Donald Trump has spent the past weeks refusing to implement the Defense Production Act, bragging that he doesn’t need to implement it because he’s managed to get manufacturers to make coronavirus medical supplies just by asking. But as with all things Trump, it turns out he’s not nearly as good at this as he thought. Today he appeared to admit failure, in bizarrely incoherent fashion:
As usual with “this” General Motors, things just never seem to work out. They said they were going to give us 40,000 much needed Ventilators, “very quickly”. Now they are saying it will only be 6000, in late April, and they want top dollar. Always a mess with Mary B. Invoke “P”.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 27, 2020
This left just about everyone confused. When he said “Invoke P” was he referring to the Defense Production Act? If so, does this mean that he formally invoked it with the tweet, or that he intends to invoke it, or that he’s merely threatening to invoke it? Or was “Mary B Invoke P” a sign that he’s truly lost what little was left of his mind?
Later, Donald Trump explained that “Invoke P means Defense Production Act!” However, this still didn’t explain whether he had actually invoked it with his tweet. Also, as various people have pointed out, GM no longer owns the Lordstown plant. So if Trump has invoked the DPA, he’s ordering GM to do something that’s literally impossible.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report