Trump Says He Might Announce an “Enforceable Quarantine” of New York Area

Tasos Katopodis/CNP via ZUMA

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Update, 9:30 pm ET: No quarantine.

President Donald Trump says he may announce a two-week quarantine for residents of Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York as soon as today.

“We might not have to do it,” Trump told reporters on Saturday, “but there’s a possibility that sometime today we’ll do a quarantine—short term, two weeks—for New York, probably New Jersey, certain parts of Connecticut.” Trump’s maybe-maybe-not approach is likely to only add to the chaos being caused by the new coronavirus.  

Trump said travel could be restricted from the three states “because they’re having problems down in Florida”—a key swing state in the 2020 election. “A lot of New Yorkers are going down [to Florida],” Trump said. “We don’t want that.” The president said he’d spoken by phone with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), a vocal Trump supporter who has been widely criticized for his response to the pandemic.

Trump added before boarding Marine One that it would be an “enforceable quarantine,” saying, “I’d rather not do it, but we may need it.” The president followed up his quarantine comment with a similar tweet.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) said Saturday that he hadn’t spoken with Trump about the possibility of a quarantine. “I haven’t had those conversations. I don’t even know what that means,” Cuomo said at a press briefing. “I don’t know how that could be legally enforceable, and from a medical point of view I don’t know what you would be accomplishing.”

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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