Trump Politicizes The Coronavirus Crisis
April 10, 2020
Trump turned coronavirus briefings into campaign rallies. Instead of leading a coordinated federal response, he is using the distribution of badly needed supplies to reward his allies, punish his political opponents and boost his reelection.
Trump politicized the White House coronavirus briefings by making them all about his image instead of about the public health crisis that is ravaging our country.
ABC News: “President Donald Trump’s raucous campaign rallies have come to a halt amid the pandemic, but he’s found a way to stay in the political spotlight without ever having to leave the White House: the daily White House press briefing.”
Wall Street Journal Editorial: “But sometime in the last three weeks Mr. Trump seems to have concluded that the briefings could be a showcase for him. Perhaps they substitute in his mind for the campaign rallies he can no longer hold because of the risks. Perhaps he resented the media adulation that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been receiving for his daily show. Whatever the reason, the briefings are now all about the President.”
Trump admitted he was giving better treatment to governors who praised him.
CNBC: “President Donald Trump said Friday that he instructed Vice President Mike Pence not to reach out to governors who aren’t ‘appreciative’ of his administration’s efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus in their states. ‘If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call,’ Trump said of those state leaders.”
Associated Press: “Still aides say it’s understood that governors who say nice things about the federal response are more likely to be spared public criticism from the White House or threats of withheld assistance.”
Republican states often got their medical supply requests filled ahead of Democratic states.
Washington Post: “As states across the country have pleaded for critical medical equipment from a key national stockpile, Florida has promptly received 100 percent of its first two requests — with President Trump and Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis both touting their close relationship. States including Oklahoma and Kentucky have received more of some equipment than they requested, while others such as Illinois, Massachusetts and Maine have secured only a fraction of their requests.”
Trump has paid close attention to meeting all of Florida’s requests because of its importance to his reelection.
Washington Post: “As states across the country have pleaded for critical medical equipment from a key national stockpile, Florida has promptly received 100 percent of its first two requests — with President Trump and Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis both touting their close relationship.”
Washington Post: “One White House official said Trump is attuned to the electoral importance of Florida in November, giving added weight to the arguments DeSantis has made to the administration that his state’s economy should reopen as soon as possible. ‘The president knows Florida is so important for his reelection, so when DeSantis says that, it means a lot,’ said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be frank. ‘He pays close attention to what Florida wants.’”
Trump said he was helping Michigan amid coronavirus, after attacking the state’s Democratic governor, because “Michigan is a very important state.”
TRUMP: “And your governor of Michigan, I mean, she’s 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. 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: “I love Michigan, one of the reasons we are doing such a GREAT job for them during this horrible Pandemic. Yet your Governor, Gretchen ‘Half’ Whitmer is way in over her head, she doesn’t have a clue. Likes blaming everyone for her own ineptitude! #MAGA”
After questioning New York’s request for N95 masks, Trump sent 200,000 to Long Island “at the request of” his congressional ally Lee Zeldin.
TRUMP: “And at the request of Congressman Lee Zeldin, out in Long Island, we will also be delivering another 200,000 N95 masks to Suffolk County, where they need it very badly.”
East Hampton Star: “Representative Lee Zeldin has established himself as a liaison between Suffolk County and the White House by speaking directly to Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of and senior adviser to President Donald J. Trump, about Suffolk’s needs as one of the country’s Covid-19 hot spots.”
NBC News: “President Donald Trump again questioned the rate at which a hospital in New York is using medical supplies, suggesting that theft was why the unnamed facility needs 300,000 masks a week. The president claimed Monday that a distributor told him that a New York hospital’s mask purchases were far too high to reflect actual need. ‘There’s only a couple of things that could happen — is it going out the back door? And I’ve reported it to the city and let the city take a look at it. But when you go to 10,000 masks to 300,000 masks… there’s something going on,’ Trump said during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House.”
After his administration thwarted efforts by Colorado’s Democratic governor to order ventilators, Trump said he would “be immediately sending 100 ventilators to Colorado at the request of” vulnerable Republican Senator Cory Gardner.
The Hill: “Before Polis spoke to CNN, the network had reported the state had ordered 500 ventilators but that the purchase was canceled after FEMA bought the supplies. The Colorado governor’s press secretary, Conor Cahill, said Tuesday that Polis had been notified Colorado’s orders for ventilators will not be granted in the coming weeks.”
TRUMP: “Will Be Immediately Sending 100 Ventilators To Colorado At The Request Of Senator Gardner!”