Trump activates National Guard in California, New York, Washington at no cost to states

President also says FEMA will set up hospitals in the three states

Updated: March 22, 2020 - 6:40pm

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President Trump said Sunday, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, that he's activated the National Guard in hard-hit California, New York and Washington at no cost to the states.

"This will give (governors) maximum flexibility to use the Guard," Trump said at the daily White House coronavirus task force briefing. He also made clear that the respective governors, not the White House, will direct the Guardsmen. 

The president said that the three states will each get makeshift hospitals, set up and paid for by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

New York will get four large medical centers, California will get eight large ones, and Washington will get three large and four small centers. 

The president said federal officials will begin within the next 48 hours to deliver on the initiatives that he announced Sunday. 

"We're at war, and we're fighting an invisible enemy," Trump said.

The Guard units will be activated under what the service branch calls Title 32. 

"Title 32 allows the governor, with the approval of the president or the secretary of Defense, to order a member to duty for operational (homeland defense) activities in accordance with the United States Code,"  according to a National Guard fact sheet.