WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump heads to Michigan on Thursday for the latest stop on his campaign to showcase companies that are producing equipment needed to battle the coronavirus pandemic.
The White House said late Sunday that Trump will travel to Ypsilanti, Mich., where he will tour a Ford Motor Co. plant that is making ventilators for the coronavirus crisis.
The automaker and GE Healthcare announced plans in March to produce 50,000 ventilators in the next 100 days. Ford projected producing 1,500 ventilators by the end of April, 12,000 by the end of May and 50,000 by July 4.
In the early days of the coronavirus, doctors often complained about a shortage of ventilators. But Trump, who has taken to calling himself the “king of ventilators", now says that, after stepping up production, the U.S. has a surplus of the breathing machines and will send some of them to India and foreign countries in Africa to help fight the coronavirus.
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The trip to Michigan comes as Trump is urging states to reopen and has staged a number of events at the White House and elsewhere to project the image that life is returning to normal.
Last Thursday, Trump toured an Owens and Minor medical equipment factory in Allentown, Penn., that makes masks, gloves, and surgical gowns. Trump used the event to highlight federal efforts to replenish the Strategic National Stockpile of critical supplies needed to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
Two weeks ago, he traveled to Phoenix, Arizona, where he toured a Honeywell aerospace facility that makes respirator masks. But Trump made headlines for not wearing a face mask during the tour, despite a requirement that masks be worn on the site.
Three days later, Vice President Mike Pence went to Des Moines, Iowa, for a meeting with religious leaders and a roundtable discussion on the nation’s food supply.
Both events were overshadowed by the news that Pence’s press secretary, Katie Miller, had tested positive for the coronavirus. The announcement came just days after the White House had disclosed that a Navy valet to Trump also had tested positive for the disease.
Michael Collins covers the White House. Reach him on Twitter @mcollinsNEWS.
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