mail in. You vote by mail in. But when they send, in the case of Nevada, where they want to send out thousands and thousands of ballots, and then they’re going to send it back, who knows who signed the ballot? Is anybody standing there acknowledging, “Oh, that was Mrs. Smith. That was a pastor Darrell Scott. That was Scott Turner. That was John James, the great John James,” who better win, because you would be missing something, Michigan, if you don’t vote for this guy. But who are these people that are voting? They get it, it comes by mail maybe, maybe it doesn’t come. A lot of the problem is they’re not shipped to certain areas. If you have an all Democrat area… Now I have to tell you the abuse tended to be on a certain side, rather than another side, we won’t get into that.
Donald Trump: (01:01:43)
And frankly, the Republicans won a very big event on Tuesday where we have a man named Mike Garcia as a Congressman in a Democrat area, was not expected to happen, and he won by a lot of votes. You know about that, John. That was a big decision. That was an incredible victory. The first time in 22 years, 22. So something’s happening. But that was a vote by mail. They mailed it in and actually the Democrats saw they were losing and all of a sudden they through voter booths up in certain Democrat areas. I wouldn’t say that was so good, right? But it didn’t have much of an impact. So Mike Garcia won and we won in Wisconsin, but we can’t do that. To vote, to really vote, and without fraud, you have to go and you have to vote at the polling place. People have to check you in. Go ahead, John.
Speaker 9: (01:02:36)
So can you just clarify, sir what federal funding you’re considering removing from Michigan?
Donald Trump: (01:02:41)
Oh, I’m not going to discuss that. There are so many forms of funding and we’re not going to discuss that. What we want is we want good, straight, honest voting. Okay? Honest voting. By the way, if that could be honest, which obviously it can’t be, you get a ballot, you’re sitting in your bedroom, signing it. Who knows who’s signing it? Who knows if it gets to your house? Who knows if they don’t pirate. They pirate these applications. They print new voting forms and then they send them around, people sign them, or one person signs them with different pens and a different signature every time. Obviously there’s got to be fraud. We’re not babies.
Donald Trump: (01:03:24)
There is tremendous fraud. You have all of the harvesting. You have all of the things. They walk in at the end of a race. We had a lot of them in California. They walk in, Ben, at the end of a race and they dump thousands. You think the race is over, you think somebody won, and then all of a sudden out of the blue come thousands of votes at the very end. What happened? Harvesting. Wonderful thing, harvesting. They just happened to find thousands of ballots just at the end. So somebody that thought he or she was going to win the race, all of a sudden gets clipped. We can’t have that. John, go ahead.
Mr. President, in the midst of this coronavirus crisis, the Chinese government is considering a new national security law that would give it the authority to clamp down to a greater degree on Hong Kong. Do you have a message for the Chinese government about changing the relationship with Hong Kong?
Donald Trump: (01:04:15)
Well, we’ll have to see what happens. I haven’t seen it yet. I’ve gotten a little briefing, but I’ll have a statement to make it the appropriate time. Okay? Hong Kong has been through a lot.
Speaker 10: (01:04:25)
Mr. President, we’ve seen this historic flooding. We’ve seen this historic flooding here in Michigan. And we have seen forecasts that we could see a really severe hurricane season. Is FEMA and the federal government prepared to meet the needs of some of these potential disasters?
Donald Trump: (01:04:47)
You’re saying FEMA and the federal government? Yeah, they’re here right now. FEMA is here right now. They did a fantastic job on the coronavirus, a fantastic job in Michigan. They did a fantastic job everywhere, frankly. You have ventilators, you can see them now because this is one of the plants where we make thousands of ventilators. But FEMA was involved and we also had… You know that the Army Corps of Engineers at the highest level is right now in Michigan working on the fact that you had some dams breaking, that shouldn’t have broken. And they were probably, maybe not maintained properly. Something happened to them. It could have been human error from what I understand, but it was certainly a physical error, too. They were old, but you have the best in the world to fix them and to get that water stopped. And we have FEMA here and we have the Army Corps of Engineers here. They will be able to take care of it.
Donald Trump: (01:05:40)
Let’s go take a tour. And you’re all invited to join me if you want. And we’ll take a look at a great assembly line making ventilators. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much.