News & Politics

American Manufacturers Step Up to Make Medical Equipment: 'Literally Besieged in a Beautiful Way,' Trump Says

President Donald Trump speaks during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, Friday, March 20, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Trump announced on Friday that even though he has invoked the Defense Production Act, American companies have not waited to be asked to step in and fill shortages of medical equipment that hospitals may face during the war on the coronavirus that originated in China and spread throughout the world.

“We’re getting calls from automobile companies. We’re getting calls from other companies saying they have plant capacity, they want to make ventilators they want to make other things,” he said at a White House press conference on Friday. “We are literally being besieged in a beautiful way by companies that want to do the work.”

Press reporters continued to badger him about whether he “ordered” any companies to start making ventilators. The presidents said, “I have [directed companies to make equipment] and they’re making a lot of ventilators and they’re making a lot of masks.” He added that he is working with one company that is already retooling their factory to make ventilators, which they had experience making in the past.

Mike Pence continued laying out the optimistic plans for getting masks to hospitals and said that this weekend there will be a major announcement from the federal government regarding the shipments of the equipment to the states that need them. Pence also disclosed that the current stockpile of ventilators is much higher than previously reported, coming in at 20,000 on reserve. He also disclosed that they are freeing up other ventilators from around the country and have “identified tens of thousands of ventilators that can be retrofitted and converted” to be used for patients suffering with the Chinese virus, COVID-19.

These reports come on the heels of hyperventilating reporters who have written stories about fears of massive mask shortages at U.S. hospitals. “We have millions of masks that will be distributed to the states,” said President Trump. The president conveyed a positive and confident tone. “Nothing like this has ever happened before…we’re getting it ordered. We’re getting it done.”

The full press briefing can be seen below.

Megan Fox is the author of “Believe Evidence; The Death of Due Process from Salome to #MeToo,” and host of The Fringe podcast. Follow on Twitter @MeganFoxWriter