United States President Donald Trump forced General Motors (GM) to produce respirators for the US government on Friday shortly after the automaker announced it would produce 10,000 units a month together with Ventec Life Systems.
Trump invoked the Defense Production law to force GM to produce respirators hours after he attacked the automaker and its president, Mary Barra, on Twitter, and after previously denying that the country needed production of tens of thousands of units. of this medical team.
“Today, I have signed a presidential memorandum directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to use all available authority under the Defense Production Act to require General Motors to accept, execute and prioritize federal respirator contracts,” Trump said. it’s a statement.
“Our negotiations with GM about its ability to provide respirators have been productive but our fight against the virus is too urgent to allow the give and take of the normal hiring process to continue. GM was wasting time,” Trump added.
The New York Times newspaper noted that GM was negotiating with the Trump administration to finance the conversion of a car assembly plant in Indiana to produce respirators with Ventec Life Systems.
According to the newspaper, GM and Ventec were requesting $ 1 billion for the production of the respirators.
Earlier today, Trump had already warned GM that it would use the Defense Production law to compel the manufacturer to manufacture the respirators.
In a series of tweets, Trump attacked GM and Barra.
“As usual with ‘this’ General Motors, things don’t seem to be working. They said they were going to give us very quickly 40,000 much-needed respirators. Now they are saying there will only be 6,000 by the end of April and they want a lot of money,” Trump wrote in Twitter
“Always a disaster with Mary B.,” added the American president.
And in another tweet with a more exalted tone, the president considered that GM “MUST immediately open his stupidly abandoned plant in Lordstown, Ohio, or other plants, and START PRODUCING RESPIRATORS NOW !!! FORD START WITH THE RESPIRATORS, QUICK !! “
Following the series of tweets, and before Trump invoked the Defense Production law, GM and Ventec announced that they would assign 1,000 workers to produce respirators at the Indiana plant.
Mary Barra said in a statement that “GM is in a position to help produce more respirators thanks to the incredible performance of GM and Ventec’s global supply base. Our teams have moved mountains to find real solutions that save lives and fight against the pandemic. “
Trump’s rush to get GM to produce massive amounts of respirators contrasts with his statements in recent days, in which he denied the need for more units of this medical equipment that is key to the survival of the most seriously ill COVID-19 patients. .
Trump has questioned the statements of the governor of the state of New York, Andrew Cuomo, and the mayor of the city of the same name, Bill de Blasio, that his health system needs 40,000 respirators due to the expected demand for these devices.
The president declared last night in an interview with Fox News television that he did not believe that New York needed 40,000 respirators, as requested by Cuomo and De Blasio: “You go to large hospitals and they have two respirators. And now suddenly they are saying ‘¿ Can we ask for 30,000 respirators? “Trump said.