President Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic sparked uproar and alarm among governors and mayors on Sunday as Trump and his administration’s top advisers continued to make confusing statements about the federal government’s scramble to confront the crisis, including whether he will force private industry to mass produce needed medical items.
But the growing gulf between the White House and officials on the front lines of the pandemic underscored concerns in cities, states and Congress that Trump does not have a coherent or ready plan to mobilize private and public entities to confront a crisis that could soon push the nation’s health-care system to the brink of collapse.
“We’re all building the airplane as we fly it right now,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) said on ABC’s “This Week.” “It would be nice to have a national strategy.”
Uncertainty prompted by the Trump administration’s statements abounded amid the rancor. Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Peter T. Gaynor said Sunday the president has not yet invoked the Defense Production Act, which would allow the government to order companies to ramp up the production of ventilators and protective masks, among other products.