President Trump on Friday lashed into General Motors over a critical shortage of lifesaving ventilators amid the coronavirus pandemic — tweeting, “FORD, GET GOING ON VENTILATORS, FAST!!!!!!”
In a series of tweets, the president accused the automaker and its CEO, Mary Barra, of slow-walking and threatened to use the Defense Production Act, which would allow him to compel private companies to retool their factories to meet demand.
“As usual with ‘this’ General Motors, things just never seem to work out. 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,” he wrote, before upbraiding Barra as “a mess.”
“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!!!!!!”
The tweet followed a New York Times article published Thursday evening reporting that the White House called off a $1 billion deal with General Motors that would have allowed the automaker to build as many as 80,000 desperately needed ventilators.
According to the report, the announcement slated for this past Wednesday was canceled when the Federal Emergency Management Agency balked at the high price tag and said it needed more time to assess the deal.
Trump has repeatedly called on automakers such as Tesla and General Motors to help as officials like New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo cry out for the ventilators, calling it a matter of life and death as the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to overwhelm Big Apple hospitals.
In an interview with “Hannity” on Fox News Thursday evening, the president questioned Cuomo’s request for 30,000 ventilators, downplaying the dire situation in the hard-hit Empire State.
“I have a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they’re going to be,” Trump said.
“I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators,” Trump continued. “You know you go into major hospitals sometimes they’ll have two ventilators and now, all of a sudden, they’re saying, ‘Can we order 30,000 ventilators?'”
The federal government this week pledged to send 4,000 ventilators to New York.