Is Trump Cutting Off Michigan's Nose To Spite Their Governor's Face? Probably!
Michigan currently has the fourth highest number of active COVID-19 cases in the country. One would think that, given this, the federal government would be rushing to its aid to give it the supplies it needs to fight the pandemic. Well, you know, in an alternate universe where the United States hasn't let that same state go without clean water for practically the last decade.
And sure! While some of this lack of action may be attributed to good old-fashioned American not-giving-a-fuck, Michigan's Governor Gretchen Whitmer believes that at least part of it is that Donald Trump is mad at her, in particular, for saying mean things about him. Because not only has the federal government told Michigan it is on its own, but vendors have said that they have been instructed to not send supplies to the state as well. Like, vendors were supposed to send them supplies, and then had to back out of it because they'd been told not to do that.
"When the federal government told us that we needed to go it ourselves, we started procuring every item we could get our hands on," Whitmer said Friday on WWJ 950AM. "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."
Whitmer didn't say who has told vendors to stop sending medical supplies to the state, but strongly implied the order came from President Donald Trump's administration.
In a Friday afternoon appearance on CNN, Whitmer did not back away from her earlier claim.
"We've entered into a number of contracts and as we are getting closer to the date when shipments are supposed to come in, they're getting canceled or they're getting delayed," Whitmer said. "We've been told they're going first to the federal government."
Whitmer also noted that one hospital in the state got one shipment from the federal government. It consisted of one shift's worth of medical supplies. Not a day's worth. A shift's worth.
For Trump's part, he's not exactly denying it, and admitted in a press conference last night that he had instructed Vice President Pence to ignore Whitmer's calls, because "if they don't treat you right, I don't call."
Sure! That's good and normal and fine. Risking people's lives because people aren't "treating you right" — because that's what's important right now. And the thing is, he's not just not calling, or not answering phone calls, he's apparently, allegedly, telling vendors not to do business with states that have governors who criticize him, and that is legitimately insane.
Trump has also said that he wants governors to handle this pandemic pretty much entirely on their own and does not quite understand why it is they are bothering him with any of this.
Via Washington Post:
On Hannity's show, Trump ripped into Whitmer, while not even hiding the fact that his anger was stoked by her criticism of his failure to deliver urgently needed supplies.
"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."
Trump also dismissed New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's demand for ventilators, which are needed to save coronavirus patients' lives, saying: "I don't believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators."
And Trump sneered at Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, claiming: "He shouldn't be relying on the federal government."
"We're really a second line of attack," Trump said. "The first line of attack is supposed to be the hospitals and the local government and the states themselves."
This is, of course, very much in line with the Republican ideal of federalism and the ethos of "rugged individualism" that got us into this giant mess to begin with, so glad he's continuing on with that. Wouldn't want to accidentally do anything in a normal, responsible way!
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse