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 Trump “called to assure me that this plan will not move forward,” Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) tweeted on Sunday. “We always want to help our fellow Americans, but this wasn’t fully vetted.”
.@realDonaldTrump called to assure me that this plan will not move forward. I thanked him for his support of AL! We always want to help our fellow Americans, but this wasn’t fully vetted. Thank you @SenShelby @RepMikeRogersAL for advocating on our behalf! #alpolitics #teamwork https://t.co/fzpaBmJOtW
— Governor Kay Ivey (@GovernorKayIvey) February 23, 2020
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 Shelby (R) and Doug Jones (D) and Congressman Mike Rogers (R), as well as Dr. Scott Harris with the Alabama Department of Public Health,” she said in a statement reported by local outlets.
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.