Trump attacks Whitmer on Twitter after she asks feds for more support

President Donald Trump speaks at the beginning of a new conference with members of the coronavirus task force, including Vice President Mike Pence in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House February 26, 2020 in Washington, DC. | Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Donald Trump targeted Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Twitter Tuesday morning after the governor called on the president for more federal support to stop the spread of COVID-19, a disease caused by a new coronavirus.

Whitmer told MSNBC that the federal government was unprepared for the pandemic and that the president has not taken the crisis seriously early enough.

“To hear the leader of the federal government tell us to work around the federal government because it’s too slow is mind-boggling,” Whitmer said. 

Following this, the president tweeted: “Failing Michigan Governor must work harder and be much more proactive. We are pushing her to get the job done. I stand with Michigan!”

Trump frequently bashes Democrats and has gone after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo over the COVID-19 pandemic, as well.

Whitmer also was critical of the federal government’s efforts Monday night on CNN, saying that “it’s important that the federal government gets their act together.”

Whitmer: Federal govt. must ‘get their act together’ on COVID-19

On a phone call with a group of governors Monday, Trump urged state leaders to get “respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment” without federal assistance. 

Whitmer responded to Trump on Twitter Tuesday morning: “Now that I’ve got your attention, Mr. President – attack tweets won’t solve this crisis. But swift and clear guidance, tests, personal protective equipment, and resources would.”  

Whitmer said she is doing what she can for Michigan with what she has. 

She has imposed a number of executive orders to slow the spread of the virus, encourage social distancing and provide some protections to those that may face hardships due to closures, which she tweeted out in subsequent posts.

 

On Monday, the governor signed Executive Order 2020-11, which prohibits all events and meetings of more than 50 people in shared indoor spaces.

The governor also ordered a temporary expansion of eligibility for unemployment benefits due to the outbreak, shut down most public places like bars, restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, spas and casinos and closed all K-12 schools across the state. 

There are now 54 positive cases of COVID-19 in Michigan as of this story’s publication, although health officials believe that number is much higher. 

There was no shortage of responses to Trump’s attack from public figures and journalists.

Christina Wilkie, a White House reporter for CNBC, said that Trump’s attacks might be because he considers her a threat to his reelection in Michigan, noting that Whitmer’s name has come up as running mate for Democratic frontrunner former Vice President Joe Biden.

“The context for understanding this out-of-the-blue attack on the governor is that she’s a Democrat, she’s popular, and Trump is desperate to win Michigan in 2020. She’s also on the parlor game short list for Biden’s VP pick, which makes her an especially threatening figure,” Wilkie tweeted.

Aaron Rupar, a journalist with Vox, quote-tweeted the president and added: “It’s really galling that Trump is using the coronavirus pandemic to take shots at Democrats, especially considering the federal government’s egregious failures.”

State Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) responded to Trump: “We don’t need this noise in Michigan while we’re governing over here. You should try governing, Mr. President. People seem to like it… and need it.”

Allison Donahue
Allison Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.