President Donald Trump continued to bash Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer Friday over her statements that medical equipment her state needs in its fight against coronavirus were delayed by the federal government.
Whitmer made the assertion Friday during an interview with radio station WWJ, calling the lack of cooperation from the government “really concerning.”
“When the federal government told us that we needed to get [medical equipment] ourselves,” Whitmer said, “we started procuring every item we could get our hands on. What I’ve gotten back is that vendors with whom we had contracts are now being told not to send stuff here to Michigan.”
Newsweek reached out to Whitmer’s office for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.
Governor Whitmer’s comments came the day after a Thursday interview between Trump and Fox News host Sean Hannity, in which the president said Whitmer was “not stepping up.”
“I don’t know if she knows what’s going on but all she does is sit there and blame the federal government. She doesn’t get it done and we send her a lot,” Trump said. “Now, she wants a declaration of emergency and, you know, we’ll have to make a decision on that. But Michigan is a very important state. I love the people of Michigan.”
Trump reiterated his love for Michigan residents in a Friday tweet, in which the president also gave Governor Whitmer a nickname.
“I love Michigan, one of the reasons we are doing such a GREAT job for them during this horrible Pandemic,” Trump wrote Friday in a now-deleted tweet. “Yet your Governor, Gretchen “Half” Whitmer is way in over her ahead, she doesn’t have a clue. Likes blaming everyone for her own ineptitude! #MAGA”
“Millions and millions of pieces of equipment have been delivered by us, purchased and delivered, and we’ve made it available to the states,” Trump said at Friday’s coronavirus task force briefing. “The governors have been very gracious for the most part, I would say. There are a couple that aren’t appreciative of the incredible job. They have to do a better job themselves, that’s part of the problem.”
Friday, Trump activated the National Production Act impelling General Motors to begin production of ventilators needed by hospitals for coronavirus patients. His administration has also directed U.S. Navy hospital ships to deliver assistance to New York and California, two of the states hardest-hit by the pandemic.
When asked Friday by ABC journalist Jon Karl about the availability of ventilators, Trump said, “Look, don’t be a cutie pie, okay?”
“Nobody’s done anything like what we’ve been able to do,” Trump continued. “Everything I took over was a mess. It was a broken country in so many ways, in so many ways other than this. We had a bad testing system, we had a bad stockpile system. We had nothing in the stockpile system. So I wouldn’t tell me like, what, you’re being a wise guy.”
Whitmer, however, said that her state is still having a difficult time receiving the equipment it needs for its health care providers.
“Michigan, like states across the country, Republican and Democratic-led, we are struggling to get the PPE [personal protective equipment] that we need,” Whitmer told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room Friday. “We are struggling to make sure that our nurses and doctors on the front line have the N95 masks that are so precious. We’ve gotten a few of our shipments out of the national stockpile but the fact of the matter is, the latest one had zero of these masks and that’s what is so crucial right now.”
“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 continued. “And we’ve been told that they’re going first to the federal government.”
Whitmer is not the only state governor to speak publicly about the lack of PPE delivered to their state. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said in a briefing Thursday that “until the thing shows up here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, it doesn’t exist.”
“I’m telling you people are spending hours and hours and hours trying to get that stuff here for exactly that reason,” Baker continued. “Our first responders, our health care workers, everybody deserves to have that gear. And I’m telling you, we are killing ourselves trying to make it happen.”
Recent data indicated a total of 3,657 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Michigan, while Massachusetts has reported 3,240 positive cases of the illness.
The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates the distribution of COVID-19 cases around the world as of March 27 at 6 a.m.
World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Hygiene advice
- Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
- Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
- Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.
- Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
- Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
- If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
- Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
- Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.
Mask and glove usage
- Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
- Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
- Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
- Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
- Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
- Do not reuse single-use masks.
- Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
- The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.