Trump Administration

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The tension in America between the national government and states' rights is as old as the republic itself. That tension is about to play out in a starkly political way and on a grand scale over the next several weeks, as states consider how to reopen in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Updated at 7:07 p.m. ET

President Trump vowed to sign the latest coronavirus relief legislation nearing the finish line in Washington on Tuesday after it was passed by the Senate.

Members of Congress have reached an agreement on about $484 billion more in relief funding to help small businesses and others hurt by the mitigation measures aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.

The House could vote as soon as Wednesday.

Updated at 5:11 p.m. ET

The U.S. Senate has approved a measure to add roughly $484 billion in new funds to bolster the already record-breaking coronavirus response legislation.

The Senate passed the legislation by unanimous consent on Tuesday. House leaders were planning a vote for Thursday.

Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department would support legal action against states that continue to impose strict social distancing rules even after coronavirus cases begin to subside in their respective states.

In a Tuesday interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, Barr called some current stay-at-home orders "burdens on civil liberties" and said that if they continued and lawsuits were brought, his department would side against the state.

Updated at 6:47 p.m. ET

President Trump said he plans to "temporarily suspend immigration into the United States," in an attempt to protect American workers from the coronavirus' economic toll.

Trump first announced his proposal in a late-night tweet Monday, then added details at the White House coronavirus task force briefing on Tuesday.

Updated at 7:42 p.m. ET

President Trump said Monday that adequate coronavirus testing existed but was being underutilized by governors, following a chorus of complaints by state leaders and health care experts regarding the country's insufficient testing capacity.

Updated at 8:37 p.m. ET

At a briefing of his task force Sunday, President Trump said his administration would have a call with governors and the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Monday to discuss how to increase coronavirus testing capacity in states.

Trump's remarks come as the administration defends its testing response and guidelines for states to start resuming normal operations, even as several governors said they are far short of the testing capacity they'd need to lift restrictions.

The White House and congressional leaders could be nearing an agreement on a new wave of coronavirus relief funding.

Negotiations have been ongoing to replenish popular programs created as part of a $2 trillion response package passed last month.

Updated at 7:54 p.m. ET

If China was responsible for the coronavirus outbreak, the country should face consequences, President Trump said at Saturday's White House briefing.

"If it was a mistake, a mistake is a mistake," Trump said in response to a reporter's question. "But if they were knowingly responsible, yeah, I mean, then sure there should be consequences."

Trump has offered no evidence that the Chinese were responsible for the pandemic, but did say that a U.S. investigation into the outbreak is ongoing.

As the death toll from COVID-19 continues to rise, governors around the U.S. are figuring out how to reopen their economies while still ensuring the safety of their citizens.

Updated 8:22 p.m. ET

President Trump on Friday said states are well equipped to adequately test for COVID-19, a position that has been contradicted by state leaders and health care experts.

The Trump administration this week released a plan to begin reopening the U.S. economy, even as experts warn that the country has a long way to go before it can responsibly ease restrictions.

President Trump spoke to governors Thursday, outlining recommendations for states to reopen based on several factors.

The Trump administration has shared a guideline of three phases for states to begin easing social distancing measures and stay-at-home orders, according to a copy of the guidelines obtained by NPR's Tamara Keith.

Updated at 7:21 p.m. ET

The White House unveiled guidelines on Thursday it said the nation can use to plot a course out of the coronavirus disaster and toward something like normal.

Trump also spoke via teleconference with the governors of the 50 states earlier Thursday to outline his plan for the way they'll proceed with re-opening and normalization.

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

The $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program to boost small businesses during the coronavirus economic crisis has run out of money.

Worldwide total confirmed cases: 2,063,161

Total deaths: 136,938

U.S. total confirmed cases: 638,111

Confirmed U.S. deaths: 30,844

SOURCE: Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, as of 11:35 p.m. ET Wednesday

President Trump is promising to deliver on Thursday guidelines to "reopen" America. He said some states would open even before May 1. That's two weeks away.

Updated at 6:48 p.m. ET

President Trump on Wednesday said that recent data suggest that the United States has made it through the worst of new coronavirus cases, as he seeks to reopen the pandemic-beaten national economy.

"The data suggests that nationwide, we have passed the peak of new cases. Hopefully that will continue, and we will continue to make great progress," Trump said in the White House Rose Garden at the daily coronavirus task force briefing. The task force did not share the data they used to reach that assessment.

Leading the Federal Emergency Management Agency during the coronavirus pandemic may be one of the most thankless jobs in government right now. Governors are clamoring for more supplies, like ventilators and face masks. The president engages in public feuds with those governors.

Updated at 7:29 p.m.

President Trump says he will halt U.S. funding of the World Health Organization while his administration reviews the organization's handling of the coronavirus crisis.

"Today I am instructing my administration to halt funding of the World Health Organization while a review is conducted to assess the World Health Organization's role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus," Trump said Tuesday in a briefing at the White House.

Updated at 7:43 p.m. ET

Parts of the United States could relax their pandemic mitigation countermeasures before the end of the month, President Trump suggested on Tuesday, although the details aren't clear.

Trump used his daily briefing at the White House to tease the prospect that more than 20 states might be able to re-open in some form or change their practices before May 1 — even though he also said the federal guidelines on social distancing and other practices would stay in effect until then.

Updated at 4:15 p.m. ET

President Trump at a briefing Monday night made an assertion that likely would have surprised the framers of the U.S. Constitution: that as president, his authority is "total" and that he has the power to order states — which have told businesses to close and people to remain at home to limit the spread of the coronavirus — to reopen.

Updated at 11:13 a.m. ET

President Trump is expected to specify officially on Tuesday who will help him decide when — and how — portions of the country can get onto a path to normal after the coronavirus disaster.

Trump has said the choices associated with that goal may be the most consequential he'll make as president. He made clear on Monday that he considers them his to make, not those of the council, local officials or state governors.

Updated at 9:00 p.m. ET

President Trump and the leading immunologist on the White House coronavirus task force attempted to present a united front Monday, following speculation of a shake-up within the federal pandemic response effort.

Dr. Anthony Fauci — one of the more recognizable faces on the task force — and Trump pushed back on the notion that Fauci was on the outs with the president.

Updated at 10:10 p.m. ET

One month ago today, President Trump declared a national emergency.

In a Rose Garden address, flanked by leaders from giant retailers and medical testing companies, he promised a mobilization of public and private resources to attack the coronavirus.

"We've been working very hard on this. We've made tremendous progress," Trump said. "When you compare what we've done to other areas of the world, it's pretty incredible."

But few of the promises made that day have come to pass.

The Trump administration has enlisted some of the biggest corporations in America to help expand the supply of medical equipment needed to fight COVID-19 – but many of those supplies aren't going to the cities and hospitals where they're needed most.

Instead, this public-private collaboration means that the marketplace and long-established business ties often shape decisions about who gets life-saving equipment, and who has to wait, NPR found.

New White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is working with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to see how to reduce wage rates for foreign guest workers on American farms, in order to help U.S. farmers struggling during the coronavirus, according to U.S. officials and sources familiar with the plans.

Opponents of the plan argue it will hurt vulnerable workers and depress domestic wages.

Updated at 4:36 p.m. ET

President Trump plans to appoint a council to advise him on how best to reopen America after much of the nation went dormant to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

Trump said Friday that he plans to announce on Tuesday whom he has named to make recommendations about some kind of path to normalcy.

"I'm going to surround myself with the greatest minds," he said in another marathon news conference at the White House. "We're going to make a decision, and hopefully, it's going to be the right decision."

Updated at 7:30 p.m.

President Trump said more oil producers are "getting close to a deal" to try to put a floor under prices as demand for energy plummets amid the global pandemic.

Trump said at his daily coronavirus briefing on Thursday that he'd just finished a conference call with the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Russia and that he hoped they'd agree on a cut or another solution that would stabilize the cost per barrel.

Updated at 7:38 p.m. ET

President Trump and congressional Democrats appeared to have a ways to go on Wednesday before they could agree on details for more relief spending for the coronavirus disaster.

President Trump assailed the World Health Organization on Tuesday, and indicated that he will consider putting a hold on funding it.

In a media briefing at the White House, Trump twice stated that the United States funds the majority of the organization's budget. According to the WHO, the United States provided 14.67% of its funding in 2018-2019.

The WHO has been the most prominent global organization leading the strategy to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

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