President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday to combat the hoarding and price gouging of items integral to the nation’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic, including masks and ventilators, among other items.
“This sends a strong message – we will not let those hoarding vital supplies & price gougers to harm the health of America in this hour of need,” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said. (RELATED: CNN Takes Jab At White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham After She Points Out Error In Network’s Hurricane Coverage)
President @realDonaldTrump just signed an EO to prevent hoarding & price gouging of supplies needed in our war against the #Coronavirus. This sends a strong message – we will not let those hoarding vital supplies & price gougers to harm the health of America in this hour of need. pic.twitter.com/eksxQOVKNM
— Stephanie Grisham (@PressSec) March 23, 2020
The president officially announced the executive order during Monday’s White House press briefing.
“We wanna prevent price gouging, and critical health and medical resources are going to be protected in every form,” Trump said. “Under this directive, the secretary of Health and Human Services is authorized to designate essential health and medical supplies as scarce.”
“Very simply, we will not allow anyone to exploit the suffering of American citizens for their own profit,” Trump added.
The executive order specifically targets price gouging of N95 masks, which are considered critical in preventing the spread of the virus. Prices for the masks were going for as high as $1,000 on online retail stores, and sales of the mask were ultimately banned by E-Bay.
Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said this weekend that he’s had trouble securing deals with companies for the masks, because companies continue to return and ask for more money from the state, according to USA Today.
“I’ll contract with a company for 1,000 masks,” Cuomo said. “They’ll call back 20 minutes later and say, ‘The price just went up,’ because they had a better offer. I understand that. Other states who are desperate for these goods literally offer more money than we were paying. It’s a race that’s raising prices higher and higher.”