May 14, 2020
Donald Trump Speech Transcript at PA Distribution Center for Coronavirus Relief Supplies
President Donald Trump gave a May 14 speech at the Owens and Minor distribution center for coronavirus relief supplies in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Read the full transcript of his remarks here.
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Donald Trump: (00:00)
Thank you, thank you, all that social distancing. Look at you people all spread out, six feet, that’s pretty impressive. But we like it the old way, a little bit better, don’t we? And we’ll be back. We’ll be back to that soon, I think, I really believe it. We were received by thousands and thousands of people coming in and they came in from all over and all the way from the airport to here was really something special, so it was really great. Sit down, let’s have a little fun and we’ll talk. And then we’ll talk about the business and the great job that you’re doing and we really appreciate you being here. Thank you very much. I’m honored, in the heart of the Lehigh Valley. Now, just so you know, I have a brother who was a great brother, passed away a long time ago, Fred, and he went to Lehigh University. I’ve been up here many times actually. And I gave a commencement address years ago at Lehigh University, it’s a great school. But whenever I think of this area, I think about my brother.
Donald Trump: (01:36)
But I really am honored to be with extraordinary workers of Allentown, Pennsylvania. Every day you prove that American workers are truly the best in the world, and that’s what they are. We’re showing that now, we’re starting to make one more product in the United States. I with some of your representatives, associates, they call themselves. I assume if they’re associates you’re all making the same money, I hope so. They call themselves associates, sounds nice, right, more and more I see that. But it is good and they’re good and they’re doing a great job, frankly. But they’re talking about so much of the product now is made in the USA whereas in the past it wasn’t, it wasn’t. But they were talking about 90%, 80 to 90% of what you distribute is now made in the USA. And that’s taken a long while for us to get it. I started that right from the beginning. It’s probably one of the major reasons that I’m here. It’s called America first. We want America first, we love the world, we want America first.
Donald Trump: (02:36)
Today we’re announcing a groundbreaking initiative to replenish and modernize our strategic national stockpile, the cupboards were bare, you’ve heard me say it a lot. When we came into this administration, those cupboards were bare. I’ve come to this major medical supply distribution hub because the workers here at Owens and Minor have a critical role in this national effort. And it’s a critical role that you fulfilled incredibly well, or I wouldn’t be here. I would have found someplace else. And thank you for those beautiful hats, I appreciate it, thank you. Thank you very much.
Donald Trump: (03:14)
From the moment this terrible virus reached our shores, each of you has worked relentlessly to get the vital supplies to our healthcare warriors and they are warriors aren’t they? When you see them going into those hospitals and they’re putting the stuff that you deliver, but they’re wrapping themselves and the doors are opening and they’re going through the doors and they’re not even ready to go through those doors. They probably shouldn’t, but they can’t get there fast enough. And they’re running into death, just like soldiers, running to bullets in a true sense. I see that with the doctors and the nurses and so many of the people that go into those hospitals, it’s incredible to see, it’s a beautiful thing to see. But I really call them warriors, we’re all warriors. Everyone in our country is a warrior. We have to be because of what happened. And it should’ve never happened, should’ve been stopped at the source.
Donald Trump: (04:06)
But each of you has worked relentlessly to get the supplies to our healthcare warriors and all across the hospitals and specifically for this plant in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. As you know, the pandemic has inflicted profound hardship, especially in the areas that you serve. Within one heartbeat, America grieves for every life and every family, all of those that have been lost and all over the world, 186, as of this morning, 186 countries. What a horrible shame. And we thank God for the courage of those on the front lines and you make it possible for them. Just as the men and women of Allentown have done in every generation, I know it well, the workers in this facility have answered the call in America’s hour of need.
Donald Trump: (05:03)
Many of you are working long before dawn, get up and you go to work and long after midnight. I know your hours, I was talking to your people and your representatives they say … I’m saying, what are the hours? They said, “You won’t even believe it.” I said, “But don’t work those hours too, we’re all working hard.” You’re driving forklifts, staging pallets, packing, picking loading, and shipping all sorts of things all over these primarily three states. Since February, you have deployed an amazing 1.75 million and 95 respirators and you make them now yourselves. 3.4 million gowns, 80 million gloves and much more. And on behalf of our nation, I want to thank you because you’re making America proud. We really do, we thank you very much. Thank you all.
Donald Trump: (06:05)
I’m grateful to Owens and Minor president, Edward Pesicka, along with your chief operating officer Jeff Jochims. We’re also joined by Secretary Alex Azar, doing a terrific job and your statement to the press today was fantastic. He made a very impassioned, strong, powerful statement today. FEMA administrator, Pete Gaynor. Pete, thank you very much. Great job. Fantastic job, you’re dealing directly, you and Admiral John Polowczyk. Where’s the Admiral? Great job, thank you very much. Are they doing a good job here Admiral? Huh? Good. When the Admiral says yes, that means you’re doing a good job. And the CEO of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, Adam Bowler, thank you Adam, fantastic. Every incredible worker here today is part of the greatest mobilization of American society since World War II. You know that, right? We’ve done things with generators and ventilators and so many different things. We’re making products that nobody ever thought would ever need in any mass form. Ventilators is the biggest thing.
Donald Trump: (07:17)
We make plenty of ventilators, which was very little in the country because most hospitals didn’t need very many. And all of a sudden they said, we need hundreds of thousands of ventilators. We need kinds of numbers that you wouldn’t believe. And we were mobilized and with Adam and with the Admiral and with all of these people and Jared, somewhere Jared is here, what they did is incredible. We brought geniuses in from Silicon Valley. And all of a sudden, within a short period of time, we had 11 plants up making ventilators and you wouldn’t believe what it is. And now we have so many, every state has more than they need. We filled up our stockpile. We have over 10,000 now and we filled it up. We’re ready to go in case anything happens, but I don’t think-
Donald Trump: (08:03)
And we filled it up. We’re ready to go in case anything happens, but I don’t think anything will happen where you’re going to need any more. And we’re now helping other countries with ventilators because nobody can make, you can’t make them, they’re very tough to make, very expensive. I say it’s tougher than making a car. And we make the best ventilator too. So they’ve done a fantastic job. And two months ago, you couldn’t get a ventilator. We were left virtually none.
Donald Trump: (08:25)
Over the past few months, the federal government has partnered with Owens & Minor and other distributors to launch the very successful and historic project Airbridge, which is really being thought of and spoken of in glowing terms. Nearly 150 flights have brought 95 million masks, 16 million gowns, and 921 million gloves to America. Can you believe that? 921 million gloves, it’s not even conceivable. Guided by our team workers like you, distributed over 1 billion pieces of protective gear to places in need, a truly remarkable accomplishment. After meeting the immediate demand, we’ll be transforming and transitioning from project Airbridge to sealift, where we’re using big ships, giant ships. That’s less expensive and they can carry a lot more. And we don’t need the speed anymore because we’re very stocked up.
Donald Trump: (09:27)
Now as our country begins a safe and gradual reopening, we’re launching a monumental effort to replenish and rebuild the Strategic National Stockpile. And we also did that, by the way, more fuel. When oil went down, we replenished our Strategic National Reserve. And we got it for a great price. Would you believe what went on with fuel? But now it’s starting to go back and we’re saving our energy industry because people didn’t need too much gasoline when there were no cars in the road. And I said to the governors, I said, “There are no cars on the road, this is a good time to fix your highways, fix your highways now.” Some did and some didn’t. Right? They didn’t. They were worried that two people working 35 feet away from each other or driving a tractor or whatever they might be doing, they’ll catch the virus. But the ones that did were really helped because you went from being these massive traffic jams to having no traffic. And I can tell you Florida was a state, great governor. And Ron was, he told me, he said, “I’m doing it.” I said, “That’s a good thing.” Not everybody did it. Ron DeSantis of Florida, Governor of Florida. But some did and they’ve saved tremendous amounts of money. In rush hour, they’re building and they hardly had to close a lane. So a lot of good things you can do, but some people decided not to do that.
Donald Trump: (10:58)
Under the previous administration, the stockpile was depleted and never fully refilled. Most of the N-95 masks were distributed during the N1H1. Now, you know what says that, right? N1H1, who says that? Sleepy Joe Biden. Remember? He said the N1H1. I said, “Isn’t it the other way around?” They said, “Yes, sir.” But he said it. So it doesn’t make any difference. But during the H1N1, and that’s the swine flu, and it was a pandemic in ’09 that was not well handled at all, got very poor marks. Never again will another President inherit empty shelves or expired products, at least hopefully in five years, you’re talking about. Maybe nine years, maybe 13 years. But you’ll never have to deal with empty shelves and you’ll never have to deal with the depleted military. The military that we took over was depleted and in horrible shape. We’ve now spent $1.5 trillion rebuilding our military. We have the strongest military we’ve ever had by far. And this is a good time to have it too. And all of the product was built in the USA. But I’m determined that America will be fully prepared for any of the future outbreaks, of which we hope there’s going to be none. Who would’ve thought? 1917, it could have been up to 100 million people were killed in that was the Spanish flu. 1917. Who would have thought this was going to happen? That’s over 100 years ago.
Donald Trump: (12:43)
Our effort begins by dramatically increasing our reserves. Instead of one to three weeks worth of supplies, which we had less than that, the US government will now stockpile three whole months, much of it made in the USA. My administration has already awarded contracts for approximately 200,000 ventilators, which we’re building ourselves. And now that we’re restocking all of those, great things are happening with ventilators. My administration has also ordered 800 million N-95 respirators and face masks. Face masks also, we’re making here. Last week I was at Honeywell. Great company, high tech company. And they’re making masks. And they’re making face masks. They’re making a lot of different things that three months ago, they never even thought about. They’ve geared up. It’s incredible what some of the companies have been able to do. You’ve seen that, what Honeywell has done, incredible job they’ve done.
Donald Trump: (13:45)
But many of them are manufactured by Owens & Minor. Many of the things that we’re doing and delivering happily to places that were not able to get it, done by Owens & Minor. Thanks to a major investment in Del Rio, Texas, your company plans to produce an astounding 20 million N-95 masks per month. That’s more than you do here. I don’t know. You’re going to take that? I don’t think so. That won’t last long, right? Now, think of that. 20 million N-95 masks per month. And it’s going to be very shortly.
Donald Trump: (14:24)
Next, my administration has taken action to modernize the stockpiles during this crisis. Admiral Polowczyk and his team built a cutting edge system that allows the federal government to integrate seamlessly with our nation’s largest distributors to procure, produce, and deliver astonishing quantities of supplies where they need it the most. We have an incredible system. Hope we’re not going to need it, but it’s there, right? It’s there. It’s there like nobody would even believe. And the press doesn’t ever talk about it. They don’t want to talk about that. There they are right there. They don’t want to talk about it. They are a disaster. But that’s okay. The people understand, and that’s all that really matters when you get right down to it.
Donald Trump: (15:12)
Going forward, we’ll build on this system to create a stockpile that is not only the best resourced in the world, but also evolves to meet all of the new threats that can happen, things that you’re not even thinking about right now. We’ll continue to partner with American industry and distributors like you to help manage and rotate our vastly expanded inventory. The final step in rebuilding the stockpile is to bring critical manufacturing permanently back to America. Wouldn’t that be nice, right? We’re doing it. And we’ve been doing it. My goal is to produce everything America needs for ourselves, and then export to the world. And that includes medicines. It’s very important. Too reliant on other countries. And I’ve been saying that for a long time, long before I became elected President, right?
Donald Trump: (16:03)
… long time, long before I became elected president, right? He knows. He’s been hearing it. To this end earlier today, I signed an executive order just signed it, invoking the Defense Production Act to grant new authority to the US International Development Finance Corporation, just a little while on the plane. This federal agency normally invests in economic development projects in other countries. I said, “How about investing in our country?” We invest in other countries. Globalists, do you know what a globalist is? They want the globe to do well, but they don’t care about us. Now, we want everybody to do well, but we have to take care of America first. It’s got to be America first.
Donald Trump: (16:41)
And you know what other countries say? Their country first. Why wouldn’t they do that? But we didn’t do that. We had a bunch of globalists that didn’t know what the hell they were doing. But under my order, it will now also invest in our country, helping to bring vital factories, pharmaceutical producers, and most importantly, jobs back home where they belong. Now, we had the greatest economy in the world. We had the best job numbers we’ve ever had. We had almost 160 million people working, we were never even close to that. The best unemployment numbers we’ve ever had, African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic- American, had the best job numbers in history, in the history of our country. They never did so well, best income numbers, best stock market numbers, 401k numbers. The good part is the stock markets because they know, we know what we’re doing, the stock market’s ready to move, never went down like a lot of people said, “Wow, it’s 23, 24,000.” It was 29,000. It never went down like people would have assumed because they know what’s happening. They know, smart people, a lot of smart people, they know what’s going to happen.
Donald Trump: (17:52)
We are going to have an amazing next year, one of our best, but we had the greatest year ever and then we had to turn it off, artificially induced. We had to turn it off. If we didn’t do that, we would’ve lost 2 million people instead of whether it’s 95,000, a hundred thousand, one is too many, but we would’ve lost 2 million people, maybe more than that, maybe somewhat less. But think of it, even if it was a little less. Multiply what we have by 20, or by 15, wouldn’t be acceptable, wouldn’t be sustainable. People would’ve said, “What’s going on over here? You multiply, as bad as you’ve seen it.” And you can say what you want about the flu, but I’ve never lost anybody to the flu that I knew. I mean, I’ve had people, friends, they had the flu and they’re sick, they don’t feel good. And you call up, “How you doing?” Three days, two days, a week later, they’re fine. Nobody ever said they died.
Donald Trump: (18:53)
But I’ve lost five people that I know, two people were very good friends of mine and you call up two days later, “How are they doing?” “Sir, they’re in a coma.” I said, “They’re in a coma?” Now, they were older. I wouldn’t say they were in the greatest of health. I wouldn’t say their weight was perfect, not perfect, but they’re gone. So it’s just a terrible, terrible thing.
Donald Trump: (19:21)
In my administration, we believe in two beautiful rules, buy American and hire American. This afternoon, I also have great news on testing. We’ve been doing testing at a level that nobody’s ever done it before, we can not get any… We can not get the press to write about it or write fairly about it. And nobody has ever done, we’ve done double what anyone else… If you add up all of the countries in the world, we’ve done more testing than all of the countries in the world, add it up together. Nobody’s ever done anything like that.
Donald Trump: (19:54)
And we have the best test. We have tested… Two months ago, it didn’t even exist. Our great companies came up with things, Abbott Laboratories and so many others. They came up with things at Roche, they came up with things that nobody even believes. So we have the best testing in the world. It could be the test is frankly overrated. Maybe it is overrated, but whenever they start yelling, “We want more. We want more.” They always say, “We want more. We want more,” because they don’t want to give you credit. Then we do more. And they say, “We want more.” But we have the greatest testing in the world. But what we want is we want to get rid of this thing, it’s what we want. We want to get rid of this thing.
Donald Trump: (20:37)
This afternoon, I also have great news on that testing. America has now conducted it ten millionth test, that’s as of yesterday afternoon. 10 million tests we gave, 10 million. And CVS has just committed to establish up to 1000 new coronavirus testing sites by the end of this month. And the 10 millionth will go up very, very rapidly. And don’t forget, we have more cases than anybody in the world, but why? Because we do more testing. When you test, you have a case. When you test, you find something is wrong with people. If we didn’t do any testing, we wouldn’t have very few cases. They don’t want to write that, it’s common sense. So we test much more, many, many times. South Korea you hear about. I spoke with the president of South Korea, spoke with many different presidents, prime ministers. They can’t believe what we’ve been able to do on testing. They can’t believe what we’ve been able to do on ventilators, we’re sending them ventilators.
Donald Trump: (21:37)
Other countries, Italy, Spain, other countries, France is having tremendous problems, tremendous problems. We’re helping them with ventilators. They can’t believe the job we’re doing. And it’s not me, it’s the people, all of these people, but it’s the people that are doing it. And they have to be given the proper credit for what they’ve done, because what they did is a miracle. No other country in the world has done what we’ve done. And they feel very free now to call us because they need help, especially with the ventilators, because that’s hard, that’s not a cotton swab. That’s a very hard thing. Very, very hard thing to produce.
Donald Trump: (22:13)
Joining us today are a few of the workers who have kept our hospital supplied through this crisis and take part in a great, great rebuilding that’s going forward. I say, it’s the transition to greatness. The transition is the third quarter. The fourth quarter is going to do very well. And next year is going to be through the roof. We have to get your governor of Pennsylvania to start opening up a little bit. You have areas of Pennsylvania that are barely affected and they want to keep them closed, can’t do that. Dennis DeCarlo is a Marine Corps veteran who served our country in the Gulf War in Somalia. Now he continues that spirit of services and operations supervisor and Dennis, please come up and say a few words. Come, thank you. Thanks Dennis.
Dennis DeCarlo: (23:05)
Thank you, Mr. President. I want to first start by saying thank you to all my teammates out there. We’ve had a lot of blood, sweat, and tears and I want to say thank you to you guys. You guys are wonderful, thank you. I know we’re in a crisis situation with our country and people have asked me how it’s changed for us. It’s almost with little modifications, it’s day to day business for us, as dealing with medical supplies. But I feel the one emphasis is on the seriousness, whenever you’re dealing with the medical field, it’s a serious thing, but it’s exponentially grown with what we’re dealing with now, and…
Dennis DeCarlo: (24:03)
It’s exponentially grown with what we’re dealing with now. And if we make a mistake, it’s amplified. So, yeah.
Donald Trump: (24:10)
I think you’ve done a fantastic job. They all like you. Do you like him? Thank you. Dennis, thank you. Good job. Good man. Give him a hand, come on. I can see they like you, Dennis. They were told to be very low-key. When you walked out, they said, “We don’t care. We’re clapping for Dennis.” Thank you. I saw what went on there.
Donald Trump: (24:39)
Eric Yhost is a distribution teammate who’s now in is 26th year with Owens & Minor. He says he has never been prouder of your work right here in Allentown. We love Allentown. I love Allentown. Eric, please come up. Thank you, sir.
Eric Yhost: (25:02)
Wow, wait a minute. I’m short. Okay. Sorry about that. Yeah. So, I want to thank you also. If it wouldn’t be for this great team of Owens & Minor all over the nation we wouldn’t be here today. I want to thank you all. Thank you again. The 26 years that I’ve been here we started off kind of small back when the Stewart was transitioning over to Owens & Minor. To make a long story short, we started with little stickers, and modern technology today revolved to where we have RFs and we’re better to equip the hospitals a lot quicker, and pick it, receive it real fast. Then when this Coronavirus came into place, we had to really react and we did a great job on that.
Eric Yhost: (25:53)
I mean, think about all the numbers that the President threw out there. I mean, that’s a phenomenal job. We brought it into this building. We got it in. We got it out. We got it to the hospitals that were in dire need of all of this, and my hat definitely goes off to all you guys. Thank you very, very much.
Donald Trump: (26:10)
Thank you [inaudible 00:26:16]. That’s great. Thank you very much. Carol Tim is a safety and training coordinator who has taken on extra duties during the emergency. Carol, just come up. Thank you, Carol.
Carol Tim: (26:37)
It’s an honor to share the stage with you. It really is. And I think everybody knows I’ve been so excited about your visit. I’m safety training coordinator, and my job is to make sure everybody goes home at the end of the day, which is very important to everyone’s family. It’s important to America because it’s important for these people to show up the next day, because these are the unsung heroes that save lives every day and they do it humbly.
Carol Tim: (27:02)
Mr. President, I wish you could’ve been here when we got the order to start transporting the mask and the gowns and everything that needs to go out to these hospitals. When that order came in teammates from all different shifts just stopped without hesitation, and they flowed like magic in this facility. It was amazing to be able to see that. And they did phenomenal.
Carol Tim: (27:37)
And you mentioned about her hours, they don’t stop working until the job’s done because everything they do today saves a life tomorrow. So they’re awesome, awesome American. So, thank you.
Donald Trump: (27:54)
Thank you very much. Great job. Thank you, Carol. Great job. You’re really blessed in this state with some tremendous congressmen who have really worked hard, been really incredible teammates. Sean Parnell is going to be fantastic too. I hope that all works out, but he’s going to be … he’s an outstanding person, but they really worked very hard. And I can say that some don’t and some do, the state, you have a lot of hard workers, so you’re very well represented.
Donald Trump: (28:23)
I want to thank you all because for generations American greatness was made, forged, and won in places like Bethlehem and Easton. Home of Larry Holmes, right? Larry Holmes. Is he still in Easton?
Donald Trump: (28:37)
Oh, good. Well, say hello. He was some fighter, huh? He used to talk about Easton. That’s great. Say hello to Larry. And Allentown, your ancestors in this region are the Patriots who mined the coal, loaded in the rail cars, and poured the steel that built our biggest cities and raised our tallest towers. I built some of them. This is the place, this is where it starts.
Donald Trump: (29:02)
In the 20th century Pennsylvania workers helped put America on top of the world. Now we’re reclaiming our heritage as a nation of manufacturers. You saw how good those numbers were, going up, up, up. We’re going to have an interruption, but you watch what happens. Starting in the fourth quarter, probably started in the third quarter a little bit, transition quarter, but we’re going to be bigger and better than ever. We’ve learned a lot. We’ve also learned not to rely on others so much. Let’s do it ourselves. Let’s build it ourselves. Let’s make it ourselves.
Donald Trump: (29:36)
You’re going to be a nation of manufacturers, and Pennsylvania workers, well, once again you’re going to lead the way. With your help, we will vanquish the virus. We’re going to vanquish the plague. I call it the plague, because that’s what it is. We’ll get our nation back to work and we will build our glorious future with American hands and American grit and American pride. You have a heart.
Donald Trump: (30:01)
I want to thank you to everyone at Owens & Minor. I want to thank you for this great area of the world. As I told you, I think of Fred. Fred, my brother Fred. God bless you and God bless America. Thank you very much. Thank you.