The head of Florida’s Division of Emergency Management has accused U.S. mask manufacturer 3M of shipping the critical protective equipment to foreign countries who outbid U.S. buyers — even as hospitals and state officials desperately scramble to secure N95 protective masks for healthcare workers on the front-lines of the coronavirus pandemic, Fox News reports.
Jared Moskowitz told “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Thursday that he discovered that 3M distributors were prioritizing foreign buyers after they refused to sell him the essential equipment.
“For the last several weeks, we have had a boiler room chasing down 3M authorized distributors [and] brokers representing that they sell the N95 masks, only get to warehouses that are completely empty,” Moskowitz said. “[We are] being told that our shipments are on cargo planes and the flights don’t even appear. We are chasing ghosts. I just decided to turn up the heat and tell people what is actually happening in the N95 mask space.”
President Trump responded:
“We hit 3M hard today after seeing what they were doing with their Masks. ‘P Act’ all the way,” Trump tweeted.
“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
Subject: Memorandum on Order Under the Defense Production Act Regarding 3M Company
** MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY
THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE FEDERAL EMERGENCY
SUBJECT: Order Under the Defense Production Act Regarding 3M Company
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the Defense Production Act of 1950, as amended (50 U.S.C. 4501 et seq.) (the “Act”), it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy. On March 13, 2020, I declared a national emergency recognizing the threat that the novel (new) coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2 poses to our healthcare systems. In recognizing the public health risk, I noted that on March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization announced that the outbreak of COVID-19 (the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2) can be characterized as a pandemic.
I also noted that while the Federal Government, along with State and local governments, have taken preventive and proactive measures to slow the spread of the virus and to treat those affected, the spread of COVID-19 within our Nation’s communities threatens to strain our Nation’s healthcare systems.
I further noted that, to ensure that our healthcare systems are able to surge capacity and capability to respond to the spread of COVID-19, it is critical that all health and medical resources needed to respond to the spread of COVID-19 are properly distributed to the Nation’s healthcare systems and others that need them most at this time.
Accordingly, I found that health and medical resources needed to respond to the spread of COVID-19, including personal protective equipment and ventilators, meet the criteria specified in section 101(b) of the Act (50 U.S.C. 4511(b)).
Sec. 2. Presidential Direction to the Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary). The Secretary, through the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Administrator), shall 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.
Sec. 3. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
DONALD J. TRUMP
Throw down some heavy fines and send a message to the rest of corporate America that during a National Emergency, our citizens are first priority. It is beyond unacceptable for America to fleece each other or sell medical supplies over seas when they are desperately needed here.
If during any point of an investigation it is found that a company or person has made the decision to sell medical supplies that our hospitals are in dire need of, then criminal charges need to be brought up against them.
Fox went on to say, Moskowitz voiced his frustrations on Twitter and said he was later contacted by the communications team at Minnesota-based 3M, who admitted to a “broken system” but stopped short of taking action.
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
“I thought perhaps maybe what 3M would finally say to me is that they have masks to sell me, but what I actually found out is even more frightening,” he explained. “… Which is that the system is completely broken. 3M has lost total control. What I asked 3M is, are they aware they’re authorized distributors — U.S. companies — are telling me the reason why our orders are being pushed down is because foreign countries are showing up with cash to purchase the orders … not only did they not dispute it, [but] I asked them if they put out any guidance to prevent the behavior and the answer was no,” Moskowitz added.
Let that sink in for a minute, that is blatant greed and American lives are suffering and passing away while these “essential” companies are staying open but selling the medical supplies over seas!
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.
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