President Trump said Friday he has urged Vice President Mike Pence, chairman of the coronavirus task force, not to reach out to hostile Democratic governors who criticize the administration’s efforts.
“I want them to be appreciative,” Mr. Trump said of the governors of Washington state and Michigan. “I don’t want them to say things that aren’t true. We’ve done a great job.”
Asked about criticisms by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the president said he has advised Mr. Pence not to deal with them. But he said Mr. Pence is too nice to listen to his advice.
“He calls all the governors. I tell him, ‘Mike, don’t call the governor of Washington, you’re wasting your time with him,” Mr. Trump said. “Don’t call the woman in Michigan. It doesn’t make any difference in what happens. If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call.”
He said most governors, including Democrats Phil Murphy of New Jersey and Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, are appreciative of the federal government’s work. But he said Mr. Inslee and Ms. Whitmer are actually criticizing all the hard-working federal employees when they slam him.
“I’m not talking about me,” the president said. “I’m talking about Mike, talking about FEMA, the Army Corps of Engineers. When somebody for political reasons wants to blame, I view that as blaming these incredible people. These people are working 24 hours a day. I think the media and the governors should appreciate it.”
At the same time, Mr. Trump said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, has done a good job despite not imposing many restrictions on society.
“He was not happy with the people flying down from New York,” Mr. Trump said. “Florida has been doing very well in the sense of testing.”
— Tom Howell Jr. contributed to this report.
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