Trump has declared a national emergency due to the coronavirus outbreak, making $50 billion available to state and local governments to combat the outbreak.
The Trump administration held a press conference at 3:30 pm today, declaring the national emergency and essentially opening the door to providing more federal aid to fight the virus under the Stafford Act.
According to Reuters, insiders claim immense pressure had been mounting on Trump, calling for him to declare an infectious disease emergency under the 1988 law that will allow FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) to provide disaster funds to state and local government agencies and deploy the necessary support teams.
The public is looking for leadership as governors and mayors nationwide have already begun to step up and increase actions to mitigate the spread, including canceling large gatherings, public events, and even school closings.
The emergency declaration would allow a state to request a 75% federal cost-share for expenses that include emergency workers, medical tests, medical supplies, vaccinations, security for medical facilities, and more, according to a letter Democrats sent to Trump, urging him to take action-earlier this week.
The declaration is a turning point for Trump, who has repeatedly downplayed the threat of the coronavirus, comparing it to the flu and insisting that his administration already had everything under control.
This power has rarely been used, former President Clinton declared such an emergency for New York and New Jersey, back in 2000 due to the West Nile virus.