WASHINGTON—In an effort to equip the nation’s medical centers for the exponential increase in patients seeking treatment for coronavirus, President Donald Trump issued an executive order Friday that requires manufacturers to quickly and dramatically ramp up production of hospital gift shop supplies. “This is a vital industry, and we must ensure the gift retailers in America’s hospitals do not face dangerous shortages of fruit baskets, plush dolls, light-hearted get-well-soon cards, and inscribed keepsake candles,” the commander-in-chief said as he called upon the entire manufacturing sector to marshal its resources to produce the quantities of scented shea-butter soap, beaded jewelry, novelty coffee mugs, and word-find games that would be necessary to prevent rationing in hospitals. “Even under the most optimistic scenario, we’ll need to turn out 500% more singing teddy bears and Mylar balloons, while overseeing a tenfold increase in print runs of Chicken Soup For The Soul books. The hardworking men and women in our hospitals shouldn’t be put in triage situations in which they have to decide who gets a throw pillow embroidered with an inspirational quote and who doesn’t.” Trump added that if necessary, he will seize control of and repurpose factories currently making less critical medical devices in order to maintain adequate inventories of kettle-corn gift tins.
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