WASHINGTON — President Trump used his daily coronavirus briefing to attack Democratic governors who in his estimation had shown insufficient gratitude for his administration’s response to the pandemic.
“I want them to be appreciative,” Trump said, arguing that failing to show appreciation was insulting not just to him but to the Army Corps of Engineers, which has been part of the federal response to the pandemic.
The president said he has told Vice President Mike Pence not to call governors who haven’t shown proper deference to his administration. “They don’t treat you right, I don’t call,” Trump said, in a recurrence of his characteristic sensitivity to slights that he has recently been holding in check. He has, for example, been quick to praise Gavin Newsom of California and Andrew Cuomo of New York, invariably pointing out that they have in turn praised him.
Trump singled out two governors for scorn: Jay Inslee of Washington state, where the virus first gained a foothold in the United States, and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, a state which has recently seen an increase of coronavirus infections, especially in the vicinity of Detroit.
“I think we’ve done a great job for the state of Washington and I think the governor is a failed presidential candidate,” Trump said of Inslee, who ran for presidency on the Democratic ticket and on a climate change platform. He has called the governor a “snake” for criticizing the federal response to the coronavirus.
Mike Pence has routinely praised Inslee’s response to the coronavirus, which has killed at least 147 people in Washington.
Whitmer and Trump have been at odds since she criticized the federal response on Thursday. “She has no idea what’s going on,” Trump said of Whitmer on Friday. Pence “calls all the governors,” Trump added. “I tell him — I mean, I'm a different type of person — I say, 'Mike, don't call the governor of Washington. You're wasting your time. ... Don't call the woman in Michigan.'"
As he has previously, Trump praised his administration’s response, despite the delays in testing and a shortage of hospital supplies.
“The federal government is doing a hell of a job,” he said.
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