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President Trump described the Defense Production Act as "great leverage" in an interview with "Fox & Friends" after blasting General Motors for its ventilator production timeline last week as coronavirus cases stress hospitals.
"They've been great since then. ... They were not doing what we thought they should be doing," Trupm said of GM.
Trump had faced criticism for invoking but not using the DPA.
"We don't want to be nationalizing our country," he said Monday.
Trump signed a presidential memorandum directing the secretary of Health and Human Services to require GM to prioritize federal contracts for ventilators using the DPA.
"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 said in a statement.
GM said Friday that it had dedicated a second facility to build ventilators after a week of negotiations and organizing.
GM and Ventec Life Systems will build the critical care ventilators at GM's Kokomo, Indiana, and Bothell, Washington, manufacturing facilities. The companies will make 1,000 ventilators by the end of April, Ventec CEO Chris Kiple told NBC News on Friday.