The Delaware National Guard

Report: Trump Plans To End National Guard COVID Duties One Day Before Benefits Would Kick In

The U.S. National Guard was deployed back in March as it became clear that the coronavirus outbreak was out of control so that they could help set up field hospitals, help with testing, and carry out other necessary tasks. Many of these came with a serious risk of exposure to the virus.

Now, the Trump administration reportedly wants to recall the National Guard on June 24—exactly one day before the 90-day mark when they would become eligible for benefits under the 2008 Post-9/11 GI Bill.

The GI Bill gives important benefits such as help with education expenses to those who are deployed for at least 90 days. If recalled on June 24, the first National Guard members deployed for the pandemic will be just one day short of being allowed access to those benefits, which would be available to them for the rest of their lives.

This recall decision is not proving to be popular among the public, much of whom would like to see the people who risked their lives to try and deal with the fallout from the government’s slow and weak response to the crisis. That might be why it wasn’t announced the public, but was obtained by POLITICO via an audio recording and confirmation from a “senior FEMA official.”

When asked for comment, FEMA admitted that the Trump administration’s order for funding the current National Guard deployment indeed ends on June 24, but said that an extension of that order is possible.

“We’re not there yet on the determination,” said spokesperson Wayne Hall. “Nobody can say where we’ll need to be more than a month down the road.”

The Trump administration did issue an extension after Democrats and Republicans sent a joint plea to the president asking him to extend the National Guard deployment to the end of the year. However, he didn’t extend it quite that long. Instead, it was bizarrely stretched for just 24 additional days, ending in the middle of the week.

“It seemed kind of weird to me,” said President of the National Guard Association retired Brig. Gen. J. Roy Robinso. “It’s a Wednesday. And it also coincides with 89 days of deployment for any soldiers who went on federal status at the beginning. I was getting all kind of calls about it and I said, ‘It’s probably just a coincidence.’”

This sounds like the kind of thing that could help be determined by everyone making a big stink about it until Trump extends the deployment and pretends it was all his idea. Plenty of people on Twitter are already working on it.

Don’t you support the troops, Donald?