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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer continued her criticism of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and blaming the federal government for exacerbating the shortages of much-needed medical supplies at hospitals around the country.
Whitmer, a rising star in the Democratic Party and a fierce critic of the president, said that states are being forced to bid with each for personal protective equipment (PPE) and, in some cases, contracts in place have been set aside, delayed or canceled and the goods are instead going to the federal government.
“It’s a source of frustration not unique to Michigan, but it’s a unique situation that we have in our country right now and it’s ... creating a lot more problems for all of us,” Whitmer said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” She noted that besides Michigan, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota and New York have all experienced similar issues.
“We the states are trying to actively get every piece of PPE that we can. We're bidding against one another and, in some cases, the federal government is taking priority,” she said.
Whitmer added: “We've got to keep working to get all of these other pieces of equipment and when we're bidding against one another, it's creating a lot of frustration and concern.”
The Michigan governor has been one of the most vocal state officials to criticize Trump, drawing his ire both during his daily White House coronavirus task force press conferences and on Twitter.
Trump said last week that he was having an issue with "the young, a woman governor, you know who I'm talking about, from Michigan."
Whitmer responded on Twitter by introducing herself to Trump and saying she’s “asked repeatedly and respectfully for help. We need it. No more political attacks, just PPEs, ventilators, N95 masks, test kits.”
She added: “You said you stand with Michigan — prove it.”
Trump fired back in a tweet over the weekend by saying Whitmer is “way in over her head" and adding that “she doesn’t have a clue.”
Michigan is quickly become a hotbed for the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, with Wayne County – home to Detroit – having the largest number of infections outside the New York and Chicago areas. Worldwide, Michigan has the fifth highest number of reported cases, with over 4,600 people having the contagion, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.