Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer challenged President Donald Trump Thursday night to “prove” he stands with the state after the President criticized her for asking the federal government for more help fighting the coronavirus outbreak.
Trump, during an interview with Fox News on Thursday night, repeatedly slammed the Democratic governor for her demands that the federal government provide more medical equipment to the Great Lakes State. Trump said in the interview that he doesn’t “know if she knows what’s going on” but “all she does is sit there and blame the federal government.” He also referred to her as “the young, a woman governor, you know who I’m talking about, from Michigan.”
In response, Whitmer said on Twitter “that governor is me.”
“I’ve asked repeatedly and respectfully for help,” Whitmer tweeted in response to the President telling Sean Hannity he was having problems with her. “We need it. No more political attacks, just PPEs, ventilators, N95 masks, test kits.”
“You said you stand with Michigan — prove it.”
Whitmer had earlier in the day sent Trump a request for a major disaster declaration over the coronavirus outbreak in the Great Lakes State.
Whitmer said at the news conference announcing the request that she was “hopeful that the President will grant my request for major disaster declaration in full, and within a matter of days, so we can provide more services to Michiganders who need them.”
The declaration would allow the state to provide rental assistance and temporary housing to people in the state, counseling and therapy for residents and the ability to quickly set up field hospitals or other facilities to treat coronavirus patients.
Trump told Fox News that he has “to make a decision about that.”
As of Thursday, 43 people in Michigan have died from the coronavirus, and the state currently has 2,294 cases of Covid-19, according to CNN’s tally. The Great Lake State is currently ranked fifth in the US with confirmed coronavirus cases.
“Just over two weeks ago, we had zero. This crisis is ramping up exponentially,” Whitmer said, as she reminded people that her stay-at-home executive order is not optional.
Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the chief deputy director for Health for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said the state is “a few weeks out from the apex” of coronavirus cases.
But she added that their target date for the apex of cases will improve as they are able to test more Michiganders.
Whitmer also said her state needs more ventilators and personal protective equipment, including masks and hospital gowns.
Many of the state’s hospitals, particularly in southeast Michigan are “at or near capacity,” according to Khaldun.
Whitmer told reporters that states are also still dealing with bidding against each other for PPE supplies.
“Our ability to meet the needs is severely compromised when the national stockpile is not able to meet our need and we are told to go find it on our own,” she said. “Gov. (J.B.) Pritzker in Illinois said, you know, we’re bidding against one another, that this is the Wild West, I think is how he phrased it.”
She added: “The fact of the matter is, we as Americans shouldn’t be bidding against one another. We should be able to harness the federal power to ensure that everyone’s got what they need. That’s not happening.”
Whitmer announced on March 10 that two Michigan residents tested presumptive positive for Covid-19 and declared a state of emergency. Within a week, she followed up by prohibiting large gatherings, closing all Michigan schools along with bars and restaurants, allowing only takeout and delivery service.
On Monday, the governor signed an executive order telling people to stay home unless they are critical workers.
Whitmer has been critical of the Trump administration for not taking the threat of Covid-19 “seriously enough on the front end” and creating a “dire situation.”
Trump on Twitter argued that Whitmer “must work harder and be much more proactive” in her response to the virus.
This story has been updated with additional developments.