Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News
- President Donald Trump’s directive for governors to buy their own medical supplies to fight the coronavirus has run into a big problem – the federal government. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker told Trump during a video conference on Thursday that his state three times lost out to the federal government on purchases of critical supplies.
The president replied he still wants governors to seek out their own medical equipment, like protective gear for doctors and nurses as well as respirators, but acknowledged the federal government has greater buying power than any state.
- Trump shrugged off responsibility for any hospital equipment shortages by saying saying Thursday there are “millions” of masks available to workers but that it was up to individual states to ensure they are well stocked amid the pandemic.
His comments contrasted sharply pleas from health care workers who are running out of surgical masks and fear there won’t be enough ventilators to treat patients who contract the disease. And, it came as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began advising nurses they could begin using bandanas or scarves as makeshift masks when treating patients with coronavirus – guidance Trump said he was unfamiliar with.
- President Donald Trump on Thursday was photographed reading from notes at the daily coronavirus task force press conference where the word “corona” was crossed out and replaced with “Chinese” to describe COVID-19.
The photograph, taken by a Washington Post photographer, showed the word crossed out in what appeared to be Sharpie and in the president’s own handwriting.
- The Trump administration is considering grounding all passenger air traffic for up to 30 days, temporarily halting stock trading on Wall Street, and imposing a shelter-in-place rule, according to officials. Key officials have begun alerting industry leaders, Capitol Hill, and agencies that the “radical” plan could come early next week
- President Trump claimed during a White House briefing that the Food and Drug Administration had approved the “very powerful” drug chloroquine to treat coronavirus.
NOTE: FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn made clear in a post-briefing statement that Chloroquine – an old drug used to treat malaria – has merely been approved for a clinical trial to treat the coronavirus. This means the government doesn’t know for sure if Chloroquine is safe for coronavirus patients, and doesn’t even know for sure if it’ll be truly effective against coronavirus.
- Homeowners who have lost income or their jobs because of the coronavirus outbreak are getting some relief. Depending on their situation, they should be eligible to have their mortgage payments reduced or suspended for up to 12 months.
Federal regulators, through the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are ordering lenders to offer homeowners flexibility. The move covers about half of all home loans in the U.S. — those guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie. But regulators expect that the entire mortgage industry will quickly adopt a similar policy.
- President Donald Trump faced questions Thursday about his response to the coronavirus pandemic, as it became clear that there is a nationwide shortage of ventilators, masks and other crucial medical equipment.
During a White House news conference, Trump was asked about the shortages and responded, “Where you have a problem with ventilators – we’re working very hard trying to find (ventilators).”. “Nobody in their wildest dreams would have ever thought that we’d need tens of thousands of ventilators. This is something very unique to this, to what happened.”
NOTE: Medical experts and public health officials have said for years that the U.S. would face a shortage of ventilators if there were ever a pandemic like Covid-19. Even during Trump’s presidency, there were warnings that hospitals would run out of lifesaving equipment and resources would be strained because the US wasn’t prepared for a pandemic.
Other Administration News
- President Trump and his three oldest children have been ordered by a federal judge to search through 15 years of business records for materials that could inform a lawsuit alleging they profited by promoting a marketing scam targeting vulnerable investors.
- Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan says Trump, on a call two weeks ago, promised to withdraw the small remainder of American forces now on the ground in NE Syria. Erdogan also says it’s part of a deal with Putin on NE Syria resources.