Coronavirus Pandemic: Trump First Attacks GM Over Ventilators, Now Praises Efforts

US President Donald Trump speaks throughout a information convention within the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, US. (Reuters)

“They really seem to be working very, very hard. I think I’m getting very good reports about General Motors,” mentioned Trump.

  • Reuters
  • Last Updated: March 30, 2020, 11:52 AM IST

US President Donald Trump, who excoriated General Motors Co on Friday and invoked emergency powers to compel the manufacturing of badly wanted ventilators to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, has abruptly shifted gears to reward the automaker.

“General Motors is doing a fantastic job. I don’t think we need to worry about General Motors,” Trump mentioned Sunday, talking extremely of the corporate in two appearances.

“They really seem to be working very, very hard. I think I’m getting very good reports about General Motors.”

Trump, who has been on the defensive for not transferring sooner to compel the manufacturing of medical gear, invoked the Defense Production Act (DPA) for the primary time on Friday, saying GM was losing time in negotiations. GM had introduced earlier on Friday, nonetheless, that it will start shortly constructing ventilators.

On Sunday, GM vowed to maneuver ahead and launched photographs of its efforts to construct ventilators at its Kokomo, Indiana plant.

GM’s manufacturing chief, Gerald Johnson, advised Reuters the corporate goals to provide 10,000 ventilators a month by summer time.

“No later than mid-April we expect to be up and running ventilators,” Johnson mentioned, noting the ventilators will want U.S. regulatory approval, important testing and that the corporate should practice over 1,000 employees to assemble them.

GM has been working with ventilator agency Ventec Life Systems, quite a few auto suppliers and different ventilator companies as officers warn the United States might have tens of 1000’s of extra ventilators.

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“We’re unwavering in our focus to get this done,” Johnson mentioned.

In an earlier tweet on Friday earlier than GM’s announcement, Trump accused the automaker of wanting prime greenback for its ventilators.

A GM spokesman mentioned the corporate is doing the mission “at cost” and won’t make a revenue.

Johnson mentioned the automaker is spending tens of hundreds of thousands on retooling prices and that if provider retooling prices are factored in, whole retooling prices have been within the lots of of hundreds of thousands of {dollars}.

GM’s ventilator efforts first got here to gentle on March 18 when White House financial adviser Larry Kudlow disclosed he had spoken to GM Chief Executive Mary Barra concerning the thought. Barra spoke to Kudlow once more on Friday after Trump’s criticism, an individual briefed on the matter mentioned.

Tony Fratto, a former deputy press secretary underneath President George W. Bush, tweeted on Friday: “you have to think if GM HADN’T stepped up to TRY to make ventilators no one would be trying to force them to make them. No one’s banging on other random companies today.”

Other automakers have mentioned they’re working to provide ventilators, masks and different medical gear. Ford Motor Co mentioned Friday it was transferring as quick because it might to gear up its ventilator manufacturing efforts. Toyota Motor Corp is working with “at least two companies that produce ventilators and respirators to help increase their capacity.”

GM can even start producing surgical masks at a plant in Michigan this week and expects to provide 50,000 a day by mid-April.

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This post was last modified on March 30, 2020 5:26 pm

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