Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the military is ‘leaning forward.” March 18, 2020, 4:20 PM11 min read President Donald Trump started his latest briefing to the nation on how the government is responding to the coronavirus crisis by saying, “I would like to begin by announcing some important developments in our war against the Chinese virus,” referring to the disease with a term that has sparked backlash. “We’ll be invoking the Defense Production Act, just in case we need it. In other words — I think you will know what it is — and it can do a lot of good things if we need it, and we will have it all completed, signing it in just a little while, right after I’m finished with this conference. I’ll be signing it,” he said, allowing the Pentagon to increase its role in the nationwide effort. “We are sending, upon request, the two hospital ships. They are being prepared right now. They are massive ships. They’re the big white ships with the red cross on the sides. One is called the Mercy and the other is called the Comfort. And they are in tip-top shape,” he said. “Today I can announce further


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