Trump to send National Guard to New York, California, Washington

WABC logo
Sunday, March 22, 2020
EMBED <>More Videos

President Donald Trump said the federal government is sending the National Guard to New York, California and Washington in response to the coronavirus crisis.

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump said the federal government is sending the National Guard to hard-hit states of New York, California and Washington in response to the coronavirus crisis. FEMA will fund its deployment.

"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 during a Sunday evening press briefing.

These supplies include gloves, medical beds, N95 masks and gowns and will be delivered within the next 48 hours, Trump said. This includes 1,000 additional hospital beds for New York.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will also provide support to build out alternate care sites.

Trump says it's up to states to try to get the materials first. He says: "We're sort of a backup for states."

Trump says he's also giving governors in those three states in calling up their National Guard, keeping it under local control but providing federal funding.

New York has, by far, the highest number of confirmed cases, with more than 15,000, followed by Washington at approximately 1,700 and California at approximately 1,500.

On Sunday, New York passed Washington state, the initial epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, in the number of fatal cases.

New York accounted for 114 deaths, mostly in New York City, where there were more than 4,400 infections, but officials warned the concentration may be more because of increased testing.

RELATED: What is the Defense Production Act?

Trump also said he's entertaining the idea of allowing Congress to vote remotely.

This comes as Sen. Rand Paul became the first senator to test positive with COVID-19 and five other senators are in self-quarantine.

"I fully understand why you should be there, maybe constitutional reasons ... but I would certainly be in favor of it," he said.

He sent his "regards" to Paul, a Republican senator from Kentucky.

"He's been a great friend of mine. He's been always there when he needed him, when the country needed him," Trump said.

Other highlights from Washington:

  • Top-level negotiations between Congress and the White House are teetering on a ballooning nearly $1.4 trillion economic rescue package to steady a nation shuttered by the coronavirus pandemic. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin is indicating a deal is within reach, but congressional Democratic leaders are raising concerns ahead of a meeting Sunday at the Capitol. Mnuchin said that workers and businesses will get assistance to help cover them for the next 10 weeks, including a "bridge payment" of about $3,000 for a family of four.
  • Rand Paul of Kentucky says he has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. The Kentucky Republican is the first member of the Senate to report testing positive. Republican senator Mitt Romney, who sat next to Paul this week, is now self-quarantining as a precaution.
  • llinois' governor Jay Pritzker says his state is not receiving enough medical supplies, and Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey also said his state is not getting nearly what it needs from the federal government. Speaking Sunday on ABC's "This Week," Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says her state also needs clear guidance on how best to fight the spread of the coronavirus.
  • President Donald Trump is lashing out at governors and other lawmakers who have been critical about the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic. Trump tweeted on Sunday that they should not be "blaming the federal government for their own shortcomings."
  • The government's top infectious disease expert says he remains hopeful the U.S. is not on the same trajectory as Italy in the coronavirus struggle. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says the stringent measures being put in place in the U.S. including travel restrictions, the closing of schools and many businesses and other social distancing will go "a long way" to prevent the U.S. from becoming like Italy. Italy has seen over 50,000 coronavirus cases and nearly 5,000 deaths.
  • Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf says illegal border crossings have dropped by 50% after restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Trump administration is turning back anyone crossing illegally, among other restrictions.
  • The White House is urging commercial labs to prioritize the testing of hospital patients as they work to clear a backlog of tests for the coronavirus. Vice President Mike Pence says the Department of Health and Human Services will issue formal guidance Monday, but that the federal government is encouraging all labs to "prioritize inpatient testing."
  • The Associated Press and ABC News contributed to this report.