President Trump on Friday accused General Motors of failing to produce enough ventilators to fight the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.
“As usual with ‘this’ General Motors, things just never seem to work out,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “They said they were going to give us 40,000 much needed Ventilators, ‘very quickly.’ Now they are saying it will only be 6000, in late April, and they want top dollar. Always a mess with Mary B. Invoke ‘P.'”
“Invoke ‘P’ means Defense Production Act!” Trump clarified in a subsequent tweet. The president also wrote, “General Motors MUST immediately open their stupidly abandoned Lordstown plant in Ohio, or some other plant, and START MAKING VENTILATORS, NOW!!!!!! FORD, GET GOING ON VENTILATORS, FAST!!!!!!”
There has been some confusion over whether the president would take the step of invoking the DPA. Last week, Trump announced he would use the legislation to order ventilators and other products needed to fight the coronavirus pandemic. However, he has since backed off from using the DPA, which gives the federal government the power to order companies to produce certain goods.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo has been particularly vocal in relaying his state’s need for ventilators, repeatedly calling for 30,000 of the machines to be ready to treat coronavirus patients. On Thursday Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, stated that medical supplies and hospital beds would be provided to all patients.
“To say that to the American people, to make the implication when they need a hospital bed, it won’t be there, or when they need that ventilator, it won’t be there, we don’t have evidence of that right now,” Birx said.