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President Trump took aim at Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday night, claiming in a Twitter message that the Democrat was “way in over her head” amid the coronavirus outbreak and “doesn’t have a clue.”
As of late Friday, Michigan had more than 2,200 confirmed cases of the virus, ranking fifth in the nation, and had seen at least 43 deaths. On Friday, Trump approved a disaster declaration for the state, ordering federal assistance to support state and local efforts.
“I love Michigan, one of the reasons we are doing such a GREAT job for them during this horrible Pandemic,” the president wrote. “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”
The Twitter message followed Whitmer’s accusations Friday that medical-supply vendors were being told “not to send stuff here to Michigan” – and her insinuation that the alleged orders were coming from the Trump administration.
It also followed the 48-year-old first-term governor's previous complaint that Michigan wasn’t receiving “clear directives and guidance” from Washington for handling the outbreak.
Earlier Friday, Trump told reporters during a White House news briefing that he advised Vice President Mike Pence – leader of the president’s Coronavirus Task Force – against communicating with Whitmer, claiming she was among a small group of governors who weren’t being “appreciative” of the Trump administration’s virus response efforts.
“I say, Mike … don’t call the woman in Michigan. I say, if they don’t treat you right, don’t call,” Trump told reporters.
The remark followed previous comments the president made Thursday during an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
“We've had a big problem with the young, a woman governor,” Trump said. “You know who I'm talking about, from Michigan. We don't like to see the complaints.”
That Thursday remark from Trump drew a Twitter response from Whitmer.
"Hi, my name is Gretchen Whitmer, and that governor is me," Whitmer wrote.
"I've asked repeatedly and respectfully for help. We need it. No more political attacks, just PPEs, ventilators, N95 masks, test kits. You said you stand with Michigan -- prove it."
Whitmer aired more concerns Friday during an interview with Detroit radio station WWJ-AM, according to Crain’s Detroit Business.
"When the federal government told us that we needed to go it ourselves, we started procuring every item we could get our hands on," Whitmer told WWJ. "What I've gotten back is that vendors with whom we had contracts are now being told not to send stuff here to Michigan. It's really concerning.”
Whitmer then doubled down on her claim during an appearance on CNN, Crain’s reported.
"We've entered into a number of contracts and as we are getting closer to the date when shipments are supposed to come in, they're getting canceled or they're getting delayed," Whitmer said. "We've been told they're going first to the federal government.”
Earlier in the week, Whitmer complained that Michigan wasn’t receiving “clear directives and guidance from the federal government” on how to handle the crisis.
“Frankly, a patchwork strategy of each state doing what they can, we’re going to do it if we need to, but it would be nice to have a national strategy," she said, according to MLive.
Whitmer claimed that if the Trump administration had focused on the pandemic sooner, Michigan and the U.S. would "be in a stronger position right now."
"Lives will be lost because we weren't prepared," she said.
Also on Friday, President Trump signed a more than $2 trillion legislative package intended to provide extensive relief to workers and businesses as they deal with the coronavirus outbreak.
In addition, the president named his trade adviser, Peter Navarro, to direct implementation of the Defense Production Act, which gives the president the authority to direct manufacturers to produce medical supplies such as ventilators.