Trump calls Washington Gov. Inslee a 'nasty person' and says he makes Pence call him

insider@insider.com (Rhea Mahbubani)
President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room on Friday, March 27, 2020.

Associated Press

  • At a news conference on Sunday, President Donald Trump said he doesn't "like" Washington state's Gov. Jay Inslee, who is a "failed presidential candidate" and a "nasty person."
  • The US's coronavirus outbreak has badly impacted Washington, infecting more than 4,400 people and killing 195, but Trump said he doesn't reach out to Inslee. Instead, he said, "I get Mike Pence to call. I get the head of FEMA to call."
  • During the briefing, CNN's Jeremy Diamond read back to the president his past comments about wanting governors to be "appreciative," but Trump took issue with the reporter's phrasing, saying, "That's why CNN is not trusted anymore."
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President Donald Trump at a news conference on Sunday attacked Washington state's Gov. Jay Inslee, labeling him a "nasty person" and saying he doesn't "like" him as the US's confirmed coronavirus cases skyrocket to over 140,000.

The comment came during a heated exchange between Trump and CNN's Jeremy Diamond, who asked the president about a comment he made at a White House press briefing on Friday about deferential treatment from state officials.

"I want them to be appreciative," Trump had said about governors. At the same time, he also implied that Vice President Mike Pence shouldn't talk to state officials who "don't treat you right."

This topic resurfaced on Sunday, with Diamond reading back the president's own words to him and Trump accusing CNN of cutting off the soundbite although he went on to say that Pence, the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and the Army Corps of Engineers deserve praise for their efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus. 

Trump told Diamond that he doesn't directly contact Inslee, who is a Democrat, adding, "No, I don't have to call because I'm probably probably better off not ... He's a failed presidential candidate. He's a nasty person. I don't like the governor of Washington so you know who calls? I get Mike Pence to call. I get the head of FEMA to call. I get the admiral to call."

Jay Inslee

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Trump appeared to be referencing one of the leaders in the commissioned corps of the US Public Health Service.

Trump also touted the fact that he hasn't prevented Pence or others leading the federal response to COVID-19 pandemic from reaching out to Inslee, who is at the helm of a state where more than 4,400 people have been infected and 195 have died as of Sunday.

"I don't stop them," he said. "Did I ever ask you to do anything negative, Mike, to ... the state of Washington?"

Trump continued to rail on Diamond, saying he doesn't care about receiving credit personally, but "when they disrespect me, they disrespect the government." 

He continued: "I want them to appreciate the incredible job we're doing. We are doing the job the likes of which has never been done before."

The president also lashed out at CNN, saying Diamond's line of questioning is why people "don't like" the television network and its "ratings are no good."

"That's why CNN is not trusted anymore," he said. "They are fake news. Remember that."

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