Apr 2, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump attacks Schumer for impeachment in letter about coronavirus crisis

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

Cities' budget woes worsen with increased social unrest

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Cities were already furloughing workers and considering cutting back essential services — including public safety — because of the dramatic drops in the local tax revenue that funds them. Now they're also dealing with turmoil in their streets.

Why it matters: "Unfortunately, the increasing levels of social unrest across the country reallocated efforts and scarce resources away from the former focus of getting state, regional and local economies back to some semblance of normalcy," per Tom Kozlik, head of municipal strategy and credit at HilltopSecurities.

May 22, 2020 - Health

Update: Study linking hydroxychloroquine to increased death risk is retracted

Hydroxychloroquine. Photo: George Frey/AFP via Getty Images

Editor’s note: The study referenced in this story has been retracted by the medical journal The Lancet due to questions on the veracity of its primary data sources. Read more here.

Coronavirus patients who took hydroxychloroquine or its related drug chloroquine were more likely to die or develop an irregular heart rhythm that can lead to sudden cardiac death, compared to those who did nothing, a retrospective review published in The Lancet shows.

Why it matters: Despite warnings from the Food and Drug Administration, President Trump has insisted the anti-malarial drug as a "game-changer" and admitted he has taken it as a preventative even though the drug is unproven.

As techlash heats up again, here's who's stoking the fire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As controversies around online speech rage against a backdrop of racial tension, presidential provocation and a pandemic, a handful of companies, lawmakers and advocacy groups have continued to promote a backlash against Big Tech.

The big picture: Companies like Facebook and Google got a reputational boost at the start of the coronavirus lockdown, but that respite from criticism proved brief. They're now once again walking a minefield of regulatory investigations, public criticism and legislative threats over antitrust concerns, content moderation and privacy concerns.