Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

GM and Ventec Life Systems are partnering to build ventilators in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: Ventec

President Trump on Friday ordered General Motors to make ventilators to help coronavirus patients — something the automaker was already on track to do.

Why it matters: The United States was caught flat-footed by the surge in demand for medical supplies. If the federal government had enlisted manufacturers earlier, when the virus was beginning to spread throughout the world, GM and other manufacturers could already be producing thousands of ventilators per month.

  • Instead, they're just beginning to ramp up, with significant production volumes not likely until the end of April or later — too late, perhaps, to make a difference in New York or other emerging hot spots.

Where it stands: At a press briefing Friday, Trump said the administration is working with about 10 ventilator companies to increase production, and he named White House trade adviser Peter Navarro to oversee the effort.

  • Over the next 100 days, said Trump, "we will make or get" more than 100,000 additional ventilators.

Trump singled out GM for "wasting time," however, saying he would enforce the Defense Production Act, a wartime measure, to compel the company to "accept, perform, and prioritize Federal contracts for ventilators."

The catch: He's attacking the only automaker that is making significant progress toward ventilator production.

While others like Ford and Tesla are conferring with existing ventilator manufacturers to see how they can help them expand production capacity, GM and a partner, Ventec Life Systems, are already gearing up to make the machines at a GM plant in Kokomo, Indiana.

  • Over the past week, GM and Ventec found global sources for all 700 necessary components in Ventec's multi-function ventilators.
  • Suppliers have been told to gear up for production of as many as 200,000 machines.
  • Unlike a car assembly line, the manufacturing process is fairly labor-intensive. GM plans to deploy 1,000 hand-raisers among its existing employees, and may hire new workers, too.

Between the lines: Trump has been a critic of GM and its chief executive, Mary Barra, for closing plants in the U.S., which seemed to play into his decision to enforce the DPA against GM and no other automakers.

  • While he said GM and Ventec wavered on how many ventilators they could deliver and how much it would cost, his explanation quickly belied his feelings toward the automaker.
  • "I didn’t go into it with a very favorable view," he told reporters Friday. "I was extremely unhappy they left Lordstown, Ohio. I love Ohio," which is an important swing state in the 2020 presidential race. "That would be a good place to build the ventilators."
  • GM sold its former Lordstown assembly plant last year, however, and recently announced plans to open a $2.3 billion battery factory nearby, creating 1,100 jobs.

What's next: After GM-built prototypes are validated and the Kokomo plant is cleared by the FDA — likely by the end of April — the two companies plan to scale up to 10,000 ventilators a month, compared to the 250 per month that Ventec currently produces.

Go deeper

Rep. Rice demands Cuomo resign after third woman accuses him of misconduct

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a February news conference in New York City. Photo: Seth Wenig/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) on Monday evening called for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to resign, after a third woman accused him of inappropriate behavior.

Driving the news: Anna Ruch told the New York Times Monday that Cuomo asked to kiss her at a New York City wedding reception in September 2019.

Scoop: Inside the GOP's plan to retake the House

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Republicans will reclaim their majority in 2022 by offering candidates who are women, minorities or veterans, a memo obtained by Axios says.

Why it matters: The document, drafted by a super PAC blessed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, names top Democrats to target — Jared Golden of Maine, Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania and Ron Kind of Wisconsin — and the type of Republican candidates to beat them.

33 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Trump talked out of early Ohio endorsement

Jane Timken at a 2017 Trump rally. Photo: Kyle Mazza/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Donald Trump had to be talked out of making an early endorsement in Ohio's 2022 U.S. Senate race, a sign of his eagerness to reengage politically, people familiar with the conversations tell Axios.

What we're hearing: The former president discussed endorsing former state GOP chair Jane Timken last week during a meeting at Mar-a-Lago with RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, but top advisers — including Donald Trump Jr. — urged him to wait.