Back in March, as the United States came to grips with the COVID-19 pandemic, General Motors announced that it would mass-produce medical ventilator equipment in anticipation of a surge of COVID-19 patients in need of treatment. A deal was made with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to produce tens of thousands of new ventilators, but the deal stalled momentarily, prompting a response from President Trump urging GM to begin production as quickly as possible, as well as harsh criticism for GM CEO Mary Barra. However, the deal did eventually go through, and according the Barra, “all is well” between GM and President Trump.
Barra made the statement during a virtual fireside chat with media earlier this month, during which she was asked about the flare up between President Trump and General Motors.
When the deal to produce the ventilators stalled in March, Trump criticized GM in a flurry of tweets, saying that “as usual with ‘this’ General Motors, things just never seem to work out,” adding it is “always a mess with Mary B,” referring to the GM CEO. President Trump also suggested he could “invoke P,” referencing the Defense Production Act, under which the president could require a business to accept and prioritize a contract deemed necessary for national defense.
However, according to the GM CEO, the deal to produce the ventilators was finalized prior to President Trump’s tweets, chalking it all up to a misunderstanding between Trump and GM. The president subsequently praised GM’s efforts.
“Let’s remember the period,” the GM CEO said during the recent fireside chat, referencing the chaos stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Barra added that she had since spoken to the president, and that currently “all is well.”
Per the deal mentioned, General Motors retrofitted its facility in Kokomo, Indiana, to mass-produce medical ventilators, overhauling the facility in just three weeks to get production up and running. Previously, the facility produced small electronic components for various GM vehicles.