Sean Penn is calling for President Donald Trumpt to invoke the United States military to intervene in the ongoing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The actor, along with Ann Lee, CEO of the humanitarian aid organization Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE), co-wrote an op-ed published in The Guardian Sunday asking Trump to commit the military to provide "direct support" amid the crisis.
"We call on President Trump to commit the federal military to provide direct support. Our centralized, federal government can save lives now if it acts," Penn and Lee wrote in their opinion piece, in which Penn drew on his experiences in Haiti after the devastating 2010 earthquake that devastated the country. "The military must be tasked with a full offensive against this virus."
"To aid Haitians after the earthquake, the United States government deployed the most effective logistical and humanitarian organization the world has ever seen: the U.S. military," the writers purported, "which in Haiti included 22,000 soldiers, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S.NS Comfort, a 1,000-bed trauma hospital ship. U.S. soldiers distributed food, organized health facilities, set up clean water access, and provided security."
Working with CORE, Penn and Lee said the U.S. military was able to "take over and manage a 60,000-person camp, with drainage, organized blocks of tents, and a hospital."
"This was in Haiti, where public health infrastructure is limited and in some places nonexistent. Imagine what the U.S. military could do here in the U.S., right now, to fight the coronavirus pandemic. We need to buy time for our scientists to develop a vaccine; we need to build infrastructure to administer tests and treat the afflicted," the two wrote.
Penn and Lee are not the only ones calling on Trump for further military action to combat the crisis. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called on the president to deploy the military to aid in the fight against COVID-19, saying on CNN Wednesday, that he wants the military in New York to help supplement efforts by the state and city.
"I want their medical teams, which are first rate," he said. "I want their logistical support. I want their ability to get stuff from factories all over the country where they are needed most. The only force in America that can do that effectively and quickly is the United States military and they are being sidelined right now by Donald Trump when he should be calling them to the front. [New York City] is the front right now."
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