Minutes later, he heaped praise on his own administration for “working very well with the Governors and State officials.”
President Donald Trump punched back on Tuesday against criticism from Democratic governors critical of his administration’s coronavirus response, wading into his familiar political spats as the White House looks to combat a pandemic.
Trump referred to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as the “failing Michigan governor” on Monday and lashed out at New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo after his calls for stepped up federal assistance. Minutes later, he heaped praise on his own administration for “working very well with the Governors and State officials.”
While Cuomo, Whitmer and other governors have been among the most vocal critics of the federal coronavirus response, they have been far from alone. The Trump administration has come under a steady drumbeat of scrutiny over its inability to quickly ramp up coronavirus testing capabilities as well as its weekslong rhetorical campaign to downplay the virus’ threat to Americans. Only recently has the president reversed course in his own public utterances to warn the public about the severity of the pandemic’s threat.
The president’s criticism of Whitmer on Tuesday appeared to be triggered by her appearance on MSNBC, where she said her state is working to flatten the curve by closing restaurants and bars after a federal government response that did not take the outbreak “seriously early enough.” She also outlined her plan to expand unemployment benefits as workers lose jobs and are forced to stay home amid the pandemic.
“The federal government did not take this seriously early enough, and now it is on us to make sure we’re doing everything we can based on the best facts and science available and that we are always putting the health of our people front and center,” Whitmer said on MSNBC. Trump soon after tweeted that the Michigan governor “must work harder and be much more proactive. We are pushing her to get the job done. I stand with Michigan!”