Trump Says He 'Hit 3M Hard' After Reports Company Is Selling Masks to Other Countries Instead of US
President Donald Trump said that he “hit 3M hard” after it was reported that the U.S. mask manufacturer prioritized foreign countries who outbid the U.S. for the critical N95 protective masks to fight the coronavirus.
“We hit 3M hard today after seeing what they were doing with their Masks. ‘P Act’ all the way,” Trump tweeted Thursday.
“Big surprise to many in government as to what they were doing – will have a big price to pay.”
We hit 3M hard today after seeing what they were doing with their Masks. “P Act” all the way. Big surprise to many in government as to what they were doing – will have a big price to pay!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 3, 2020
President Trump on Thursday evening invoked the Defense Production Act to force 3M to ramp up production of masks.
The order directed acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf to “use any and all authority available under the Act to acquire, from any appropriate subsidiary or affiliate of 3M Company, the number of N-95 respirators that the Administrator determines to be appropriate.”
Trump’s Thursday tweet came after the director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, Jared Moskowitz, told Tucker Carlson that he discovered 3M was favoring foreign buyers and had refused to sell him the masks for healthcare workers on the frontlines in Florida.
“For the last several weeks, we have had a boiler room in our EOC chasing down 3M authorized distributors, brokers, supposedly representing that they sell the N95 masks, only get to warehouses that are completely empty,” Moskowitz said on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
“[We are] being told that our shipments are on cargo planes and the flights don’t even appear on FlightAware. We are chasing ghosts, Tucker. I just decided to turn up the heat and tell people what is actually happening in the N95 mask space.”
Moskowitz described the dire system and said that authorized distributors couldn’t tell him when he would receive masks he had ordered months ago and he couldn’t cancel orders.
He said he reached out to 3M to tell them that their distributors told him his orders were being pushed down because “foreign countries are showing up with cash.”
He voiced his criticisms on Twitter and was later contacted by the communications team who reportedly confirmed: “the system is completely broken.”
Hi @3M. I’m your new Troll. I’m the Director of Emergency Management for the State of Florida @FLSERT. Please send us N95 masks directly to our hospitals, first responders and the state. How many brokers and distributors do we have to negotiate with only to find empty warehouses? https://t.co/0E3gLc3R5t
— Jared Moskowitz (@JaredEMoskowitz) March 30, 2020
According to Moskowitz, the company did not dispute the claims that they were prioritizing foreign countries who showed up to warehouses with cash and said they had not put out any guidance to prevent it from happening.
Moskowitz emphasized that his frustrations were not targeting the factory workers who are working 24 hours a day to create personal protective equipment.
“This is about the executives who decided not to put America first and its going to have devastating consequences,” Moskowitz said.
He added that he told 3M he had cash, but they said they didn’t have any masks to sell him.
He said that he was shocked that he couldn’t “get this life-saving PPE because a company decided to make a globalist decision and not put America first.”
“The idea that an American company is selling masks away from our hospitals, away from our doctors, away from the real heroes on the front lines, is something that will long be investigated after this but is really criminal,” Moskowitz said.
Chief Executive Mike Roman responded to the reports and President Trump on CNBC Friday morning.
“The idea that 3M is not doing all it can to fight price gouging and unauthorized reselling is absurd. The idea that we’re not doing everything we can to maximize deliveries of respirators in our home country – nothing is further from the truth,” Roman said.
A Friday statement from the company said Trump’s order “also requested that 3M cease exporting respirators that we currently manufacture in the United States to the Canadian and Latin American markets.”
“Ceasing all export of respirators produced in the United States would likely cause other countries to retaliate and do the same, as some have already done,” the statement said. “If that were to occur, the net number of respirators being made available to the United States would actually decrease.”
“We will continue to maximize the amount of respirators we can produce on behalf of U.S. health-care workers, as we have every single day since this crisis began,” 3M said.
Roman and 3M said the company has already been working with the Trump administration on getting more masks to the U.S.
“We have been working closely with the Administration to do exactly that, and we appreciate the authorities in the DPA that provide a framework for us to expand even further the work we are doing in response to the global pandemic crisis,” 3M said. “We look forward to working with FEMA to implement yesterday’s order.”
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