President Trump caused some confusion Thursday evening when he tweeted that 3M would "have a big price to pay" for its handling of its N95 masks. At a briefing earlier in the day, Trump said he was using the Defense Production Act to order 3M to produce the life-saving masks. "We've had some issues making sure that all of the production that 3M does around the world, enough of it is coming back here to the right places," White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said, per Reuters. "Hopefully they'll be able to do what they are supposed to do," said Trump. "We hit 3M hard today after seeing what they were doing with their Masks," the president later tweeted. "Big surprise to many in government as to what they were doing - will have a big price to pay!"
The Minnesota-based company, which produces the Nexcare brand and other healthcare products, hasn't commented, nor has the White House elaborated. Mother Jones flags tweets—whose content it notes it can't confirm—from a doctor who indicates the issue is that 3M moved two-thirds of its mask production overseas due to labor costs, and those countries aren't exporting the medical supplies. "Trump needs to talk to these other countries and make a deal to get them to send these masks to us," tweeted Eugene Gu. The Guardian notes countries like France, Germany, and Turkey have been limiting or banning medical-supply exports. (Read more President Trump stories.)