AOC: Trump Is “Going to Cost Lives” If He Doesn’t Use the Defense Production Act

Ocasio-Cortez blasted the president’s coronavirus response.

Samuel Corum/Getty Images

The coronavirus is a rapidly developing news story, so some of the content in this article might be out of date. Check out our most recent coverage of the coronavirus crisis, and subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) sharply criticized President Trump on Sunday for not using his authority to force manufacturers to make medical supplies and other protective equipment that health care workers are using to fight the coronavirus.

“We cannot wait until people start really dying in large numbers to start production, especially of more complicated equipment like ventilators and hospital beds,” Ocasio-Cortez said on CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.” Ocasio-Cortez said that production was needed right now anticipation for the “for the surge [of cases] that is coming in two to three weeks.”

“There are not enough face masks, gloves, ventilators, hospital beds to get us through this. Many hospitals are already at capacity or are approaching capacity. And there is kind of no real stream in sight from the federal government on where these materials are coming from,” she said describing the situation in hospitals across the country right now.”

Medical workers are resorting to reusing disposable equipment due to mass shortages.

Ocasio-Cortez called on the President to take advantage of power granted to him under the Defense Production Act. The legislation was first passed in the 1950s in the lead-up to the Korean War. It granted the President the authority to compel businesses to produce supplies it needs to weather a medical crisis.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also hammered the President for not using his powers under the Defense Production Act.

“The president of the United States is from New York City, and he will not lift a finger to help his hometown, and I don’t get it,” he said on Sunday.

Despite increasing pressure from New York Democrats and others Trump has not opted to use the Defense Production Act, on Sunday morning, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said that the act alone right now was leverage to get companies to produce more medical supplies.

“You know, companies are donating what they can,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “That is great. It is not enough. And the fact that the President has not really invoked the Defense Production Act for the purpose of emergency manufacture is going to cost lives.”

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you'll agree is worth supporting.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate