Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden urged President Donald Trump to stop sparring with governors over their calls for help from the federal government and their criticisms of the federal response during the coronavirus pandemic.
At a digital town hall with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, the former vice president told Trump to stop taking things so personally when governors criticize the level of support during the viral outbreak, which has killed 1,500 people and infected more than 100,000 in the U.S. so far, according to The New York Times.
“This is not personal,” Biden said. “This has nothing to do with you, Donald Trump. Nothing to do with you. Do your job. Stop personalizing everything.”
Biden was commenting on Trump’s spat with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, both of whom Trump targeted during a coronavirus press conference Friday.
Washington has the second-highest number of coronavirus-linked deaths, with at least 157. Michigan has reported at least 92. There is a nationwide shortage of protective gear and ventilators, and medical professionals across the country are expressing a dire need for rapidly dwindling stocks to be replenished.
Trump told reporters that he directed Vice President Mike Pence not to call Whitmer and Inslee, who are both Democrats, in response to their requests for more medical and personal protective equipment for hospitals.
“I say, ‘Mike, don’t call the governor of Washington; you’re wasting your time with him. Don’t call the woman in Michigan,’” Trump said Friday, noting that the governors are critical of him.
“You know what I say? If they don’t treat you right, don’t call,” the president added. ”[Pence is] a different type of person. He’ll call, quietly, anyway.”
On Thursday, Trump told Fox News that federal aid would go only to states that “treat us well” after he’d attacked Whitmer over her criticism. The president also called Inslee a “snake” on Friday.
During his Friday press conference, Trump said he wanted governors to be “appreciative” of his administration’s coronavirus response.
Asked by Cooper whether governors should be grateful for federal help, Biden said no.
“I don’t think that’s how it’s supposed to work,” Biden told Cooper. “The federal government is supposed to do their job ― the federal government, dealing with a federal, national problem.”