President Trump said Friday that what he wants from governors is for them to be "appreciative," singling out governors who have criticized the federal government's response, particularly when it comes to the procurement of medical equipment like ventilators.
During the daily Coronavirus Task Force briefing, Mr. Trump told reporters that he tells Vice President Mike Pence "don't call the governor of Washington," Governor Jay Inslee, or "the woman in Michigan," Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who, he said "has no idea what's going on." The president shrugged and said that Pence calls them anyway.
The president had made similar remarks about Whitmer in a Fox News interview with Sean Hannity Thursday night. On Friday, Whitmer told WWJ 950AM she's been "uniquely singled out," even though "I don't go into personal attacks. I don't have time for that."
She said that after the federal government told governors they were responsible for buying the equipment they needed to fight COVID-19, "we started procuring every item we could get our hands on."
But lately, Whitmer said, "what I've gotten back is that vendors with whom we had contracts are now being told not to send stuff here to Michigan. It's really concerning."
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and California Governor Gavin Newsom have also been urging the Trump administration to get them more masks and ventilators.
The president also talked about conversations he has had with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. Though he said he doesn't know him very well, Mr. Trump said "I've spoken to him a lot," and the two have had "incredibly productive discussions." The president said the federal government has delivered a lot of medical equipment to de Blasio for the city, which has the highest recorded rate of infection in the country. The president said the mayor is working very hard, adding, "I can't say anything bad about Mayor de Blasio."
On Friday, the president used the Defense Production Act substantively for the first time, signing an executive order requiring General Motors to produce as many ventilators as the health and human services secretary deems necessary. Mr. Trump announced Friday that his trade adviser, Peter Navarro, will coordinate the implementation of the Defense Production Act.
Also Friday, the president signed the massive economic relief bill to counteract the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
A record number of Americans have filed unemployment claims, and the U.S. now tops China as the country with the most confirmed COVID-19 cases.
The president says he'll head to the Norfolk Naval Base in Virginia on Saturday to send off the USNS Comfort, which will serve as a floating hospital for New York City.