May 6, 2020
Donald Trump Meeting with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds Transcript
Donald Trump met with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds at the White House on Wednesday, May 6. Reynolds issued a new proclamation opening some businesses statewide. Read the full transcript of their meeting here.
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Donald Trump: (00:00)
You know you need both. You can’t just have one or the other.
Kim Reynolds: (00:12)
Well, a great team. Blessed.
Donald Trump: (00:13)
No, it’s really you have a great governor. Really great governor in Iowa. Thank you very much. Thank you, Kim. John, go ahead.
Mr. President, I was actually speaking to the governor of Iowa before she came to see you. There’s a backlog in terms of live animals, hogs and beef on the hoof out there. How soon will it be before that can get processed? And we are seeing some shortages in meats in many places across the country. How long will it be before the supply chain gets ramped back up again so that we don’t have any shortages?
Donald Trump: (00:41)
Plenty of supply. Go ahead.
Kim Reynolds: (00:42)
Yeah, I think so. We’re moving in that direction. As the secretary said, you’ve got to think South Dakota’s coming back on board. We’ll have most of our facilities up and going, so as we continue to keep them up and processing and bring more back online and continue to exceed the capacity, we’re going to hopefully prevent what could have been a really sorry situation where we were euthanizing some of our protein supply and really impacting the food supply, not only across the country, but throughout the world. So this is critical infrastructure, it’s an essential workforce, and the team and the effort and the executive order, I think, has really maybe prevented what could have been a really serious situation. I think, Secretary, would you agree with that? We’re still monitoring it. We’ve turned a corner.
Sonny Perdue: (01:29)
I think we turned the corner. We see these plants coming back online. Obviously because of some infected employees, they won’t be full forced for a while, but we think the storage, you’ll see more variety and more meat cases fully supplied.
Donald Trump: (01:42)
What’s your timing, Sonny?
Sonny Perdue: (01:43)
I’d say probably a week to 10 days til its fully back up.
Kim Reynolds: (01:46)
Yep, I agree.
Donald Trump: (01:46)
Fully back up?
Kim Reynolds: (01:47)
Yeah. I mean, Perry came back up at 1660% capacity, which is really, that’s a strong startup.
Mike Pence: (01:53)
Mr. President, what the governor’s made clear is it was because the president used the Defense Production Act. Make it clear that our objective is to keep meat processing plants open, whether it be an Iowa, whether it be in Delaware, whether it be in Colorado, and working through the Department of Agriculture, deploying CDC personnel to these meat processing plants, we’re doing that. I think, Mr. President, one of the … and you talk to a great heartland governor like Governor Kim Reynolds, one of the great stories of the coronavirus outbreak has been that our food supply has continued to work every day, from the field to the fork, to the grocers to the meat processors. Thanks to the president’s decision to use the Defense Production Act, we now have uniformity, and the objective is to work every day to keep those meat processing plants open, and the ones that were coming down are going back online.
Sonny Perdue: (02:46)
While we’re trying to keep workers safe and healthy along with these government rights.
Kim Reynolds: (02:50)
It’s in tandem we’ve done that, so with the testing, with the PPE, with the restructuring in the facilities, they’re also doing a lot of that as to try to social distance where they can, to put in shields where they can, to look at the lines to separate the shifts, so it really is a partnership, really.
Donald Trump: (03:07)
Kim, I think we had a great talk with the owners of the plants, the top people, big people. These are big companies, actually. You wouldn’t believe how many plants they have, and I think it was a very strong talk, and I think they got the message. So within a week and a half, we should be in great shape, maybe sooner.
Another piece of it is as the price for animals and the hoof has gone down, the price of boxed beef has really skyrocketed, and there’s a huge price differential disparity there. Farmers are really hurting, whereas these meat packing plants are making a lot of money. Is there something that the federal government can do? Farmers are asking.
Donald Trump: (03:42)
I will ask the Justice Department to look into it, okay? I will ask them to take a very serious look into it, because it shouldn’t be happened that way, and we want to protect our farmers, but they’re looking into that very strongly.
Speaker 6: (03:55)
What exactly, sir?
Donald Trump: (03:57)
I said I’ve asked the Justice Department to look into.
Speaker 6: (03:59)
To look into the disparity?
Donald Trump: (04:01)
For whatever. Why is there this disparity? What’s going on? Are they dealing with each other? What’s going on, okay? Because it shouldn’t be that way. Supply and demand should not allow that to happen by normal supply and demand, okay? Thank you, John. Any other questions?
Speaker 7: (04:14)
Are enough steps being taken to protect these workers?
Donald Trump: (04:17)
Say it again.
Speaker 7: (04:18)
Are enough steps being taken to protect the health and safety of these workers? The advocates for these workers say they’re not being protected. What was it? 60% infected at the Perry plant, right? That’s extraordinary.
Mike Pence: (04:32)
What we’ve looked at into these plants is when we have an outbreak, the CDC deploys a team on the ground. We also worked with the governor and other governors around the country to deploy personal protective equipment to allow the workforce to safely return once testing is done. In most of these meat processing plants, we ended up testing everyone in the facility, and the people that are healthy are able to return with new countermeasures and new protection, new face masks or gloves as the case may be. We’re also working with the companies to put new con countermeasures into place, but as the secretary said, our objective is to equal goals. Number one is the safety and health of the workforce in our meat processing plants and to ensure the strength of the food supply by getting people back to work and keeping the plants open.
Donald Trump: (05:21)
Kim Reynolds: (05:21)
Yeah, no, I would completely agree with that. As I said, I was on a call with most of them yesterday. Thank you for the conference call that you did I think this week, last week with our producers and governors across the country specifically addressing this processing issue, so I appreciate that very much, Mr. Vice President. I just asked if they were having any trouble getting to PPE. No, they were fine. We are seeing the supply chain open up. Appreciate what the administration has done to make sure that they have the adequate PPE to protect their employees. This is their teammates. This is an essential workforce. They know how important it is to take care of workforce, and a big part of it was providing them the confidence to go back into the facility knowing that they either tested positive and they’d recovered, or they were on a shift with other employees that had tested negative, and we’ll continue to work with them.
Kim Reynolds: (06:10)
We’ve made it very clear if they want to do additional testing, we’ll be happy to do that, but they are testing them before they even enter the plant. They’re doing a temperature scan. They’re doing an assessment. They have to have the mask on when they enter the facility. Many times they have the mask and the face shield. They’re doing social distancing. They’re relaxing their attendance policy.
Donald Trump: (06:29)
And they feel much better, don’t that?
Kim Reynolds: (06:29)
And they feel better, yeah. So it’s a partnership. We’re all working together to make sure that we’re providing them the confidence of a safe environment, but at the same time, we’re making sure that the food supply chain is moving and that the country is being fed and we’re continuing [crosstalk 00:06:46].
Donald Trump: (06:48)
Will they be moving the plexiglass partitions in the factory?
Kim Reynolds: (06:49)
So they are. It’s a fairly close working arrangement, so they are trying to separate, I think, with some additional space between the workforce. I know it’s some of the things that they’re looking at, but they do where they can. They put some of the shields petitions in place.
Speaker 8: (07:05)
Mr. President, followup on the task force. What will Dr. Fauci’s role be in the task force?
Donald Trump: (07:13)
Same as it has been. He’s been doing a very good job. We’re very happy with Dr. Fauci, and he’ll be doing the same, and Deborah will be doing the same. I know you’ll be staying. You’ll be staying. We’d miss you otherwise. She’s done a fantastic job, Both, same thing. We’re actually just adding some names. We may take off a couple that, frankly, their expertise really no longer applies, but I think, Mike, you’ll announce your name’s Monday maybe or sooner?
Mike Pence: (07:40)
Donald Trump: (07:41)
Good names and now we have a very distinguished person. Really knows her business.
Speaker 8: (07:46)
A followup on beef. Apparently Wendy’s has a shortage.
Donald Trump: (07:50)
I’ll have to call Nelson Peltz. I’m going to call Nelson Peltz. They’re going to be okay. They’ll be all right.
Speaker 8: (07:57)
They’re focusing on-
Donald Trump: (07:58)
Basically, you’re saying in a week and a half, you think everything’s going to be good or sooner. Would you make sure, please?
Sonny Perdue: (08:04)
[crosstalk 00:08:04] opening as we speak, this week and the first of next week.
Donald Trump: (08:08)
You’re going to have to push them.
Kim Reynolds: (08:09)
Yeah, and they’re ramping up capacity.
Donald Trump: (08:12)
Speaker 9: (08:14)
Mr. President, you said earlier when you were talking about winding down the task force you’ve heard from a lot of respected people who wanted you to keep it live.
Donald Trump: (08:21)
A lot of respected people.
Speaker 9: (08:21)
Who were some of those individuals?
Donald Trump: (08:24)
Well, I’d rather not say because some of them aren’t going to be able to make it. People want to be on the task … They want to be on everything. I’ve never seen anything like this. Anything having to do with this, they want to help every. The biggest people, they want to be on. They want to be on the committees. They want to be on the financial committee or the sports committee. I’ve heard. That’s all I do. I get calls from people. The biggest people, they all want to be on. Enemies of mine, people that don’t like me want to be on the committees. I say, “That’s strange,” but they all want to do and they all want to help, so we’re going to be announcing some very good names. Now, in this case, we want professional names that can help us, not just names where we put it on for the status of the task force. We don’t need status, we need results.
Speaker 10: (09:10)
Mr. President, last week, when you were in the East Room, I asked you about intelligence regarding the source of the virus. You suggested that you were seeing some intelligence that gave you some confidence today somehow emanated from the Institute of Virology. The Secretary of State on Sunday said the same thing. Where are you now on that?
Donald Trump: (09:31)
No different. No different.
Speaker 10: (09:33)
Have you seen anything else that you [crosstalk 00:09:34].
Donald Trump: (09:34)
No, and I don’t think there’ll be a big difference. If you ask me that question in two months, I don’t think there’ll be a big difference. I think we know, and I think you probably know too. Okay, any other questions?
Speaker 6: (09:46)
Just one followup on China, sir, related to the intelligence but more specifically to how you will respond to China. You’ve talked about tariffs. Would you like to put tariffs on China as a punishment, or would it be more related to China not actually-
Donald Trump: (10:01)
I don’t want to talk about that now. We’re in the midst of some very big things, so I just don’t want to talk about that now.
Speaker 6: (10:06)
Are you satisfied with China in terms of how it’s fulfilling the trade deal, phase one?
Donald Trump: (10:11)
I will be able to report on that the end of next week. They’re buying a lot of farm product, but are they buying to the level that they were supposed to? They’re going to buy $50 billion worth. The most they ever did was $15 or $16, and now they’re going to $50, anywhere between $40 and $50 in terms of farm, but $250 billion overall. That never happened. No president has ever even talked about anything like that. It’s about time, but I’ll be able to report in about a week or two as to not only with the farmers, but with many other industries also, okay?
Sonny Perdue: (10:51)
We’ll have some updated ag numbers on this on Friday.
Donald Trump: (10:53)
Okay, good. I’d like to have that. I’ll report them as they come in, but we’re watching closely, and they understand. They have a deal. Hopefully they’re going to keep the deal. We’ll see. They may, they may not. We’re going to find out. We’ll know soon.
Speaker 11: (11:07)
On the ventilators that you say you’re giving to other countries, how do you decide who gets them? Do they have to return them?
Donald Trump: (11:09)
Well, we have thousands of ventilators right now under development and already in storage, as you know. We’re Stockpiling. We have over 10,000. We’ve sent them to states. The states are all … You have plenty of ventilators, right?
Kim Reynolds: (11:26)
Donald Trump: (11:26)
Did you ever think that was possible?
Kim Reynolds: (11:27)
Donald Trump: (11:28)
They never wrote a story about it, Kim. That’s a tough one.
Kim Reynolds: (11:31)
We’re at 80-85% availability.
Donald Trump: (11:33)
That’s not like a swab. That’s not like a swab that’s a piece of cotton. This is a big deal doing a ventilator, so countries know that we have a tremendous amount, tremendous volume, and they’ve been calling. Nigeria just called. We’re giving them 250 ventilators.
Donald Trump: (11:54)
We have many countries, I’d say 12, 14 countries that called. We’re sending quite a few to France. We’re sending quite a few to Spain and Italy, and we have other countries. We have four African countries, countries located in Africa, who are really in bad shape, frankly. Very bad shape, and we’re sending them quite a few, so we’re in a position where we can now help other people because basically, what are you talking about? You’re talking about people dying. It’s not a question of countries. You’re talking about a lot of people are dying, and we make a great ventilator, as you people found out. Your people actually told me there are good ventilators and not so good. We go top of the line. We’re making all top of the line, so we’re sending them to a lot of countries as we need them, and they call.
Speaker 11: (12:45)
And are those donations? Will they have to be returned?
Donald Trump: (12:49)
So we’re working on that, and in a certain way, I like them to be donations. I really do. I think it’s goodwill. It’s hard to say, “You have to pay us in order to save people from dying.” I’m the first one to say you’ve got to pay, but this is something that’s a little bit different. I think it’s something they really appreciate more than normally, like you’re doing some trade for some linen or whatever it is. A ventilator will save lives, and some of these countries have none. Larry Kudlow knows. You know the kind of calls we’ve been getting. They’re like desperation calls, because you can’t make them. It takes you months and months to get them sent.
Donald Trump: (13:30)
We did it in weeks. The people did an incredible job. I was very proud of them. There’s not bring something like this like since World War II, especially that, because it’s a big piece of equipment, very expensive and very complex. It’s a very highly complex piece. The air has to flow at a certain level, everything. It’s a very, very complex piece of equipment, so it’s a good question. But we have many countries calling, and we’re helping as many as we can.
Speaker 12: (13:58)
Sir, when you said a little while ago here that this was a worse attack than Pearl Harbor and 9/11. Are you suggesting the COVID-19 is an actual act of war?
Donald Trump: (14:13)
I view the invisible enemy as a war. I don’t like how it got here, because it could have been stopped, but no, I view the invisible enemy like a war. Hey, it’s killed more people than Pearl Harbor, and it’s killed more people than the World Trade Center. World Trade Center was close to 3,000. Well, we’re going to beat that by many times, unfortunately, so yeah, we view it as a war. This is a mobilization against the war. In many ways, it’s a tougher enemy. We do very well against the visible enemies. It’s the invisible enemy. This is an invisible enemy, but we’re doing a good job.
Speaker 12: (14:54)
What’s your assessment, Mr. President, of the volunteer movement Jared Kushner put in place to ramp up PPE, and it has been charged in a couple of news articles, to favor people with political conditions.
Donald Trump: (15:08)
So I just heard that. I can only say this; these were young, brilliant people that were brought in because they have great expertise of this, people that love the country, people that I don’t think were paid anything. In fact, some of them were very rich people where they were able to sell their company. Some people would say, nerds, okay? This is what they do. I think they helped us a lot on ventilators. I wasn’t involved in that, but I think they helped us a lot.
Donald Trump: (15:36)
To them, they can look at a ventilator, and it’s a very simple machine. Somebody else looks at it, they have no clue. I think they did an incredible job. Now, I don’t know anything about any of the details of it, but it was a well-oiled machine. They were able to get things that nobody else was able to get. They got good pricing. Pricing by the way, was not the most important element, but pricing is pricing. But we were able to get gowns and gloves and masks and all these things at a very early point. Now we’re making a lot of it. You saw it yesterday where we’re making masks at Honeywell, but I will say, Deborah, you saw it too, the level of ramp up that we did so quickly, so I would say they did. I wasn’t involved in the details, but I can tell you it started flowing with the planes pouring in all from all over the place.
Speaker 12: (16:31)
Did the program in any way favor suppliers who had political connections?
Donald Trump: (16:35)
Well, I don’t even know that, because I have no idea who bought. I wasn’t involved in that. We have a lot of support in our campaign. A lot of people are supporting our campaign. They want to see us win very badly, so I don’t know. Do they have companies? Do they not have companies? I can tell you I don’t believe these kids would have any knowledge of any of these companies. Like, I had seen this Dr. Bright. I never met Dr. Bright. I don’t know who he is. I didn’t hear good things about him. I did not hear good things about him at all, and to me he seems like a disgruntled employee that’s trying to help the democrats win an election by getting out.
Donald Trump: (17:14)
I mean, he’s got a pre-taped sermon about what he thinks and I can tell you they didn’t think he did a very particularly good job, as I understand it. Now, I just got this this morning because I’m saying, “Who is this guy?” But I never met him. I know nothing about him, but he’s a disgruntled guy, and I don’t think disgruntled people should be working for a certain administration. I mean, he certainly seemed to have a very well-packaged deal, and he’s got the same lawyers that some other well known people had, and he comes up with the whistleblower. I always thought whistleblower was sort of a secret thing. Well, everyone knows who he is, so why is it a whistleblower?
Speaker 12: (17:55)
It just offers protection for testimony[inaudible 00:17:58].
Donald Trump: (17:58)
Well, protection from what? Protection from what? but everybody knows who he is because he was very public about it, and if you look at his lawyers, his lawyers are the same lawyers that other people have used, so I don’t know much about it, but to me he seems like a disgruntled employee.
Speaker 13: (18:14)
Mr. President, about the figures right now-
Donald Trump: (18:19)
Speaker 13: (18:20)
Death toll figures in the United States. Over 70,000. Do you believe those figures?
Donald Trump: (18:27)
Well, I think it is what it is. You saying it’s 70,000. It’s approximately now 70,000, so do I believe them? Yeah.
Speaker 13: (18:35)
You don’t have reason to cast doubt-
Donald Trump: (18:35)
I don’t believe them from China, and I don’t believe I’m from other countries where I see a very tiny number of people died, but you’re watching the news and you see what’s going on. But our numbers are essentially certified numbers. They’re individual hospitals. They’re putting out the numbers. I don’t imagine there’d be a very big variation. No, it’s a big number, but it’s also a number that’s at the lower scale. I think, Deborah, you could say it’s at the very lower scale of any number that was predicted, because if you look at the predictions, I guess they said from 100,000 to 220,000. That’s if we did the big shut-ins and if we went to the total shutdown, and now it’s time to open up our country. We’ve got to open up our country. Okay. Thank you very much, everybody.
Speaker 13: (19:24)
Thank you, sir.
Speaker 11: (19:25)
Speaker 14: (19:33)
All right, everybody. I would like to show you …