Trump Administration

Updated at 10:25 a.m. ET

Presidents have been asked all manner of questions about their behavior, but no one had ever asked whether the president should wear a mask. Until now.

The White House coronavirus task force rejected detailed guidance drafted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how workplaces ranging from schools to bars to churches should resume operations to prevent the spread of the virus because it was viewed as "overly prescriptive."

Updated on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. ET

President Trump said he had planned to wind down the White House coronavirus task force, but now plans to add two or three new members by Monday, noting he had received "calls from very respected people" to keep it going.

Trump said the task force would continue "indefinitely" and made clear its focus would be on "opening the country." Some members of the task force, such as people who worked on increasing the supply of ventilators, "may be less involved," he said.

President Trump twice received intelligence briefings on the coronavirus in January, according to a White House official. The official tells NPR the briefings occurred on Jan. 23 and Jan. 28.

Updated at 3:11 p.m. ET

Kayleigh McEnany did something on Friday that her predecessor at the White House never once did: She briefed reporters from behind the lectern in the cramped confines of the James S. Brady briefing room.

McEnany, President Trump's fourth press secretary, took over the job less than a month ago from Stephanie Grisham, who had chosen to work behind the scenes, saying that Trump was his own best spokesman.

President Trump said the existing coronavirus social distancing guidelines that are set to expire with the end of April on Thursday will not be extended further, as more governors begin steps to lift restrictions and reopen their economies.

The administration said the existing social distancing recommendations are being incorporated by governors into their new future plans.

"They'll be fading out, because now the governors are doing it," Trump said.

Vice President Pence says comments he made last month about coronavirus testing were misunderstood by the public.

At issue: test distribution versus test completion.

Pence joined President Trump on Monday to announce a federal "blueprint" to help states ramp up their testing of the virus. Testing is seen as crucial for states to begin to lift social and economic restrictions.

Updated at 6:45 p.m. ET

The White House released a blueprint for states on coronavirus testing on Monday at a daily news conference it spiked and then revived.

The document presents "key strategic considerations" for states, including their roles, the roles of the federal government and local governments, the private sector and monitoring systems, officials said.

A federal report out this week shows that the Bureau of Land Management has more than halved the time spent reviewing oil and gas drilling permits, a reflection of how the agency's priorities have shifted under the Trump administration.

Updated at 6:05 p.m. ET

At a short briefing Friday afternoon at the White House, President Trump touted the federal government's "aggressive strategy," saying "we are getting through this challenge together as one American family."

Trump earlier on Friday signed the latest economic relief package, as a handful of Republican-led states prepared to re-open their states' economies — with or without the president's blessing.

Updated at 1:49 p.m. ET

Please, everyone, do not try what the president just suggested at home.

That is the consensus from doctors, at least one manufacturer and even President Trump's own administration, after he speculated about possible treatments for the coronavirus during his task force briefing Thursday. After introducing research reflecting the disinfectant capabilities of ultraviolet light on surfaces, Trump mused that scientists may try to find a way to place strong disinfectants directly inside the body to treat a patient's infection.

Updated at 7 p.m. ET

More than a dozen states have unveiled formal plans to move from coronavirus disaster response and toward reconstruction, the White House said Thursday, but officials also didn't rule out the need for more mitigation.

Vice President Pence said that 16 states have released formal plans about progressing out of the crisis. Many are pursuing a "phased approach" county by county, he said, pointing specifically to Missouri, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Idaho.

A month ago, President Trump went on Fox and downplayed the potential lethality of the novel coronavirus and compared it to the seasonal flu.

Updated on April 23 at 8:20 a.m. ET

A high-ranking federal scientist focused on vaccine development says he was removed from his post because of his "insistence" that the government spend funds on "safe and scientifically vetted solutions" to address the coronavirus crisis and not on "drugs, vaccines and other technologies that lack scientific merit."

Updated at 8:10 p.m. ET

President Trump on Wednesday said he disagreed with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp's decision to re-open a number of industries in his state, including hair salons and tattoo parlors, saying that he thought the move was premature in the face of the continuing coronavirus pandemic.

Trump broke with the Republican governor's call to ease social distancing rules in the state beginning on Friday, despite Trump's own insistence that some states could begin to relax mitigation measures before the beginning of May.

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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.

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