Trump uses Defense Production Act to force General Motors to make ventilators to treat coronavirus

'GM was wasting time,' Trump said. 'Today’s action ... will save American lives'

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President Donald Trump addresses the nation from the Oval Office
President Donald Trump addresses the nation from the Oval Office
(Pool / Getty Images)
Updated: March 27, 2020 - 4:19pm

President Trump on Friday used his powers under the Defense Production Act to force auto giant General Motors to manufacture ventilators to meet surging demand to treat coronavirus patients. 

"Today, I signed a Presidential Memorandum directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to use any and all authority available under the Defense Production Act to require General Motors to accept, perform, and prioritize Federal contracts for ventilators," Trump said in a statement accompanying his order. 

The president has been under some pressure to use his powers under the act to make manufactures help in the effort to battle the coronavirus, as more equipment is needed to meet the rising number of infections.

"Our negotiations with GM regarding its ability to supply ventilators have 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 also said Friday. "GM was wasting time. Today’s action will help ensure the quick production of ventilators that will save American lives."