Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News
- President Trump claimed that he, not state governors, has the ultimate authority to loosen restrictions on states as the coronavirus outbreak eases, an assertion disputed by legal experts.
“For the purpose of creating conflict and confusion, some in the Fake News Media are saying that it is the Governors (sic) decision to open up the states, not that of the President of the United States & the Federal Government. Let it be fully understood that this is incorrect,” Trump tweeted Monday morning.
“It is the decision of the President, and for many good reasons. With that being said, the Administration and I are working closely with the Governors, and this will continue,” Trump continued. “A decision by me, in conjunction with the Governors and input from others, will be made shortly!”
- President Trump used a briefing intended to inform the public about the latest developments in the battle against the virus to spin his handling of the pandemic as a success. He lashed out at critics of his response to the coronavirus outbreak, rattling off a litany of grievances about press coverage and airing a reel of cable news footage that portrayed his actions in a positive light. He bristled at any criticism and picked fights with journalists in the room before experts delivered any update on the disease that has killed more than 22,000 people in the U.S.
- Trump repeatedly highlighted his decision to restrict travel from China in late January before there were any virus-related deaths confirmed in the U.S., arguing he did so sooner than many experts and lawmakers suggested was necessary. He returned to the travel restrictions several times as reporters sought to ask about what steps his administration took between that order and instituting social distancing guidelines more than a month later, a period during which the number of cases grew.
- Trump aired what amounted to a three minute campaign ad on screens set up behind the podium. The video featured clips of cable news doctors saying in January that the coronavirus did not represent an imminent threat to the U.S., Trump announcing measures such as expanded telehealth options and a national emergency, and Democratic governors thanking the president for offering federal assistance to states responding to the virus.
Asked where the video came from, Trump said it was produced in the White House in the hours before the briefing.
- The Trump administration is asking Congress to push back statutory deadlines for the 2020 Census amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, said in a press release that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told her in a phone call Monday that he wants Congress to pass legislation to delay by four months the deadline for providing the decennial count to the president, pushing it from Dec. 31 to April 30.
- White House trade adviser Peter Navarro criticized television health experts encouraging the government to remain closed, saying the remarks were disappointing and ignored the “mortal dangers” to closing the economy for a long time because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Navarro in an interview with The New York Times said a longer shutdown of the economy could cause negative health effects.
- The Pentagon announced a $415 million contract for 60 machines that will stretch the use of dwindling N95 masks, allowing the scarce personal protective equipment to be disinfected and reused up to 20 times.
The Defense Department awarded the contract for “Battelle Memorial Institute Critical Care Decontamination Systems, that can decontaminate up to 80,000 used N95 respirators per system per day,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Andrews said in a statement.
- A sailor from the U.S. aircraft carrier stricken with the novel coronavirus has died from complications related to COVID-19. The sailor from the USS Theodore Roosevelt was declared dead Monday after being taken to an intensive care unit last week, the Navy said in a statement.
- The Food and Drug Administration approved the first saliva-based coronavirus test Monday under its emergency powers, Rutgers University announced.
The FDA deployed its emergency-use authorization to approve of the test from the Rutgers lab RUCDR Infinite Biologics, informing the university of its approval on Saturday. The new saliva-based test aims to allow for increased testing and safety for health professionals conducting screening.
Other Administration News
- Supporters of a treaty meant to reduce the risk of accidental war are sounding the alarm President Trump could withdraw from the agreement as the world’s attention is consumed by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Open Skies Treaty allows the pact’s 35 signatories, including the United States and Russia, to fly unarmed observation flights over each other’s territories with the intention of providing transparency about military activities to avoid miscalculations that could lead to war.
- U.S. greenhouse gas emissions increased by about 3 percent in 2018, according to a new report from the Environmental Protection Agency. The increase follows declines in greenhouse gas emissions in recent years. For example, emissions fell by about half a percent in 2017 and by nearly 3 percent in 2016. The last time greenhouse gas emissions increased was 2014.