President Donald Trump again bashed the Democratic governors of Washington and Michigan on Friday, saying they “should be appreciative” of the federal government and that he’s told Vice President Mike Pence — who heads the White House’s response to the coronavirus pandemic — not to call them.
“I think we’ve done a great job for the state of Washington,” Trump said at the daily White House briefing on COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Adding that Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) was a “failed presidential candidate,” Trump said, “He’s constantly tripping and I guess complaining.”
“She has no idea what’s going on,” Trump then said of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D). “And all she does is say, ‘Oh, it’s the federal government’s fault.’ And we’ve taken great care of Michigan.”
Asked what more the president wants from governors, Trump answered: “I want them to be appreciative,” he said multiple times, adding that the Army Corps of Engineers’ recent work to revamp hotels to receive coronavirus patients “should be for governors to do, that should be for states to do.”
“I say, ‘Mike, don’t call the governor of Washington; you’re wasting your time with him. Don’t call the woman in Michigan. It doesn’t make any difference what happens.’”
“If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call,” Trump added, noting Pence is a “different type of person” who will “call quietly anyway.”
States across the country have been struggling to test, treat and support the ballooning number of people with coronavirus. The U.S. now has more than 101,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases — more than any other nation in the world.
Washington and Michigan are among the states with the highest numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases — more than 3,200 in Washington and 3,600 reported cases in Michigan. Michigan has one of the fastest-growing rates of coronavirus of any state. Washington has the second-highest number of deaths, after New York, with more than 150 residents confirmed dead so far from COVID-19.
Trump slammed Whitmer this week, calling her “the young, a woman governor,” in a Fox News interview, saying: “We don’t like to see the complaints.”
Whitmer tweeted in response Thursday: “I’ve asked repeatedly and respectfully for help. We need it. No more political attacks, just PPEs, ventilators, N95 masks, test kits.”
Earlier this month, Trump called Inslee a “snake” during a press conference on coronavirus. At the time, Washington led the nation in coronavirus-linked deaths.
On Friday, Inslee responded to Trump’s remarks in a tweet:
Trump spent weeks repeatedly downplaying the virus before recently pivoting toward touting his administration’s response, saying Friday, “We have done a job the likes of which nobody’s seen.”
After weeks of states demanding more capacity to test people for the virus — including actual complete test kits from the federal government — testing has only recently begun to ramp up nationwide, with the numbers of confirmed positive cases expected to mount accordingly.
Meanwhile, states have continued to call out the lack of critical medical equipment, such as ventilators, and hospitals and health workers are reporting a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) they need to stay healthy while treating patients with the virus.
Trump invoked the Defense Production Act earlier Friday to order General Motors to manufacture ventilators. The president claimed at the briefing that, along with other private-sector companies contributing, within the next 100 days, the U.S. will make or procure over 100,000 additional ventilators.
This came just a day after the president said in response to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) calling for tens of thousands of more ventilators: “I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators.” New York is now the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., and hospitals there are already overwhelmed.
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