Trump Activates National Guard to Handle Coronavirus: ‘We’re at War’

Trump Activates National Guard to Handle Coronavirus: ‘We’re at War’

Image Credit: The White House from Washington, DC / Public domain


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Welton Wang
Managing Editor
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press

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Speaking at the Coronavirus Task Force Briefing Sunday, President Donald Trump announced he was activating the National Guard in the states of New York, California, and Washington, where the virus has hit the hardest, to help fight the spread of the coronavirus.

Trump said that the respective governors of those states would retain command over the National Guard, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would pay for 100 percent of costs, freeing up state resources.

“This will give them maximum flexibility to use the guard against the virus without having to worry about cost or liability, and freeing up state resources to protect the health and safety of the people in their state.”

In addition, he announced the deployment of new supplies and beds to assist with the coronavirus response.

“We have large quantities of medical equipment and supplies on the way, based on all of this, to the states, including respirators, surgical masks and gowns, coveralls, and gloves already delivered to Washington and to New York. In addition to large quantities of supplies, I’ve directed FEMA to supply the following: four large medical stations with 1,000 beds for New York, eight large medical stations with 2,000 beds for California, and three large federal medical stations, and four small medical stations with 1000 beds for the state of Washington.“

According to Trump, the placement of those medical centers would be based on “the governor’s request.”

“We send the resource to them and they will put it to best use. They will put it to where they will have the most effect. We do not dictate where it goes […] again it is a request from the state to the federal government and the governor can use that as he or she sees fit.”

The National Guard is composed mostly of people who hold a civilian job and serve in the National Guard part-time. The deployment of the National Guard will currently be used mainly to deliver supplies as well as help coordinate medical centers.

Then, aligning with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s and New York City Mayor’s “war mentality,” President Trump described the coronavirus and its economic impact as “war.”

“I want to assure the American people that we’re doing everything we can each day to ultimately defeat this horrible, invisible enemy. We’re at war. In a true sense, we’re at war and we’re an invisible enemy.”

“We have to help the workers. We have to save the companies because as soon as we’re finished with this war, our country is going to bounce back like you’ve never seen before. but we have to get it to that position and we have to make sure those companies are whole, that they haven’t been disbanded.”

Previously, Gov. Cuomo had called for more federal aid for New York, which has been hit the hardest by the coronavirus.

“I think the federal government should order factories to manufacture masks, gowns, ventilators, the essential medical equipment that is going to make the difference between life and death,” he said on Sunday. “It’s not hard to make a mask or PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) equipment or a gown, but you need companies to do it.”

Senator Gary Peters (D-Mich.) said this Friday that many companies in his state are ready to transition temporarily to manufacturing ventilators and other medical equipment to help fight the coronavirus, but they “need direction from the administration.”

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