The Past 24 Hours Or So

Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News

Coronavirus/COVID-19 Updates

  • A national nurses union announced that members of their organization will be protesting outside the White House on Tuesday to demand funding for mass production of personal protective equipment in the next coronavirus stimulus package. Members planned to read aloud names of nurses who have died from COVID-19 as hospitals across the country struggle to provide masks, gloves and other equipment for staffers.
  • “Not everybody believes we should do so much testing,” President Trump told reporters during the latest coronavirus task force briefing, lashing out at governors and lawmakers who are asking for more COVID-19 tests to be done. “it’s almost impossible to get to the maximum number, and yet we’ve been able to do it already.”
  • The president attacked Maryland’s governor for getting tests from South Korea, saying: “I don’t think he needed to go to South Korea. I think he needed to get a little knowledge — would have been helpful.”
  • Recipients of Social Security and railroad retirement benefits who have children are being instructed by the IRS to act by Wednesday in order to quickly receive the full amount of their coronavirus relief payment. The announcement gives non-filers who receive certain federal benefits only a short amount of time to get the payments for their children added to their automatic payments.
  • President Trump said Monday that adequate coronavirus testing existed but was being underutilized by governors, following a chorus of complaints by state leaders and health care experts regarding the country’s insufficient testing capacity.

The White House last week issued guidelines on a three-tiered approach for states to begin easing coronavirus restrictions. But many state officials have said that they do not yet have the capacity to aggressively test for new COVID-19 cases.

  • During an exchange with “PBS NewsHour” White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor, Trump claimed he hadn’t “left the White House in months” except to send off the USNS Comfort, a hospital ship sent from Virginia to aid New York.

When Alcindor reminded him that he had campaign rallies in February and March, Trump responded, “I don’t know. Did I hold a rally? I’m sorry. I hold a rally. Did I hold a rally? Let me tell you, in January, when I did this, we had virtually no cases and no deaths.”

NOTE: Trump held five campaign rallies in February and one on March 2. He left the White House on several occasions in March.

  • Trump repeated the claim: “We put on a ban of China where China can’t come in and before March we put on a ban on Europe where Europe can’t come in, so how could you say I wasn’t taking it seriously?”

NOTE: The travel restrictions Trump announced against China and Europe are not total bans; they contain multiple exemptions. Only foreign nationals who had been in China, Europe’s Schengen area, the UK or Ireland within the past 14 days are outright banned from entering the US.

  • The U.S. will need to administer 20 million coronavirus tests daily by mid-summer in order to fully re-mobilize the economy in a safe fashion, according to a shocking new report from a Harvard panel of more than 45 experts in health, science and economics.

The proposed number of tests comes as the U.S. has, as of Monday afternoon, administered a total of about 4 million tests for COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

  • President Trump is sending conflicting signals on social distancing restrictions, backing federal guidelines that leave decisions to governors, while at the same time offering public support for protests of Democratic governors. Some are taking his move to support protesters as a green light to ignore social distancing guidelines.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top government official on infectious diseases, warned Monday that protests in opposition to governors’ stay-at-home orders meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus will “backfire” and further delay the reopening of the economy. Fauci has pushed back on the protests after President Trump signaled his support for those gathering by the hundreds in states across the country.

“So as painful as it is to go by the careful guidelines of gradually phasing into a reopening, it’s going to backfire. That’s the problem.”

  • The director of the World Health Organization shared an ominous coronavirus warning on Monday as the Trump administration is planning to let states begin reopening their economies, saying: “Trust us. The worst is yet ahead of us… It’s a virus that many people still don’t understand.”
  • White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said in a new interview that President Trump wants protesters who are upset with coronavirus guidelines to follow CDC guidelines, saying: “We need physical distancing of six feet, wear that face covering, that mask.” But she went on to join protesters’ criticism of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, saying some state leaders have “physically distanced from common sense.”
  • As President Trump has recently fired an inspector general and escalated his criticism of federal watchdogs, The Government Accountability Office — which is housed under the legislative branch and is mostly untouchable by Trump —has announced it is launching investigations into the federal government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, including how testing of COVID-19 has been conducted, how stimulus relief money has been distributed, and how crucial medical equipment has been doled out nationwide.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Novartis have reached an agreement to allow the Swiss pharmaceutical company to proceed with a clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine for patients with COVID-19.. The trial is set to evaluate the anti-malaria drug, which President Trump has repeatedly touted as a potential “game changer” in the fight against COVID-19. Health officials have insisted, however, that not enough is known about the drug to determine its efficacy.
  • President Donald Trump said he would meet with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the White House on Tuesday.

“They are getting it together in New York,” Trump at a coronavirus news briefing said Monday of Cuomo’s handling of the pandemic in the state, which has become the U.S. epicenter of the outbreak.

“He’s coming to the Oval Office tomorrow afternoon,” Trump told reporters. “Andrew is going to be coming in with some of his people, so we look forward to that.”

  • President Trump and his allies in conservative media have subtly scaled down their hyping of hydroxychloroquine as a potential cure for the coronavirus over the past week, according to a POLITICO review of White House briefings and cable news coverage.
  • The Education Department says just $6 million of $6.28 billion in emergency aid for college students has reached campuses so far, and officials are trading accusations with college leaders over the slow pace of a rollout that’s left students waiting for help.
  • President Trump says he is suspending immigration to the U.S. in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the “need to protect jobs.”

Trump Tweeted: ““In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter, “I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!”

Other Administration News

  • Documents newly made public reveal that the White House directly pushed for the EPA to loosen regulations on so-called “forever chemicals,” which have been linked to cancer and serious illness and which are known to stay in the environment for a long period of time, leaching into water supplies.

Sources:  ABC News, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, The Hill, NBC News, NY Times, Politico, Washington Post

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