PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — President Donald Trump is set to announce a new initiative Thursday in Lehigh County called the Strategic National Stockpile 2.0. The major revamp of the Strategic National Stockpile would implement new technology, increase supplies and ask private companies to store supplies in an effort to become less reliant on China.
It’s supposed to be stocked by the fall.
Trump will be making the announcement while visiting Owens & Minor Distribution Center in Upper Macungie Township, near Allentown, tomorrow.
The company produces, stores and delivers medical equipment to health care providers and it’s been on the White House radar since at least March.
That’s when the president mentioned the company during a Coronavirus Task Force press briefing in the Rose Garden. Trump even asked the company’s president to make some remarks.
“We did hear the challenge and starting in January, we ramped up our production in the Americas, including our facility in North Carolina, where we are now manufacturing an additional 40 to 50 million masks per month to get into the U.S. health care system,” Owens & Minor CEO Ed Pesicka said during the March 29 briefing.
The president’s visit to Pennsylvania comes as the commonwealth upholds its battleground designation for the 2020 election.
Several still-closed counties have vowed to defy Gov. Tom Wolf’s orders and reopen, an effort that the president endorsed this week.
“It’s perfectly OK for the president of the United States to come in and draw attention to the great work that they’re doing,” Republican Sen. Pat Toomey said.
“This is not a time the president should be out campaigning in Pennsylvania, that’s for sure,” Democratic Rep. Brendan Boyle said.
Congressman Dwight Evans suspects the president’s visit will likely focus more on a push to prematurely open the state.
“What the constituents of Pennsylvania want is freedom from the virus, that’s what they want. Because just like in the White House, everybody gets tested there while everybody in Pennsylvania who wants to be tested, who can be tested, should be tested,” Evans said.
Trump’s visit to Pennsylvania is his second major trip since the coronavirus outbreak in March.