The Past 24 Hours Or So

Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News

Coronavirus/COVID-19 Updates

  • The Trump administration issued new guidance Tuesday barring undocumented college students from receiving federal aid to pay off certain expenses.

The guidance will impact hundreds of thousands of students who are protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which provides work authorizations and protection from deportations for people who were brought to the country illegally as minors.

  • President Trump has announced details of his executive order to suspend immigration amid the coronavirus pandemic, saying the measure would initially last for 60 days and apply to those seeking permanent residence. He added, “It would be wrong and unjust for Americans laid off by the virus to be replaced with new immigrant labor flown in from abroad.”
  • President Trump’s plan to suspend all immigration into the U.S. temporarily to curb further spread of the coronavirus won’t affect foreign employees working on farms, three industry sources familiar with the proposed measures told Politico.

The Department of Homeland Security is reportedly still formulating the planned executive order, which Trump announced late Monday evening, while the Agriculture Department is working alongside the White House to clarify that farmworkers could be exempt, a lobbyist said.

  • A panel of doctors and experts convened by the National Institutes of Health is officially advising against combining two drugs that have been floated as possible cures for COVID-19 — including by President Trump who called hydroxychloroquine and Z-Pak combinations a possible “game changer” — warning of potentially harmful effects after a study found those who took both were actually more likely to die or need mechanical ventilation.
  • President Trump says he is going to ask large businesses and institutions like Harvard University to return money that they received as coronavirus relief from the Paycheck Protection Program that was meant to only serve small businesses with under 500 employees, but which was revealed to have been doled out to major companies.
  • As states begin reopening from coronavirus-related business closures and stay-at-home orders are lifted, Robert Redfield, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is warning a predicted second wave of COVID-19 outbreaks would likely be more deadly because it would overlap with flu season.
  • “I’m very disappointed with the rhetoric and messaging coming from the president,” Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a new interview condemning President Trump for backing protests against coronavirus guidelines. “He’s fomenting protests and I hate to say, that is fomenting some violence, and I’m very concerned about what it might mean for the country if he keeps doing things like that.”
  • New York City will create its own stockpile of medical supplies after Mayor Bill de Blasio said he’s come to the “sobering as hell” realization that the city “can’t depend on the federal government” as it grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The White House and Congress have just reached a deal on a new funding package that will replenish the coronavirus relief program for small businesses. The deal is expected to include $310 billion for the paycheck protection program, which has come under fire for giving funds to major corporations over small businesses and which ran out of money last week.
  • President Donald Trump on Tuesday welcomed the agreement reached between Republican and Democratic lawmakers to provide more coronavirus relief funding for small businesses and others.

The Senate unanimously approved the nearly $500 billion coronavirus response bill on Tuesday.

“I urge the House to pass the bill and they’re going to be voting on it, I imagine very soon,” Trump said. “I think we have tremendous support.”

  • At least a dozen nurses on Tuesday protested outside the White House demanding the administration take action to acquire more personal protective equipment (PPE), reading aloud the names of 50 nurses who have died of coronavirus.

“We are here because our colleagues are dying. I think that right now people think of us as heroes, but we’re feeling like martyrs,” one nurse told NBC News.

  • Attorney General William Barr just said some state governors’ efforts to fight the coronavirus “infringes on a fundamental right” of American residents, calling the stay-at-home orders “disturbingly close to house arrest.” His comments appear to echo some arguments by protesters who want their local economies to reopen from COVID-19 related closures.
  • The Food and Drug Administration has announced it is authorizing the first coronavirus test that allows patients to collect samples at home themselves, a move they hope reduces the need for personal protective equipment for health officials performing in-person tests.
  • Russia, China and Iran are using similar narratives to promote disinformation campaigns against the United States during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a State Department report. The three countries are pushing the narrative that the virus came from US troops and is an American bioweapon being used for political purposes.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) said Tuesday that current evidence points to the novel coronavirus originating in bats in China late last year, adding that it was likely not made in a lab or elsewhere.

“All available evidence suggests the virus has an animal origin and is not manipulated or constructed in a lab or somewhere else,” WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib said at a news briefing in Geneva on Tuesday, Reuters reported. “It is probable, likely that the virus is of animal origin,” Chaib said.

  • A Naval hospital ship that was dispatched to New York City to assist with a surge in coronavirus patients will return to Virginia soon so it can be routed elsewhere, President Trump said Tuesday.

Trump met with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday afternoon at the White House, where the two discussed testing and funding for states. Trump said he also asked Cuomo about reallocating the USNS Comfort to another area of need. 

“I’ve asked Andrew if we could bring the Comfort back to its base in Virginia so that we could have it for other locations, and he said we would be able to do that,” Trump said at a press briefing.

  • President Trump on Tuesday spoke with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was recently discharged from the hospital after being treated for the coronavirus.

The two leaders discussed global efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic as well as efforts to secure a trade agreement between the United States and United Kingdom, according to spokespeople from the White House and 10 Downing Street.

  • President Trump on Tuesday floated providing funds for the oil and gas industry after oil saw its largest market drop in history the day prior, with prices sliding to as low as negative $40 per barrel.

“We will never let the great U.S. Oil & Gas Industry down,” Trump tweeted. “I have instructed the Secretary of Energy and Secretary of the Treasury to formulate a plan which will make funds available so that these very important companies and jobs will be secured long into the future.”

  • President Trump in an early morning tweet on Tuesday said he watched the opening of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and saw “hatred and contempt.”

“Watched the first 5 minutes of poorly rated Morning Psycho on MSDNC just to see if he is as ‘nuts’ as people are saying,” Trump said, apparently referring to co-host Joe Scarborough.

“He’s worse. Such hatred and contempt!” he added. “I used to do his show all the time before the 2016 election, then cut him off. Wasn’t worth the effort, his mind is shot!”

  • The Treasury Department announced Monday that six airlines had reached agreements with the Trump administration to accept Payroll Support Program (PSP) agreements to keep workers on the payroll during the coronavirus outbreak.

A statement on the Treasury Department’s website said that American Airlines, Allegiant Air, Southwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines,  Spirit Airlines and United Airlines had all accepted agreements while several others were in the works.

  • The Pentagon will ask for billions of dollars in the next version of a stimulus package to help defense contractors hit by closures or other effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer said Monday.

“We’re talking billions and billions on that one,” Ellen Lord, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition and sustainment, said at a Pentagon briefing.

  • The Army resumed sending new recruits to basic training, albeit with stipulations, after a two-week pause due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The service is moving forward cautiously, allowing only recruits from areas considered low risk to continue on to the Army’s four training bases.

“Those who are in high risk areas will be rescheduled for future dates,” the Army said in a statement.

  • The Treasury Department plans to get some people their coronavirus relief payments by sending them prepaid debit cards in an effort to get people their payments faster, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday.

During a White House press briefing, Mnuchin said Treasury is “going to be supplementing our capability and sending prepaid debit cards so we can get money out quickly to people.”

  • Rick Bright, the director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority – the federal agency that invests in vaccines, drugs and diagnostics to combat infectious diseases – has departed.Bright will move to the National Institutes of Health
  • Republican politicians and individuals affiliated with President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign are organizing or promoting anti-lockdown protests across key electoral battleground states, despite the White House’s own cautious guidance on relaxing restrictions, interviews with two dozen people involved show.

Other Administration News

  • “I’ve had a very good relationship with him. I can only say this: I wish him well, because if he is in the kind of condition that the reports say, that the news is saying, that’s a very serious condition, as you know,” President Trump said of Kim Jong Un. “If somebody else were in this position, we would’ve been right now at war with North Korea.”
  • The Trump administration has officially published a final rule rolling back some Obama-era environmental protections, essentially removing limits on the amount of pollution that can be dumped into small streams and wetlands.
  • The Trump Organization announced that more than 150 workers at the president’s Mar-A-Lago resort in West Palm Beach, Florida would be temporarily furloughed during the coronavirus outbreak, as stay-at-home orders keep travelers and guests from visiting.
  • The Trump Organization has reportedly asked the Trump administration for rent relief that was granted to other federal tenants for the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. which it rents from the government and is a historic building.
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is projecting 2020 will be the hottest year on record, surpassing a record set in 2016. 

NOAA reported last week that the first quarter of 2020 is off to a near-record start as the second-warmest January through March period since instrument records began in 1880.

  • Scientists for the third time in two months won their case against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which under Scott Pruitt had barred those who received agency grants from serving on any of its boards. 

U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Tuesday sided with Physicians for Social Responsibility and other groups who had challenged the 2017 decision.

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

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