Trump digs in on criticism of Democratic governors
President Trump on Friday blasted Democratic governors in Washington and Michigan for criticizing the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, bemoaning that they had not offered appreciation for his efforts.
The president has repeatedly suggested that states should take the leading role in acquiring needed materials to respond to the virus, and on Friday he singled out two governors who have been outspoken in calling on the federal government to do more to facilitate the response: Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) and Gretchen Whitmer (D-Mich.).
Trump derided Inslee as a “failed presidential candidate” who is “constantly chirping.” He told reporters Whitmer “has no idea what’s going on” and asserted his administration has “taken such great care of Michigan.”
Asked what specifically governors could be doing to assuage his concerns, Trump said he expected gratitude for what’s been done so far.
“I want them to be appreciative. I don’t want them to say things that aren’t true,” he said. “I want them to be appreciative. We’ve done a great job. And I’m not talking about me, I’m talking about [Vice President] Mike Pence, the task force, I’m talking about FEMA, the Army Corps of Engineers.”
Trump nodded to Pence, who has been in regular contact with governors nationwide. The president said he’s told Pence not to call the governors of Washington and Michigan, suggesting the vice president is “wasting [his] time.”
“You know what I say? If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call,” Trump added.
Trump vehemently defended the quality of his response to the virus even as governors across the country warn of a lack of ventilators, masks and other critical equipment. He shifted blame for shortages of testing and supplies to past administrations, saying he took over a “broken country.”
“We have done a job the likes of which nobody has seen,” Trump said.
Asked why he didn’t restock the national supply of masks, gowns and other personal protective equipment during the first three years of his administration, Trump insisted he did. But hospitals and state leaders have still warned that they are facing shortages of key materials needed to test and treat individuals with coronavirus.
Trump’s comments came as the U.S. surpassed 100,000 confirmed coronavirus cases. More than 1,500 Americans have died from the virus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The president has repeatedly given himself high marks for his handling of the virus even after he spent weeks in January and February downplaying its severity. He at various times said it was “under control,” that it would fade in April when the weather warms, and that it would one day disappear “like a miracle.”