Describing himself as a “wartime president” fighting an invisible enemy, United States President, Donald Trump, invoked rarely used emergency powers to marshal critical medical supplies against the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump also signed an aid package — which the Senate approved earlier Wednesday — that will guarantee sick leave to workers who fall ill.
Trump tapped his authority under the 70-year-old Defense Production Act to give the government more power to steer production by private companies and try to overcome shortages in masks, ventilators and other supplies.
Yet he seemed to minimize the urgency of the decision, later tweeting that he only tapped the Defense Production Act “should we need to invoke it in a worst case scenario in the future.”
“Hopefully there will be no need,” he added, “but we are all in this TOGETHER!”
The pandemic was starting to show its effects in the job market. The Labor Department reported Thursday that the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits surged last week by 70,000.
Trump’s mixed messaging came as he took a series of other extraordinary steps to steady the nation, its day-to-day life suddenly and fundamentally altered.