President Trump announced that he is activating the National Guard in California, New York and Washington state in an effort to combat the coronavirus outbreak during a briefing at the White House Sunday evening.
Trump added that through FEMA, the federal government will fully fund the cost of deploying national guard units to “carry out approved missions to stop the virus while those governors remain in command.”
After describing the federal government as a “backup” to state leaders, Trump said that his administration will follow governors and hopes “they can do the job.”
“I spoke with all three of the governors today, just a little while ago and they’re very happy with what we’re going to be doing,” Trump said.
Trump added that his administration is “dealing also with other states” but that the National Guard is being activated in the states that were hit the hardest.
The President’s latest remarks come after he approved disaster declarations for New York and Washington. During the briefing, Trump said he plans to approve one for California soon.
“The federal government has deployed hundreds of tons of supplies from our national stocks pile to locations with the greatest need in order to assist in those areas,” Trump said.
Trump also addressed Sen. Mitt Romney’s (R-UT) decision to self-quarantine shortly after Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) announced that he tested positive for coronavirus earlier Sunday.
“Romney’s in isolation?” Trump said. “Gee, that’s too bad.”
When asked if he was being sarcastic, Trump replied “none whatsoever.”
Later in the briefing, Trump was asked whether lawmakers like Romney opting to self-quarantine poses a threat to the function of the Senate. After saying that he hopes his administration won’t have to extend his administration’s aim to slow the coronavirus’ spread within 15 days, Trump added that he doesn’t see “any threat at all” to lawmakers choosing to self-quarantine.
“Honestly I don’t see any threats at all. It will all work out,” Trump said, as the coronavirus stimulus bill failed to get enough votes in a key Senate procedural vote Sunday evening.
Trump added that his administration is looking “very strongly” at figuring out how lawmakers can start voting remotely.
“It is a question, a very good question,” Trump said. “I don’t know if you can do it constitutionally, but we are considering letting people vote — senators, congressmen and women — from a separate location.”
Watch Trump’s remarks below:
Trump announces that he's activating the National Guard to combat coronavirus outbreak in California, New York and Washington state pic.twitter.com/eDSTRZTgFZ
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) March 22, 2020