On Thursday afternoon, President Donald Trump tweeted out footage of himself leaving the White House aboard Marine One.
As NBC News reported ahead of his trip, the president was heading to Pennsylvania, where he stopped to tour a plant near Allentown that manufactures personal protective equipment (PPE). It was the second trip out of Washington for Trump in the last two weeks, NBC noted.
Answering the call
In remarks at the Pennsylvania PPE plant, Trump complimented the firm’s employees on their “impressive” commitment to social distancing and touted their skills, declaring, “Every day you prove that American workers are truly the best in the world, and that’s what they are.”
“Just as the men and women of Allentown have done in every generation — I know it well — the workers at this facility have answered the call in America’s hour of need,” the president added, according to a transcript provided by the White House. “Many of you are working long before dawn. You get up and you go to work, and long after midnight.
“And we’re showing that now,” Trump said. “We’re starting to make more and more product in the United States.”
Trump also pointed Thursday to his decision to invoke Defense Production Act (DPA), legislation that allows the president to order the production of essential goods during a crisis. “It’s got to be America first,” he said.
Trump clashes with Dem governor
But while Trump was proud to tout the hard-working employees at the Pennsylvania plant, he wasn’t as kind in his remarks to the state’s Democrat governor, Tom Wolf. Specifically, Trump took issue with how Wolf has been handling the state’s plan for re-opening.
“We have to get your governor of Pennsylvania to start opening up a little bit,” Trump told the crowd of factory workers, according to the White House’s transcript. “You have areas of Pennsylvania that are barely affected, and they want to keep them closed. You can’t do that.”
Those words of criticism echoed similar comments that the president had directed toward Wolf earlier in the week. He tweeted Monday:
The great people of Pennsylvania want their freedom now, and they are fully aware of what that entails. The Democrats are moving slowly, all over the USA, for political purposes. They would wait until November 3rd if it were up to them. Don’t play politics. Be safe, move quickly!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 11, 2020
Gov. Wolf, for his part, expressed concern that Trump would put people at risk by visiting the state. “I hope he does everything in his power to keep employees safe,” the governor said ahead of Trump’s trip, according to USA Today.
Trump’s visit to the Keystone State was indeed controversial, with roadside demonstrations being organized by both supporters and opponents. Still, Pennsylvania was among the traditionally Democrat-voting Rust Belt states where the president managed to eke out a narrow victory in the 2016 election, as The New York Times reported.
Looking ahead, we can only hope for a similar result in 2020.