James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
5:20 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Today my administration has taken a momentous step toward achieving American pharmaceutical independence — a very, very big, big step — a focus of our campaign to bring America’s critical supply chains and medical manufacturing back to the USA. We’ve been working on this for a long time.
This is a core of our strategy to protect our people from the horrible China virus. It should have never happened. It should have never been here. They should have stopped it.
In the decades before I took office, foreign nations were allowed to freely plunder our factories and loot our industries, take our business out of the United States. Millions of jobs were vacuumed out — just taken out so easily. Our politicians let that happen. And our communities were stripped and shipped, in many cases, to China and all over the world — countries all over the world.
Nearly four years ago, we launched a bold effort to revitalize American manufacturing, enact fair trade deals, and bring our industries back home where they belong. When the China virus landed on our shores, it became clearer than ever before that restoring American manufacturing is a core matter of national security. We must never be reliant on a foreign nation for America’s medical or other needs, and that includes many other needs.
I just want to say that Pfizer just announced, a little while ago, that they’re combining phase two and phase three trials, and the vaccine looks like it’s really heading in a very rapid direction, in a very positive direction. First time that’s happened. And they’re many months ahead of any other trial. There’s never been anything like it. So it’s the fastest ever, and to me, it’s very exciting.
Today, I’m proud to announce one of the most important deals in the history of U.S. pharmaceutical industries. My administration has reached a historic agreement with a great American company — you remember this company; it’s called — from the good, old camera age, the old days — to begin producing critical pharmaceutical ingredients. It’s called Kodak. And it’s going to be right here in America.
So I want to congratulate the people in Kodak. They’ve been working very hard. Members of my administration are present in Rochester right now — Rochester, New York — a good place. And they’re trying to finalize this groundbreaking deal, and they will be announcing this deal.
I want to thank Governor Andrew Cuomo and his representatives. We’ve worked really well together on this deal. It’s a big deal. It’s going to be a great deal and a great deal for New York and a great deal for Kodak.
Ninety percent of all prescriptions written in the United States are for generic drugs. We have approved more generic drugs than any other administration, by far. Generic drugs can be just as good as the brand names, but cost much less.
Yet, in less than 10 percent of the active pharmaceutical ingredients needed to make these drugs — they’re currently manufactured in America — more than 50 percent, however, are made in India and China. And you’ll be seeing — a lot of things have happened. It’s been happening, but it’s happening at a more rapid pace right now.
With this new agreement, my administration is using the Defense Production Act to provide a $765 million loan to support the launch of Kodak Pharmaceuticals. It’s a great name, when you think of it. Such a great name. It was one of the great brands in the world. Then people went digital, and Kodak didn’t follow. But now, under very extraordinary leadership, they are following and they’re doing something that’s a different field, and it’s a field that they’ve really hired some of the best people in the world to be taking care of that company and watching that company — watching over it. But it’s a breakthrough in bringing pharmaceutical manufacturing back to the United States.
Under this contract, our 33rd use of the Defense Production Act — remember when you were saying I didn’t use it enough, I didn’t use it enough? And now you heard it’s the 33rd use. We don’t talk about it all the time; we used it, and we used it as a little bit of a threat, frankly, with certain companies that weren’t doing as we were asking them to do, and it came through as both a threat and a usage. But this is our 33rd use of the Defense Production Act.
Kodak will now produce generic active pharmaceutical ingredients, which is a big deal. Using advanced manufacturing techniques, Kodak will also make the key starting materials that are the building blocks for many drugs in a manner that is both cost-competitive and environmentally safe. We’ll be competitive with almost all countries, and soon with all countries.
Once this new division is fully operational, in addition to all of the other plants that we’ve opened with other companies throughout the United States recently, it will produce as much as 25 percent of all active ingredients needed to make generic drugs in the USA. That’s a big number: 25 percent.
This agreement will directly create 360 new jobs at Kodak’s factory in Rochester; that’s just in the initial phase. And in Minneapolis, a place I have gotten to know very well and it’s a great place — and I’m very happy that we’re able to help them with the problems that they’ve had recently. And the National Guard — I want to thank the National Guard, both state and beyond. I want to thank them for the incredible job. They went in and they did some beautiful job. They cleaned it up. You didn’t hear about the problems anymore.
And indirectly, I want to create — we created thousands more jobs all across our pharmaceutical supply chains. We have now been building a very big pharmaceutical supply chain — not only coming out of China, coming out of other countries also. I want to thank Peter Navarro, Adam Boehler, and Admiral Polowczyk for their tremendous work to make this deal possible.
Today’s action is our latest step to build the greatest medical arsenal in history. We’ll be able to do that.
Through the Defense Production Act and other authorities, we have invested more than $3 billion in our nation’s industrial base. We’ve contracted with companies such as Ford, General Motors, Philips, and General Electric to produce more than 200,000 ventilators by the end of this year — nearly seven times more than we would ever do in a typical year.
We’ve contracted with Honeywell, 3M, O&M, Halyard, Moldex, and Lidl to increase U.S. production of N95 masks. And we’ve brought it from less than 40 million a month to over 100 million a month by August, and we’ll have 160 million in a very short while — 160 million a month. That’s many times what we used to do. If you go back two years ago, it’s many, many times.
We’re increasing domestic production of gloves by 1,000 percent. It’s 1,000 percent. We will be manufacturing 450 million gloves annually by next year.
We’re finalizing contracts with our textile industry to make gowns in America with American fabric, which makes a lot of our businesses happy that produce the fabric. We have 13 million reusable gowns in the Stockpile, and we’ll continue to grow that number to 72 million this fall, which is a rapid escalation indeed.
We made major investments in new rapid point-of-care tests. So we have — there’s nothing like the rapid point, where you get your answer in 5 minutes to 15 minutes to maybe 20, 25 minutes at the max. And we’re already at about a 50 percent level, and we’re bringing it up very substantially from there.
We’re growing domestic production from less than 250,000 test kits per month in May to 8 million test kits per month. There is nothing like this that has ever taken place anywhere in the world or close.
Through our partnership with Puritan Manufacturing and the state of Maine — a great state — we’ve increased production of test swabs from 30 million per month in June to 56 million per month now. As you remember, I went to Maine; I went to the plant where they do this. It was incredible. It was a great experience. And we’ll produce over 100 million swabs per month by January.
We’ve dramatically ramped up production of materials needed for a vaccine and are on track to rapidly produce 100 million doses as soon as a vaccine is approved, which could be very, very soon, and 500 million doses shortly thereafter. So we’ll have 500 million doses. And, logistically, we’re using our military, our great military — a group of people; their whole life is based around logistics and bringing things to and from locations — and they’ll be able to take care of this locationally and bringing it where it has to go very, very quickly. They’re all mobilized. It’s been fully set up.
A very, very talented general is in charge. And when we have that vaccine, it will be discharged and taken care of. It’ll be a very — a very rapid process all over the country. And perhaps we’ll be supplying a lot of the vaccine to other parts of the world, like we do with ventilators and other things that we, all of a sudden, have become very good at making.
When the China virus struck our nation, we mobilized the entire government and the private sector to acquire, source, and deliver lifesaving supplies. HHS, FEMA, and the private sector combined have coordinated the delivery of more than 196 million N95 respirators, 815 million surgical masks, 20 million gloves, 34 million face shields, and 354 million gowns. That’s a lot of gowns.
Last week, FEMA completed a second shipment of personal protective equipment to over 15,000 nursing homes in the United States. Our big focus has been on nursing homes and senior citizens. As you know, that’s where we want to take care — we have to take care of the most vulnerable, especially if they have a medical difficulty, a medical problem — in particular, heart or diabetes. Which provided a total of 1.2 million pairs of protective eyewear, 14 million mask — masks, 66 million pairs of gloves, and 13 million gowns.
We have replenished the long-neglected National Stockpile. In January, the Stockpile had 17.9 million N95 masks. Today, the stockpile has over 50 million N95 masks, and we’ll be doubling that in a very short period of time and then doubling that number.
We’ve shipped more than 14,000 ventilators to areas of need across the country, and we have more than 75,000 available to deploy. Not a single American who has needed a ventilator has been denied a ventilator. And if you remember, early on when we were first hit with the virus, ventilators were very hard to come by, and now we’re the largest maker anywhere in the world, by far. And not only are we fully supplied and stocked, but we’re helping other nations, because ventilators are hard to build and hard to get.
This is just the beginning. In the coming months, we will continue the largest onshoring campaign in American history. We will bring back our jobs, and we will make America the world’s premier medical manufacturer and supplier. That’s what’s happening already. It’s been happening now for quite some time.
We’re seeing improvements across the major metro areas and most hotspots. You can look at large portions of our country; it’s — it’s corona-free. But we are watching very carefully California, Arizona, Texas, and most of Florida. It’s starting to head down in the right direction, and I think you’ll see it rapidly head down very soon. But if you look, California, Arizona, Texas, and, for the most part, most of Florida, it’s starting to head down.
In the wake of the recent mass gatherings Americans have witnessed in the streets of Portland and Seattle, we are also tracking a significant rise in cases in both metropolitan areas because of what’s been going on.
And we, as you know, have done a excellent job of watching over Portland and watching our courthouse where they wanted to burn it down. They’re anarchists. Nothing short of anarchists, agitators. And we have protected it very powerfully. And if we didn’t go there, I will tell you, you wouldn’t have a courthouse. You’d have a — you’d have a billion-dollar burned-out building.
We’re also working aggressively to combat the virus and Native American and Alaska Native communities. Under the CARES Act, we provided $8 billion to address the coronavirus in tribal communities, and we’ve worked very hard with tribal communities. They’re very vulnerable to this horrible plague. It’s the largest investment in Indian Country in U.S. history. There’s never been an investment that big in Indian Country.
We need every American to help protect our fellow citizens and prevent the spread of the disease. It’s critical that younger Americans remember that even though they are at lower risk — and, in fact, some are in — some age groups are at an extraordinary low risk themselves — they can unknowingly spread the virus to others who are at higher risk.
I ask all Americans, regardless of background or age, to practice social distancing — which people have gotten very used to, but we have to keep doing it; remain vigilant about hygiene; avoid indoor gatherings and large gatherings, but especially indoor, especially where you have crowded bars; and that you wear a mask whenever appropriate.
Through the genius of our scientists, the devotion of our doctors, the skill of our workers, and the dedication of our people, we will achieve victory over the virus and emerge stronger than ever before.
We’re looking at a very powerful year next year, economically. The job numbers are looking outstanding, to put it mildly; set records. The numbers on retail — retail sales — came in two weeks ago at the highest number in the history of our country. So we look like we’re heading to some very, very good economic times; that means jobs, that means stock market.
The stock market is already doing very well. It’s getting to a point very close to where it was when we had this — when we were hit with the — the plague. So I just want to thank everybody for being here.
Steve, please. Go ahead.
Q Can you clarify your acceptance speech for the Republican nomination? Are you physically going to be in Charlotte or will you give the speech here or somewhere else?
THE PRESIDENT: We’ll be doing a speech on Thursday — the main speech, the primary speech. Charlotte — they will be doing — nominating on Monday. That’s a different — that’s a different period, a different thing happening, but they’ll be doing nominations on Monday. I speak on Thursday. Okay?
Q From where?
THE PRESIDENT: We’ll go — we’ll be announcing it soon. We’ll be announcing it soon.
Q So you could be going to Charlotte?
THE PRESIDENT: Anybody have any ideas? We’ll be announcing it very soon.
Q Mr. President —
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, please, go ahead.
Q Mr. President, the negotiations are ongoing right now for the next relief measures. Republicans — Senate Republicans have put forth their plan. Do you support what Senate Republicans have put forward? And are there certain aspects that they’ve put forward that you don’t support?
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, there are actually, and we’ll be talking about it. There are, you know, also things that I very much support, but we’ll be negotiating. It’s sort of semi-irrelevant because the Democrats come with their needs and asks, and the Republicans go with theirs. So we’ll be discussing it with Mitch and all of the other people involved. Kevin has been very active, as you know — all of the people involved. Steve Mnuchin has done a great job, keeps everybody together, both Democrat and Republican.
And we’ll see. We want to do what’s best for the people. I want to do what’s best for the people. I want to do what’s best for the economy because that means jobs and lots of good things. All right?
Q What do you think of what Senate Republicans put forward, sir? What do you make of what Senate Republicans put forward?
Q Mr. President, two questions quickly. First, can you clarify your position on the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine after you retweeted a video making claims that it is effective?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, that was — I wasn’t making claims. The — it’s recommendations of many other peoples and — people, including doctors. Many doctors think it is extremely successful — the hydroxychloroquine — coupled with the zinc and perhaps the azithromycin. But many doctors think it’s extremely good, and some people don’t. Some people — I think it’s become very political.
I happen to believe in it. I would take it. As you know, I took it for a 14-day period, and I’m here. Right? I’m here. I happen to think it’s — it works in the early stages. I think frontline medical people believe that too — some, many. And so we’ll take a look at it.
But the one thing we know: It’s been out for a long time, that particular formula, and that’s what — essentially, what it is, the pill. And it’s been for malaria, lupus, and other things.
It — it’s safe. It doesn’t cause problems. I had no problem. I had absolutely no problem, felt no different. Didn’t feel good, bad, or indifferent. I — and I tested, as you know. It didn’t — it didn’t get me, and it’s not going to hopefully hurt anybody.
So, we know from that standpoint — because it’s been so many years, from a safety standpoint, it’s safe. I happen to think, based on what I’ve read — I’ve read a lot about hydroxy. I happen to think that it has an impact, especially at the early years. There were some very good tests at Ford, and the doctor from Yale came up with a very, very strong testament to it. There was a group of doctors yesterday, a large group that were put on the Internet, and for some reason, the Internet wanted to take them down and took them off. I guess Twitter took them off and I think Facebook took them off. I don’t know why. I think they’re very respected doctors.
There was a — a woman who was spectacular in her statements about it, that she’s had tremendous success with it. And they took her —
THE PRESIDENT: — they took her voice off. I don’t know why they took her off, but they took her off. Maybe they had a good reason, maybe they didn’t. I don’t know.
I can only say that, from my standpoint, and based on a lot of reading and a lot of knowledge about it, I think it could have a very positive impact in the early stages. And I don’t think you lose anything by doing it other than, politically, it doesn’t seem to be too popular. You know why? Because I recommend it. When I recommend something, they like to say, “Don’t use it.”
Q On that note, Mr. President, last night, in tweets that were deleted by Twitter, you said that Dr. Fauci misled the country about hydroxychloroquine. How so?
THE PRESIDENT: No, not at all. I think — I don’t even know what his stance is on it. I — I was just — you know, he was at the — he was at the task force meeting a little while ago.
I have a very good relationship with Dr. Fauci. You know, it’s sort of interesting — we’ve listened to Dr. Fauci. I haven’t always agreed with him, and it’s, I think, pretty standard. That’s okay. He did not want us to ban our — this — this — put up the ban to China, when China was heavily infected — very badly, Wuhan. He didn’t want to do that, and I did and other things. And he told me I was right, and he told me I saved tens of thousands of lives, which was generous, but it’s — you know, I think it’s fact that I banned — I did the ban on Europe. But I get along with him very well and I agree with a lot of what he’s said.
So — you know, it’s interesting: He’s got a very good approval rating, and I like that. It’s good. Because remember, he’s working for this administration. He’s working with us, John. We could have gotten other people. We could have gotten somebody else. It didn’t have to be Dr. Fauci. He’s working with our administration. And, for the most part, we’ve done pretty much what he and others — Dr. Birx and others, who are terrific — recommended.
And he’s got this high approval rating, so why don’t I have a high approval rating with respect — and the administration, with respect to the virus? We should have a very high, because what we’ve done in terms of — we’re just reading off about the masks and the gowns and the ventilators and numbers that nobody has seen, and the testing at 55 million tests; we tested more than anybody in the world. I have a graph that I’d love to show you — perhaps you’ve seen it — where we’re up here and the rest of the world is down at a level that’s just a tiny fraction of what we’ve done, in terms of testing.
So it sort of is curious: A man works for us — with us, very closely, Dr. Fauci, and Dr. Birx also highly thought of. And yet, they’re highly thought of, but nobody likes me. It can only be my personality. That’s all.
Q Can I just ask you also: DHS announced today that it is going to undertake a thorough review of the DACA program to decide whether to continue it, and if not, how to disband it. You had mentioned, after the Supreme Court ruling about DACA, that you were thinking about a path to citizenship for DACA recipients. Are you still thinking about that?
THE PRESIDENT: We’re going to work with a lot of people on DACA, and we’re also working on an immigration bill, a merit-based system, which is what I’ve wanted for a long time.
That decision was an interesting decision because it gave the President, as a President, more power than many people thought the President had. So the President is now, which happens to be me, in a position where I can do an immigration bill and a healthcare bill and some other bills. And you’ve seen some of them come along.
We’re going to do tremendous — we just signed it three days ago — we’re doing tremendous prescription drug price reductions. Tremendous. It could be over 50 percent — whether it’s favored nations clauses or anything else. I mean, it’s tremendous numbers we’re talking about.
You know, you go to some countries and they’ll sell, like, a pill for 10 cents, and in the United States, it costs two dollars. And it’s the same basic factory. It’s the same everything. The United States bears the cost of all of these low prices that you see all over the world where people go to Canada to buy a prescription drug from the United States. Not going to happen with me. It’s not going to happen with me.
So, John, I think one of the exciting things — got very little coverage, and that’s okay, but the people understand it — I think we will be reducing prescription drug prices by massive amounts, numbers that have never been done before.
Other thing: In 51 years, we got — as you know, last year, drug prices came down. First time in 51 years that they came down. Now, with what I signed last week, I think that drug prices can come down by numbers like 50 percent and even greater, in certain instances.
Q But if I can come back to where I originally started, are you still considering a path to citizenship for current DACA recipients?
THE PRESIDENT: We are going to make DACA happy and the DACA people and representatives happy, and we’re also going to end up with a fantastic merit-based immigration system.
Q Yeah. On the drug pricing, you had said that pharmaceutical representatives would be here today for a meeting to talk about bringing drug prices down or to negotiate. That meeting was cancelled. Why?
THE PRESIDENT: I didn’t know a meeting was cancel- — oh, a meeting with the drug —
Q You said there would be a meeting today with drug companies.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I said there would be a meeting — yeah, a meeting sometime this week. Yeah. They want to meet. I mean, I don’t know that it was cancelled. They want to meet. I thought the meeting was actually scheduled for tomorrow.
Q We will see, I guess.
THE PRESIDENT: I thought — I thought the meeting was scheduled tomorrow. Sorry about the dates. But, you know, I see how upset you are by it.
Q On the FBI headquarters, sir —
THE PRESIDENT: Go ahead. Please. Bloomberg.
Q On the FBI headquarters —
THE PRESIDENT: Bloomberg. Mr. Bloomberg. You look like Mr. Bloomberg. Go ahead.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Do you support —
THE PRESIDENT: I think you look much better, actually.
Q — a temporary extension of supplemental unemployment aid if the deal that they’re hashing out in Congress isn’t completed by the end of this week? Those benefits are set to run out.
THE PRESIDENT: We’ll do something. We’re going to take care of the people. Yeah. It’s a good question. We’re going to take care of the people.
Q Mr. President, the woman that you said is a great doctor in that video that you retweeted last night said masks don’t work and there is a cure for COVID-19, both of which health experts say is not true. She’s also made videos saying that doctors make medicine using DNA from aliens, and that they’re trying to create a vaccine to make you immune from becoming religious.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, maybe it’s a saying, maybe it’s not.
Q So what’s the logic in retweeting that?
THE PRESIDENT: But I can — I can tell you this: She was on air, along with many other doctors. They were big fans of hydroxychloroquine, and I thought she was very impressive in the sense that, from where she came —
Q It’s misinformation.
THE PRESIDENT: — I don’t know which country she comes from, but she said that she’s had tremendous success with hundreds of different patients. And I thought her voice was an important voice, but I know nothing about her.
Q But she said masks don’t work. And last week, you said masks —
Yeah, go ahead. Paula.
Q Last week —
THE PRESIDENT: Go ahead.
Q Well, real quick. Last week, you said masks —
THE PRESIDENT: Okay. Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.
5:47 P.M. EDT