White House

Trump to Declare State of Emergency, Invoke Stafford Act to Release Federal Aid

President Donald Trump speaks about the response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic during an address to the nation from the Oval Office, March 11, 2020. (Doug Mills/Pool via Reuters)

Update 3:41p.m.: President Trump formally declared a national emergency Friday afternoon to address the burgeoning coronavirus pandemic.

President Trump plans to declare a national emergency due to the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, according to multiple reports.

Trump will also invoke the Stafford Act to direct federal aid to areas affected by the outbreak, Fox News and the New York Times confirmed. The legislation gives the Federal Emergency Management Agency authority to coordinate the government’s disaster relief.

Trump will also address the nation from the Oval Office at 3 p.m. on Friday. During a Tuesday address, Trump announced a travel ban on foreign nationals coming from Europe’s Schengen zone (excepting immediate family members of U.S. citizens), and attempted to reassure viewers that the economic whiplash from the outbreak did not constitute a financial crisis.

“This is just a temporary moment of time that we will overcome as a nation and as a world,” Trump said. “We are all in this together. We must put politics aside, stop the partisanship and unify together as one nation and one family.”

However, the president and federal agencies have struggled to coordinate a response to the outbreak, drawing bipartisan backlash from lawmakers. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in particular, has come under fire for a shortage of coronavirus diagnostic tests.

“The system is not really geared to what we need right now. . . . That is a failing. Let’s admit it,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the House on Thursday. “The idea of anybody getting it easily the way people in other countries are doing it — we’re not set up for that. Do I think we should be? Yes. But we’re not.”

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.


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