Trump orders GM to make ventilators under Defense Production Act

In 2012, when the U.S. was climbing out from the financial crisis caused, in part, by sub-prime mortgage loans, Clint Eastwood starred in a Super Bowl commercial for Chrysler called, “It’s Half Time, America.”

The commercial was superbly edited and ran like an Eastwood film. There was a serious, maybe somber, undertone. We watched consecutive shots of rural, suburban and urban America. The images were a non-glamorous view of daily American life as Eastwood’s raspy voice narrated.

“People are all out of work and they’re hurting,” he says, while a tired, middle-aged man makes his tie in front of a bathroom mirror. “And we’re all scared because this isn’t a game.”

Eastwood talked about how the U.S. does not run from a challenge. He talked about the fighting spirit in Detroit and concluded by saying, “What’s true about them is true for all of us. This country can’t be knocked out with one punch. We get right back up again, and when we do, the world is going to hear the roar of our engines.”

Now the U.S. needs the roar of General Motors, the U.S. car-making giant, to churn out ventilators so the country can breathe.

Todd Starnes, the bestselling author and host of the “Todd Starnes Radio Show,” praised President Trump on Friday for his decision to use the Defense Production Act to order GM to produce ventilators. The president criticized the famed car maker for dragging its feet on a reported deal worth $1 billion to produce 80,000 ventilators.

“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,” Trump tweeted.

Jim Cain, a GM spokesman, told CNBC that the new order does not change the announced plans to produce these ventilators. GM had announced that it was teaming up with Ventec Life Systems to produce the medical equipment. GM told CNBC that the company has been “working around the clock for over a week” to meet the demand.

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“The partnership between Ventec and GM combines global expertise in manufacturing quality and a joint commitment to safety to give medical professionals and patients access to life-saving technology as rapidly as possible. The entire GM team is proud to support this initiative,” the statement read, according to CNBC.

Trump has been asked by governors from several states—including New York—to provide some tens of thousands of ventilators. Trump expressed skepticism that there was such a need.

“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?’”

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