President Trump and the COVID-19 Task Force are giving the daily briefing on the escalating coronavirus pandemic in the United States.
Meanwhile, governors across the United States are working out ways to work with the Trump administration to get more aid for their states.
At first, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker tried to play nice. He limited criticisms of the federal government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and asked for medical supplies through official channels.
But nothing came, so he went on television. The first-term Democrat blasted the Trump administration on Sunday on CNN for failing to help states obtain masks, gloves and other protective gear.
It got President Donald Trump’s attention. After a Twitter feud and some mudslinging (Pritzker compared Trump to a “carnival barker”), the two got on the phone Monday, and Trump promised Illinois 250,000 masks and 300 ventilators.
Facing an unprecedented public health crisis, governors are trying to get what they need from Washington, and fast. But often that means navigating the disorienting politics of dealing with Trump, an unpredictable president with a love for cable news and a penchant for retribution.
Republicans and Democrats alike are testing whether to fight or flatter, whether to back channel requests or go public, all in an attempt to get Trump’s attention and his assurances.
At stake may be access to masks, ventilators and other personal protective gear critically needed by health care workers, as well as field hospitals and federal cash. As Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, D-Mich., put it: “I can’t afford to have a fight with the White House.”