'Nothing could be further from the truth': Mask-maker CEO fires back after Trump accuses company of not doing all it could to get masks to US healthcare workers

3M Mike Roman
  • 3M CEO Mike Roman on Friday responded to a Twitter attack from President Donald Trump, saying that the company is doing all it can to deliver N95 masks to healthcare workers in the United States. 
  • Trump had said that he "hit 3M hard today after seeing what they were doing with their Masks." 
  • Roman said that 3M is boosting imports of masks from its production facilities in China. 
  • The CEO said that it would be a humanitarian issue to stop exporting masks to Canada and Latin America as the Trump administration has asked, as 3M is the primary supplier of the protective respirators to those regions.
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3M CEO Mike Roman on Friday responded to criticism from President Donald Trump about the company's importing and exporting of N95 masks, saying that Trump's insinuations were "absurd." 

"The narrative that we are not doing everything we can to maximize delivery of respirators in our home country - nothing could be further from the truth," Roman said during an interview with CNBC.Advertisement

Trump said in a tweet on Thursday evening that "We hit 3M hard today after seeing what they were doing with their Masks. 'P Act' all the way," referring to the Defense Production Act. "Big surprise to many in government as to what they were doing - will have a big price to pay!" 

Roman said that 3M has increased imports of the masks from its facilities in China, and that it is fighting price-gouging and unauthorized reselling. 

 
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The disagreement comes after the Trump administration invoked the Defense Production Act to direct 3M to prioritize production of the masks for the federal government. 

Roman said that the administration's criticism of 3M's exports of masks made in the US to Canada and Latin America is misguided, as halting those exports would cause a humanitarian issue. The administration had asked 3M to stop exporting the N95 respirators to those regions, 3M said. "There are, however, significant humanitarian implications of ceasing respirator supplies to healthcare workers in Canada and Latin America, where we are a critical supplier of respirators," the company said in a statement. "In addition, ceasing all export of respirators produced in the United States would likely cause other countries to retaliate and do the same, as some have already done... That is the opposite of what we and the Administration, on behalf of the American people, both seek." Advertisement

Roman said that "we've been telling the administration for days and days" about 3M's efforts to increase imports from China. 3M said it had recently gotten approval to import 10 million N95 masks from its production facilities in China.

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