May 21, 2020

Donald Trump Tours the Ford Plant Without a Mask, Explains Why

Donald Trump Tours Ford Plant Without Mask
RevBlogTranscriptsDonald Trump TranscriptsDonald Trump Tours the Ford Plant Without a Mask, Explains Why

Donald Trump did a tour of the Michigan Ford Plant before his speech, him appearing to be the only member of the tour without a mask. He explained why he wasn’t wearing one on camera, saying he “wore one in this back area, but I didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it.” Read the transcript of his comments during the tour, speaking with the press.

 

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President Donald Trump: (00:00)
Jim, how are you?

Jim: (00:00)
Good to meet you.

President Donald Trump: (00:00)
Nice to see you.

Speaker 3: (00:03)
This is Mr. Lester from General Electric.

Mr. Lester: (00:03)
It’s nice to meet you, Mr. President.

President Donald Trump: (00:03)
How’s our friend doing? Okay?

Mr. Lester: (00:03)
He’s good.

President Donald Trump: (00:03)
He’s doing well, right? They’re all doing well. They’re all doing well.

Speaker 3: (00:03)
So, they’re going to tell you really quickly what they’ve built here.

President Donald Trump: (00:03)
Okay, good.

Speaker 3: (00:03)
And the White House was superb [inaudible 00:00:21]. Vice President Pence-

President Donald Trump: (00:03)
Well this is a very important project. Please, go ahead.

Mr. Lester: (00:36)
Can I just start since day one? 60 days ago, we talked to supports on your staff around what the needs were, and it was around PPE. So, helping first responders but also clearly the charge for ventilators. So, maybe what I’ll do is just explain…

President Donald Trump: (00:37)
Go ahead. Please.

Speaker 5: (00:41)
From the GE side, we’ve been involved from day one of on ventilators side. So, Jim and I have been partners here-

President Donald Trump: (00:45)
How long have you been in GE?

Speaker 5: (00:47)
17 and a half years.

President Donald Trump: (00:48)
Very good.

Speaker 5: (00:49)
In the healthcare division the entire time.

President Donald Trump: (00:50)
Very good. Great company. It’s coming back?

Speaker 5: (00:54)
We’re doing well.

President Donald Trump: (00:54)
The engine thing has got to be tough though, right?

Speaker 5: (00:54)
The aircraft engines.

President Donald Trump: (00:54)
The airplane engines.

Speaker 5: (00:54)
Very tough.

President Donald Trump: (00:54)
That’s got to be tough because that was your-

Speaker 5: (00:54)
We had a huge market share.

President Donald Trump: (01:00)
That was your baby, right?

Speaker 5: (01:08)
It is. It is.

President Donald Trump: (01:08)
Exactly making too many planes.

Speaker 5: (01:08)
Servicing them.

President Donald Trump: (01:08)
But they’re making these.

Speaker 5: (01:09)
They’re making these.

President Donald Trump: (01:10)
So, go ahead.

Speaker 3: (01:11)
Actually, it’s all the stuff you see here, gowns, masks, face shields, face masks.

President Donald Trump: (01:16)
All right. Good. Are you making it all there?

Mr. Lester: (01:17)
Yeah, well actually in three different facilities.

President Donald Trump: (01:18)
Oh, yes.

Mr. Lester: (01:18)
So, it’s over 1000 UAW workers, all volunteers that are helping out.

President Donald Trump: (01:21)
That’s great. They’re all volunteers. Please.

Mr. Lester: (01:26)
Mr. President, our first thing is we wanted to move very, very quickly. The need was to move very fast, things like how do we help people. And one of the first gains we had with the administration said that the urge to contract the tension from the eyes, and we thought how would we actually help out with somebody who’s wearing a mask with more protection, so face masks. So what you see behind you is essentially the first week, we were producing face shields. This is an example of a face shield, and…

President Donald Trump: (02:00)
Can I see this? Anything unique about this?

Mr. Lester: (02:06)
It provides a…

President Donald Trump: (02:07)
Go ahead.

Mr. Lester: (02:12)
This photo behind you is a-

President Donald Trump: (02:13)
Is this any special kind of mask?

Mr. Lester: (02:13)
Well, it’s a cleanable plastic, basically, which means it had produced at high speeds. So, this is four weeks later. It can give you a [inaudible 00:02:25]. In less than 30 days, we were building four million face shields a week at [crosstalk 00:02:32].

President Donald Trump: (02:45)
That’s fantastic.

President Donald Trump: (02:45)
Will you keep doing that after the [inaudible 00:02:42]? You think it-

Mr. Lester: (02:45)
Our leadership-

William Ford, Jr.: (02:45)
Well, we could for as long as it’s needed, I think.

President Donald Trump: (02:47)
There’ll be a time when you’ll have it.

Jim: (02:48)
If you tell us, we’ll fill the cupboards.

President Donald Trump: (02:51)
Yeah, that’s great. You did really a good job quickly.

Mr. Lester: (02:54)
Well, that was the thing that was-

President Donald Trump: (02:57)
Hello everybody. Hi.

Carol Cain: (02:58)
Mr. President, can I ask you a question?

President Donald Trump: (02:58)
Yeah.

Carol Cain: (02:58)
So my question to you is this. Thanks to all the work of manufacturers like Ford and-

President Donald Trump: (03:07)
Who are you with?

Carol Cain: (03:08)
I’m Carol Cain with CBS in Detroit and Detroit Free Press.

President Donald Trump: (03:09)
Good, good. Very good.

Carol Cain: (03:12)
My question to you is this. Because of all the ventilators being made here at Ford, and the heroic efforts of all the manufacturers there at [inaudible 00:03:20], we now know we have enough manufacturing going on for the time being as far as the ventilator goes. You said you think we have enough, in fact, can share with other countries. My question to you, sir, is looking six months from now, a year from now, how much do we need to keep back in our stockpile to keep us safe?

President Donald Trump: (03:38)
You know, we were just talking about it. We have a very big stockpile right now and we’re building it bigger and we’re helping a lot of other countries. Nigeria, we just sent a thousand. We have various, various countries, France, Spain. We have a lot going to Italy. We have a lot going to a different, probably 15, 18 countries. They’re calling us. We had the capacity to do this. Nobody else did. So every state now has more than they need, and our stockpile is totally full. We have a tremendous amount. So now we’re really helping other countries where they’re losing a lot of people because they don’t have ventilators. Ventilators are hard to do, and I want to say that Ford and General Electric have done an incredible job working together. And also the companies that work with you, they really did a great job.

President Donald Trump: (04:29)
They do a great car and they really did a great job on the ventilators. And I hear that the quality of the ventilator has been really top of the line.

William Ford, Jr.: (04:38)
Thank you.

Speaker 7: (04:38)
Mr. President-

President Donald Trump: (04:38)
We really appreciate it, fellas. Good job.

Speaker 7: (04:41)
Mr. President, there was a lot of interest about whether you would end up wearing a mask today. Could you just take us through your thought process of why you decided not to wear a mask?

President Donald Trump: (04:51)
Well, I had one on before. I wore one in this back area, but I didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it, but no, where I had it in the back area, I did put a mask on.

Speaker 7: (05:01)
Did you have the goggles on too, as well, sir?

President Donald Trump: (05:03)
I did. I had goggles, goggles and a mask right back there.

Speaker 7: (05:06)
Why would you not be-

President Donald Trump: (05:07)
And here’s another one.

Speaker 7: (05:08)
Why would you not be wearing it-

President Donald Trump: (05:10)
Because in this area… You take it.

Speaker 7: (05:11)
Why would you not be wearing it here, sir?

President Donald Trump: (05:13)
Not necessary here. Everybody’s been tested and I’ve been tested. In fact, I was tested this morning, so it’s not necessary.

Speaker 7: (05:19)
But the [crosstalk 00:05:20] executives are wearing them.

President Donald Trump: (05:22)
Well, that’s their choice. I was given a choice and I had one on in an area where they preferred it. So I put it on and it was very nice. It looked very nice, but they said they’re not necessary here. Yeah, please.

Speaker 8: (05:39)
What about the example that it would set for other Americans to see you wearing a mask?

President Donald Trump: (05:40)
Well, I think it sets an example both ways. And as they say, I did have it on. Thank you. Yeah, please.

Carol Cain: (05:45)
Mr. President.

President Donald Trump: (05:50)
I just liked your question so much. You know what, it was such a nice question.

Carol Cain: (05:53)
No, it was a great question. Here’s a question for you. So, you have seen-

President Donald Trump: (05:56)
I’ll take an extra question.

Carol Cain: (05:57)
There we go.

President Donald Trump: (05:57)
Go ahead.

Carol Cain: (05:58)
We’ve seen the manufacturers here, Ford, GM, [inaudible 00:00:06:00], others, small businesses, turning things overnight and making PPE materials. As someone who is the President of the United States, in terms of our manufacturing might, how do you see what’s taken place in these last months?

President Donald Trump: (06:12)
This is the biggest mobilization since World War II, and these people were in charge of it. They did it. They did a fantastic job. They did a really fantastic job and we appreciate it. All of these companies, they came together and they used to make cars here. They used to make other things here. And now not only the ventilators, but you’re saying the masks and all of the other… What other product do you make? It’s the head of Ford, by the way. Not bad. Not a bad position.

William Ford, Jr.: (06:39)
Thank you. So, we’ve got-

President Donald Trump: (06:40)
You know, she’s a very nice woman.

William Ford, Jr.: (06:41)
I know. Hi Carol. How are you?

Carol Cain: (06:43)
Hi Bill. How are you doing?

William Ford, Jr.: (06:43)
Well, you know what we’re making. We’ve got the pressure respirators, obviously the ventilators, the masks, the gowns, really anything that anybody needs. We responded quickly and we’re very proud of our workforce. They’ve been amazing.

President Donald Trump: (06:56)
Is he doing a good job?

Carol Cain: (06:58)
He is. In fact, Bill, you have been through so many crises through your years as Chairman and CEO of the company here. How does this crisis, dealing with this pandemic, making PPE materials compare?

William Ford, Jr.: (07:10)
Well, everyone’s different. I mean, I won’t take you through all of them going all the way back to maybe the oil shocks and then the dot com meltdowns and all those. Every crisis is different, but what’s amazing is how our people responded. And this one, they didn’t wait to be asked to do something. They said, “Here’s an opportunity, and let’s go.” What I love about our culture is they didn’t ask for permission. They just went, and that’s something that we’ve done throughout our 117 year history, and I hope we’ll always do.

Speaker 10: (07:39)
Mr. President-

Speaker 7: (07:41)
Mr. Ford, can we ask you another question?

President Donald Trump: (07:42)
By the way, here is my mask right here [crosstalk 00:07:44], and I liked it very much. I actually, honestly, I think I look better in the mask. I really did. I look better in the mask, [crosstalk 00:07:53] but I’m making a speech so I won’t have it now, but I did have it on right here. And I think some of you might’ve gotten a shot. Thank you very much.

Speaker 7: (08:01)
Mr. Ford, can you confirm that the President was told it’s okay not to wear one in this area?

William Ford, Jr.: (08:07)
It’s up to him.

Mr. Lester: (08:16)
It basically keeps the occupants safe. It takes in fresh air.

President Donald Trump: (08:16)
Oh, that’s great.

Mr. Lester: (08:16)
And we used automotive components, so we heard the message that we needed to go quickly. We built 32,000 of these respirators, and we’ve shipped 887 [crosstalk 00:08:28] –

President Donald Trump: (08:28)
Is that like a seatbelt something there?

Mr. Lester: (08:29)
If you walk around here, you can see the respirator. It just holds the respirator, so. On the first day when we had this conversation, in the drawing, we said how do we use automotive components to go quick? And so we got about a fan of a highly controlled seat in the F150. We take a battery pack off of a Dewalt tool from the battery source, and then a filter to filter the air for the occupant.

President Donald Trump: (08:54)
I hear it’s a very high grade ventilator.

William Ford, Jr.: (08:57)
Yeah, it’s great. It is. They’ve done a great job. I mean, the ventilator and the respirator, they’re really, really neat. What’s also amazing is how many our team can make. I mean that’s one thing the auto industry-

President Donald Trump: (09:11)
So how many will you make a week, ventilators?

Mr. Lester: (09:16)
Ventilators, we’re ramping up to 6,000 a week.

President Donald Trump: (09:20)
So folks, that’s 6,000 ventilators a week. Think of that. From a running start, which wasn’t much of a run, actually. So we had very few in this country, almost none. We were not in that business and now they’re making thousands a week. Great thing. What about this?

Mr. Lester: (09:37)
So, we built 32,000 of these already.

President Donald Trump: (09:37)
Wow.

Mr. Lester: (09:37)
So, we’ll be able to go 12,000 a week.

President Donald Trump: (09:40)
Is that full proof, would you say?

Mr. Lester: (09:46)
Basically this is the maximum protection for an occupant.

President Donald Trump: (09:48)
Maximum.

Mr. Lester: (09:48)
Maximum. It basically blows filtered air, filters out the virus over there over the occupant’s face, so if they’re in a large ICU ward, or they’re in one of these makeshift ICU wards, and there’s a lot of virus could be in the air, this would give them the maximum protection.

President Donald Trump: (10:03)
We got to get back to the rallies. Do you agree with that, John? We got to have the rallies.

John: (10:08)
One question, Mr. President. One question. The Secretary of the Treasury said there is a strong likelihood that we’ll need another fiscal stimulus. To your thinking, what shape would that take?

President Donald Trump: (10:18)
I think we will. I think we’re going to be helping people out. We’re going to be getting some money for them during the artificial… Because it really is. It’s an artificial closure and now we’re going to be able to open it up.

President Donald Trump: (10:28)
This isn’t like for long term problems and it takes years and years to have it come back. The depression took 12 years, more, 14, 15 years. We’re going to be back next year, maybe even in the fourth quarter, in a few months, we’re going to be back. Because we closed it and now we open it. But I would say there could be one more nice shot, one more nice dose.

John: (10:52)
What do you think should be in it?

President Donald Trump: (10:54)
Well, I’d let you know and I know exactly, but I’d rather do it at the appropriate time.

John: (10:58)
We know what payroll tax cuts-

President Donald Trump: (10:59)
Today we’re celebrating these great companies doing ventilators and other equipment, but we have a very, very specific plan, and it’ll be great for the American people, and our economy’s going to be back soon, and Ford and General Electric and these great companies that helped us so much in a time of need, they’re going to be very happy. And you’re already gearing up. I know you’re gearing up. Your lines are starting to roll making cars again. So a lot of things are happening.

President Donald Trump: (11:27)
By the way, on our southern border, it’s never been so secure. We’re up to almost 200 miles of wall and we have never had, that whole area, nobody comes through that area. The area where the wall goes up, that’s the end of that.

John: (11:42)
And so you’re having this speech here this afternoon. What are you thinking about in terms of campaign rounds? When will you be able to get back to doing rallies?

President Donald Trump: (11:48)
So, as soon as you’re able to have people get in. We’ve never had an empty seat since the day I came down the escalator with our future First Lady, we’ve never had an empty seat. You know that. And we’d have thousands of people we sent away. And I think the demand now from what we see is greater than ever before. We’re going to have to go to certain states where we’re able to… Look, I don’t want to have a stadium where you’re supposed to have a person and then seven empty seats and then another person.

President Donald Trump: (12:15)
So we might do some outdoor big ones, and we may also just wait until the stadiums can open up. I think it’s going to be soon. We’ll go to a place like Florida. We’ll go to a place like maybe Georgia, some other place where they’re going to be opening up. Whoever opens up first. The demand has been incredible to get going with the rallies. I just hear the music in the background. I’m saying we’ve had rallies like nobody’s ever had, and we would love to get back to that. I think it’s going to be sooner rather than later.

John: (12:47)
And I know you were asked about this briefly this morning, this new AstraZeneca vaccine from Oxford that HHS has invested $1 billion in, how much promise do you think that holds for an early vaccination progress?

President Donald Trump: (13:00)
I think it holds tremendous promise, but we have many other companies who are just about as far along. We have many companies. We have the greatest pharmaceutical companies in the world. They’re equally, you know what I mean? They’re really in a position and I’m not only talking about vaccine. I’m talking about cures and therapeutics. Therapeutically, we have some things coming out which we think are going to be great, but they have to be tested quickly. And we’re doing it very quickly.

John: (13:28)
Who would get the vaccine first? First responders, elderly people?

President Donald Trump: (13:31)
Right now, what we’re doing is we’re setting logistically with our military, our military is in gear so that we can give 150, 200 million shots quickly. The military is in gear. We can move a couple of hundred thousand soldiers immediately in time of emergency. So this is not nearly as big a deal is that it’s equally as important perhaps, but it’s not as tough logistically.

John: (14:00)
But how would you prioritize it?

President Donald Trump: (14:03)
I’ll sit down with a lot of people and we’ll figure it out. We’re going to sit down with the military and we hope to be in that position fairly soon. So rather than having the vaccine, doing the tests and then starting to gear up, we’re taking a risk. Because you know, it could be that if something happened, but I don’t think that’s going to be. But in addition to that company, we have other companies that are very far advanced. And also don’t forget, therapeutics and cure. We’re talking about a vaccine in this case, but therapeutics and cure.

President Donald Trump: (14:31)
I mean, frankly, that’s my first choice, because that would take care of people that are in trouble right now. Okay?

Speaker 7: (14:37)
Mr. President, on the issue of testing, there’s been questions about whether you’re satisfied or not with what the CDC is doing, the work they’re doing, particularly the director, Dr. Redfield. Can you address that? Are you satisfied with the work CDC-

President Donald Trump: (14:48)
I think they’re doing a good job, a really good job in a very complex situation. You know, we started off, nobody knew what the virus was. It came in from China and nobody knew what it was. And frankly, I think they’ve done a really good job. I’m very happy about it. A lot of other people think they’ve done a lot of great work. We’re now up to, and this is beyond even CDC, because we’ve done it between Jared Cushner and a lot of geniuses coming in from Silicon Valley, and a lot of people, these companies where they could make ventilators.

President Donald Trump: (15:20)
Look, what we did with ventilators is incredible because we geared up in a short period of time through General Electric, Ford, they’re represented here at the top level, through other companies. We were at Honeywell the other day. They make masks. Who would think Honeywell is making a mask? But that’s what they’re making now is a mask. It’s a very high tech company. You know, they make the dashboards to an airplane and lots of other things. And now they’re making masks. Our companies geared up so quickly, so fast. Honeywell opened a plant in three weeks from literally zero to open making masks in three weeks. It’s been an incredible achievement. There’s never been anything done like this since the end of World War II.

John: (16:04)
You said a number of weeks ago, we can’t let the cure become worse than the disease.

President Donald Trump: (16:09)
That’s true.

John: (16:10)
Where are we in that calculus?

President Donald Trump: (16:11)
I think I was the first one to say it. I don’t know. Wouldn’t you say that I was the first one? But you can’t let the cure become worse than the problem itself.

John: (16:19)
And where are we?

President Donald Trump: (16:21)
I think the governors have to start opening up. We now know the disease. We know the weaknesses and the strengths. We know that older people are affected gravely, and younger people are not affected gravely, frankly. You look at the statistics. It’s incredible. And we know that we have to protect some people much more so. I think a lot of the governors have done a very, very poor job on nursing homes, but they’ve done a good job on other things. I know every governor. I can grade every governor. But we’ve made a lot of hero governors. We’ve done a great job for the governors and my relationship with them in almost all cases is very good.

President Donald Trump: (17:02)
And remember this. One of the beauties we were just talking about, not one person who needed a ventilator didn’t get a ventilator.

John: (17:09)
But with another 2.4 million people claiming first time unemployment insurance benefits today, how close are we to the cure being worse than the disease?

President Donald Trump: (17:19)
I think that a lot of these states are going to, the ones that are sort of sticking to a certain very rigid pattern, I think they’re going to stop. I don’t think that people are going to stand for it. This is a country that’s meant to be open, not closed. And we did the right thing, John. We saved millions of lives, millions and millions of lives. You would have had anywhere from a million five to two million, five, three million lives, think of it. So if we were at a hundred thousand, instead of a hundred thousand, multiply that times 15, 20 or 25, it wouldn’t have been acceptable. It wouldn’t have been sustainable. You couldn’t have done it. So we’ve called it right, and now I want it open and we’re going to open. And if there’s a fire, an ember, a flame some place, we put it out.

President Donald Trump: (18:04)
But the people have done a great job, and General Electric, Ford and all the other people that work with them have done fantastic work. And Honeywell, again, I was there last week. But Honeywell, they’ve done fantastically also. Okay? Thank you very much.

Speaker 13: (18:17)
Mr. President, you mentioned that embers, right, smaller fires, those pockets of the virus popping up. Are you concerned about a potential second wave of this virus?

President Donald Trump: (18:27)
People say that’s a very distinct possibility. It’s standard. And we’re going to put out the fires. We’re not going to close the country. We’re going to put out the fires. There could be, whether it’s an ember or a flame, we’re going to put it out, but we’re not closing our country. Thank you very much.

Speaker 14: (18:39)
Are you looking to replace Dr. Redfield or his [inaudible 00:18:43]?

President Donald Trump: (18:39)
No.