The Past 24 Hours Or So

Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News

Coronavirus/COVID-19 Updates

  • Trump Tweeted: “Tell the Democrat Governors that “Mutiny On The Bounty” was one of my all time favorite movies. A good old fashioned mutiny every now and then is an exciting and invigorating thing to watch, especially when the mutineers need so much from the Captain. Too easy!”

NOTE: Mutiny on the Bounty was about the ruthless, unjust, tyrannical Captain Bligh of the HMS Bounty who shackled his own crew and tortured so many of his own men that they mutinied against him. It’s fascinating that Trump sees himself as Captain Bligh. 

  • In a late morning Tweet, Trump lashed out at NY Governor Cuomo: “Cuomo’s been calling daily, even hourly, begging for everything, most of which should have been the state’s responsibility, such as new hospitals, beds, ventilators, etc. I got it all done for him, and everyone else, and now he seems to want Independence! That won’t happen!”
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that President Trump is “clearly spoiling for a fight” but that he would not play along. 

“I put my hand out in total partnership and cooperation with the president. If he wants a fight he’s not going to get it from me, period,” Cuomo said at his briefing. “This is going to take us working together. We have a real challenge ahead. Just because those numbers are flattening, it’s no time to relax, we’re not out of the woods.”

  • New mobile testing kits that were hailed by the White House as a game-changing development in the US response to coronavirus are sitting idle across several states as officials say they arrived without enough supplies. Touted as being able to process 3,000 tests per day, the machines arrived with only enough cartridges for about 100 tests. 

The federal government purchased a fleet of the Abbott Laboratories testing machines, which are able to deliver results within minutes instead of days, and began distributing them among the states last week.  

Every state except for Alaska was given 15 machines, regardless of its population or severity of its outbreak. 

  • More than 80 percent of the benefits of a tax change in the coronavirus relief package Congress passed last month will go to those who earn more than $1 million annually, according to a report by a nonpartisan congressional body.

The provision, inserted into the legislation by Senate Republicans, temporarily suspends a limitation on how much owners of businesses formed as “pass-through” entities can deduct against their nonbusiness income, such as capital gains, to reduce their tax liability. The limitation was created as part of the 2017 Republican tax law to offset other tax cuts to firms in that legislation.

  • President Trump reversed his position of asserting ‘total authority’ over states, He now says he’ll authorize the country’s governors to reopen their individual economies as they see fit. 

“I will be speaking to all 50 governors very shortly, and I will then be authorizing each individual governor of each individual state to implement a reopening and a very powerful reopening plan of their state in a time and a manner as most appropriate,” Trump said during a news conference

  • President Trump on Tuesday said his administration will halt funding to the World Health Organization pending a review of the global body for what he described as its mismanagement of the coronavirus outbreak.

Trump said the United States would suspend funding to the organization while officials conduct a review “to assess the World Health Organization’s role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus.”

The president criticized the WHO for opposing large-scale travel restrictions and accused it of failing to quickly vet and share accurate information on COVID-19.

“The WHO’s attack on travel restrictions put political correctness above life-saving measures,” Trump said in the Rose Garden. “The reality is that the WHO failed to adequately obtain, vet and share information in a timely and transparent fashion.”

  • A draft Trump administration plan for reopening the U.S. economy calls for a “phased reopening” that varies across locations depending on local conditions. The Washington Post obtained the draft executive summary of the plan, which it reported had been worked on by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

While no plan has been finalized or announced, the draft plan calls for a step-by-step reopening of the country and says officials should be ready to retighten social distancing measures if conditions worsen.

  • The Treasury Department ordered that President Trump’s name be printed on stimulus checks being sent to millions of American workers impacted by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, The Washington Post reported Tuesday, citing senior Internal Revenue Service officials.

The move, which marks the first time a president’s name will appear on a disbursement from the IRS, will reportedly cause delays for some of the $1,200 payments Congress approved in the $2 trillion stimulus package last month.

  • President Trump on Tuesday announced a new public/private partnership aimed at allowing hospitals to lend unused ventilators to areas that need them to treat patients who have contracted the novel coronavirus. 

Trump announced the new initiative, which he called the “Dynamic Ventilator Reserve,” during a meeting with health care executives at the White House on Tuesday afternoon. He said there were 60,000 unused ventilators in hospitals across the country and that the new program would help get the critical devices to areas that need them.

  • Attorney General William Barr said Tuesday that the government “may not impose special restrictions” on religious gatherings as churches across the country raise eyebrows with large in-person ceremonies conducted against the advice of health officials. 

Barr emphasized recommendations from federal health officials that people practice social distancing and avoid large gatherings, noting that “the Constitution does allow some temporary restriction on our liberties that would not be tolerated in normal circumstances.” 

“But even in times of emergency, when reasonable and temporary restrictions are placed on rights, the First Amendment and federal statutory law prohibit discrimination against religious institutions and religious believers,” Barr said in a statement. “Thus, government may not impose special restrictions on religious activity that do not also apply to similar nonreligious activity.”

  • The CIA advised employees that taking an anti-malarial drug that has been touted by President Trump and others as a potential treatment for coronavirus could have potentially dangerous side effects, including death, The Washington Post reported.

The warning was published on a website for CIA staff with questions related to the coronavirus pandemic. 

“At this point, the drug is not recommended to be used by patients except by medical professionals prescribing it as part of ongoing investigational studies. There are potentially significant side effects, including sudden cardiac death, associated with hydroxychloroquine

  • Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley told reporters the majority of evidence suggests the coronavirus started from nature. “There’s a lot of rumor and speculation in a wide variety of media, the blog sites, etc.,” “At this point it’s inconclusive, although the weight of evidence seems to indicate natural, but we don’t know for certain.”
  • Seven crew members on the U.S. Navy hospital ship docked in Los Angeles have tested positive for the coronavirus, the Navy said.
  • During Monday’s coronavirus briefing, president Donald Trump claimed that Joe Biden apologized for accusing him of xenophobia. He also said that the former vice president had sent him a letter of apology.

The Biden campaign says that there was no letter, and that there was no apology.

Other Administration News

  • Debt held by the public is on track to exceed the size of the entire U.S. economy this year for the first time since World War II, according to a new analysis by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB).

According to projections from the group, which advocates for lowering the federal debt, the deficit for fiscal 2020 will exceed $3.8 trillion, more than 2.5 times the record set during the Great Recession.

  • Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said that he does not view North Korea’s latest missile test as “particularly provocative.”

“It’s mixed right now in terms of the assessment,”  said at a Pentagon briefing Tuesday. “I don’t think it’s particularly provocative or threatening to us as to what happened. It may be tied to some celebrations that are happening inside North Korea, as opposed to any deliberate provocation against us.”

“These are short range,” Milley said, adding that the missiles aren’t “particularly big.”

  • Thirteen states and several environmental groups filed separate lawsuits against the Trump administration on Tuesday seeking to block a rule they say will impede efforts to make a number of products more energy-efficient.

The rule finalized by the Department of Energy (DOE) in January begins the lengthy process of updating standards for appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners only if the new standards provide a 10 percent improvement over existing ones.

  • The Department of Energy is moving ahead with its plan to rent storage capacity to struggling oil companies that are running out of space amid a steep drop in demand due to the coronavirus.

DOE is negotiating contracts with nine oil companies that want to use space in the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The deal will use 23 million barrels of capacity in the 77 million barrel tanks.

  • A federal court has struck down a 2018 Agriculture Department rule that reversed nutrition standards for sodium and whole grains in school meal programs once championed by the former first lady Michelle Obama.

The sodium and whole-grain standards were the first of a series of efforts by the Trump administration to roll back school nutrition rules implemented by the Obama administration.

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