Whitmer Sends Letter To Trump Asking To Use National Guard Through July

WWJ News
May 28, 2020 - 1:12 pm
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Left: U.S. President Donald Trump. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images. Right: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images.

(WWJ) Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer wants to keep the National Guard on the job in Michigan for a couple of more months.

Whitmer on Thursday sent a letter to President Donald Trump requesting an extension of Title 32 authority in order to use Michigan National Guard forces to combat the spread of COVID-19 through July 31, 2020. Title 32 status, which provides for federal pay and benefits, is currently authorized by the President through June 24. 

“The Michigan National Guard has been instrumental in flattening the COVID-19 curve in Michigan by performing testing throughout the state, distributing Personal Protective Equipment, food, and medical supplies, providing warehousing support, disinfecting public spaces, and assisting the Department of Health and Human Services with testing,” Whitmer said. “I’m requesting an extension to continue utilizing the Michigan National Guard so we can safely reopen our economy while putting the health and well-being of all Michiganders first.” 

Along with allowing her to continue to use the Guard, Whitmer's office says she's making the request request in order to ensure Guard members receive federal retirement and education benefits made available under the GI Bill. If Title 32 authority expires on June 24, some Guard members will not be eligible to receive these benefits. 

“The Michigan National Guard is a crucial part of our emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and will remain vital to our ongoing recovery,” Whitmer said. “I want to ensure the brave men and women serving in the National Guard receive the benefits they’re entitled to and have earned.” 

While he didn't mention Michigan specifically, Trump tweeted Thursday afternoon that he will extend states Title 32 orders through mid-August. 

The governor and POTUS don't have the best track record when it comes to communication, having squabbled over PPE supplies and Whitmer's scathing review of the federal response early on in the pandemic.