President Donald Trump has vowed to prepare for future pandemics by replenishing the national stockpile and bringing manufacturing of critical supplies and equipment back to the US.
His comments came the same day a whistleblower told Congress the Trump administration had failed to properly prepare for the current pandemic.
“Wouldn’t that be nice?” Mr Trump said during a visit to a Pennsylvania distributor of medical equipment. “My goal is to produce everything America needs for ourselves and then export to the world, including medicines.”
Mr Trump had complained about supply chains in a TV interview that aired before he left Washington for the trip to Owens and Minor Inc. in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
“These stupid supply chains that are all over the world – we have a supply chain where they’re made in all different parts of the world,” Mr Trump said in the interview with Fox Business Network.
“And one little piece of the world goes bad, and the whole thing is messed up.”
“We should have them all in the United States.”
It was Mr Trump’s second trip outside Washington in as many weeks as he tries to convince the public it is time for states to begin to open up again, even with the virus still spreading.
Mr Trump’s remarks came as federal whistleblower Rick Bright testified before a House panel on Thursday about his repeated efforts to jump-start US production of respirator masks that he says went nowhere.
Mr Trump said he wanted to bring “critical” manufacturing back to America and announced he’d signed an executive order to require an obscure federal agency that invests in other countries to begin making similar investments domestically.
“I’m determined that America will be prepared for any of the future outbreaks,” Mr Trump said.