Greg Sargent, an opinion writer for the Washinton Post, called out Trump’s “deeply wretched and depraved” statements on Sean Hannity’s show Thursday night. Trump made a point of singling out Democratic governors who have been critical of his failure to deliver urgently needed supplies amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump, on Michigan's @GovWhitmer:
"All she does is blame the federal government. And we send her a lot."
This is just deeply wretched and depraved.
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) March 27, 2020
One of the governors that Trump singled out on Fox New’s Hannity show was Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan. The state has the fifth-largest outbreak of coronavirus in the United States, with 3,000 confirmed cases and 60 deaths so far.
“She’s not stepping up,” Trump fumed. “All she does is sit there and blame the federal government. She doesn’t get it done. And we send her a lot.”
Trump added: “She is a new governor, and it’s not been pleasant.”
Sargent noted Governor Whitmer’s “dire pleas for help” at a Michigan press briefing earlier this week. She called out the federal government for sending woefully inadequate supplies like masks, gowns, and gloves. While the state may need as many as 400,000 new N95 masks a day, they received only enough for a partial day’s hospital shift.
“After noting that ‘we’re still not getting what we need from the federal government,’ Whitmer sought to illustrate the point with some numbers.
Whitmer recounted that the most recent delivery of masks, gowns, face shields, and gloves from the federal government’s national strategic stockpile — which was earmarked for a Michigan hospital on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis in southeast Michigan — was woefully short of what is needed.
“‘ With the exception of the gloves, that allotment is barely enough to cover one shift at that hospital,’ Whitmer said. ‘Not even a whole day’s worth of shifts. One shift.'”
Previously in February, Whitmer had stated, “I can’t afford to have a fight with the White House.” But now, governors must decide whether to flatter or fight with Trump to get needed supplies for their states.
And, while Michigan officials say they need some 5,000 ventilators, they asked the government for 2,000 and have so far received nothing, according to Sargent’s report.
Michigan’s congressional delegation has expressed bipartisan concern in a letter to Vice President Pence. Fourteen members of congress and two Senators joined in calling for Pence to “immediately increase the amount of personal protective equipment” and tests for COVID-19.
Below, Democrat Rep. Elissa Slotkin, who represents Michigan’s 8th congressional district, shared the letter on Twitter.
Would you send our military into war without body armor?
Our heathcare workers are on the frontlines of this battle, and we need to protect them so they can protect us.
— Rep. Elissa Slotkin (@RepSlotkin) March 26, 2020
So, as you can see, it’s not just Democrats who are calling for the federal government to respond with needed supplies. Nevertheless, Trump is playing political games on Hannity rather than recognizing the urgency of the calls for help from states.
Sargent points out that an Associated Press report suggests a possible sinister motive.
“Trump has kept a close eye on the coronavirus media coverage and noted which local officials were praising or criticizing him, according to three aides who spoke on condition on anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the president’s private deliberations.”
Thus, it appears that governors who are critical could face more public criticism from Trump. Does it also point to the likelihood Trump would refuse assistance to his critics? If so, it harkens back to why Trump was impeached: on accusations of delaying financial aid to Ukraine to fight off attacks from Russia in exchange for damaging information on his political rival, Joe Biden.
According to West Michigan’s 3WWMT News:
“There’s no evidence that Trump has held up a governor’s request for assistance for personal or political reasons. Still, aides say it’s understood that governors who say nice things about the federal response are more likely to be spared public criticism from the White House or threats of withheld assistance.”
We have no direct evidence that Trump has decided to hold off on aid to Democratic governors for political reasons. However, Sargent points out what many of us are thinking: Is Trump trying to score points with his base by making blue states suffer?
“As the AP notes, there is no evidence this has directly influenced Trump’s treatment of states. Still, the very idea that he’d be preoccupied with it at a moment like this is utter madness.”
“And beyond his rage at being criticized, the possibility simply cannot be dismissed that Trump sees his explicit hand-washing of responsibility for the mounting death toll in certain parts of the country as something that will appeal to parts of the country that he perceives as his own.”
Without proof, we can only speculate. However, given Trump’s behavior as President of the United States, would it surprise anyone?
Consider that Trump has singled out Governor Whitmer, who was selected to deliver the Democrat’s response to Trump’s State of the Union address in February.
“As we witness the impeachment process in Washington, there are some things each of us, no matter our party, should demand,” Whitmer said. “The truth matters. Facts matter. And no one should be above the law.”
Less than 24 hours after his address, the Republican-controlled Senate prepared to acquit him of impeachment charges without hearing witnesses or receiving more documents.
Whitmer’s state of Michigan fell to Trump in the 2016 presidential election by fewer than 11,000 votes. Thus she represents a critical state for Trump in 2020. The AP noted:
“Whitmer was elected governor easily that year over a Trump-backed Republican, and she’s been mentioned as a potential vice presidential nominee.”
Ask yourself if Trump would single out this Democratic Governor’s state for political reasons, as our entire country faces a pandemic.
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