Ridge: I tip my hat to the governors, they've done a very good job

This is a rush transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," May 21, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: All right, thank you very much, Bill.

We are watching the developments in Ypsilanti, Michigan, very, very closely here.

The president is going to be touring this Ford Motor Company facility that has been retrofitted to produce everything from ventilators to personal protection equipment, PPEs, as you know probably better by the acronym right now.

And this is a facility that has been churning them out fast and furiously right now. But it comes at a dicey time for the president's relationship with Ford. It's an on-again/off-again. Because of some coronavirus issues, it has had to shut down temporarily a couple of other plants.

We will get into that a little bit later.

But very happy to have you everybody. I'm Neil Cavuto. You're watching "Your World."

And we are keeping a close eye on what the president plans to do and say here, but we should also stress that the Michigan roots there are not growing strong here.

There has been a battle back and forth between he and the state's governor, particularly right now over this mail-in ballot approach, and whether he can or will withhold funds to the state.

We're going to get into that in just a second.

But first to David Spunt at the White House, where -- the importance of this trip in a key battleground state -- David.

DAVID SPUNT, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Neil. Good afternoon to you.

Yes, it is a key battleground state. It's important for President Trump to be there. He's doing this as his transition to greatness to reopening the economy.

You just saw he wrapped just a couple of minutes ago on Bill Hemmer's show. President Trump was at a roundtable with African American leaders talking about how COVID-19 specifically affects that community and other minority communities.

The president, though, says one concern for this administration, making sure people can worship as states begin to open up. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to open our churches again. I think CDC is going to put something out very soon.

Just spoke to them today. I think they're going to put something out very soon. We have got to open our churches.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SPUNT: Now, this trip comes, Neil, just a day, as you mentioned, after the president publicly threatened to pull federal funding from Michigan and Nevada if those states expand voting by mail.

Well, the Michigan secretary of state, she sent out ballot applications, not actual ballots, as in the president's original tweet. He later changed it to ballot applications.

Today, on the South Lawn, the president would not assure Michigan residents that he would back off his funding threat. Also, today, President Trump announced that AstraZeneca will get a $1.2 billion contract from the federal government to produce some $100 million -- or 100 million doses, I should say, of a vaccine they're currently working on.

This is part of this public-private partnership, which is known as Operation Warp Speed.

Now, the president says that he will wrap up his hydroxychloroquine regimen. This is news that he made earlier this week, Neil, when he said that he was taking it. He said he will wrap it up tomorrow after about two weeks.

Neil, coincidentally, this coincides with the same day two weeks after he found out that Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary, Katie Miller, tested positive for coronavirus.

In a couple minutes, he's going to be touring that plant. And a lot of people are wondering, Neil, if he's going to be wearing a mask. He said, "We will see" on the South Lawn.

But, actually, the attorney general in Michigan put out a letter today that said that he is supposed to be wearing a mask because that's what the policy is there at that Ford plant. So we will see what happens -- Neil.

CAVUTO: Yes.

And I'm wondering, too, with the Ford executives there, if they're giving him this tour, and they're wearing masks, it would almost compel him to wear it. But I guess we will see, right?

SPUNT: We will see.

CAVUTO: We will see, indeed.

All right, thank you, my friend, David Spunt, at the White House.

The backdrop for all of this comes when we got news today that 2.4 million more Americans applied for first-time jobless benefits. In case you're counting, that is close to 39 million Americans who have done so over the last nine weeks, many arguing, since that trend has been down week after week after week, even though it's just still eye-popping, that this is about the worst of it.

The second quarter we're in, by the way, is forecast to see a drop of anywhere from 35 to 40 percent in gross domestic product, GDP, as it's better known. And it's from those levels that the president is hoping, with this slow unwinding and opening up of the economy, that that's the worst of it, it gets better.

Bret Baier with what he sees happening right now and the importance of today's visit.

Bret, good to see you.

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Hey, Neil.

CAVUTO: That is not the best of macroeconomic backdrops, right?

So, the president's trying to say, all right, we knew this was happening, you expected this to happen, but better days are ahead. What do you think?

BAIER: Yes, I think so.

First of all, I will go with the under on wearing the mask.

(LAUGHTER)

BAIER: Once the Michigan officials said, you had to wear it, I think that the president may not. We will see.

But I think that, listen, he is pushing governors to go down the reopen road. All 50 states have in some way, shape, or form move toward reopening, even though just a handful of them have met all the requirements of the CDC for phase one reopening.

So, there is this push and pull, because each of these states feels the pressure of the economic situation that really is like a tidal wave of economic devastation, as these businesses close down.

So I think that's the message he's sending today, other items. It's really all about the economy.

CAVUTO: It certainly is.

One thing that kind of confused me, though, and I know it's an ancillary issue, Bret, the Michigan mail-in voting thing and whether he could tie that to any aid to the state, whether it's virus-related, or even now these bursts dams and whether it's related to that.

I'm not quite sure what he intends to do or what he could be threatening to do. But do you know anything more about that?

BAIER: Well, I think he screwed up with that tweet. He deleted the initial tweet.

And the White House really hasn't answered questions about it. It was a confusion, I think, that these were not ballots going out. They were applications for ballots. And the secretary of state of Michigan said, I send out applications for absentee ballots, just like governors -- or secretaries of state in Iowa and Georgia and West Virginia, the GOP versions of secretaries of state, who did that.

So I think it goes away. I think it was just kind of a threat on Twitter. He obviously is concerned about the mail-in voting process. Not sure, in the big picture, Neil, that Republicans need to worry about the mail-in vote in process, that they would be hurt by that, other than the president's concern about checking ballots and fraud.

CAVUTO: Maybe it's a minor point, but you touched on at the beginning, and the under on the mask thing.

And I kind of agree with you, which means you should probably run the other way, Bret.

But what is it about masks for him? I mean, I know he has chastised reporters. He can't hear because they're wearing a mask. Take it off, so I can hear you. There might be pictures of him wearing a mask. I have not seen them yet.

But is it just viscerally he doesn't like them or what?

BAIER: I don't know. I mean, I can't get in his head on that.

He hasn't worn it. He said he wore it backstage once, but nobody got a picture of him wearing it.

CAVUTO: Yes.

BAIER: There was the whole Vice President Pence back and forth. He wore it, he didn't wear it.

So it seems like this president has decided not to. We will see. Again, I take the under.

You know, we were once great, Neil. And we will see if we get this one right.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: All right, there we go. We will see.

Thank you, my friend. There's so many messages there, and so little time.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: Bret Baier, you can catch him less than two hours from now.

Thank you, Bret.

In the meantime, I want to go to Dr. Nicole Saphier on this, "Make America Healthy Again." She makes you think about this stuff.

But, Doctor, if you don't mind indulging me and Bret, by extension, the mask thing, do you think it's important, given this environment, for the president to wear a mask, especially if it's at a site where it's required?

DR. NICOLE SAPHIER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, listen, Neil, I mean, I think it would make for great optics if the president decided to wear a mask.

I mean, if the factory is saying it's a policy that people have to wear a mask, then he should consider wearing one. I mean, I think that's -- that would make for very good optics.

But here's the difference when it comes to President Trump vs. the rest of the population. President Trump is testing every single day for the virus causing COVID-19. And he even stated that he was tested this morning and tested negative.

So the reason that we were masks are because this virus has such asymptomatic spread, meaning, you may feel fine, but you're actually contagious, and you can be infecting other people. So if he has tested negative, then he -- necessarily, he doesn't actually have to be wearing a mask because he's not going to be spreading it to somebody else.

But, that being said, he could contract the virus himself. So, look, we're all kind of wading through these waters right now. Should he wear a mask? I mean, I don't know. It'd be great if he did. But we do know that he tested negative, so he's not putting anybody else at risk.

And I think that's what people are really concerned about right now.

CAVUTO: The reason why I'm asking about it, it isn't so much just about the president and whether he does or not, to your point, Doctor.

But the CDC gave very mixed reads on this. I can remember, when all this started, they kind of pooh-poohed that talk.

Before I get to react to that, Doctor, I'm going to listen in on the president here, what he's telling executives. But it does not look like, at least, like he's wearing a mask with them. Let me take a look again.

It's very hard to hear. The two Ford executives -- now there are two others, so, four gentlemen, they're all wearing a mask, for those of you listening on the radio. They're all wearing masks. The president is not.

The attorney general of the state, Dr. Saphier, if you're still with us, had said that that's the policy there. You should wear a mask. Obviously, he's not.

But I did have a question on the mask issue in general, where the CDC, I think you remember, Doctor, kind of dismissed talk that you had to wear one, that it wouldn't be that beneficial, and then changed that policy.

Do you ever know why it did that?

SAPHIER: Well, to be honest, as we got more information regarding this novel coronavirus, it seemed to be significantly more transmissible, more contagious, potentially aerosolized, which is why, all of a sudden, they started recommending masks.

But the biggest issue is because of this asymptomatic spread, where you have 25 to 50 percent of people who actually have the virus and spreading it to other people have no symptoms.

So, yes, we know, when we don't feel well, you stay home, you kind of stay away from other people. But if you feel fine, and you're actually transmitting the virus, that's where the concern is.

And that is why masks were recommended.

CAVUTO: Because there is this second wave fear that I'm sure you have heard a great deal about. We're going to be exploring that with Senator Tom Cotton in just a second, Doctor.

But do you worry about that? I know it's an issue that's come up in China. Elsewhere, they worry about it in places like Italy. What about you?

SAPHIER: Sure. Of course I worry about it, Neil.

But I would say that we're in a much better place right now than we weren't two months ago. I mean, look at -- look at the big message of what President Trump is doing at that factory right now. He took a -- they took a Ford factory, and all of a sudden they're ramping up production of ventilators and PPE, all of this within the United States.

And that is what people have been calling for. They are saying that, not only do we have enough ventilators and PPE, but they're going to be shipping it to other places in the world. We have many clinical trials going on in terms of treatments and vaccines.

We are positioned much better now than we were two months ago. We have a lot more knowledge about this virus. And knowledge is power moving forward.

CAVUTO: All right, Dr. Saphier, thank you very much.

Guys, if you can indulge me, I'm going to see if we can pick up any sound from there. You might hear nothing for a little bit.

But I would see if we can try. Listening to the president right now at this Ypsilanti Ford Motor Company plant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, this is four weeks later. (OFF-MIKE) In less than 30 days, we were building four million face shields a week at (OFF-MIKE)

TRUMP: That's fantastic.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: All right, unfortunately, we're not picking up the president.

They're trying to move these gaffer mics that can pick up from a distance whatever the president is saying, maybe to hear something.

Let's listen, if we can.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (OFF-MIKE) There'll be a time when you'll have it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you tell us, we'll (OFF-MIKE)

TRUMP: Yes. No, that's great. You did really a good job quickly.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Hello, everybody. Hi.

QUESTION: Mr. President, can I ask a question?

TRUMP: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Who are you with?

I'm Carol Cain with CBS Detroit. (OFF-MIKE)

TRUMP: Good. Good. Very good.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

My question to you is this. Because of all the ventilators being made here at Ford and the heroic efforts of all the manufacturers (OFF-MIKE) we now know we have enough manufacturing going on for the time being as far as the ventilator goes.

You said we think we have enough, in fact, we can share with other countries.

My question to you, sir, is, looking six months from now, a year from now, how many more -- how much do we need to keep back in out stockpile to keep us safe?

TRUMP: Yes, we were just talking about it. We have a very big stockpile right now.

And we're building it bigger. And we're helping a lot of other countries. Nigeria, we just sent 1,000. We have various -- various countries, France, Spain. We have a lot going to Italy.

We have a lot going to a different probably 15, 18 countries. They're calling us. We had the capacity to do this. Nobody else did. So, every state now has more than they need. And our stockpile is totally full.

We have a tremendous amount. So now we're really helping other countries, where they're losing a lot of people because they don't have ventilators. Ventilators are hard to do.

And I want to say that Ford and General Electric have done an incredible job, working together. And also the companies that worked with you, they really did -- they did a great job. They do a great car and they do -- they really did a great job on the ventilators.

And I hear the quality of the ventilator has been really top of the line.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.

TRUMP: So, we really appreciate it, fellows. That's a great job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.

QUESTION: Mr. President, there was a lot of interest whether you would end up wearing a mask today.

TRUMP: Yes.

QUESTION: Could you just take us through your thought process why you decided not to wear a mask?

TRUMP: Well, I did wear. I had one on before. I wore one in this back area.

But I didn't want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it. But, no, where I had it in the back area, I did put a mask on.

QUESTION: Did you have the goggles on, too, as well, sir?

TRUMP: I did. I had goggles, goggles and a mask, right back there.

QUESTION: Well, why would you not be wearing...

TRUMP: And here's another one.

QUESTION: Why would you not be wearing it (OFF-MIKE)

TRUMP: Because in this area -- thank you.

QUESTION: Why would you not be wearing it here, sir?

TRUMP: Not necessary here. All -- everybody has been tested, and I have been tested.

In fact, I was tested this morning. So, it's not necessary.

QUESTION: But the executives are wearing them.

TRUMP: Well, that's their choice.

I was given -- I was given a choice. And I had one on in an area where they preferred it. So, I put it on. And it was very nice. It looked very nice, but they said they're not necessary here.

Yes, please.

QUESTION: What about the example that it would set for other Americans to see you wearing a mask?

TRUMP: Well, I think it sets an example. I think it sets an example both ways. And, as they say, I did have it on. Thank you.

Yes, please.

QUESTION: Mr. President.

TRUMP: I just liked your question so much. You know what? It was such a nice question.

(LAUGHTER)

QUESTION: No, it was a great question.

Here's a question for you. So, you have seen...

TRUMP: See, I will take an extra question.

QUESTION: There we go.

TRUMP: Go ahead.

QUESTION: We've seen the manufacturers here, Ford, GM...

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Yes.

QUESTION: ... others, small businesses, turning things overnight and making PPE materials.

As someone who is the president of the United States, in terms of our manufacturing might, how do you see what's taken place in these last months?

TRUMP: This is the biggest mobilization since the World War -- since World War II.

And these people were in charge of it. They did it. They did a fantastic job. They did a really fantastic job. And we appreciate it.

All of these companies, they came together. And they used to make cars here. They used to make other things here. And now they're -- not only the ventilators.

We were just saying the masks and all of the other products. What other product do you make? It's the head of Ford, by the way. Not bad. Not a bad position.

Yes. So, we've got -- I mean, she's a very nice woman.

QUESTION: I know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, Carol. How are you?

QUESTION: Hi, Bill. How you doing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, you know what we're making.

We've got the pressure respirators. We have -- obviously, the ventilators, the masks, the gowns.

We have -- really anything that anybody needs, we responded quickly, and we're very proud of our work force. They've been amazing.

TRUMP: Is he doing a good job?

QUESTION: He is.

(LAUGHTER)

QUESTION: In fact, Bill, you have been through so many crises through your -- your years as chairman and CEO of the company here.

How does this crisis, dealing with this pandemic, making PPE materials compare?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, everyone's different.

I mean, I won't take you through all of them going all the way back to maybe the oil shocks and then the dot-com meltdowns and all those.

Every crisis is different. But what's amazing is how our people responded. In this one, they didn't wait to be asked to do something. They said, here's an opportunity, and let's go.

What I love about our culture is, they didn't ask for permission. They just went. And that's something that we've done throughout our 117-year history, and I hope we'll always do.

QUESTION: Mr. President...

QUESTION: Mr. Ford, can we ask another question?

TRUMP: By the way, here is my -- here is my mask right here.

And I liked it very much. I actually -- honestly, I think I looked better in the mask. I really did. I looked better in the mask.

QUESTION: Could we see it, Mr. President?

TRUMP: But I'm making a -- but I'm making a speech, so I won't have it now, but I did have it on right here.

And I think some of you might have gotten a shot. Thank you very much.

QUESTION: Mr. Ford, can you confirm that the president was told it's OK not to wear one in this area?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's up to him.

CAVUTO: All right, some interesting little nuggets we got there. The president did, in fact, have on a mask, didn't want to be seen in with the press.

But the bottom line was, every other Ford Motor Company executive with the president showing him around that Ypsilanti Michigan plant was wearing a mask. And he was saying he was not sending a signal either for or against mask use.

But the attorney general of the state of Michigan, you might recall, said that's the policy there, and you should be wearing one. The president's argument was that: I was. I'm just not wearing it right now.

We have got Senator Tom Cotton joining us, Republican of Arkansas.

Senator, on the great mask debate, where are you?

SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): Well, I try to keep my distance. If I can't keep my distance, then I wear a mask. It's pretty simple.

And, as we move forward, as a people, to try to get our economy back open, personal responsibility is going to go a long way in protecting ourselves from this virus, so, washing your hands, not touching your face, trying to keep your distance, wearing a mask where you can't keep a distance, exercising that level of care for all of us, and utmost care if you're in the vulnerable population or elderly, I think that's going to be critical to getting the economy back on its feet.

CAVUTO: One reporter had asked the president this. I would be curious to get your take, sir, that, as president, do you have a role to play in providing an example to wear a mask and to go ahead?

Now, the president, to be fair, said he was wearing one. He even pulled one out. And I saw two of the executives nod their head to confirm that. But should he be, if he's at a facility that requires it, be wearing one?

COTTON: I think the president is acting responsibly, not overreacting. As you said, those executives were nodding their head that he was wearing a mask and wearing goggles when it was called for.

As Dr. Saphier said, the president is obviously different from most people in his day-to-day conditions, in the sense that he's got a medical team all around him and he's tested every single day for the virus.

But, like all of us, we should be wearing a mask, if we can't keep our distance. But if you can, then the mask is not necessary.

CAVUTO: We can talk about -- I'm sorry, Senator.

I think the president is answering a couple of more reporters' questions. Let's listen in.

TRUMP: I think we will. I think we're going to be helping people out. We're going to be getting some money for them during the artificial -- because it really is. It's an artificial closure. And now we're going to be able to open it up.

This isn't like for long-term problems, and it takes years and years to have it come back. The Depression took 12 years, more, 14, 15 years.

We're going to be back next year, maybe even in the fourth quarter. In a few months, we're going to be back, because we're going to -- we closed it, and now we open it.

But I would say there could be one more nice shot, one more nice dose.

QUESTION: What do you think should be in it?

TRUMP: Well, I would let you know. And I have exactly -- I know exactly, but I would rather do it at the appropriate time.

QUESTION: What know a payroll tax cut.

TRUMP: Today, we're celebrating these great companies doing ventilators and other equipment.

But we have a very, very specific plan, and it'll be great for the American people. And our economy's going to be back soon, and Ford and General Electric and these great companies that helped us so much in a time of need, they're going to be very happy.

They're going to be -- and you're already gearing up. I know you're gearing up. Your lines are starting to roll making cars again. So, a lot of things are happening.

By the way, on our southern border, it's never been so secure. We're up to almost 200 miles of wall. And we have never had -- that whole area is -- nobody comes through that area. The area where the wall goes up, that's the end of that.

QUESTION: And so you're having the speech here this afternoon.

What are you thinking about in terms of campaign rallies? When will you be able to get back to doing rallies?

TRUMP: Well, as soon as you're able to have people get in.

We've never had an empty seat. Since the day I came down the escalator with our future first lady, we've never had an empty seat. You know that. And we'd have thousands of people we sent away.

And I think the demand now, from what we see, is greater than ever before. We're going to have to go to certain states where we're able to -- look, I don't want to have a stadium where you're supposed to have a person and then seven empty seats and then another person.

So, we might do some outdoor big ones, and we may also just wait until the stadiums can open up. I think it's going to be soon. We'll go to a place like Florida. We'll go to a place like maybe Georgia, some other place, where they're going to be opening up, whoever opens up first.

The demand has been incredible to get going with the rallies.

I just hear the music in the background. I'm saying we've had rallies like nobody's ever had, and we would love to get back to that. I think it's going to be sooner, rather than later.

QUESTION: And I know you were asked about this briefly this morning, this new AstraZeneca vaccine from Oxford...

TRUMP: Yes. Great.

QUESTION: ... that HHS has invested $1 billion in. How much promise do you think that holds for an early vaccination program?

TRUMP: I think it holds tremendous promise.

But we have many other companies who are just about as far along. We have many companies. We have the greatest pharmaceutical companies in the world. They're equally -- you know what I mean? They're really in a position -- and I'm only -- I'm not only talking about vaccine.

I'm talking about cures and therapeutics. Therapeutically, we have some things coming out which we think are going to be great. But they have to be tested quickly.

And we're doing it very quickly.

QUESTION: Who -- who would get the vaccine first? First responders? Elderly people?

TRUMP: Right now, what we're doing is we're setting what -- logistically, with our military. Our military is in gear, so that we can give 150-200 million shots quickly.

The military is in gear. We can move a couple of a hundred thousand soldiers immediately in time of emergency. So, this is not nearly as big a deal is that. It's equally as important, perhaps, but it's not as tough logistically.

QUESTION: But how would you prioritize it?

TRUMP: I will sit down with a lot of people, and we'll figure it out. We're going to sit down with the military. And we hope to be in that position fairly soon.

So, rather than having the vaccine, doing the tests, and then starting to gear up, we're taking a risk, because, you know, it could be that if something happened -- but I don't think that's going to be.

But in addition to that company, we have other companies that are very far advanced. And also don't forget therapeutics and cure. We're talking about a vaccine in this case, but therapeutics and cure.

I mean, frankly, that's my first choice, because that would take care of people that are in trouble right now. OK?

QUESTION: Mr. President, on the issue of testing, there have been questions about whether you're satisfied or not with what the CDC is doing, the work they're doing, particularly the director, Dr. Redfield.

Can you address that? Are you satisfied with the work CDC...

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: I think they're doing a good job, a really good job, in a very complex situation.

You know, we started off, nobody knew what the virus was. It came in from China, and nobody knew what it was. And, frankly, I think they've done a really good job. I'm very happy about it.

A lot of other people think they've done a lot of great work. We're now up to -- and this is beyond even CDC, because we've done it between Jared Kushner and a lot of geniuses coming in from Silicon Valley, and a lot of people, these companies where they could make ventilators and all the -- look, what we did with ventilators is incredible, because we geared up in a short period of time, through General Electric, Ford -- they're represented here at the top level -- through other companies.

We were at Honeywell the other day. They make masks. Who would think Honeywell is making a mask? But that's what they're making now, is a mask. It's a very high-tech company.

You know, they make the dashboards to an airplane and lots of other things. And now they're making masks.

Our companies geared up so quickly, so fast. Honeywell opened a plant in three weeks, from literally zero to open making masks in three weeks. That's -- it's been an incredible achievement. There's never been anything done like this since the end of World War II.

QUESTION: You said a number of weeks ago, we can't let the cure become worse than the disease.

TRUMP: That's true.

QUESTION: Where are we in that calculus?

TRUMP: I think I was the first one to say it. I don't know. Wouldn't you say that I was the first one? But you can't let the cure become worse than the problem itself.

QUESTION: And where are we?

TRUMP: I think we have to -- I think the governors have to start opening up. We now know the disease.

We know the weaknesses and the strengths. We know that older people are affected gravely, and younger people are not affected gravely, frankly. You look at the statistics, it's incredible.

And we know that we have to protect some people much more so. I think a lot of the governors have done a very, very poor job on nursing homes, but they've done a good job on other things.

I know every governor. I can give you -- I can grade every governor. But we've made a lot of hero governors. We've done a great job for the governors. And my relationship with them in almost all cases is very good.

And remember this. One of the beauties we were just talking about, not one person who needed a ventilator didn't get a ventilator.

QUESTION: But with another 2.4 million people claiming first-time unemployment insurance benefits today...

TRUMP: Yes.

QUESTION: ... how close are we to the cure being worse than the disease?

TRUMP: I think that a lot of these states are going to -- the ones that are sort of sticking to a certain very rigid pattern, I think they're going to stop.

I don't think the people are going to stand for it. This is a country that's meant to be open, not closed. And we did the right thing, John. We saved millions of lives, millions and millions of lives. You would have had anywhere from a 1.5 million to 2.5 million, three million lives. Think of it.

So if we were at 100,000, instead of 100,000, multiply that times 15, 20 or 25. It wouldn't have been acceptable. It wouldn't have been sustainable. You couldn't have done it.

So, we've called it right. And now I want it open. And we're going to open. And if there's a fire, an ember, a flame someplace, we put it out.

But the people have done a great job. And General Electric, Ford and all the other people that work with them have done fantastic work. And Honeywell, again, I was there last week. But Honeywell, they've done fantastically well also.

Thank you very much.

QUESTION: Mr. President, you mentioned the embers (OFF-MIKE) smaller fires, those pockets of the virus popping up.

Are you concerned about a potential second wave of this virus?

TRUMP: People say that's a very distinct possibility. It's standard.

And we're going to put out the fires. We're not going to close the country. We're going to put out the fires. There could be -- whether it's an ember or a flame, we're going to put it out. But we're not closing our country.

Thank you.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Are you looking to replace Dr. Redfield?

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: No.

CAVUTO: All right, you never know when the president stops to talk to reporters.

He does mention a moving target figure about, had he not intervened to stop flights from China earlier this year, many millions more would have died. There's just no way to quantify that.

Some have tried to say it potentially could have meant tens of thousands more dying in this country. The president does offer a moving target on that figure, the first time we have heard of this high, up to 2.5 million. No way of knowing.

Senator Tom Cotton on that point.

And you have been patient enough, and I appreciate that, sir, to sit through all of that.

Do you know where that number comes from, that had the president not intervened early to stop Chinese flights coming into this country, that the numbers would have been into the millions higher in fatalities? What have you heard on that?

COTTON: You know, Neil, I know there have been some studies that have suggested that.

I think it is going to be hard to quantify. Maybe, one day, in the future, when we have all the facts and all the evidence about this virus, which we still lack, in part because of Chinese dishonesty, we may know that.

But here's what we do know, that, in December and January, about 22,000 people were flying from mainland China into the United States every single day. That's why, in mid-January, as soon as I learned about this virus and its very dangerous features in Wuhan, I began urging the president to shut down air travel.

And against the recommendations of a lot of people, that's exactly what he did in late January, buying us critical days. He did the same thing from Europe as well. We now know that we probably would be a little bit better off in the United States if New York City had shut down activity there a little bit earlier.

But there's -- even if you can't quantify it, I think there's no doubt that those early shutdowns of travel from China and Europe helped save a lot of time and ultimately save a lot of lives.

CAVUTO: The reason why I ask, Senator -- and you and I have discussed this in the past -- is that, if there was, in retrospect, an urgent need to stop this early on, why is there a rush now to unwind this at this point?

COTTON: Well, as the president has said in the past, we have now lost over 90,000 Americans to this virus, and that was with our guard up. So you can only imagine what would have happened with our guard down. There's no doubt that we have saved a lot of lives.

But, also, I think the American people individually are now on guard as well. So, you can count on the American people to do the right thing on an individual basis, like keeping their distance, wearing a mask if they can't, washing their hands, not touching their faces, so on and so forth.

That's very different from where we were in early February, when a lot of people were saying that this virus is not going to reach the United States, we don't need to be worried about it, you can go about your business.

Some leaders, unfortunately, were even saying that into March as well. So, I just think the American people recognize how contagious this virus is and how deadly it is, especially for our elderly and those who are infirm.

So, I think that's one reason why we can get the economy back on its feet, obviously looking for surges and implementing countermeasures if we see any surges, but, so far, things to be -- things seem to be going pretty well in the states that opened up a little bit earlier, just like in some of the countries that opened up a little bit earlier.

And let's hope that that remains the case.

CAVUTO: Senator Cotton, thank you very much.

We always enjoy talking to you, Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas joining us right now, as the president is wrapping up at least the public portion of this trip to this Ypsilanti, Michigan, Ford Motor Company plant that's been sort of reconfigured to churn out a lot of face masks, a lot of ventilators, and do so at hyperspeed.

Joining us now is Senator Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of the state of Maryland.

Senator, thank you for joining us.

Right now, the talk, Senator, seems to be for stimulus, more stimulus. The House Democrats, as you know, have a $3 trillion plan that calls for a lot more aid to states, presumably like Michigan.

Senators have said -- that is, with the Senate majority, Republicans -- that that's dead on arrival, but they do like some of the ideas, aid to states, as long as there is tort reform or liability sort of protections for businesses that reopen, and, through no fault of their own, workers get the virus, and all of a sudden sue the company.

Are you open to that portion, Senator?

SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD): Well, first of all, it's good to be with you.

And I'm glad that Senate Republicans are coming around to the idea that we have to provide additional assistance to state and local governments. After all, what that translates into is funds for our teachers and our firefighters and first responders.

And, as you know, Senator McConnell's first response to that proposal was, oh, well, that's -- let's just let them go bankrupt.

After that, he announced the proposal you're talking about, which was that, in order for us to get this help for the emergency responders and teachers, people have to surrender their rights if they are injured, in other words, if they go into a store or they go into a workplace where the employer or the owner is grossly negligent.

So, the key in this discussion is going to be what protections...

CAVUTO: But what if they're not grossly -- what if they're not grossly negligent, Senator? What are if they are not grossly negligent, as much as these things so oftentimes can be happenstance, right?

You take a lot of protective measures, and someone somewhere still get sick. I mean, do you worry that, for those businesses already anxious about reopening, that some of them, without that protection, don't because they're scared?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, here's what they proposed in the HEROES Act. And this might make the discussion go more smoothly.

The House, in the HEROES Act, proposed that OSHA outline very clear health regulations. And if OSHA can move forward with those clear health regulations, then you might have a situation where, if an employer was acting consistent with those health regulations, that there might be an argument for immunity. It might be subject to a rebuttal -- rebuttable presumption.

I don't want to get ahead of ourselves.

CAVUTO: Right.

VAN HOLLEN: But all of these things would require some clear standards, which is why the HEROES Act spells out the need for OSHA to essentially put those safety standards forward.

CAVUTO: The president is in Michigan. He has a very contentious relationship with the Democratic governor of Michigan.

And I'm wondering, when you heard what he was saying about this mail-in vote measure that Michigan is considering, that -- though he has pulled back that threat, appeared to be a threat, that it could impinge aid to the state.

I don't know whether it was just pegged to coronavirus, or, for that matter, in the -- in light of these dams breaking in the state, how do you feel about that, if what he is saying is there is a connection, you pursue this mail-in vote thing, I'm going to pursue withholding relief to your state thing?

VAN HOLLEN: Yes, think about exactly what the president is saying.

The president saying that, if you go ahead and make it easier for your eligible voters to cast a vote in a safe manner, I'm going to withhold vitally assistance -- vital assistance to your state, in other words, trying to blackmail the state, withholding important funds, on the condition that they decide not to adopt a mail-in voting option, which is important to protect the safety of their voters during this pandemic.

I -- it's outrageous. It's probably outright illegal. And if the president has backpedaled in that regard, that's a wise move for him, because, during this pandemic, it's very important that we ensure that all eligible voters can cast a safe ballot.

I mean, we need to protect our health, but we also need to protect the health of our democracy.

CAVUTO: All right, Senator Van Hollen, thank you very, very much.

VAN HOLLEN: Great to be with you, Neil.

CAVUTO: We will be following this very closely, whether the president wants to elaborate on that.

To the senator's point, there has been a sort of -- talk about visiting a retrofitted factory -- a bit of a retrofit on that -- on that view out of the White House as to whether there would be a quid pro quo on aid to the state if it doesn't dial back the mail-in ballot thing, that that was apparently exaggerated, according to the White House.

We shall see.

We have a lot more after this, as the president continues his visit.

The former homeland security secretary will be joining us as well, Tom Ridge.

You're watching "Your World."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAVUTO: All right, this is Bill Ford Jr., I believe the great-grandson of the founder of Ford, Henry Ford.

He will be introducing the president of the United States.

Let's dip into this a little bit, if we can, guys.

BILL FORD JR., EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, FORD MOTOR COMPANY: And, as everybody here knows, Ford has always been a family business.

But it's not just my family. Generations of Ford employees have punched in every day in plants like this one, building for America. And we take that trust very seriously.

We have a special responsibility to take care of each other and this country, just like we've done for 117 years.

In World War II, many of our workers went to fight overseas. And those who couldn't stayed to build war machines of all types needed to win the war, in plants just like this.

In fact, President Roosevelt visited our Willow Run plant a few miles down the road to honor the Ford workers who were producing B-24 bombers during World War II. Ford was called the arsenal of democracy.

Today, some of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren are building equipment to save lives.

CAVUTO: All right, we're continuing to listen to Bill Ford, the grandson of the founder of the company -- great-grandson -- Henry Ford.

He's going to be introducing the president.

But I do want to bring Tom Ridge into this, the former homeland security secretary.

And always good having you, Secretary. Hope you're feeling well. You had us worried there not too long ago.

So, I'm happy to see you look great.

(CROSSTALK)

TOM RIDGE, FORMER U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY CHIEF: ... as well. Thank you.

CAVUTO: Thank you, my friend.

Homeland Security comes into play here with battling this -- this virus and getting it under control.

Do you think we are now, that we're rounding the bend, getting America back to work? There's concerns in pockets across the world, as you know, even in some states, where there's been a spike in some cases, nothing alarming, we're told by the medical community, but noteworthy just the same.

How do you think all of this is going?

RIDGE: Well, I think, first of all, by and large, I tip my hat to the governors, both Republican and Democrat.

I think they have done a very good job. I think they have had some challenges associated with inconsistent messages, perhaps, from Washington and the availability or unavailability for some basic equipment.

But I think, writ large, if we follow the science and the -- of experts, and move back into our economy in a gradual, incremental basis, I think we will be able to put this thing hopefully behind us.

It's not as if we're going to eliminate COVID-19. It's now become a part of our -- Mother Nature's infrastructure. So, I do have to -- we do have to worry about a resurgence. And, at the same time, I think we have to understand it's going to be a permanent risk. We have to learn how to manage it.

And manage it means you have to go from a steady stop, which we have done, basically, to a lot of the economy, and we have to kind of gradually move back in and put people back to work.

CAVUTO: You know, I'm so glad we have you here today, Secretary.

As a former Pennsylvania governor, when you were recruited to be our first homeland security secretary, I remember you saying at the time your primary job was obviously to prevent another 9/11, another calamity, and you stopped many such attacks.

This is a different beast here. And I'm wondering, will we be overly gun- shy? You know what I mean? Will we take measures that, every time there is an emergence of a case or a series of cases, we shut the country down again?

What should our kind of policy be going forward? I know it varies, and it's very different from what you dealt with. But they are joined in that sense. What do you think?

RIDGE: Well, I think there's a couple of the principles that we have -- around which we must -- our decisions must be guided.

This is going to be, as I mentioned before, a permanent risk. And we have to be smart and adopt some common sense into mitigating the risk and understanding the risk and managing the risk.

And one of those risks is the reoccurrence of not only COVID-19, but Mother Nature may fire COVID-24 or 25 at us. I mean, the point is, is that -- excuse me -- disease is now. Global, transportation, finance, communication was global before. This is exhibit A for disease becoming global.

And the other challenge, I think, we have -- and I think of my friends that are now governors, both Republicans and Democrats -- make sure that it doesn't interfere with our electoral process.

And so I think, in addition to trying to get us back to work, keeping us safe and at least mitigating the impact of Mother Nature, we can't let institutions of democracy go to -- we can't ignore those basic institutions.

And one of the things I worry about is maximum turnout on November 3 for the election.

CAVUTO: You mentioned that.

And, as you know, the president has made a very big issue of what's going on in Michigan with the mail-in vote thing, where everyone will be allowed to do so, not just those who might be traveling out of state at the time. It's a moving target. The president seemed to hint not too long ago of retribution for that or withhold aid to the state.

He's since, Governor, dialed that back a little bit. But you're worried about it for different reasons, right? Can you explain?

RIDGE: Well, Neil, first of all, I'm very privileged.

There's a group called VoteSafe. And my friend and colleague former Democrat Governor of, ironically, Michigan, Jennifer Granholm and I are supporting the basic principles of VoteSafe.

And that is, one, we have sent letters to 50 of the -- the 50 secretaries of state. Remember, governors are responsible for providing the electoral platform.

And what we have asked these secretaries of states and their governors, of course, is to make sure that, in the primaries, but principally because of COVID-19, we preserve all electoral options for the 153 (AUDIO GAP) voters.

CAVUTO: All right.

RIDGE: They have got to be safe and secure. It's got to be national. And it must be bipartisan.

CAVUTO: All right, Governor, I apologize for that, but you're being interrupted by the president of the United States.

He is speaking right now in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Let's go to the president.

TRUMP: A lot of plants are opening. A lot of plants stopped. We stopped them from closing. And we kept your workers here in Michigan and in the United States, different places, as you know, all over the United States.

But it's an honor to do -- it's one of the reasons I'm standing here. In fact, years ago, I was honored, long before I ever thought of the presidential situation, I was honored in Michigan.

And I said, how come you're losing so much of your car business to Mexico and other places? And I asked that question very innocently. It was probably 10 years ago.

The man of the year -- they named me man of the year in Michigan. And I said, what's going on in Michigan? And we've stopped it.

And thanks to a lot of great companies, like Ford, a lot of things are happening here. And it's why I'm so honored when Bill mentioned the plant, that you're going to be doing 2,000. And it's also a great success, the Broncos. So, that's really, really big news.

Thank you very much. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: And I'm honored to stand on a factory floor operated by the incredible workers of Ford Motor Company.

You really are tremendously talented people. I know it. I'm not sure everybody in the world knows it, but a lot of people do. And they're all going to know it after this speech, but you are really talented, great people. Thank you very much for doing a great job.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: We know what it takes. Few people have that ability, few.

In our nation's war against the invisible enemy, the hardworking patriots here today answered the call to serve. You proved that the American workers built Ford, and you are built Ford tough, a great expression.

You still use that expression, I think Bill, right? That's a great expression.

Let's see. Can I use it for maybe myself, built Trump tough. I don't know. They may say that's a takeoff. That's no good. You can't do that.

And you've made really America proud, and you've made Ford proud. And America is very proud of Ford right here at the Rawsonville component plant. You're building a great medical arsenal to defeat the virus and cement America's place as the leading manufacturer and exporter of ventilators anywhere in the world.

We're now getting calls from other countries, many other countries, both friend and foe, believe it or not.

We get calls from foe, and we want to help them out too. And we're making thousands and thousands of ventilators. And I think we really sort of started right over here. We got a call very early on from Bill and the group. And this is incredible what's happened and what you've done.

With your help, not a single American who has needed a ventilator has been denied a ventilator, not one. And, as you remember, we took over empty cupboards. The cupboards were bare. And we got into the business of ventilators and testing and all of these other things.

Now we've done 14 million tests. The second country is at three million and less than three million, Germany, South Korea. And they've done a good job, but we're at 14 million tests. And the tests are the best of all.

But on behalf of our entire nation, I want to say thank you very much. Thank you very much for doing a great job.

Driven by the love and sweat and devotion of everyone here today, we're saving lives. We're forging ahead. And, as of this week, the beating heart of the American auto industry is back open for business. That started right away, didn't it?

It starts right now. And you have all those supply chains coming in. They're going to come through, because, if they don't come through, just build product right here, OK, because, you know, that can happen too.

But we heard that. It's a big story that we're starting with the cars now, and it's going to be a big success.

In addition to many wonderful UAW workers, we're joined by Secretary Ben Carson, who's done a fantastic job.

Where's Ben? Ben is here. Thank you. Ben, where is he? Oh, there he is.

Hi, Ben. Thank you, Ben. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: And a man who has done a fantastic job for Ford -- well, I will ask Bill about this later. I will just find out. I want to make sure for myself, but I know. Based on results, I know.

CEO Jim Hackett. Jim, thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: The word is yes, Jim. The word is great job. Great job.  Plant manager Angela Weathers.

Angela, thank you very much. That's a big job.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: That's a big job. You enjoy it? Yes, great job. Fantastic. It's a big -- big deal.

And GE Healthcare U.S. and Canada president Everett Cunningham.

Thank you, Everett. Thank you, Everett.

Before going further, let us send our love to all of the families that have been displaced by the flooding near Midland. I spoke to your governor this morning. And we've sent some tremendously talented people out here.

We have FEMA, and we have the Army Corps of Engineers. And they can do things that, frankly, nobody else can do, the Army Corps of Engineers, what they do.

So, they're very good at rebuilding dams that are busted or blown up or for whatever reason. Bad things happen. But Americans are praying for Central Michigan. We're going to take care of your problem. The governor and I had a great conversation this morning.

And, at the appropriate time, I will go and see the area that we'll be fixing. We're going to help you out. We signed an emergency declaration very quickly, very, very quickly. And we're going to help you out very quickly also.

In recent months, this state and this country have faced great challenges. Here in the Detroit area, you were hit hard by the virus, very, very hard in this area.

As one people, we hold in our hearts the precious memory of every person that we have lost. And we've lost too many. One is too many. We lost too many. It came in from China, and it should have been stopped in China. They didn't stop it. They should have stopped it.

And as one grateful nation, we proclaim, God bless our health care workers. They've done an incredible job. They are like warriors. They're like warriors.

I want to thank all of the nurses and doctors.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Because of the virus, Ford was forced to stop automobile production for the first time since World War II. That's something.

But you did not despair. Your company leadership called up the White House and asked the most American of all questions: How can we help? True. I said, that's nice. That's very nice.

Every one of the workers in this project volunteered to take part in the greatest industrialization and mobilization project that our society has done, the American people have done, in our lifetimes. The company founded by a man named Henry Ford, good bloodlines, good bloodlines, if you believe in that stuff. You got good blood.

They teamed up with the company founded by Thomas Edison. That's General Electric. That's good stuff. That's good stuff. And you put it all together. They're all looking down right now. And they'd be very proud of what they see.

You began the production of 50,000 lifesaving ventilators, a number that, if you go back just two months, I would say, most people would say it would be impossible to believe. The media is back there. And they would have said a couple of months ago, the creation of that many ventilators would have been not a possible thing.

Every single one of these ventilators is made in the USA with American heart, American hands, and American pride. Just as your great grandparents produced more than one Model T every minute, just as your grandmothers and grandfathers produced...

CAVUTO: We are continuing to follow up on the president here.

We're going to have a very important guest with us just momentarily right now that will echo what the president's doing to address the coronavirus, the top global operations president of AstraZeneca, that this country has committed a little bit more than $1.2 billion to a possible vaccine that could be available on the market sooner, rather than later.

Before I get to that special guest, I do want to bring you up to date that the president did make a little bit of news there, that he has talked to the Michigan governor, Gretchen Whitmer, earlier today.

He's gone ahead and declared that an emergency does indeed exist in the state of Michigan over this multiple dam rupture in the state, that federal assistance to supplement state and local response efforts, quoting from the White House statements, "due to the emergency conditions resulting from severe storms and flooding beginning on May 16, 2020 and continuing."

So, concerns that were out there that, because of this dispute over mail-in ballots and the states wanting to go that way for all voting in the state, did not preclude or exclude that from happening.

So, there is that news, and the president making plenty of it today.

But this AstraZeneca news started the day out.

That was big, big news, and a Marshall medical plan, if you will, that calls for the U.S. the government working with those who are working on promising technologies, treatments, vaccines, maybe, and AstraZeneca, a big beneficiary of that.

The president of its global operations, via Skype right now, Pam Cheng.

Ms. Cheng, thank you for taking the time.

What will this mean, not only, obviously, for AstraZeneca and your efforts to get this out, but the speed at which you think this vaccine, potential vaccine, is going?

PAM CHENG, VICE PRESIDENT OF GLOBAL OPERATIONS, ASTRAZENECA: This is amazing. So, thank you, Neil.

So, let me start by thanking the U.S. government.

We have been incredibly impressed by Secretary Azar's leadership and the commitment of his team, and the willingness of the administration to really move at pace.

And this agreement will really allow AstraZeneca to accelerate the development, the manufacturing and the delivery of a potential vaccine for the American population.

And we, as a company, are immensely proud to take part in this massive undertaking, being able to supply at no profit at a time of pandemic.

CAVUTO: Obviously, there's something very promising that you're doing and working on here that caught the government's attention, certainly the president's attention.

How close do you think we are to a vaccine here?

CHENG: So, as you know, this vaccine, we are in phase one-two clinical trial in the U.K.

And this is -- has been administered in over 1,000 healthy volunteers. The initial data are very encouraging. So, we are immensely motivated and encouraged by the data that we see.

We should get data from this phase one-two to trial by June. And from that trial, with the positive data, we will begin a large phase three trial here in the United States of 30,000 healthy volunteers.

So, we are very encouraged by what we see. And we are absolutely confident that, as we get the positive data out of these trials, that -- and with this agreement in place, we will be able to accelerate, and not lose a single day in being able to bring doses to the American population.

CAVUTO: That is half the battle, right?

You can come up with a groundbreaking vaccine or treatment, and it costs a lot and commits a lot of time to get the number of treatments out there, into the millions, because, obviously, you would have to do that.

Do how that is decided and how you go about, let's say, you do come upon a vaccine that works, and it's available maybe by the end of this year, or early next year -- as you said, it's hard to tell. How do you -- how does that happen? What's the next phase of just getting it out there?

CHENG: So, yes, getting it out there.

This is -- so, this is a time, Neil -- this is not the time for conservatism or business as usual. This is the time where we harness all of the energy, partnerships between private and public entities, to really harness our efforts and our powers together to be able to deliver this at the quickest pace possible.

The development and manufacturing of a vaccine typically takes years to do. And we are trying to compress this into less than nine months. So, this is absolutely a massive undertaking.

So, what we would do now, with this agreement and support from the U.S. government, we would, as I say, with the positive data coming out with a phase one-two trial, we would start the phase three trial immediately, as soon as we can, over the summer.

And at the same time, we will work in parallel. We are standing up supply chains as we speak. We will be starting to do technology transfers. We will start to do scale-ups. And we will prepare for manufacturing.

And we will manufacture at risk, such that, if this vaccine works, if we get positive data over the summer, we can really get into sort of manufacturing at major scale and releasing of this vaccine as quickly as in October.

So, we are projecting that, all goes well, we can have 100 million doses of vaccine coming out for the American population in October, and 300 million doses by early 2021.

So, this is unprecedented. And it's only possible that, if we have partners like the U.S. government to work with us, to take the right risks, and to really push forward, as you say, to save lives in the quickest way possible.

CAVUTO: We don't have much more time here. You have been great, Ms. Cheng.

I would be curious to get your take. There are so many colleges in the United States that are rejiggering their fall semesters, some going earlier and stopping around Thanksgiving, so they can be off or the kids could be off during what is typically the flu season.

So, obviously, they're a little gun-shy going back. Should they be? Do you think that's a real threat, a real possibility, the reemergence of the virus?

CHENG: Well, it's possible. It's absolutely possible.

And I think, because of that, it's more important to -- for all of us to put all these energies into developing a potential vaccine, right? So, there are many vaccines that are in the development right now.

And we hope -- we are racing against the virus. We're racing against time. This is a battle against COVID-19. And we want to harness the energy of the entire industry.

We hope that multiple of these vaccines will ultimately work. And if it does, whether it being at one or 10, it will really conquer some of the issues that you are talking about, Neil, that it will really give the comfort level of returning to normal, right...

CAVUTO: All right.

CHENG: ... and being able to resume our economy.

There's so much suffering out there. And this is precisely why we, as a company, are doing everything we can, working in...

CAVUTO: Got it.

CHENG: ... parallel with many, many institutions around the world, to make sure that the access...

CAVUTO: All right.

CHENG: ... of this vaccine is not just for the United States, but also for people around the world as well.

CAVUTO: Got it.

Pam Cheng, I want to thank you very much. Sorry to jump on you there.

But that could be very promising news.

That will do it for us. Here comes "The Five."

CHENG: Absolutely. Thank you very much.

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