KEY POINTS

  • Sen. Schumer suggested military leaders to be coronavirus czar
  • He also pushed again for the full use of the Defense Production Act
  • Trump continues to resist completely invoking the DPA

As the federal government grapples with a nationwide shortage of vital medical supplies, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, has been pushing the White House to name a coronavirus czar and expand the Defense Production Act (DPA).

In a recent call with Mark Meadows, the new White House chief of staff, Schumer reportedly named several people he believed President Donald Trump should name to the position. Although Schumer has been seeking the creation of a coronavirus czar since last week, this is the first time he’s suggested specific names to the White House, according to The Hill.

Schumer also reiterated his and other Democrats’ desire for the president to make further use of the Defense Production Act. So far, Trump has made limited use of the DPA, having ordered 3M to cease its export of medical masks abroad and to call on GM to fabricate more ventilators. Democrats, however, have argued that this is not enough and that the DPA needs to be fully implemented to mobilize American manufactures to produce much needed medical equipment.

If Trump were to fully invoke the DPA, he would need to name a czar to oversee manufacturing and equipment distribution. Doing so would be crucial to ensuring efficient production lines and keeping track of medical goods – an issue that has so far been a problem when it comes to allocating some supplies by the federal government.

The names floated by Schumer included Air Force Gen. Paul Selva and Vice Adm. Mark Harnitchek. Selva’s resume includes having served under President Obama as the vice chairman of the Joint Chief. Harniteck previously headed the Defense Logistics Agency.

Trump has been adamant about not following through on Schumer’s requests. In a letter sent to him last week, the president called Schumer a “bad senator,” rebuffing his call to appoint a coronavirus czar. Schumer said he’d written to Trump “with the best of intentions” and was “appalled” by the president’s response.

US Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he and other Americans are seeking "swift but fair justice" for President Donald Trump in his Senate trial in January 2020 should he be impeached as expected US Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he and other Americans are seeking "swift but fair justice" for President Donald Trump in his Senate trial in January 2020 should he be impeached as expected Photo: AFP / Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS