(FOX 2) - President Donald Trump has issued an order in an effort to force General Motors to produce ventilators under the Defense Production Act on Friday.
It is the latest escalation in tension between Trump and GM today amid the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier today this morning, Trump indicated Ford and General Motors would bolster the production of badly-needed medical equipment and threatened to enact the order.
"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!!!!!!" he tweeted.
Trump is alleging that GM promised to build thousands more breathing machines than it can deliver for coronavirus patients and that it wants too much money for them.
“As usual with ‘this’ General Motors, things just never seem to work out,” Trump wrote on Twitter, adding that the company promised 40,000 ventilators quickly but now says it will build only 6,000 in late April. Trump also tweeted that Ford should start making ventilators fast.
The United Auto Workers Union issued a statement Friday night saying in part, "General Motors should be commended for stepping up at a crucial moment in our history. At the UAW we are - all in - to find ways to partner together to flatten this curve and save lives."
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More than a week ago, Trump signed the act, however, he hasn't indicated until now that he would be enforcing the rules of the law.
Experts say the U.S. is hundreds of thousands of breathing machines short of what it likely will need to treat a rapidly rising number of COVID-19 patients. New York, Michigan, Louisiana and the state of Washington have been singled out as virus hot spots in the U.S.
The series of tweets came just hours after Trump, during a Fox News interview Thursday night, said he had “a feeling” that the number of ventilators being requested to handle the virus was too high.
Trump threatened to invoke the Defense Production Act and wrote that GM should reopen its now-closed factory in Lordstown, Ohio, or some other facility to build ventilators.
Previously he said negotiations with General Motors had been productive, “but our fight against the virus is too urgent to allow the give-and-take of the contracting process to continue to run its normal course.”
Trump said “GM was wasting time” and said his actions will help ensure the quick production of ventilators that will save American lives.
A spokesperson with GM did not comment on the social media slams, only reiterated original comments like "Ventec and GM are working around the clock to meet the urgent need for more ventilators" and "the teams are working together with incredible passion and commitment."
Meanwhile, the Vice President of the UAW and director of the UAW-GM department on efforts to produce the ventilators says in part: "The UAW has a proud history of stepping up in times of national emergency. General Motors should be commended for stepping up at a crucial moment in our history."