Thursday morning, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer urged President Trump to use the Defense Production Act to compel private-sector production of medical supplies, such as ventilators. In response, Trump blamed Schumer, a US senator, for failing to prepare the state of New York for the coronavirus outbreak.
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Capping a week when some were praising President Donald Trump's new and somber tone, the president, on Thursday, sent a missive to the Senate's top Democrat, Chuck Schumer. In the message, Trump boasted of his poll numbers and blamed a federal lawmaker for the alleged failures of New York's state government. The April 2 letter was sent in response to a request from the Senate Minority Leader for the Trump administration to invoke the Defense Production Act. That would compel the private sector to manufacture sorely needed medical equipment and designate a military official to oversee the logistics of resource distribution in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. "This is a matter of the utmost urgency for the health of every American," Schumer wrote to the president earlier in the day. "Regrettably, our national response is far behind where it should be. But by acting now, there is still time to help protect our medical professionals, reduce suffering, and save lives."
President Trump, to Minority Leader Chuck Schumer: "You should have had New York much better prepared than you did." pic.twitter.com/QpkUdLmvO6 — David Gura 🏡 (@davidgura) April 2, 2020
In response, Trump — who throughout March compared COVID-19 to the seasonal flu — dismissed the requests as "incorrect sound bites." "If you spent less time on your ridiculous impeachment hoax, which went haplessly on forever and ended up going nowhere (except increasing my poll numbers), and instead focused on helping the people of New York, then New York would not have been so completely unprepared for the 'invisible enemy," the US president asserted. Over 2,300 people in New York state have died of COVID-19, with officials announcing 432 new deaths on Thursday — 42 percent of all coronavirus deaths nationwide, according to The New York Times, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo warning the state will run out of ventilators within a week. Despite the shortage, Trump, in his letter, claimed he did not need to invoke the Defense Production Act as the mere threat of doing so was enough to get companies to "do whatever we are asking." In a March 27 tweet, for example, he told Ford Motor Company to "GET GOING ON VENTILATORS, FAST!!!!!!" Ford had announced days earlier that it was looking to repurpose some of its car factories to produce ventilators. The president, meanwhile, on March 30, questioned whether more production is even needed, telling Fox News' Sean Hannity that "I don't believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators." Have a news tip? Email this reporter: firstname.lastname@example.orgJoin the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Extremists turned a frog meme into a hate symbol, but Hong Kong protesters revived it as an emblem of hope
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The president often criticized the Defense Production Act as anti-business. Now he’s campaigning on having frequently...The president often criticized the Defense Production Act as anti-business. Now he’s campaigning on having frequently used the law to ramp up production of medical gear.
U.S. coronavirus cases passed 93,800 as President Trump visited a Ford plant now making ventilators and...U.S. coronavirus cases passed 93,800 as President Trump visited a Ford plant now making ventilators and protective equipment.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer warns Detroit is 'going to lose a lot of people' as her state's healthcare system is 'pushed to the brink'
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer warned that the coronavirus is poised to ravage her state, and she...Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer warned that the coronavirus is poised to ravage her state, and she demanded the president compel all states to comply with "one national standard" to handle the pandemic. "This toll is going to be real," she told Insider of Detroit. "We're going to lose a lot of people; we're going to have healthcare systems that are pushed to the brink." President Donald Trump has repeatedly attacked Whitmer, referring to her as "the woman in Michigan," after she requested emergency medical equipment from the federal government. Whitmer criticized states that have been slow to act and said she wants to see "one national standard that is dictated from the federal government that is as aggressive as the most aggressive state has been." Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer warned the coronavirus is poised to ravage her state and demanded President Donald Trump implement an aggressive national standard to address the crisis in an interview with Insider on Thursday. Whitmer said Detroit, her state's most populous city, is "going to lose a lot of people" from the virus and stressed that Michigan's healthcare system is already "at capacity in a lot of ways." "This toll is going to be real," the Democrat told Insider. "We're going to lose a lot of people, we're going to have healthcare systems that are pushed to the brink, and it's going to take a while to recover from this economically." As of Thursday, Michigan had the fourth-highest number of coronavirus infections in the country, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said he's "worried" Detroit's infections are "gonna take off." Whitmer has been critical of the president's inconsistent response to the pandemic and demanded that he implement a single "national standard that is dictated from the federal government," which all states must abide by. She slammed Florida's governor for refusing to issue a statewide stay at home order until Wednesday and argued that the virus will spread more widely under a patchwork system. "I have a father who's in Florida right now, and I'm just stunned that it took this long to get a stay home order," she said. "I've been trying to get him to come home to Michigan, frankly, because I'm worried." Whitmer wants the national standards to be "as aggressive as the most aggressive state has been." Michigan's response to the virus has been among the most aggressive in the country. Whitmer first declared a state of emergency in Michigan on March 10, and on March 24 issued a statewide stay at home order that she wants to extend for 70 days until mid-June. But the governor says if she was "being totally honest," she'd have sped up the timeline on her crucial decisions. Whitmer said recent news that the federal government has failed to properly maintain its national stockpile of essential medical equipment was "incredibly distressing." She urged the president to use the Defense Production Act to compel manufacturers to quickly produce life-saving supplies that the country is lacking. While Trump has insisted he has 10,000 ventilators left in the stockpile, The New York Times reported Wednesday that 2,109 other ventilators in the stockpile are currently unusable after the government failed to hire a new contractor to maintain them last year. "We are working so hard to supplement what we expect to be in the national strategic stockpile, and I think it just makes the work that we're doing every single day that much harder," Whitmer said. The governor also criticized Trump's decision this week not to temporarily reopen the Obamacare marketplace to nearly 30 million uninsured Americans. Whitmer said she hopes this crisis will encourage more Americans to support universal healthcare, but she wouldn't endorse a single-payer system. "I do think that getting more people — getting everyone — covered and having a healthcare system that can meet our needs is important," she said. "And we're seeing it right now in real-time, and I'm hopeful more people embrace that concept." 'The woman in Michigan' Last month, Whitmer joined a slew of other governors in requesting that the federal government send essential, difficult to source medical equipment. She repeatedly pleaded for more ventilators and personal protective equipment and criticized Trump's decision to largely leave the task of procuring these supplies up to the states. Trump soon began publicly attacking Whitmer, questioning her intelligence and dismissing her urgent requests. The president said he told Vice President Mike Pence not to communicate with "the woman in Michigan" or the governor of Washington — both states facing more severe virus outbreaks. "We've had a big problem with the young, a woman governor," he told Fox News host Sean Hannity. "You know who I'm talking about, from Michigan." Hi, my name is Gretchen Whitmer, and that governor is me 👋I've asked repeatedly and respectfully for help. We need it. No more political attacks, just PPEs, ventilators, N95 masks, test kits. You said you stand with Michigan — prove it. https://t.co/FtWlTLZdqW — Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer) March 27, 2020 Whitmer has refused to wade into personal attacks but said the federal government has interfered with several states' ability to contract with manufacturers. "Those contracts were getting delayed or canceled, our goods were being diverted to the federal government — vendors told us that was the case," Whitmer told Insider. "When I reached out to the federal government, they didn't necessarily acknowledge that was the case, but they were aware that was an issue." Just hours after Trump finally approved Whitmer's request for an emergency disaster declaration on Saturday, he labeled her with a degrading nickname: "Gretchen 'Half' Whitmer." A host of Democrats and Republicans, including Whitmer's former GOP gubernatorial opponent, have defended her against Trump's attacks. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who confirmed that Whitmer is on his list of potential running mates, has publicly praised Whitmer's virus response. Whitmer, who has endorsed Biden, said she doesn't think the presidential candidate, who's been relatively quiet throughout the crisis, needs to speak out more strongly against Trump's pandemic response right now. "At the appropriate time, we as a country are going to have to really analyze all of the factors that contributed to what is going to be an incredibly sad story of how many people got sick and how many people died as a result of COVID-19," she said. "We're going to analyze our national strategic stockpile and what worked and what didn't work, we're going to have to analyze our preparation at the federal level, as well as our state responses ... But in this moment, the crisis is so acute in so many different places that I have a hard time seeing past it." SEE ALSO: Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago says she has 'serious questions' about the national strategic stockpile needed to fight the coronavirus Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Extremists turned a frog meme into a hate symbol, but Hong Kong protesters revived it as an emblem of hope