After initially declaring that he wouldn't use the DPA because American companies were doing the right thing and accelerating production of ventilators and other critical supplies on their own - Trump said that with a straight face while Elon Musk turned in a batch of Tesla-made "ventilators" that turned out to be CPAP machines - President Trump became embroiled in what has become by all accounts a nasty feud with 3M, a Dow constituent and pillar of American industry.
After Trump accused the company for being "unpatriotic" and risking American lives by choosing to honor contracts promising deliveries of critical medical supplies to customers abroad instead of turning them over to hospitals in the US, its CEO appeared on CNBC Friday to try and explain why its decision would save more lives in the long run because it would surely prompt other countries to respond in-kind. And given 3M's complex, international supply chain, this could jeopardize the company's ability to continue providing its products to the US.
Many of Trump's critics blasted the president for appearing to scapegoat a vital American corporation for the administration's flat-footed response to the outbreak, and repeated some version of the argument outlined above. And while their arguments are certainly based on a reasonable foundation, they've neglected to mention one critical fact: Other countries are already doing the same thing to the US. Many Chinese factories have stopped delivering products from masks and gloves all the way to widely used drugs. And now, after earlier restricting its export to purely "humanitarian" grounds (as if there was any other reason for the use of medicine), New Delhi is banning export of hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug that Trump once touted as a "game changer", and which has recently proved effective at combating some of the virus's deadliest symptoms.