Donald Trump criticised the media and governors leading their states’ coronavirus efforts after the governor of Illinois said the lapsed federal government response has forced states to compete for badly needed medical supplies and other resources.
Governor JB Pritzker told CNN on Sunday that there “should have been a coordinated effort by the federal government” to help cash-strapped states obtain personal protective equipment like respirators and other health workers’ supplies. The president has also been criticised for wavering on an emergency mandate that would force companies to begin manufacturing those supplies.
The president said the governor and “fake news” shouldn’t blame the federal government “for their own shortcomings”.
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He said: “We are there to back you up should you fail, and always will be!”
Governor Pritzker fired back at the president: “You wasted precious months when you could’ve taken action to protect Americans [and] Illinoisans. You should be leading a national response instead of throwing tantrums from the back seat. Where were the tests when we needed them? Where’s the [personal protective equipment]? Get off Twitter [and] do your job.”
The president has lashed out at other Democratic governors who have demanded a stronger federal response. He called Michigan‘s governor Gretchen Whitmer “the failing Michigan governor” last week.
Illinois has reported 753 confirmed coronavirus cases, including at least six deaths, as of Sunday.
The state is now one of six to have issued a statewide “stay-at-home” order to help contain the spread.
Governor Pritzker told CNN: “These should have been done nationally … I’ve got to protect the 1.7m who live in my state.”
He said that unless more Americans are told to “stay at home and to stop interacting in the way that they were, we’re going to see thousands or tens of thousands more deaths than we otherwise would”.
The state — which includes the Chicago metropolitan area, containing 2.7m people — did not postpone its Democratic primary election on 17 March, as thousands of people congregated at the polls.
Chicago’s mayor, Lori Lightfoot, also responded to the president’s comments, saying: “Dear Lord — please step up and be a leader. While you have been yammering about hoaxes and fake news, the Covid-19 pandemic has hit all over America. [Governor Pritzker] and others have filled this country’s leadership gap. Lead or get out of their way.”
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