Trump Bets Business Will Answer Call to Fight Virus, but Strategy Bewilders Firms – The New York Times

“. . . .  There is plenty of volunteer cooperation, they say, and there is always the implicit threat of ordering mandatory measures if they do not. Mr. Trump, at the news briefing, suggested an ideological concern as well. “We’re a country not based on nationalizing our business,” he said.

At the briefing, Mr. Navarro said, “We’re getting what we need without putting the heavy hand of government down.”

In an interview, Mr. Navarro said the administration would not hesitate to use its powers in certain situations. For example, he said, some brokers had been hoarding supplies of masks in warehouses and trying to sell them at exorbitant prices.

“That’s a Defense Production Act action waiting to happen,” he said. “If anybody thinks they’re going to sit on urgently needed supplies and profiteer from this crisis, they’re going to answer to the full force of the Trump administration.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the heads of major corporations have lobbied the administration against using the act. They say the move could prove counterproductive, imposing red tape on companies precisely when they need flexibility to deal with closed borders and shuttered factories.

Mr. Trump and the director of his national economic council, Larry Kudlow, as well as Mr. Kushner, were persuaded by those arguments, administration officials said.”