Trump in­vokes emer­gency au­thor­ity

Big 3 au­tomak­ers clos­ing

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - FRONT PAGE - By Tim Sul­li­van and David Ris­ing

MIN­NEAPO­LIS >> Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Wed­nes­day in­voked emer­gency au­thor­ity to mar­shal in­dus­try to fight the coro­n­avirus, as the eco­nomic fall­out from the cri­sis mounted with word that nearly the en­tire U.S. auto in­dus­try is shut­ting down its North Amer­i­can fac­to­ries to pro­tect work­ers.

On a day of head-spin­ning de­vel­op­ments:

• Stocks tum­bled again on Wall Street on fears of a pro­longed re­ces­sion, fall­ing so fast they trig­gered an­other au­to­matic trad­ing halt. The Dow Jones In­dus­trial Av­er­age shed more than 1,300

points, or over 6 per­cent, and has now lost nearly all of the big gains it had posted since Trump’s in­au­gu­ra­tion. Oil dropped be­low $21 per bar­rel for the first time since 2002.

• More bor­ders slammed shut across Europe and North Amer­ica, with the U.S. and Canada clos­ing their bound­ary to all but es­sen­tial travel and Trump say­ing he plans to as­sert ex­tra­or­di­nary pow­ers to im­me­di­ately turn back to Mex­ico any­one who crosses over the south­ern bor­der il­le­gally.

• The White House pressed Con­gress to swiftly pass a po­ten­tially $1 tril­lion res­cue pack­age to prop up the econ­omy and speed re­lief checks to Amer­i­cans in a mat­ter of weeks.

Call­ing him­self a “wartime pres­i­dent,” Trump in­voked the De­fense Pro­duc­tion Act of 1950 to steer in­dus­trial out­put and over­come short­ages of face mask s, ven­ti­la­tors and other sup­plies as hos­pi­tals brace for an ex­pected on­slaught of cases.

The Korean War-era law gives the pres­i­dent ex­tra­or­di­nary au­thor­ity to com­pel in­dus­tries to ex­pand pro­duc­tion and turn out vi­tal ma­te­ri­als. It was most re­cently used af­ter the 2017 Puerto Rico hur­ri­cane to speed up con­tracts for food and other ne­ces­si­ties.

“It’s a war,” Trump said, liken­ing the anti-coro­n­avirus ef­forts to mea­sures taken dur­ing World War II and warn­ing of na­tional sac­ri­fices ahead.

The virus has in­fected more than 200,000 peo­ple world­wide and killed over 8,700. The United Na­tions warned that the cri­sis could lead to the loss of nearly 25 mil­lion jobs around the world.

Theodore Peck, who owns a Brook­lyn cof­fee shop and bak­ery, was in quar­an­tine at home as a pre­cau­tion when New York City this week or­dered all bars and restau­rants to close ex­cept for take­out. He had to shut down his busi­ness and lay off all his work­ers.

“My life’s work is be­ing ... you know, de­stroyed, like picked over,” he said. He lamented that he didn’t even get the chance to say good­bye to 22 of his em­ploy­ees.


Trucks stand on the high­way close to the bor­der be­tween Aus­tria and Hun­gary near Bruck an der Lei­tha, Aus­tria, Wed­nes­day. Hun­gary has closed the bor­der due to the new coro­n­avirus out­break.

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