• "We hit 3M hard today after seeing what they were doing with their Masks," Trump tweeted . "Big surprise to many in government as to what they were doing will have a big price to pay!"
  • Earlier on Thursday, Trump revealed he had signed a Defense Production Act order that requires the industrials titan to make more masks for the nation.
  • While 3M has doubled production to 100 million masks a month since January, demand continues to outstrip its capacity.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories .

President Donald Trump slammed 3M on Thursday night, suggesting the maker of N95 respiratory masks the gold standard for healthcare providers facing a deluge of novel coronavirus patients was dropping the ball.

"We hit 3M hard today after seeing what they were doing with their Masks," Trump tweeted. "'P Act' all the way," he continued, referring to his signing of a Defense Production Act order that requires the industrials titan to produce more masks for the country.

"Big surprise to many in government as to what they were doing will have a big price to pay!" he added.

3M stock slid about 3% in pre-market trading, wiping more than $2 billion from its market capitalization. The decline outpaced a 1.3% drop in Dow Jones Industrial Average futures.

Trump announced his invoking of the act which requires companies to accept and prioritize government contracts for national security and other reasons during a White House briefing earlier on Thursday. "Hopefully they'll be able to do what they are supposed to do," he said.

N95 masks remain in short supply among healthcare providers and other frontline workers. Global cases of coronavirus passed the 1 million mark this week; the US accounts for more than a fifth of that figure .

"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," Trump's trade adviser, Peter Navarro, said at the briefing.

Trump's tweet came hours after the publication of a Wall Street Journal story underlining 3M's struggles to satisfy orders despite doubling mask output to nearly 100 million a month since January.

"The demand we have exceeds our production capacity," Mike Roman, the CEO of the Post-its and Scotch tape maker, told the newspaper.

3M and a handful of smaller rivals are currently churning out around 50 million N95 masks a month, well below the estimated 300 million units needed by US healthcare workers monthly, the Wall Street Journal reported.

A spokesperson from 3M was not immediately available for a comment when contacted by Business Insider.

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