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President Trump has singled out these companies for their coronavirus response

Ben Werschkul
DC Producer

During his daily coronavirus task force briefings at the White House, President Trump has not shied away from calling out companies by name. 

In one memorable example on March 30, he hosted five CEOs – including the heads of Procter & Gamble and Honeywell – who each touted their contributions to the coronavirus response from behind a Presidential seal.

Trump has also harshly called out companies which, in his view, have failed to respond to the crisis.

The president has mentioned somewhere around 100 companies in recent weeks while discussing the response. Here’s a list of companies that have gotten the most attention.

3M Company (MMM)

No company has been in Trump’s sights more than 3M (with a possible exception of General Motors). On April 6, the president announced that he had come to a “very amicable agreement” with the company to produce millions of N-95 masks.

The news came after the president invoked the Defense Production Act last week to compel the company to produce masks and also keep them in the United States. “We're very disappointed in 3M. They should be taking care of our country,” Trump said on April 4, adding, you “could call it retaliations because that's what it is, it's a retaliation.”

And before that, Trump had first been friendly with the company. On March 28, he said, based on what he was hearing, 3M was doing “an incredible job.” On March 5, during the early stages of the administration’s response to the crisis, Vice President Mike Pence visited 3M headquarters in Minnesota to commend the company for its mask production.

“The 3M saga ends very happily,” Trump said Monday summing up all the back and forth (for now).

Alphabet (GOOGL)

On March 13, Trump made a startling announcement. He said Google was helping to develop a website that was “going to be very quickly done” to provide a coronavirus screening site to help all Americans. “Google has 1,700 engineers working on this right now,” he said.

The news apparently took Google’s parent company, Alphabet, by surprise. It quickly clarified that Verily, another division of the company, was indeed building a website, but they were “in the early stages of development, and planning to roll testing out in the Bay Area, with the hope of expanding more broadly over time."

Verily later did launch its site but, as of April 7, it remains available only to residents of four counties in California.

Bank of America (BAC)

Trump met with 12 Wall Street banking executives in early March at the White House to discuss the crisis. Since then, he hasn’t discussed these companies often during his public appearances, but recently singled out banks for praise after their implementation of the $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses.

On March 3, Bank of America became the first big bank to accept applications for the program. Other banks – like Citibank (C) – featured messages asking for patience with the program: "While we are working as quickly as we can, we are not yet able to accept applications for the Paycheck Protection Program,” Citibank’s website read at the time.

“It's worked out incredibly well, and I want to thank Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, and a lot of the big banks that have been involved,” Trump said Saturday even as glitches continue to lead to delays in many small businesses getting a needed cash infusion.

Boeing (BA)

On March 29, the president praised Boeing as one of the companies “repurposing factories” to produce personal protective equipment. They also, he noted, have been “giving us their cargo-moving planes.”

The company has come up again and again. “Boeing, until a year ago, was the greatest company, I think, in the world by far” the President said on March 27.

The company is widely expected to receive government assistance from the recently passed $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package. Trump recently noted that “Boeing will probably need a hand, and we're going to bring Boeing back to health.” Other airline companies have also been promised relief: “we will be able to handle United, and we'll be able to handle Delta, and we'll be able to handle all of it,” Trump said. “We have plenty of money.”

Commercial testing labs: Quest Diagnostics (DGX) and LabCorp (LH)

Two leading private medical testing companies have been mentioned multiple times from the White House podium. “We are grateful to LabCorp and Quest for taking up the charge immediately,” Dr. Deborah Birx, the Coronavirus Response Coordinator on the task force, said on March 13 as the U.S. began to ramp up testing.

The CEOs of the two companies also appeared at the White House on March 13 alongside Trump to highlight how they have “come together as an industry” to provide more tests.

Both companies are administering tests around the country and feeding the results to state governments and the CDC.

Coronavirus test developers: Abbott Laboratories (ABT) and Roche Industries (RHHBY)

Two coronavirus test companies have gotten special mention for their work developing coronavirus tests even as the U.S. has lagged behind other countries on overall testing capacity. This past Sunday, Trump again called Abbott Laboratories – which said its test can detect COVID-19 in as little as 5 minutes – a “great company.”

President Trump speaks after introducing a new point-of-care COVID-19 test developed by Abbott Labs. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

“Roche has been incredible in the testing job they've done,” Trump said on March 30 pointing to another testing company. “And they're ramping it up exponentially, It's up, up, up, up.”

Two other companies – Becton Dickinson (BDX) and Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO) – have also gotten more limited White House shoutouts.

Ford (F)

The automaker has begun a partnership with General Motors to produce ventilators. “Ford has been great,” Trump said on March 31. He has spoken of Ford in glowing terms, in contrast to the treatment received by General Motors.

“I've issued a challenge to those two companies à la ‘Ford v Ferrari’” President Trump recently said “let's see who gets those ventilators out first”

General Electric (GE)

The president said GE Healthcare, which committed to producing ventilators, “has been great.”

He invoked the Defense Production Act not to punish the company but to help it and other manufacturers “have the supplies they need to produce ventilators.” The DPA action was intended to help GE and other smaller ventilator companies – namely Hill-Rom (HRC), Medtronic (MDT), ResMed (RMD), Royal Philips (PHG), Vyaire Medical – get the supplies they needed.

General Motors (GM)

In March, General Motors and Ventec Life Systems (a respiratory care company) teamed up to produce ventilators at a plant in Indiana. On March 27, Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to make them move faster, saying that “GM was wasting time.”

Since then, White House officials have taken credit for faster movement to ramp up production. “We did have a problem with GM and Ventec,” White House House advisor Peter Navarro said recently. Trump added that they “have come a long way.”

As of early April, the plant in Kokomo, Ind., was “less than two weeks” away from beginning mass production.

Gilead Science (GILD) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)

Gilead is a drug company that has been represented in White House meetings alongside other pharmaceutical executives. But the company has gotten special attention thanks to experimental antiviral drug it’s working on called Remdesivir.

“It shows great promise,” said Trump.

Johnson & Johnson is another company that has received mentions for its efforts to develop a vaccine. “I feel good about that, but that's down the road,” the president said.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN) is a third pharmaceutical company that has often been mentioned largely thanks to its track record of helping develop therapies to deal with Ebola.

Honeywell (HON)

Honeywell, a conglomerate that produces a range of industrial products, received a White House speaking invite for its work repurposing the company’s manufacturing lines to make personal protective equipment. 

In introducing CEO Darius Adamczyk, Trump said, “Darius has been somebody that I've dealt with in the past, and he's a great leader of a great company.”

MyPillow

Trump characterized Mike Lindell, CEO of MyPillow, as “a friend of mine.” Lindell spoke at the White House on March 30 and raised eyebrows when, while standing next to Trump, said: “God gave us grace on November 8, 2016, to change the course we were on.” He added: “with our great President, Vice President, and this administration and all the great people in this country praying daily, we will get through this.” 

President Trump listens as Michael J. Lindell, CEO of MyPillow Inc., speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in the Rose Garden of the White House on March 30. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

The company has begun reorienting its manufacturing capabilities to produce face masks.

Network service providers like AT&T (T) and Comcast (CMCSA)

On March 31, the president said he had spoken with CEOs of a range of network service providers – from Altice (ATUS) to Verizon Communications (VZ) – and said, overall, the companies were “doing an incredible job.”

But the media wings of two telecom companies in the meeting have gotten particularly less favorable comments in response to questions about ongoing testing and equipment shortfalls.

CNN, owned by AT&T, has come under fire multiple times. “Always a nasty question from CNN,” Trump said during a briefing on April 4. Comcast’s media subsidiary, NBC, has also been attacked repeatedly: “I don't call it Comcast, I call it Con-cast,” Trump said on March 20 in response to a question from NBC’s Peter Alexander.

(Yahoo Finance is owned by Verizon Communications.)

Procter & Gamble (PG)

David Taylor, CEO of Procter & Gamble, scored a White House invitation to discuss his company’s role in producing cleaning products for frontline workers. Taylor touted his company’s existing products, like Tide, and said they were working to “transform our plants to make things we've never made before, like hand sanitizers and facial masks.”

United Technologies (RTX)

Greg Hayes, CEO of United Technologies, which owns Raytheon, was at the White House to discuss the company’s work with the defense industry, on the logistics front, and also promised to immediately begin manufacturing face shields.

“We stand ready to help in any way we can,” he said in the Rose Garden. “Fantastic,” Trump said right after Hayes spoke, “Great company.”

Walmart (WMT)

Trump has heaped praise on Walmart; and Doug McMillon, Walmart’s CEO, has been invited to the White House to speak alongside other business leaders. Of their overall efforts, McMillion said, “we were eager to do our part to help serve the country.” Trump later noted “Walmart, as an example, has been really helpful to us.”

President and CEO of Walmart Inc. Doug McMillon shakes hands with President Trump in the Rose Garden of the White House on March 13. (JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

The company has been singled out for offering parking lots as potential sites for drive-through testing facilities and also alongside grocery store and supply chain executives for “keeping their store stocked.”

Trump has only brought up Amazon, one of Walmart’s key competitors, on a couple of occasions; he noted the company was hiring additional warehouse employees to meet a growing online delivery demand.

Ben Werschkul is a producer for Yahoo Finance in Washington, DC.

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