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Schumer Presses Trump To Appoint Military Czar To Run Coronavirus Supply Chain

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Topline: On Saturday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) continued his calls for U.S. President Donald Trump to appoint a military czar to steer the country through the coronavirus pandemic.

  • The president needs to take action, and soon, Schumer said appearing on CNN, he said, “the system that the federal government has put in place is not working, plain and simple.”
  • Schumer called it “a spectacle” that American hospital chiefs, mayors and governors had to resort to asking private companies and foreign countries for medical supplies that the government should have “ready and available to them,” he said.
  • If Trump were to provoke the Defense Production Act, it would allow a military leader to take over the factory supply chains and distribute personal protective equipment, ventilators and masks to where they are needed, Schumer said.
  • When he talked to them Friday, Schumer said, Vice President Mike Pence and acting Chief of Staff Mark Meadows “seemed to very seriously consider this,” Schumer said.
  • However, Schumer said Saturday that Trump told him several days ago that he agreed about naming a military czar, but hasn’t followed through.
  • According to Schumer, one reason why Trump may be dragging his feet to appoint a military leader is because of the idea that the government shouldn’t interfere with private companies.

Crucial quote: “We’re at the epicenter, as the governor said, in New York, but it’s going to spread to other places and they’re going to have the same supply shortages that we have, and those supply shortages are going to make people less healthy [and] less likely to overcome it and extend the timelines [of the pandemic],” Schumer told CNN.

Key background: For several weeks, Schumer has encouraged Trump to invoke the Defense Production Act to name a military leader to serve as a czar and charge with producing and distributing medical equipment nationwide. Trump has invoked portions of the DPA, including an order for 3M
MMM
to produce
N95 masks for use by American health workers, as well as on General Motors
GM
to begin production of
ventilators, of which available units are running out nationwide.  





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