Trump approves deploying the National Guard in Michigan to help fight the coronavirus


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Up to 3,000 members of the Michigan Army and Air National Guard have been authorized to help with humanitarian missions across the state in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

President Donald Trump approved Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s request for assistance on Monday. Under Title 32, the authorization puts Michigan's National Guard under Whitmer's command for up to 90 days.

According to a statement from the governor, the National Guard will perform humanitarian missions across the state, including helping run mobile screening facilities, distributing food and medical supplies, disinfecting public spaces, and supporting public safety when required.

“This is good news for Michiganders everywhere who are worried about COVID-19's impact on their community,” Whitmer said in a statement. “Now, our dedicated National Guardsmen and women can help ensure access to meals for families who need them, or medical supplies for our health care professionals. They’ll help us get Michiganders tested and keep our public places clean. I’m happy that the federal government granted this request, and will continue to work closely with them as we slow the spread of COVID-19 together.”

Whitmer requested the support on March 18. It wasn't approved until 12 days later, after Whitmer sent a follow-up letter on Monday, according to a statement from the governor.

Last week, Trump spent days on national television threatening to withhold federal aid from Whitmer for not being "pleasant" before finally authorizing it. Whitmer has been critical of the Trump administration's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, including a lack of medical equipment.

Earlier this month, Whitmer said on CNN that the federal government “didn’t take (coronavirus) seriously enough on the front end.”

For weeks, Trump downplayed the severity of the pandemic.

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