While Donald Trump‘s early coronavirus response has been widely panned for minimizing the threat of the disease, his recent actions have garnered praise not only from his conservative allies, but also from the least likely Democrats. In a piece for Breitbart on Monday, the publication’s senior editor-at-large, Joel B. Pollak, commended the president’s decision to stand up for the free market during Sunday’s White House press briefing.
Pollak is referring to Trump’s decision to avoid the nationalization of companies by ordering factories to create critical gear to battle COVID-19 via the Defense Production Act, and to put his faith in the free market instead. Although the president noted that he signed the act and put it “in effect,” he said he would not be harnessing it for crucial medical supplies, as others have suggested.
“But you know, we’re a country not based on nationalizing our business,” Trump said. “Call a person over in Venezuela. Ask them: how did nationalization of their businesses work out? Not too well. The concept of nationalizing our business is not a good concept.”
Pollak noted that George W. Bush’s administration chose to bail out Wall Street during the 2008 financial crisis instead of waiting for the incentives of the market to take effect. The reaction, Pollak says, was that companies that made risky bets were protected from their consequences, and Wall Street recovered quickly. Conversely, Pollak noted that Main Street recuperated much later.
Trump calls using the Defense Production Act the "nationalization" of business.
— Pod Save America (@PodSaveAmerica) March 22, 2020
According to Trump, the private sector is better equipped to create the commodities needed in the coronavirus crisis. On Sunday, Trump claimed he heard from Hanes, who allegedly said they are going to make millions of masks. He continued to highlight the possibility that the government may select companies that are not the best fit for the necessary commodities.
“If you got the national route, nationalization route. We’re gonna tell a company to make a ventilator? They don’t even know what a ventilator is! In the case of one company, they used to make them, years ago, and they know how to make them. You know, it’s a very complex piece of equipment, frankly.”
As reported by Quartz, New York governor Andrew Cuomo has called on Trump to use the Defense Production Act. The publication claimed that many health care workers are struggling with a shortage of goggles, face masks, and protective equipment, while others warn of an impending lack of mechanical ventilators. In response to such calls, Trump put the onus on governors and suggested that the federal government is not a “shipping clerk.”