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Trump Invokes War-Era Law to Increase Supply of Medical Equipment After Calls of Inaction From Governors

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  • President Donald Trump invoked a Korean War-era law Wednesday morning, which will allow the private sector to ramp-up production and distribution of emergency supplies and equipment like masks, ventilators, and respirators.
  • The move comes as multiple governors have said the federal government isn’t doing enough to help states.
  • It also comes after Trump told governors on Monday to see if they can try to find medical supplies and equipment on their own, though he did say the federal government is “backing you.”

Trump Invokes War-Era Law

After repeated calls of inaction by multiple governors, President Donald Trump announced he is invoking the Defense Production Act, which will allow the private sector to ramp-up production and distribution of emergency supplies and equipment like masks, ventilators, and respirators. 

The act, which Trump announced at a White House press briefing on Wednesday, was first invoked during the Korean War and has been re-invoked more than 50 times since.

Alongside that act, Trump announced several other measures Wednesday:

  • Trump has activated FEMA at Level 1, which is its highest level.
  • His administration has dispatched two military hospital ships, which are now headed to New York City and the West Coast (however, those ships will likely not be deployed for another two weeks).
  • Housing and Urban Development has been told to suspend all foreclosures and evictions until the end of April.
  • Health and Human Services are suspending regulations that prevent medical professionals from practicing across state lines. It is also calling the nation to postpone all elective medical procedures.

Before the press conference this morning, Trump announced that he and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have mutually agreed to close the U.S.-Canada border.

Notably, that will not affect trade, and the border will still be open for essential traffic.

This announcement comes after Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday that he was closing the border, though at the time, the U.S. had been exempt.

Also on Wednesday, the Treasury Department laid out the details for a $1 trillion stimulus package Trump wants to Congress to pass. That would notably include relief checks for Americans that could be sent out as soon as April 6.

Trump Criticizes Michigan and New York Governors in Tweets

Trump’s invocation comes after a series of spats between him and several governors. Several of those arguments came after Trump met with U.S. governors via a conference call on Monday.

In that call, multiple governors reportedly asked for more federal support, but according to The New York Times, Trump then told them, “Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment — try getting it yourselves. We will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves. Point of sales, much better, much more direct if you can get it yourself.”

Also according to The Times, New Mexico Governor Lujan Grisham then told Trump in that call, “If one state doesn’t get the resources and materials they need, the entire nation continues to be at risk.”

Grisham reportedly went on to say that the federal government was impeding states’ abilities to respond to the virus, as well as creating a situation where states are competing against one another for the needed products.

After that conference call, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters that the federal government had been “behind from day one of this crisis,” calling the administration’s response “inexcusable.” 

On Tuesday morning, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer criticized Trump’s response in an interview with MSNBC.

“To hear the leader of the federal government tell us to work around the federal government cause it’s too slow is just, it’s kind of mind-boggling to be honest. We are pulling out all the stops here in Michigan,” she said. “But we need the federal government to work. We need respirators and ventilators and personal protection equipment. We need more test kits and the resources to process those test kits.”

Some governors have supported the president’s recommendation and even tried to clarify it. In fact, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said Trump was telling them to “cut out the federal bureaucracy and potentially get it quicker. What he was saying was sensible.”

Trump’s War of Words With Governors

With criticism from those governor’s, however, Trump has unexpectedly fought back. 

Monday afternoon, after Cuomo made his comments calling the response “inexcusable,” Trump then said on Twitter: “Cuomo of New York has to “do more”. 

Following that, Cuomo responded, “I have to do more?  No — YOU have to do something!  You’re supposed to be the President.”

Tuesday morning, Trump then took another swing at Cuomo, telling the governor to “…keep politics out of it….”

The two seemingly reconciled later Tuesday and now they are trying to work together more amicably. Cuomo told reporters “put [his] hand out in partnership.”

“There’s no time for” hyper-partisan politicking right now,” Cuomo told reporters after saying he put his hand out in partnership. “The president is doing the right thing in offering to step up with New York, and I appreciate it.”

In turn, Trump then said, “…we had a really good talk this morning. We’re both doing a really good job.”

Trump, however, did not stop at Cuomo. Shortly after saying Cuomo needs to do more on Twitter, Trump called Whitmer a “Failing Michigan Governor.”

About an hour later, Whitmer responded with a list of actions she has put into place since the coronavirus outbreak in her state., including ensuring Medicaid waiver for copays and cost-sharing for testing, declaring a State of Emergency, closing all K-12 schools, restricting entry into care facilities and juvenile justice facilities, enhancing restrictions on price gouging, and expanding unemployment benefits.

“Ironically, he made my point that [the federal government is] not taking this as seriously as they need to,” Whitmer told The New York Times, also saying Trump had been “watching TV.”

Concerns That Trump Isn’t Taking the Coronavirus Seriously

Although Trump has called for unity and told people to keep partisan politics out of the coronavirus outbreak, it is unsurprising to see him and Democrats fighting on Twitter.

However, many politicians on both sides of the aisle have expressed concerns over how Trump has been treating this pandemic. 

Many have pointed to Trump’s language regarding the outbreak. In January, he said, “We have it totally under control. It’s going to be just fine. ” In February, he said the virus would hopefully go away once the weather warms. On March 15, he said, This is a very contagious virus. It’s incredible. But it’s something that we have tremendous control over.” 

They’ve then compared that to Trump’s language on Tuesday, when he said, “I’ve always known this is a real— this is a pandemic … I’ve felt that it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”

But the fact does remain that Trump has become increasingly serious about the outbreak in the U.S. In fact, because of that, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said, “His messaging sounds a lot more like the way I’ve been talking and some of my colleagues have been talking about it for weeks.”

Former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge also commented on the difference in Trump’s tone, saying, “I’d want to take a clue from my governors. It seems that message has finally caught up with the White House.”

How Has Trump Acted More Seriously?

Trump announced Tuesday that he was making a commitment to a “whole of government” process.

“We are starting the process,” he said at a White House press briefing of working with New York. “The state is working on it very hard themselves, but we’ll probably supplement what they’re doing.” 

That, of course, comes after the situation with ventilators, but also after the mayor of Seattle, which is one of the hardest-hit areas, asked for “mass tents” to rapidly build shelters. It also follows New York asking for days for the Army Corps of Engineers to quickly build hospitals.

Tuesday night, the Army Corps of Engineers finally said it will work with New York to find more hospital beds.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper also announced the Pentagon will give up to 5 million masks to protect health care workers and vulnerable people. Esper said the first million would be made available immediately.

And while it’s expected to fall way short of the number needed, the Pentagon has also made available 2,000 ventilators for hospitals. 

Washington Governor Jay Inslee said that he now expects the Department of Defense to help provide resources “that could help bolster new medical hospitals.”

Also, following that aforementioned conference call, New Mexico Governor Grisham said that Pence had pledged to work with her to increase New Mexico’s supply needs.

See what others are saying: (CNN) (MSNBC) (Fox News)

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Conservatives Slam Elmo For Getting Vaccinated Against COVID-19 

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While critics accused the muppet of promoting propaganda, CDC data shows the shots are safe and effective.


Elmo Gets Vaccinated 

Conservative politicians expressed outrage on Twitter after the beloved “Sesame Street” character Elmo revealed he got vaccinated against COVID-19 on Tuesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently cleared the way for children between the ages of six months and five years to get vaccinated against the virus. The famous red muppet is three years old, making him finally eligible for the jab. 

In a video shared by “Sesame Street,” Elmo said that he felt “a little pinch, but it was okay.” 

Elmo’s father, Louie, then addressed parents who might be apprehensive about vaccinating their own kids. 

“I had a lot of questions about Elmo getting the COVID vaccine,” he said to the camera. “Was it safe? Was it the right decision? I talked to our pediatrician so I could make the right choice.” 

“I learned that Elmo getting vaccinated is the best way to keep himself, our friends, neighbors, and everyone else healthy and enjoying the things they love,” he continued. 

Republicans Criticize “Sesame Street”

While some praised the video for raising awareness and addressing the concerns parents may have, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx) quickly lambasted the effort.

“Thanks, Sesame Street for saying parents are allowed to have questions,” Cruz tweeted. “You then have Elmo aggressively advocate for vaccinating children UNDER 5. But you cite ZERO scientific evidence for this.”

Despite Cruz’s claim, the CDC has provided ample resources with information on vaccines for children. 

He was not alone in criticizing the video. Harmeet Dhillon, a committeewoman of the Republican National Committee for California, suggested that Elmo would be taking puberty blockers next. 

Other anti-vaxxers claimed Elmo would get myocarditis and accused “Sesame Street” of promoting propaganda.

COVID-19 vaccines have been proven to be both safe and effective against transmission of the virus, but this is not the first time conservatives have turned their anger against a friendly-looking muppet who opted to get the jab. When Big Bird got vaccinated in November, Cruz and other right-wing figures accused the show of brainwashing kids.

Big Bird’s choice to get vaccinated was not a shocker though, clips dating back to 1972 show him getting immunized against the measles. 

See what others are saying: (CNN) (The Hill) (Market Watch)

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Uvalde Puts Police Chief on Leave, Tries to Kick Him Off City Council

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If Pete Arredondo fails to attend two more consecutive city council meetings, then he may be voted out of office.


Police Chief Faces Public Fury

Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo was placed on administrative leave Wednesday following revelations that he and his officers did not engage the shooter at Robb Elementary for over an hour despite having adequate weaponry and protection.

Superintendent Hal Harrell, who made the announcement, did not specify whether the leave is paid or unpaid.

Harrell said in a statement that the school district would have waited for an investigation to conclude before making any personnel decisions, but chose to order the administrative leave because it is uncertain how long the investigation will take.

Lieutenant Mike Hernandez, the second in command at the police department, will assume Arredondo’s duties.

In an interview with The Texas Tribune earlier this month, Arredondo said he did not consider himself in charge during the shooting, but law enforcement records reviewed by the outlet indicate that he gave orders at the scene.

Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw told state senators on Tuesday that some officers wanted to enter the classrooms harboring the shooter but were stopped by their superiors.

He said officer Ruben Ruiz tried to move forward into the hallway after receiving a call from his wife Eva Mireles, a teacher inside one of the classrooms, telling him she had been shot and was bleeding to death.

Ruiz was detained, had his gun taken away, and was escorted off the scene, according to McCraw. Mireles later died of her wounds.

Calls for Arredondo to resign or be fired have persisted.

Emotions Erupt at City Council

Wednesday’s announcement came one day after the Uvalde City Council held a special meeting in which community members and relatives of victims voiced their anger and demanded accountability.

“Who are you protecting?” Asked Jasmine Cazares, sister of Jackie Cazares, a nine-year-old student who was shot. “Not my sister. The parents? No. You’re too busy putting them in handcuffs.”

Much of the anger was directed toward Arredondo, who was not present at the meeting but was elected to the city council on May 7, just over two weeks before the massacre.

“We are having to beg ya’ll to do something to get this man out of our faces,” said the grandmother of Amerie Jo Garza, a 10-year-old victim. “We can’t see that gunman. That gunman got off easy. We can’t take our frustrations out on that gunman. He’s dead. He’s gone. … Ya’ll need to put yourselves in our shoes, and don’t say that none of ya’ll have, because I guarantee you if any of ya’ll were in our shoes, ya’ll would have been pulling every string that ya’ll have to get this man off the council.”

One woman demanded the council refuse to grant Arredondo the leave of absence he had requested, pointing out that if he fails to attend three consecutive meetings the council can vote him out for abandoning his office.

“What you can do right now is not give him, if he requests it, a leave of absence,” she said. “Don’t give him an out. We don’t want him. We want him out.”

After hearing from the residents, the council voted unanimously not to approve the leave of absence.

On Tuesday, Uvalde’s mayor announced that Robb Elementary is set to be demolished, saying no students or teachers should have to return to it after what happened.

We make it a point to not include the names and pictures of those who may have been seeking attention or infamy and will not link out to websites that might contain such information.

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Texas Public Safety Director Says Police Response to Uvalde Shooting Was An “Abject Failure”

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New footage shows officers prepared to engage the shooter one hour before they entered the classroom.


Seventy-Seven Deadly Minutes

Nearly a month after the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 children and two teachers, evidence has emerged indicating that police were prepared to engage the shooter within minutes of arriving, but chose to wait over an hour.

The shooting at Robb Elementary began at 11:33 a.m., and within three minutes 11 officers are believed to have entered the school, according to surveillance and body camera footage obtained by KVUE and the Austin American Statesman.

District Police Chief Pete Arredondo reportedly called a landline at the police department at 11:40 a.m. for help.

“It’s an emergency right now,” he said. “We have him in the room. He’s got an AR-15. He’s shot a lot… They need to be outside the building prepared because we don’t have firepower right now. It’s all pistols.”

At 11:52 a.m., however, the footage shows multiple officers inside the school armed with at least two rifles and one ballistic shield.

Law enforcement did not enter the adjoined classrooms to engage the shooter until almost an hour later, at 12:50 p.m. During that time, one officer’s daughter was inside the classrooms and another’s wife, a teacher, reportedly called him to say she was bleeding to death.

Thirty minutes before law enforcement entered the classrooms, the footage shows officers had four ballistic shields in the hallway.

Frustrated Cops Want to Go Inside

Some of the officers felt agitated because they were not allowed to enter the classrooms.

One special agent at the Texas Department of Public Safety arrived about 20 minutes after the shooting started, then immediately asked, “Are there still kids in the classrooms?”

“It is unknown at this time,” another officer replied.

“Ya’ll don’t know if there’s kids in there?” The agent shot back. “If there’s kids in there we need to go in there.”

“Whoever is in charge will determine that,” the other officer responded.

According to an earlier account by Arredondo, he and the other officers tried to open the doors to the classrooms, but found them both locked and waited for a master key to arrive. But surveillance footage suggests that they never tried to open the doors, which a top Texas official has confirmed were never actually locked.

One officer has told reporters that within minutes of the police response, there was a Halligan bar, which firefighters use to break down locked doors, on-site, but it was never used.

At a special State Senate committee hearing Monday, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw called the police response an “abject failure” and “antithetical to everything we’ve learned over the last two decades since the Columbine massacre.”

“The only thing stopping a hallway of dedicated officers from (entering rooms) 111 and 112 was the on-scene commander who decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children,” he said. “The officers have weapons, the children had none.”

We make it a point to not include the names and pictures of those who may have been seeking attention or infamy and will not link out to websites that might contain such information.

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