President Donald Trump announced on Sunday during the White House’s coronavirus task force briefing that he had activated the National Guard in three states to aid those governments in handling the pandemic our nation and much of the world is currently experiencing.
Under the President’s guidance, the National Guard is to now serve in Washington state, New York, and California. The President noted that these states, with their immense and highly congested populations, have been among the hardest hit in the United States.
POTUS told the press, “As we continue to marshal every resource at America’s disposal, it is absolutely critical that Americans continue to follow the federal government’s guidelines.” He added, “The National Guard, these are tremendous people. We have signed what we’ve had to sign, and it’s been activated.”
However, even the use of the terms “marshal” and “follow federal government’s guidelines,” Trump made it clear that this is not the beginning of martial law, as some people have feared. And Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor confirmed this. Gaynor noted that the National Guard is “under Title 32 status,” which does not federalize its members.
While the National Guard is to be sent out by the President, Trump and Gaynor both noted that the force would be under the direct command of state governors and not the executive branch. Trump said that the “governors will remain in command.” The federal government will just be paying for its use. the government, through FEMA, will “be funding 100 percent of the cost of deploying National Guard units to carry out approved missions to stop the virus.”
President Trump, while telling the press that he often holds different views than the governors of the three states, conveyed confidence in them, stating, “the governors, locally, are going to be in command, and we’ll be following them. We hope they can do the job, and I think they will.”
He noted that their ability to ask for assistance and work with the President’s administration to get things accomplished showed excellent leadership skills and that he admired them for it.
In addition, the President is sending mass quantities of numerous medical supplies to the three states with much more to come later. This will include thousands of face masks, ventilators, testing equipment, coveralls, gloves, and many other medical supplies that are in constant demand.
Trump said, “The federal government has deployed hundreds of tons of supplies from our national stockpile to locations with the greatest need in order to assist in those areas.”
Each state will receive a number of FEMA constructed medical stations to assist the overwhelmed health care industry. New York is to receive four large medical stations, which can hold up to 1,000 patient beds. Washington State is getting three medical stations. And California is to get eight medical stations.
Additionally, per California Governor Gavin Newsom’s request from the President, his state will also be receiving one of two specially designed medical ships, the USNS Mercy Hospital Ship, to provide additional care during this time.
The vessel is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, 12 operating rooms, and 1,000 beds. The USNS Mercy is en route now and is said to soon arrive in the Port of Los Angeles through the first of September.
Its sister ship, the USNS Comfort Hospital Ship is to be docked in New York, most likely in New York City’s busy harbor, where a boat of its size can easily be accessible to the people of New York.
However, the President noted that neither ship is to actually be used for coronavirus patients. Instead, they are to take the burden off of local hospitals and treat only non-COVID-19 cases.
This way, land-based hospitals can focus more on getting this virus under control without neglecting patients with other serious medical needs.
President Trump added that other states have asked for or are considering the use of the National Guard as well. And each is being discussed, beginning with those who “have been hit the hardest.”