The Past 24 Hours Or So

Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News

Coronavirus/COVID-19 Updates

  • The Trump administration will formally trigger the Defense Production Act Tuesday to secure coronavirus testing kits, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency Peter Gaynor said. His comments are at odds with President Trump, who has been resisting growing pressure to use his authority under the DPA to increase production of urgently needed supplies to fight the coronavirus.
  • The White House is reportedly planning to promote the use of two malaria drugs frequently touted by President Trump as a potential treatment for coronavirus despite their unproven benefits, using a platform built by the tech firm Oracle.

The platform is slated to be used to collect information about off-label uses of the two drugs, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. The FDA is still reviewing both drugs’ effectiveness as a coronavirus treatment, and top public health officials have warned against jumping to conclusions on their effects.

  • Experts are not mincing words about Trump’s declaration he wants to lift restrictions by Easter. Dr. Keith Martin, who heads the Consortium of Universities for Global Health, said simply that if restrictions were lifted prematurely, “President Trump will have blood on his hands.”
  • Trump on COVID-19 Hotspot Governors: “I think we are doing very well. But it’s a two-way street. They have to treat us well, also. They can’t say, “Oh, gee, we should get this, we should get that.”
  • Anyone who recently traveled from the New York City metro area should self-quarantine for 14 days from the time they left due to the high coronavirus infection rate in the city, members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force said Tuesday.

“Everyone who was in New York should be self-quarantined for the next 14 days to ensure the virus doesn’t spread to others, no matter where they have gone,” coronavirus task force coordinator Deborah Birx told reporters.

  • Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the price tag of economic stimulus amounts to roughly $6 trillion, which includes $2 trillion for direct assistance, and roughly $4 trillion in Federal Reserve lending power.
  • The three states that President Donald Trump has formally declared coronavirus disaster areas have not received the disaster unemployment assistance that they expected to follow that designation. New York, California and Washington state all requested access to several aid programs provided under a disaster declaration, including disaster unemployment assistance.
  • The White House and Senate leaders reached a deal early Wednesday morning on a massive stimulus package they hope will keep the nation from falling into a deep recession because of the coronavirus crisis.

The revamped Senate proposal will inject approximately $2 trillion into the economy, providing tax rebates, four months expanded unemployment benefits and a slew of business tax-relief provisions aimed at shoring up individual, family and business finances.

  • Health officials battling the coronavirus are making the difficult decision to limit testing in an effort to conserve critical resources, even as more test kits become available.

The balancing act means that despite an increase in drive-thru testing sites and point-of-care tests that deliver results in minutes, some of the hardest-hit areas are still restricting evaluations to health workers and the most vulnerable patients.

  • Top Pentagon leaders on Tuesday estimated that the coronavirus outbreak could last months, as the number of military service members with confirmed cases continues to climb. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley estimated that it might be as late as July before the crisis abates.
  • Some of the country’s most iconic national parks closed Tuesday amid growing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. The National Park Service closed Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Great Smoky Mountains on Tuesday, marking the latest in a series of closures around the country.
  • People who deliberately spread coronavirus could face federal terrorism charges for “purposeful exposure and infection,” according to a Department of Justice memo. Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen sent the memo to department leaders, law enforcement agency chiefs and U.S. attorneys on Tuesday.

“Because Coronavirus appears to meet the statutory definition of a ‘biological agent’… such acts potentially could implicate the Nation’s terrorism-related statutes,” Rosen wrote.

  • Citing the coronavirus, President Trump said the federal government was postponing the Oct. 1, 2020, deadline for Americans to obtain a Real ID to travel, in order to alleviate crowding at local Department of Motor Vehicles

Other Administration News

  • A federal judge on Tuesday rejected a plea from Michael Cohen for a sentence reduction as the coronavirus spreads across New York, where President Trump’s former lawyer is serving a three-year prison term.
  • The Trump administration is pushing ahead with drilling lease sales as oil prices plummet and amid calls from conservation groups and others to suspend business as usual during the coronavirus outbreak. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) held lease sales in Wyoming, Montana, Nevada and Colorado on Monday, selling oil rights on parcels of public land covering hundreds of thousands of acres

But taxpayer groups argue the sales come at an inopportune time, as oil prices fall to roughly $23 a barrel, risking generating little income for the treasury.

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