Trump Could Declare National Emergency as Coronavirus Toll Mounts

President Trump will use a news conference later Friday to declare a state of national emergency, a report says.
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President Trump will try again to sooth a panicked nation and jittery markets with a 3 p.m. ET news conference on the latest in the battle against the deadly coronavirus.

Trump is now expected to declare a state of national emergency at the news conference, NBC News reported, citing unnamed administration officials.

Trump's decision to go before reporters comes as Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Congress hammer out a deal on a major stimulus package to bolster the economy amid the sweeping disruption caused by the coronavirus.

The president's decision to hold a news conference comes in the wake of his prime-time address to the nation on Wednesday night, in which he announced a ban on travelers from 26 European nations.

Trump's speech did little to calm investors, who went on a manic selling spree on Thursday, triggering the biggest one-day percentage drop since the Black Monday crash on Oct. 19, 1987.

Stocks shot up early Friday, with the Dow at one point up more than 1,300 points, before giving back most of its gains.

Still, there is considerable speculation as to whether Trump will back the multibillion-dollar package being hammered out by his Treasury secretary and House leaders.

Trump's plan to declare a state of emergency, as reported by NBC News, comes in the wake of similar moves by a number of major cities and states, including New York.

Such a move on the national level would give FEMA, an agency much criticized for its handling of the response to major natural disasters, a major role in the battle against the coronavirus, according to the NBC News report.