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President Trump briefs reports on April 2. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump accused Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of being "missing in action" during the coronavirus crisis, writing in a scathing letter on Thursday that Schumer's focus on the "ridiculous impeachment hoax" resulted in New York being ill-prepared for the pandemic.

Why it matters: It's a blistering response to Schumer urging Trump to assign a senior military officer to enforce the Defense Production Act to produce more medical supplies.

The big picture: The president formally authorized the use of the Defense Production Act to ramp up domestic ventilator production on Thursday, and said he had appointed White House trade adviser Peter Navarro to enforce the act last week.

  • Rear Adm. John Polowczyk is in charge of coordinating America's coronavirus supply chain and is seeking to fill the most urgent needs: ventilators and personal protective gear.
  • So far, the authority of the DPA has only been used to compel ventilator production — and not other personal protective gear or medical supplies, like surgical masks and gloves.

What they're saying:

  • Schumer: "While companies that volunteer to produce ventilators and PPEE are to be commended and are appreciated, America cannot rely on a patchwork of uncoordinated voluntary efforts to combat the awful magnitude of this pandemic. It is long past time for your Administration to designate a senior military officer to fix this urgent problem."
  • Trump: "The Defense Production Act (DPA) has been consistently used by my team and me for the purchase of billions of dollars' worth of equipment, medical supplies, ventilators, and other related items. It has been powerful leverage, so powerful that companies general do whatever we are asking, without even a formal notice. They know something is coming, and that's all they need to know."

The bottom line: The letter, which appears on White House letterhead, reads much like a Trump tweet would. The president finishes by writing: "I’ve known you for many years, but I never knew how bad a Senator you are for the state of New York, until I became President.

Read the letter.

Go deeper: Fixing America's broken coronavirus supply chain

Go deeper

Updated 13 hours ago - Sports

The potential GOAT of chess faces intriguing challenger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The World Chess Championship between Norway's Magnus Carlsen and Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi began on Friday, 1,094 days after Carlsen won his fourth consecutive title.

Why it matters: During the long, COVID-fueled layoff, chess entered a new era, and with the championship finally here, the age-old game is ready for its close-up.

Department of Interior proposes raising cost of drilling on public lands

A horizontal drilling rig and a pump jack sit on federal land in Lea County, New Mexico. Photo: Callaghan O'Hare/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Oil and gas companies should pay more to drill on federal lands and waters, the Department of the Interior argued in a report released Friday, saying that the current rates were "outdated."

Driving the news: The Department of Interior report said that the federal government's oil and gas leasing and permitting program "fails to provide a fair return to taxpayers, even before factoring in the resulting climate-related costs that must be borne by taxpayers."

14 hours ago - Health

U.S. to restrict air travel from 8 countries over new COVID variant concerns

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. will impose new air travel restrictions in response to the Omicron variant, a new COVID strain first detected in South Africa, President Biden announced Friday.

The big picture: Air travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi will be restricted starting on Monday.