Trump Claims to Use Wartime Powers to 'Hit Hard' on Coronavirus. But the Details are Murky.
Government Contracts Partner Robert Tompkins spoke with USA Today about President Donald Trump's claim that his administration is hitting companies "hard" with wartime demands for ventilators, masks and other equipment to fight coronavirus. President Trump has repeatedly inferred that his administration is already forcing General Motors (GM) to make additional ventilators, saying he needed to "compel General Motors to accept, perform, and prioritize federal contracts." But administration officials told USA Today this week that no formal orders had been placed – yet. They also described the president's moves so far as an effort nudge GM to voluntarily meet whatever demands the administration is making. Mr. Tompkins said it is common for the government and companies to negotiate before a formal order is issued. That's partly because the government has to make an assessment of what is possible. An unreasonable order could ultimately wind up in court.
"The government and the company are generally trying to find out what's doable," said Mr. Tompkins, who was speaking generally about the process.