President Trump said 3M “will have a big price to pay” after he ordered the manufacturing giant to churn out more protective face masks for the coronavirus fight.
Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to get more N95 respirators from the Minnesota-based company “after seeing what they were doing with their masks,” he tweeted Thursday evening. Health care workers have been grappling with a shortage of the masks that filter out airborne particles.
“Big surprise to many in government as to what they were doing – will have a big price to pay!” the president tweeted.
Trump’s tweet did not elaborate on the government’s concerns about 3M.
But White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said the feds have had issues making sure the company’s products made around the world are “coming back here to the right places.”
Trump’s executive order directing 3M to make more masks authorizes the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to acquire from the company any number of N95 masks that he “determines to be appropriate.”
3M, which also makes Post-it Notes and Scotch tape, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday morning. But the company said this week it plans to produce 2 billion N95 masks globally within the next 12 months.