Ottawa Times: U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger said Trump should call for more National Guard
Congressman said National Guard has assets to help relief efforts
Congressman Adam Kinzinger said this weekend he wishes President Donald Trump would call up more of the National Guard in the nation's response to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Channahon Republican, who also is a member of the Air National Guard, was asked on a Fox News program about the USNS Comfort, the 1,000-bed hospital ship heading to assist New York in responding to the virus Monday.
"This is really a pretty awesome asset," Kinzinger said. "This one was recently down in Venezuela treating refugees in Colombia who needed help. There's an amazing history of these hospital ships."
Kinzinger said these ships typically are not used domestically.
"It will take some pressure off the hospitals in New York and elsewhere, so they can treat the actual COVID-19 victims while this can take some of the other people in a bad situation," Kinzinger said. "We have some amazing assets in this country, and that's one of them."
Trump signed an executive order Friday night that allows the Pentagon to call National Guard members and former U.S. service members back to active duty to fight the coronavirus.
When asked about the order, Kinzinger said the National Guard has several assets that can help and he'd like to see the National Guard used more.
"The National Guard in this time is extremely important," Kinzinger said. "I actually wish the president would call up more of the National Guard, because for instance, the plane I fly the RC-26, the Guard still wants to push it out."
In Illinois, Gov. JB Pritzker has called on the National Guard to assist with COVID-19 efforts.
For example, Guard members will assist with logistics, administrative and safety procedures at an Illinois Department of Public Health testing site at the McLean County Fairgrounds in Bloomington. This site began operating Saturday.
Kinzinger said the plane he flies has been used for countering drugs and he believes it can be used to help in areas most affected by COVID-19.
"That's the kind of asset that needs activated at this moment," Kinzinger said.
"That's what I love about the National Guard," he added. "A U.S. congressman can be in it, you can have people who are doctors on the civilian side who are in it, airline pilots. It's an amazing American thing that we have these citizen soldiers."
The original article can be found on the Ottawa Times website here.