Washington Gov. Jay Inslee continued his criticism of the Trump administration in a national TV appearance Sunday morning, lambasting what he called the federal government’s lack of leadership during the coronavirus crisis.
“This is ludicrous that we do not have a national effort in this,” Inslee said on Meet The Press. “I mean, the surgeon general alluded to Pearl Harbor. Can you imagine if Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, ‘I’ll be right behind you, Connecticut. Good luck building those battleships.'”
Inslee said he’d like to see a national stay-at-home order, rather than the piecemeal ones put in place so far by states.
“Even if Washington gets on top of this fully, if another state doesn’t, it can come back and come across our borders two months from now,” Inslee said.
Inslee has been calling on President Donald Trump to order manufacturers to switch their production to prioritize things needed to battle the pandemic, such as masks, face shields, gowns and testing equipment. But Trump has refused. Inslee has resorted to pleading with Washington manufacturers to produce the equipment.
“We don’t have enough test kits by far in my state or anywhere in the United States,” Inslee said Sunday. “So we governors, Republicans and Democrats, have been urging the president to do what he should, which is if he wants to be a wartime president, be a wartime president. Show some leadership. Mobilize the industrial base of the United States. That’s what we need.”
Washington has received only half of the ventilators it has requested from the federal government, according to state officials, and only a portion of the protective equipment.
Inslee has clashed with President Donald Trump for weeks over the federal government’s response to the crisis.
Last month, after Trump told a group of governors on a conference call that his administration was ready to be the “backup” for states in crisis, Inslee interjected: “We don’t need a backup. We need a Tom Brady.” Inslee confirmed the dust-up later in the day, when he tweeted: “I would have said Russell Wilson…but no one can be @DangeRussWilson,” referring to the Seahawks quarterback.
The next day, at a news conference, Trump lashed out, saying he advised Vice President Mike Pence not to call Inslee and implying that federal aid could be contingent on how Trump, personally, is treated.
“They’re not appreciative to me, they’re not appreciative of the Army Corps, they’re not appreciative to FEMA,” Trump said. “I say, ‘Mike, don’t call the governor of Washington, you’re wasting time with him.’ If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call.”
Inslee responded with another tweet: “I’m not going to let personal attacks from the president distract me from what matters: beating this virus and keeping Washingtonians healthy.”
On Sunday, Inslee said that Washington state has had some success in slowing the growth of the virus, but is “a long ways from being out of the woods.”
“While the president was saying that this was not a problem and that it was a hoax, we were acting to save the lives of our citizens,” Inslee said.