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President gives update on coronavirus response, manufacturing

President Trump holds Friday press conference
Posted at 11:32 AM, Aug 14, 2020

President Donald Trump will be holding a Friday press conference ahead of a planned trip to the New Jersey area. The president focused his briefing on new production numbers.

The president said under the Defense Production Act, new factories and laboratories are being built all over the country to build what America needs to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

“Incredible what we’ve been able to do in a short amount of time,” Trump said.

He quoted new manufacturing production numbers, showing industrial production rose for the third straight month in the country.

The president said we are producing so many ventilators, we are sending them to countries around the world. According to Trump, American companies are producing 400 million more masks than last year.

As for a vaccine, three candidates are in Phase 3 trials currently. He said at the press briefing he thought the elderly and those at risk should get the vaccine first, but that he will listen to his experts on that. He said "those lists are being created now," referencing plans for how to distribute the vaccine once it's created.

Earlier in the day, media outlets reported Robert Trump, the president's brother, was "very ill."

During Friday's press conference, President Trump said he hopes his brother will be all right, but “he’s having a hard time."

White House spokesperson Judd Deere says the president is expected to visit his 72-year-old brother at a hospital in Manhattan on Friday. Trump was already scheduled to visit his property in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Friday.

There is also a lot of reporting Friday following remarks the president made about opposing funding for the post office.

He acknowledged he's starving the Postal Service of funding to make it harder to process an expected surge in ballots he worries could cost him reelection.

The president said on Fox Business Network that among the sticking points on a new virus relief package are Democrats’ demand for billions of dollars to assist states in protecting the election and helping postal workers process mail-in ballots.

In a series of tweets Friday before his press conference, the president said he is ready to send another round of stimulus checks and additional PPP payments. Responding to a question during his press conference about whether he would approve millions in funding for the Post Office if Democrats gave him what he wanted, he responded, “Sure, If they give us what we want."

Democratic rival Joe Biden has likened Trump's actions to sabotage.