Ford Motor Company Ypsilanti, Michigan May 21 2:59 P.M. EDT
Well, thank you very much, and I'm honored to be here in the Detroit area with so many incredible, dedicated African American leaders. We just said hello to a lot of my good friends outside.
We're joined today by Secretary Ben Carson and Scott Turner of the White House Opportunity Revitalization Council. Thank you very much, Scott. Ben, thank you very much. It's very exciting being here.
Before we begin, let me say that my administration is working closely with state and local officials, following the terrible flooding in Midland County. Our prayers are with those and all of the family members affected. And we're working very hard. We have the Army Corps of Engineers already galvanized. They're all there. We have top leadership there. The dam breaks were very bad, very severe. They were old. And perhaps there was a mistake made somewhere along the line, but it's a lot of water coming in. And there is nobody better to handle — there's nobody anywhere in the world better to handle the situation than the Army Corps of Engineers. So we have them at the top. They're here and they're ready to start moving.
As our nation battles the invisible enemy, African American communities have been hit very hard, including in Detroit. As you know, it's been a very, very difficult time for certain areas of this country. Detroit happens to be one of them. My administration is working relentlessly to rush supplies and resources to these communities and to protect the health, safety, and economic opportunity of all African Americans and all Americans.
We have done a tremendous job in the state of Michigan not only in terms of bringing autos back and auto productions back, but also in terms of fighting the virus. We're fighting it, and we're fighting it very, very hard. It came from China. We're not happy about it. We just signed a trade deal. The ink wasn't dry and, all of a sudden, this floated in. We are not going to take it lightly.
The federal government has sent 11 million pieces of personal protective equipment to Michigan and 1,720 hospital beds built right here in Detroit. Incredible job. That was done largely by FEMA, but also the Army Corps of Engineers. We delivered over $2 billion of community health centers, including $6 million for eight health centers in Detroit. And people from Detroit and friends from the area have said it's incredible, the job that we've done. We've made a lot of governors look very good.
Working with the private sector, over 400 community testing sites are open nationwide. We're the number-one tester for this virus in the entire world. There's nobody close. We did almost 14 million tests. Number two is Germany at 3 million. South Kor- — I think South Korea — probably at about almost 3 million. And it goes down the list. We're at 14 million tests — very close to that number. Seventy percent are in socially vulnerable areas with the testing. And with 1,000 more sites opening by the end of May, we'll have a record number of sites. Many of the sites are open in Detroit and all across Michigan.
In some cases — as an example, Florida and — I guess I've heard from about six governors where they have far more testing than they have people that need the test, so that's something. Nobody has done the job on testing like we have. Nobody has done the job on ventilators like we have. You're going to see that in a little while at the Ford plant where they're making thousands and thousands of ventilators. And nobody that's needed a ventilator in this entire country has not gotten one. And very importantly, all over the world now they're calling us for help on ventilators. They're very hard to make and they're calling for help on ventilators.
On Tuesday, we announced $315 million in federal funding for Michigan to increase testing and contact tracing and disease surveillance. So we're going all out. We want to make sure everything is absolutely perfect.
A lot of people are looking into other things like, as an example, vaccines and therapeutics. You know, therapeutically, we're doing some things that are, I think, going to be released pretty soon that are amazing — and for the cure, ultimately for the cure. And I think the cure, the therapeutics, and the vaccines that are happening right now, I think you're going to be very impressed over the next number of weeks. Today, they had an announcement that was a very important announcement. Ben, I think you saw that.
I signed legislation providing over $600 billion in massive relief for workers and small businesses, including at least $60 billion for smaller financial institutions, including those that serve minority communities. One of the beautiful things that Scott Turner has done — and he's a real leader. He's led so well. From his days at the NFL where he was known as being fast — but maybe even more than speed, being tough. He was a tough guy. And people told me that that had to tackle him and had to — had to go against him. They weren't thrilled. I mentioned your name; they weren't happy. (Laughter.)
But Scott has done an incredible job with Opportunity Zones. He worked with me and with Senator Tim Scott. I have to tell you, what a great guy from South Carolina. He was — he had an idea, and it was an idea that we took and we made it work. And I want to thank you for the great job you're doing, Scott.
Thank you, sir.
Before the virus, African American unemployment reached its lowest level in history and African American poverty reached its lowest level in history. We never had more people from the African American community working in this country. It was almost — in terms of total, almost 160 million people. And African Americans set a new record out of that 160 — African American unemployment and employment was the best. They were the best numbers that we've ever had. That goes for many others also — Asian Americans. You know that. We set records with Asian Americans and Hispanic Americans.
And then, we had the plague flow in from China. And now we're doing it again. And you're going to see some incredible numbers. Starting in June, July, you're going to see some incredible numbers because it's coming back and it's coming back fast.
I spoke to CDC today about churches. We've got to get our churches open. We've got to get our country open. These governors have to start doing what they're supposed to be doing.
Together, we passed also criminal justice reform, which was a big deal. And that's something that could not be passed without us. And I will tell you, I have a very good friend of mine — what? Did you come in from Cleveland?
What, to be here? I'm very impressed with you.
My buddy is here. I had to come.
Thank you. Well, your buddy is here, I'll tell you that. (Laughs.)
But we did. We did pass — we did pass criminal justice reform. You were one of my advisors.
Yes, sir. Prison reform, as well.
Prison reform. A lot of things that nobody else would've done, and nobody else could've done. And the Democrats — I don't even know if they tried, but if they did, they couldn't get it done. So we got it done. Thank you very much.
We delivered record funding for HBCUs and made the funding permanent. So, every year, I would have people come from the black colleges — small, large, all sizes — and they would come in — colleges and universities — and they'd asked me for money. After the third year, I said — Ben, I said, "What's going on over here? What's happening? Why do you keep coming every year?" They hadn't — they needed it every single year.
One man said to me, "We feel like beggars. We keep coming to the White House every year." I said, "Why don't we make it permanent or make it long-term?" And I got it approved. So now your historically black colleges and universities — small and large, great schools — they have long-term funding. They don't have — the only thing is, and I said, some of them became friends of mine. The leaders of these colleges. I said, "I won't be seeing you anymore." So — and they didn't mind that, actually, because now they can have a life of making their schools great and making their colleges great.
But we did that and I think most people don't even know about that. But every year — three years — I got to see the same people. And we'd come in. There'd be 36, 38, 40 in the Oval Office. We'd take a picture. I'd say, "How come you keep — how come you keep coming back?" And they said, "Because it's a year-to-year deal." I said, "That's unbelievable." For many years: year to year. So they'd have to come in and beg. He said, "We feel like beggars." I said, "Not going to happen anymore." We got it done permanently. Pretty good, right?
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