Trump Edges Closer to Invoking Defense Production Act

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
trump edges closer to invoking defense production act

One should never pay too close attention to social media, but sadly, that’s where a lot of diplomacy takes place these days. Especially today.

Since dawn broke over the nation Friday, President Donald Trump has chastised General Motors and Ford for their perceived foot-dragging in getting much-needed ventilators into production, urging them to pick up the pace and suggesting that he might invoke the Defense Production Act — a wartime measure aimed at aligning industrial output with America’s immediate defense needs. In this case, the enemy is microscopic, but packs a punch.

We’re already on it, Ford and GM replied.

As you’ve read here, both GM and Ford have partnered up to boost the supply of ventilators headed to understocked intensive care units across the country. For now, the most pressing need is in hard-hit New York City. Getting those units, as well as other personal protective equipment, into production takes time, and much of the roadblocks are ironed out behind the scenes.

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. Always a mess with Mary B. Invoke “P”.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 27, 2020

The use of “this” is interesting, if nothing else. Word broke Thursday night that unit cost had arisen as a sticking point, but Trump’s Friday morning tweet confirmed it. (“Invoke ‘P'” means the Defense Production Act.)

After trashing GM CEO Mary Barra, Trump continued.

“General Motors MUST immediately open their stupidly abandoned Lordstown plant in Ohio, or some other plant, and START MAKING VENTILATORS, NOW!!!!!!” he tweeted. “FORD, GET GOING ON VENTILATORS, FAST!!!!!!”

Shortly after that blast of online grapeshot, GM and Ventec Life Systems released details of their plans. While GM can’t buy back the Ohio plant it sold off last November, it does aim to build VOCSN critical care ventilators at its Kokomo, Indiana components plant, with deliveries beginning as early as April. One thousand GM workers are tapped to help in that effort.

Meanwhile, FDA-approved Level 1 surgical masks will flow out of a Warren “manufacturing facility” (the recently shuttered transmission plant?), with production starting next week, GM said. After a two-week ramp-up, the automaker expects production to hit 50,000 masks per day. That output could hit 100,000 per day, it added.

Meanwhile, Ford has plans of its own. Goaded into a response by Trump’s tirade, the automaker issued a statement:

Ford statement below:

— Mike Levine (@mrlevine) March 27, 2020

As this is a rapidly evolving story, expect updates sooner rather than later. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has pressed Trump to invoke the DPA.

[Image: General Motors]

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  • Jetcal Jetcal on Mar 28, 2020

    To L2M, BTW, the vast majority of the reservists being called up are people you would call "Trump Christians" from "fly-over country". And the best part? Most of them have enough points to retire, in other words 60-80% of them could just quit the Reserves right now. Instead, they're voluntarily risking their own health and taking a whopping pay cut to do it. Yes sir, those "Trump Christians" sure are some bad people.

  • Jetcal Jetcal on Mar 28, 2020

    It's okay, I administered Reservists for 16 years before I retired from the Navy. Three of my employees are reservists or National Guard, and guess what? While they're not "Holy Roller" they like many others are quietly evangelical. They're very typical of your 15-30 year service members.

  • Arthur Dailey When I grew tired of the T-Bird trying to kill me by refusing to start at the most inconvenient times/places, I replaced it with a '79 fullsized Dodge (Sportsman) van. Similar to this but with a different grille and rectangular headlights. The 4 'captains' chairs in my van were pretty much identical to the ones in this van. Mine certainly was not as nicely finished inside. And it was a handful to drive in snow/ice. One thing that strikes me about this van is that although a conversion it does not seem to have the requisite dark tint on the windows.
  • Jeff S I am not a fan of Tesla and they were niche vehicles but it seems that they have become more common. I doubt if I get an EV that it would be a Tesla. The electrical grid will have to be expanded because people over the long run are not going to accept the excuse of the grid can't handle people charging their EVs.
  • AMcA The '70 Continentals and Town Cars may have been cousins to the standard body Fords and Mercurys, they didn't have to be disguised, because they had unique, unbelievably huge bodies of their own. Looking at the new 1970 interior, I'd say it was also a cost savings in sewing the seat. Button tufted panels like the 1969 interior had require a lot of sewing and tufting work. The 1970 interior is mostly surface sewing on a single sheet of upholstery instead of laboriously assembled smaller pieces. FINALLY: do I remember correctly that the shag carpet shown under these cars was a Photoshop? They didn't really go so peak '70s as to photograph cars on shag carpets, did they?
  • Inside Looking Out Toyota makes mass market cars. Their statement means that EVs are not mass market yet. But then Tesla managed to make mass market car - Mode; 3. Where I live in CA there are more Tesla Model 3s on streets than Corollas.
  • Ltcmgm78 A lot of dirt must turn before there's an EV in every driveway. There must be a national infrastructure plan written by other than politicians chasing votes. There must be reliable batteries that hopefully aren't sourced from strategic rivals. There must be a way to charge a lot of EVs. Toyota is wisely holding their water. There is a danger in urging unplanned and hasty moves away from ICE vehicles. Do we want to listen to unending speeches every election cycle that we are closer than we have ever been to 100% electrification and that voting for certain folks will make it happen faster? Picture every car in your town suddenly becoming all electric and a third of them need a charge or the driver will be late for work. This will take a lot of time and money.