1/ Trump cutoff U.S. funding to the World Health Organization in response to the agency’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. “We have not been treated properly,” Trump said, deflecting blame for his dismissal of the virus as a threat to Americans and the U.S. economy. The hold will remain for up to 90 days while the Trump administration conducts a funding review. Trump said the U.S. had “a duty to insist on full accountability,” accusing the WHO of “severely mismanaging and covering up” the crisis. Trump also said that “if we cannot trust them,” then the U.S. will be “forced to find other ways to work with other nations to achieve public health goals.” The U.S. is the largest donor to the WHO, and contributes between $400 million and $500 million a year to the organization, which has an annual budget of around $6 billion. (Washington Post / Politico /USA Today / Wall Street Journal / Axios / CNN / NBC News / BBC News)

  • Bill Gates: Trump’s decision to suspend funding to the WHO “during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds.” (Washington Post)

  • Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, said his agency will continue to work with the WHO to combat the coronavirus pandemic and other infectious diseases, saying the U.S. has a “very productive public health relationship” with the WHO. (Politico / HuffPost)

  • House Democrats: Trump’s halt on funding to the WHO is illegal and violates the same federal spending laws as the Ukraine aid freeze that prompted his impeachment. (Politico)

2/ The Treasury Department ordered Trump’s name printed on the IRS stimulus checks that are being sent out to tens of millions of Americans. It will be the first time a president’s name will appear on an IRS funding disbursement and likely lead to a delay in issuing the first batch of paper checks. Trump privately asked Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to let him formally sign the checks, but presidents are not an authorized signer for legal disbursements by the U.S. Treasury. “President Donald J. Trump” will be printed on the fronts of the checks. (Washington Post / CNN / Bloomberg / NBC News)

3/ The Paycheck Protection Program is expected to run out of money today – after 13 days. The $349 billion federal relief program for small businesses was designed to support businesses hit by the pandemic get by with short-term, stopgap loans until the economy reopens. The Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, which was supposed to disperse emergency cash grants within three days, meanwhile, is running weeks behind. (Bloomberg / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

  • One person is currently overseeing the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief fund. The new law requires congressional leaders to appoint a five-member panel, but so far only Bharat Ramamurti has been named to the Congressional Oversight Commission. Under the new law, the disbursement of Treasury funds triggers requires the oversight commission to produce its first public report within 30 days. (Bloomberg)

  • Retail sales fell 8.7% in March from a month earlier – the biggest month-over-month decline since 1992. (Wall Street Journal)

  • U.S. factory output dropped 5.4% in March – the largest drop since 1946. (Bloomberg)

  • Homebuilder confidence fell 42 points to a reading of 30 in April, the lowest point since June 2012 and the biggest monthly drop in the index’s 35-year history. (CNBC)

4/ Trump announced the formation of his “Opening the Country” council, which includes dozens of high-profile business and labor leaders, who will advise him on when and how to restart the U.S. economy. Instead of creating a new task force to help revive the nation’s economy, Trump will hold calls with more than 200 business leaders, including chief executives at JPMorgan Chase, Blackstone, Apple, Facebook, the New England Patriots, and the National Basketball Association, among others. “I’m tired of watching baseball games that are 14 years old,” Trump said, adding: “But I haven’t actually had too much time to watch.” Executives, meanwhile, told Trump the availability of coronavirus testing would need to “dramatically increase” before the public would be confident enough to return to work, eat at restaurants or shop in retail establishments. FEMA and the CDC have also put together guidance for state and local governments on how they can ease mitigation efforts, moving from restrictions such as stay-at-home orders in a phased way to support a safe reopening. Trump would not confirm if the people on his list had agreed to serve on his council. Some business leaders have reportedly been hesitant to tie their names and companies to the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and to a council with no clear roster or mandate. (New York Times / Bloomberg / CNN / NPR / NBC News / Vox / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post)

  • The number of coronavirus tests analyzed each day in the U.S. has slowed by more than 30% over the past week. Commercial labs say they are sitting with unused testing capacity waiting for samples to arrive. (Politico)

  • Trump said he will be “authorizing” governors of individual states to reopen their economies. “I will be speaking to all 50 governors very shortly,” Trump said. “And I will then be authorizing each individual governor of each individual state to implement a reopening, very powerful reopening plan of their estate in a time in a manner which is most appropriate.” Trump previously claimed that only he had the “total authority” as president to decide whether states could reopen their economies or if they are to remain under strict social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (Axios / NBC News)

5/ Trump wanted to start a White House talk radio show – a daily, two-hour show with an open phone line for people to call and engage one-on-one with him. According to White House officials, Trump did not want to compete with Rush Limbaugh. Instead, Trump opted for daily televised press briefings. (New York Times)


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