President Donald Trump signed a directive Friday ordering the Department of Health and Human Services to order General Motors to construct ventilators, utilizing the Defense Production Act.
The president announced his decision in a statement sent to reporters, ordering “General Motors to accept, perform, and prioritize Federal contracts for ventilators.”
Trump said that negotiations with General Motors were productive but that the company was “wasting time.”
“Today’s action will help ensure the quick production of ventilators that will save American lives,” he wrote.
The order directs Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to use the authority under the Defense Production Act to require General Motors to move quickly to construct the ventilators.
“We’ll work in partnership with the private sector but where emergency exists and it’s very important we get to the bottom line and quickly, we’ll do what we have to do,” Trump said at a press conference afterward.
Earlier in the day, President Trump expressed his frustration with General Motors CEO Mary Barra.
“As usual with ‘this’ General Motors, things just never seem to work out,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Friday morning.
The president noted that General Motors would construct 40,000 ventilators “very quickly” but cited reports that they had lowered their production number to 6,000.
“Now they are saying it will only be 6000, in late April, and they want top dollar,” Trump wrote. “Always a mess with Mary B[arra].