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Trump Activates National Guard to Assist California, New York, and Washington

Members of the New York Army and Air National Guard work to sanitize New Rochelle High School in New York, March 21, 2020. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)

President Trump announced Sunday that the federal government would activate the National Guard to help California, New York, and Washington — three of the states hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic — deal with the outbreak.

“The federal government will be funding 100 percent of the cost of deploying national guard units to carry out approved missions to stop the virus while those governors remain in command,” Trump said at a White House briefing, adding that he saw the move as a “backup” to the state leaders, who will remain “in command.”

“We’ll be following them and we hope they can do the job and I think they will. I spoke with all three of the governors today, just a little while ago and they’re very happy with what we’re going to be doing,” the president stated.

Trump has approved disaster declarations for all three states and has directed Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to send medical stations with thousands of additional hospital beds, as well as Navy hospital ships to New York and Los Angeles, to assist in the effort against the outbreak. As of Sunday, New York, Washington, and California had 16,887, 1,996, and 1,468 cases, respectively.

Last week, California governor Gavin Newsom and New York governor Andrew Cuomo both ordered their millions of residents to stay home and all “non-essential” businesses to close.

Newsom said Thursday that the order would be in place “until further notice,” although he doubted it would last “many, many months.”

“We’re going to take it to the ultimate step, which is we’re going to close the valve,” Cuomo stated on Friday.

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