State Watch

Illinois governor: White House ‘was not helpful’ for many weeks on coronavirus response

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Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) said Sunday that for many weeks the White House “was not helpful” to states amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s the governors that have risen to the challenge,” Pritzker said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “I talked to my fellow governors, Republicans and Democrats. We’ve shared ideas with one another on how to keep people safe.”

“We’ve gotten some guidance from the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] that’s been helpful, but much of what came out of the White House for many weeks was not helpful,” he added. 

Pritzker blamed President Trump for failing to invoke the Defense Production Act, which the Democratic governor said would be helpful in getting states the necessary supplies to conduct COVID-19 tests. 

“We needed the White House to lead on the Defense Production Act to help us get swabs, to help us get [viral transport media], to help us get reagents. That really hasn’t much happened,” Pritzker said. 

However, Pritzker said, the White House recently promised to send Illinois 600,000 swabs in May, which the governor said he is “very grateful for.” 

Pritzker said he appreciates the White House help but that it is not enough. He said the state is still competing against other states to get swabs and other necessary supplies. 

“I wish that the White House had stepped up earlier, and I think they still have the opportunity to do so when it comes to reagent,” he said. 

Pritzker said his state will “overcome this” and that he expects Illinois will be able to do tens of thousands more tests by midsummer.

Tags Coronavirus Donald Trump JB Pritzker Sunday shows

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