In a press conference on Tuesday, President Trump announced a deal with Kodak to produce pharmaceutical materials as another COVID-19 success for his Administration.
President Trump began the press conference on Tuesday complaining about the historical loss of American manufacturing jobs. “In the decades before I took office,” Trump began, “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… Our politicians let that happen. And our communities were stripped and shipped in many cases to China and all over the world.”
The solution to this ongoing issue, according to Trump, is his administration’s agreement with Kodak, which he called “one of the most important deals in the history of US pharmaceutical industries.” Kodak will receive a $765 million dollar loan from the Trump administration to produce chemicals for generic pharmaceutical drugs. The company will also build a new factory in Rochester, NY.
The Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce commented to Spectrum Local News; the organization is happy to see “a historic local company tapped for a federal manufacturing initiative that will help combat COVID-19, as well as bring 300 jobs to our region.”
Trump also thanked Governor Cuomo for his work to reach this deal, which he believes will decrease the cost of pharmaceuticals and bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States.
A successful COVID-19 response
Trump listed his other COVID-19 successes, reminding reporters of his contracts with Ford, General Motors, Phillips, and General Electric to produce more than 200,000 ventilators, and his contract with Honeywell to produce N-95 masks, to increase domestic production of gloves by 1000%, and to increase the production of swabs. The President promised his administration is “on track” to rapidly produce 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, once proposals have undergone sufficient testing. He also claimed the “largest investment in Indian country” in American history, for disease prevention.
He took a serious tone, warning Americans to continue social distancing, regardless of his successes. To “help protect [their] fellow citizens” Americans must practice social distancing, remain vigilant about hygiene, and avoid indoor gatherings and large gatherings. This is a notable shift from his early treatment of these protocols, his initial reaction to recommended distancing was to tweet “WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF.”
Trump claimed his administration’s response to the pandemic makes him deserving of higher approval ratings, referencing the high approval rating of Dr. Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recently well-known for his public involvement in the COVID-19 response. “It’s interesting,” said Trump. “He’s got a good approval rating… so why don’t I have a high approval rating?” Fauci’s pandemic response was rated as “excellent” or “good” by 62% of those polled in a recent Politico/Morning Consult Poll.
It must be “my personality,” Trump decided.
Trump’s statements today indicate his growing anxiety that his administration’s COVID-19 response irreparably damaged his approval ratings. Only 36% of respondents said Trump’s pandemic response was “excellent” or “good.” Republican campaign organizers worry his COVID-19 losses will cost Trump the election this fall. “They’re losing voters over the age of 65 who are worried about the virus and not seeing any empathy from this president,” analyzed Ed Rollins, a GOP campaign director.
Falling approval ratings may be the incubus for a more serious COVID-19 response from the Trump Administration.