President Donald Trump proclaimed that he would make a deal with a company that could sterilize masks about 20 times. The company he was so captured by had appeared on Steve Bannon’s podcast and
NBC political analyst Jon Allen explained that a company called Prestige Ameritech has been arguing for years that there is not enough domestic manufacturing. When Bannon introduced the head of the company to the Trump administration’s Peter Navarro, it was a marriage of convenience.
“It’s one of two contracts in the history of the American contracting database which goes back now 15 or so years where it says the White House ordered this,” said Allen.
Typically, the process is that companies bid against each other, and the United States chooses the best deal. While the president claims to be the best dealmaker in history, this proved to not be the case when it comes to this deal.
“There are a variety of reasons the government can say this is the only people who can do this or there is some sort of emergency. that’s what happened in this particular instance,” said Allen. “But it really — this is two steps. You had President Trump coming in and telling the FDA that they had to give [the subsidiary] Battelle not only a waver but the waiver they wanted. They could clean the masks at their own facility. The president called the FDA chief. As the president said, bingo, bango, bongo, the FDA changed the waiver so it could sell its machines to the government so that $16 million value suddenly shot up to $413 million. And at last count on May 1st, the Defense Department, which actually does the contracting work, had said it would be up to $600 million.”
Host Johsua Johnson noted that there are many companies that are profiting heavily off of the coronavirus pandemic by serving as middle-men between suppliers and the governments. He asked why the government can’t simply negotiate with the companies themselves.
Grainger is a company that supplied the government with DuPont coveralls. They sold the products to the government for $7.96 when they purchased them for $4.
See the full interview with Allen below: