First ‘presidential alert’ set for Wednesday afternoon

First ‘presidential alert’ set for Wednesday afternoon
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The first "presidential alert" that will send messages directly to U.S. cellphones under a new system run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will take place on Wednesday afternoon. 

The New York Times reported that the first test for the nationwide emergency alert system will happen at 2:18 p.m. EDT on Wednesday and the message will read: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System."

"No action is needed,” the message will add.


The alert is expected to reach about 75 percent of cellphones in the U.S., and it could take up to 30 minutes for the test to reach all of the devices, according to the Times. 

The first test, initially scheduled to take place on Sept. 20, was delayed because of Hurricane Florence.

The Times notes that users cannot opt out of receiving these messages from President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel plans to subpoena Trump lawyer who advised on how to overturn election Texans chairman apologizes for 'China virus' remark Biden invokes Trump in bid to boost McAuliffe ahead of Election Day MORE, citing a 2006 law that called for the Federal Communications Commission to work with the wireless industry to transmit alert messages. 

Former President Obama signed a law in 2016 that stated the emergency alert system was allowed to be used for testing. The law said it would not be utilized "to transmit a message that does not relate to a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or other man-made disaster or threat to public safety."

The test on Wednesday will come after multiple people from New York filed a lawsuit in federal court to prevent Trump from sending alert messages directly to U.S. cellphones. 

On Monday, Politico reported that three New Yorkers argued in the suit that the system is a violation of their free speech rights. They also claimed it would act as an unconstitutional seizure of their cellphones and that their cellphones would serve as “government loudspeakers" for people such as Trump.