Apr 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump invokes DPA to target "wartime profiteers" of medical equipment

President Trump answers questions from reporters on April 3. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump accused "wartime profiteers" of buying, hoarding and exporting medical equipment and protective gear on Friday, in a Defense Production Act directive for FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security to prevent such conduct.

The big picture: Health care workers and the federal government are scrambling to stretch limited inventories of medical equipment to fight the coronavirus crisis, as the U.S. is unlikely to be able to manufacture enough medical masks and ventilators in time for a surge in demand expected to hit in mid-April.

Flashback: "We do have a problem of hoarding. We have some healthcare workers, some hospitals, frankly — individual hospitals and hospital chains — we have them hoarding equipment, including ventilators," Trump said in a cabinet meeting with supply chain distributors on Sunday.

  • "You know, there’s a question as to hoarding of ventilators.  Some hospitals and independent hospitals — and some hospital chains, as we call them — they are holding ventilators; they don’t want to let them up.  We need them for certain areas where there’s big problems," Trump said at a White House coronavirus task force briefing on Monday.

Details: The president's memo on Friday directs the Secretary of Homeland Security and FEMA administrator to use "all authority available" under the Defense Production Act "to allocate to domestic use, as appropriate," N-95 respirators, PPE surgical masks, PPE gloves and other face respirators.

Go deeper: The well of protective gear in the U.S. is running dry

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 5,919,364— Total deaths: 364,459 — Total recoveries — 2,490,221Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 1,745,606 — Total deaths: 102,798 — Total recoveries: 406,446 — Total tested: 16,099,515Map.
  3. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine prescription fills exploded in March —How the U.S. might distribute a vaccine.
  4. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  5. Business: Fed chair Powell says coronavirus is "great increaser" of income inequality.
  6. 1 sports thing: NCAA outlines plan to get athletes back to campus.

Zuckerberg says Trump’s “shooting” tweet didn’t violate Facebook’s rules

Mark Zuckerberg at the 56th Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany on February 15. Photo: Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Facebook did not remove President Trump's threat to send the National Guard to Minneapolis because the company's policy on inciting violence allows discussion on state use of force, CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained in a post on Friday.

The big picture: Zuckerberg's statement comes on the heels of leaked internal criticism from Facebook employees over how the company handled Trump's posts about the Minneapolis protests and his unsubstantiated claims on mail-in ballots — both of which Twitter has now taken action on.

Trump says he spoke with George Floyd's family

President Trump in the Rose Garden on May 29. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump told reporters on Friday that he had spoken with the family of George Floyd, a black resident of Minneapolis who died after a police officer knelt on his neck on Monday.

Driving the news: Former Vice President Joe Biden said via livestream a few hours earlier that he, too, had spoken with Floyd's family. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee implored white Americans to consider systemic injustices against African Americans more broadly, Axios' Alexi McCammond reports.