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Trump backs off plan to house coronavirus patients in Alabama after GOP objections

The Trump administration is backing off a plan to house some coronavirus patients in Alabama after state officials objected to the move.

President TrumpDonald TrumpIran convicts American businessman on spying charge: report DC, state capitals see few issues, heavy security amid protest worries Pardon-seekers have paid Trump allies tens of thousands to lobby president: NYT MORE "called to assure me that this plan will not move forward," Alabama Gov. Kay IveyKay IveySpace Command to be located in Alabama COVID-19 infections spread rapidly as officials race to distribute vaccine The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Congress moves to avert shutdown as virus talks stall again MORE (R) tweeted on Sunday. "We always want to help our fellow Americans, but this wasn’t fully vetted."

 

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Alabama officials pushed back over the weekend on the proposal to house some American passengers with coronavirus in Anniston, Ala., after they were evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was previously under quarantine in Japan.

"The FEMA Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, Alabama, was one site determined to be suitable and effective, but is not needed at this time," according to a statement released Sunday by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Alabama lawmakers had objected strongly to the idea, which Ivey said she heard about on Friday.

“Sensing the urgency, I quickly informed the offices of Senators Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyMcConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time Overnight Defense: Trump impeached for second time | National Guard at Capitol now armed, swelling to 20K troops for inauguration | Alabama chosen for Space Command home Space Command to be located in Alabama MORE (R) and Doug Jones (D) and Congressman Mike RogersMichael (Mike) Dennis RogersOvernight Defense: Trump impeached for second time | National Guard at Capitol now armed, swelling to 20K troops for inauguration | Alabama chosen for Space Command home Top Republican congressional aide resigns, rips GOP lawmakers who objected to Biden win READ: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results MORE (R), as well as Dr. Scott Harris with the Alabama Department of Public Health," she said in a statement reported by local outlets. 

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By Sunday, Shelby had spoken directly to President Trump.

"I just got off the phone with the President. He told me that his administration will not be sending any victims of the Coronavirus from the Diamond Princess cruise ship to Anniston, Alabama. Thank you, @POTUS, for working with us to ensure the safety of all Alabamians," he tweeted

Rogers also spoke with Trump, according to USA Today. According to Rogers, Trump said the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) plan was the "wrong decision."

"On Saturday, it appears that a press release from HHS was inadvertently, and perhaps prematurely, sent notifying the State of Alabama that these individuals were scheduled to begin transporting to Alabama as early as Wednesday," Ivey said.

Eighteen American passengers who were aboard the cruise ship were diagnosed with coronavirus, according to USA Today. Those who were evacuated last week were divided up and are now under quarantine in Nebraska, Texas and California.