President Donald Trump said Friday that he instructed Vice President Mike Pence not to reach out to governors who aren’t “appreciative” of his administration’s efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus in their states.
“If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call,” Trump said of those state leaders.
“I think they should be appreciative. Because you know what? When they’re not appreciative to me, they’re not appreciative to the Army Corps [of Engineers], they’re not appreciative to FEMA. It’s not right,” Trump told reporters at a daily press briefing at the White House.
The president mentioned Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, both Democrats who have been critical of the White House’s actions to combat the deadly pandemic.
Trump said that Pence “calls all the governors. And I tell him, I’m a different type of person, and I say, ‘Mike, don’t call the governor of Washington. You’re wasting your time with him.”
“Don’t call the woman in Michigan. It doesn’t make any difference what happens,” Trump also said he told Pence, who leads the U.S. response to the coronavirus.
The president’s remarks came shortly after the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. topped 100,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The World Health Organization warned this week that the pandemic is accelerating around the world.
Inslee responded to Trump’s remarks in a tweet, saying he wasn’t going to “let personal attacks from the president distract me from what matters: beating this virus and keeping Washingtonians healthy.”
Political leaders at every level of government have taken extreme steps to slow transmission of the virus. An increasing number of states, including Washington and Michigan, have ordered residents to stay home and have temporarily closed schools and closed non-essential businesses.
At the federal level,