Trump Threatens to Withhold Disaster Declaration for Michigan because Gretchen Whitmer Was Mean to Him

Update: According to NBC’s Geoff Bennett, Trump has now approved the request.

Last night, Donald Trump suggested that he might withhold a disaster declaration for Michigan requested by Governor Whitmer on March 26 because he doesn’t like Governor Whitmer’s public comments about the Federal government’s failures.

“We’ve had a big problem with the young — a woman governor. You know who I’m talking about — from Michigan. We don’t like to see the complaints,” President Trump told Sean Hannity during a FOX News interview on Thursday.

Gov. Whitmer has been openly critical of the federal response to the coronavirus outbreak, voicing her frustration with not having enough COVID-19 test kits and a lack of “clear and concise guidance from the federal government.”

The comments from President Trump come on the same day Gov. Whitmer requested a major disaster declaration for Michigan over the coronavirus outbreak.

“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,” President Trump continued. “I don’t know if she knows what’s going on, but all she does is sit there and blame the federal government.”

Here are the states for which Trump has declared an emergency with the number of positive cases on the date Trump made that declaration and the party of their governor.

As of yesterday, Michigan has had 2,856 people test positive for COVID-19. Dr. Deborah Birx pointed to SE Michigan’s Wayne County (which includes Detroit and the mostly working class suburbs), along with Cook County, IL, as the alarming hotspots in the country.

And yet Trump doesn’t want to approve a disaster declaration because a girl was mean to him.

102 replies
  1. Rugger9 says:

    It’s revenge politics, although I would wonder why the campaign side hasn’t figured out that he cannot afford to lose the rust belt and stay in office. So, even allowing for the inability to rein in DJT, this apparent lack of interest tells me that something else is in place to ensure DJT’s re-election or at least to delay the election. We need to find out what it is.

    • Mosswings says:

      There may be little covert in place. It may be that the game plan is to get the economy started again by prematurely lifting distancing orders, then the economy picks up enough to convince Michigan workers that Trump is right and that they should vote for him, he gets re-elected, and the next wave of the virus swamps the country and the economy collapses again. Nothing more complicated than that. A matter of timing.

      • stethant says:

        I wouldn’t put anything past Trump and his crew but I can tell you the virus will have more of a problem understanding concepts like “November” and “election.” Once you relax social/physical distancing, SARS CoV-2 will just follow its genetic program and continue burning through the US.

        Relax the distancing and the pace of infection will accelerate immediately, without a grace period than any craven politician can take advantage of.

        • Mosswings says:

          Yes. I’m part of the choir, stethant. Just trying to think like a cornered rat. They don’t plan ahead, just react. And right now a whole bunch of them are thinking this quarter’s bottom line rather than 3 quarters hence, when those laid-off workers are needed again. China is already wrestling with how to let the air out of the quarantine balloon they inflated a couple of months ago. And even a casual look at the modeling, and history, would say that there’s no choice between public health and the economy. The economy IS public health at its base; without healthy workers and a functioning health care system, nothing works.

          • ducktree says:

            My employer has approved us to work remotely from our homes through April 10, with skeleton crews on site in the HQ office in DTLA. The firm occupies 11 floors and the social distancing limitation is 10 people per floor, max.

            IMHO Judging from the current trajectory of cases confirmed through diagnosis of recognized symptoms only (since testing is essentially unavailable) and resulting case fatality ratio, two weeks from now will be a very different landscape for planning and decision making. This will require a stark reconsideration of “opening up business.”

    • Diane says:

      Is the fucking fuck you referring to Frump? He is acting like a dictator….supreme leader…..fuhrer!

      [Welcome to emptywheel. Please use a more differentiated username when you comment next as we have several community members named “Diane.” Thanks. /~Rayne]

      • Duke says:

        While I appreciate your statement in the context of Trump, the answer you offer suggest everything is lost.
        Hopelessness is not a winning characteristic. Person’s such Nunes brings forth ridiculous lawsuits on a regular basis.

        Something besides kneeling down or bending over?

      • drouse says:

        They won’t even have to anything as unseemly as issuing ruling favorable to Trump. They can just move things along at the normal pace.

  2. H. Candace gorman says:

    Funny thing is that Illinois governor Pritzker was mean to him too but Illinois got the declaration. But that is different because Pritzker is a boy.
    Nothing worse to Trump than to have a “girl” be mean to him. Girls should know their place.

    • Rich D in CT says:

      H. Candace gorman, I believe you’re absolutely correct. The list above shows 11 males governors and 1 female, and she’s a Republican. Trump is by far the meanest, most vindictive public figure in the U.S. And he’s got thin skin! I wish he’d realize that his vengeful behavior hurts many people besides the person to whom it’s directed.

    • Vicks says:

      We have no idea what deals were cut to get these declarations.
      Common sense says look at a map for where Trump has hotels, where he or someone from his organization may be under legal scrutiny, and look at the industries that benefit from Trump”s style of leadership.
      When is comes to Trump it’s all transactional, and there is no reason to think he would limit the perks form this particular power to help members of the Republican Party or revenge being the sole reason he would appear to be withholding support.
      IMHO nothing is really new, the words coming out of Trumps mouth and his Twitter machine are just another political dog whistle

  3. Darcie Cronn says:

    Dear Governor Whitmer please get along with President TrumpYou throw the federal government under the bus and then you expect them to help us now -you should be helping us by getting along with the federal government

    • Rayne says:

      I mean this in the nicest way: Fuck. Off. All. The. Way.

      There’s this thing called the Fourteenth Amendment and its Equal Protection Clause. EVERYBODY in this country is entitled to the same federal services no matter whether the president likes how they treat him or not.

      And it’s the other way around, Darcie dear, the federal government is supposed to serve the public, not the governor serving the president.

      Now get lost. You’re a big part of the reason Americans are dying right now, their blood and lung fluid is on your hands.

  4. AGoodEsq says:

    Even if done through a backchannel and not publicly, why can’t Cuomo “talk” to Trump about using his NY hotels as makeshift hospitals or to house first responders? The Four Seasons is assisting, and even The Plaza is. And there is a HUGE (bigly?) open space on the ground floor of Trump Tower on 57th Street. That is really the only way to get a bully to respond…

    • arbusto says:

      How ’bout converting trump properties into mausoleums via eminent domain. The Doral, Eternal rest and Golf and Country Club has a nice ring to it.

      • VoltOwner says:

        Some of those golf greens could be converted into new national cemeteries once this is over, or heck, right now. That would be a fine place to keep the Trump signs up too.

    • jmac says:

      IMO the problem with this will be that IF this were done, when they finally no longer need the space tRump will be charging millions to clean the space up, while paying minimum wage to the immigrants he hires to do the work

  5. Stephen Calhoun says:

    Trump strikes me as acting like there won’t be oversight investigations down the line, and, that there might not be an election. (As for this latter possibility, I understand he can’t lawfully stop the election.)

    • e.a.f. says:

      I believe you are correct. Why is he moving 20k troops to the Canadian border but not the southern. Perhaps it a method of distraction
      Trump has sent a letter to all tv stations saying if they don’t stop reporting lies etc he will sue them. What happened to article 1?
      He’s up to something
      It is critical the Gov not buckle under and send the message out that citizens are dying because of Trumps inaction. Then show the body bags. Perhaps Bloomberg could run a few special ads

      • Frank Probst says:

        You’re assuming that there’s a method to the madness. He’s threatening people’s lives because a woman was mean to him.

      • Robin Harper says:

        I’m waiting for the ‘martial law’ order to come through. Then Trump will try to postpone/cancel the upcoming elections. If Trump does delcare martial law, or try to, I figure certain governors, (Cuomo, Inslee, Newsome) will tell Trump what he can do with that order.

        • P J Evans says:

          He can try cancelling the elections – but it’s never been done, even during the Civil War, which was as big a crisis. (Of course, Lincoln was a competent president.)

          • Rayne says:

            And if he tries to cancel the elections to avoid being removed, he’s still out of office come the end of the term and the House Speaker becomes president.

            • Martin from Canada says:

              OpenArguements podcast gamed it out last week.

              If there are no elections, it would fall to the President ProTem of the Senate since the house’s term would expire in the first week of January. However with the current slate of Governors and 1/3 of the Senate being up for election – and thus appointable by the Governors, you can have President Leahy .

  6. TooLoose LeTruck says:

    Good lord… it’s like dealing w/ a self-important five year old who just happens to have control over the biggest single economy in the world plus a massive nuclear arsenal…

    Remember the Twilight Zone episode about the little boy who could banish people that made him angry to a corn patch there was no escape from?

    I’ll refrain from using some of the more colorful language I use around my friends to describe how I REALLY feel about ‘President’ Trump but damn, I’m gonna hate Republicans completely for the rest of my life for inflicting the entire country and world w/ this orange monstrosity.

    • P J Evans says:

      I wish we could send him and his adult kids to that cornfield. And his sycophants in Congress too. They can find a way out – but it should take about 60 years.

  7. BobCon says:

    We will soon see the followup stage where GOP governors who aren’t being mean to him like DeWine and Hogan get favorable comparisons to Trump. That is going to cause him and his flunkies to lash out in substantive ways, and not just the sniping he has aimed at Romney.

    I don’t think GOP loyalists have a good idea how ugly this is going to get or what kind of choices they are facing.

  8. bloopie2 says:

    “It’s a two-way street,” Trump said of dealing with governors during a Fox News town hall. “They have to treat us well.” What a horrible human being. I hope that quote makes it into the next Democratic campaign commercial.

    • e.a.f. says:

      Next week a couple of the late night talk shows will be back. I’m sure they will give the matter exposure

      PACs and Bloomberg need to start running ads or buying ventilators

      Some of those billionaires out to look how Putin deAls with his billionaires They either get rid of trump or the could be out of their money. They do it in China also

      • P J Evans says:

        The billionaires could do a lot of good by *buying or funding* supplies for every hospital in every state. (It would even get them slightly more favorable attention.)

  9. bloopie2 says:

    A microbiologist client I spoke with earlier today agrees with the 12-18 month timeline that is being bandied about for a vaccine. But he also told me that he thinks there may be a “drug treatment” for COVID in about six months. That’s news to me. Anyone else hearing that?

  10. greengiant says:

    No problem with a GOP governor and SOS letting broken voting machines end up in Detroit in 2016.

    • Rayne says:

      What’s your point? Why do you think couple red districts flipped blue along with the governorship, the SOS, and the state AG here in Michigan?

      That’s a rhetorical question, btw.

  11. JonKnowsNothing says:

    disclosure: I am not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV
    re: Vaccine and Drug Trials.

    Please be very careful about what hype you accept. As pointed out already, for a SAFE and PROVEN and EFFECTIVE version it will take 12-16 minimum. Anything before that is going to be less-than-known.

    If you go by the words of our President DTrump, and accept his medication recommendations, you risk a lot – like death. People are already paying that price because they think he is a Medical Doctor with a Pharmaceutical Wand.

    Watch out for bogus medical trials too. If you are going to volunteer be sure you understand that it’s not “risk free” and read the fine print about what happens to you 10-20 years from now when the real side effects show up like damaged heart valves.

    Drug trials are predominately run by Big Pharma. By now, many would understand that their concern is how much money they can make in the next quarter.

    Stay the Course, Stay Home, Stay the FHOME! Do not fall for the All Clear. There’s a second third and maybe fourth double tap coming over the next 3-6 months.

    • P J Evans says:

      Drug trials may be run by Big Pharma, but they need the drugs to work well to make money from them. Drugs that don’t work, or that make people worse, cost them a bundle.

      • hideousnora says:

        It doesn’t cost them enough in lawsuit settlements or judgements/fines to stop them from trying to market drugs that aren’t thoroughly researched and properly tested.
        The FDA is in a state of regulatory capture by the pharmaceutical industry due to the way they are funded. We need to return the FDA to full Congressional funding and oversight before anything gets better. No more PDUFA fees is a good first step.

  12. Frank Probst says:

    Trump finally invokes the Defense Production Act to force GM to make ventilators. I think this is going to come far too late for New York. One of the things that I think people aren’t paying attention to is that putting someone on a ventilator isn’t like giving them a shot. They STAY on the ventilator until they can breathe on their own. So if you’ve got 100 ventilators, it doesn’t mean you can use them on 100 patients who rotate out every 24 hours. It means those 100 ventilators are in tied up for days (or sometimes weeks).

    • Rayne says:

      Those ventilators will come in time for the red states with smaller, more rural populations.

      All of this effort to produce ventilators should have begun the last week of January. I am so pissed off about this.

        • Frank Probst says:

          There’s no point in even asking right now. The answer will change 10 times before the first one gets shipped.

        • Rayne says:

          That’s an excellent question. Not a clue and you can bet the White House will ensure they only go where it will serve their interests, the corrupt motherfuckers.

          • ducktree says:

            What a concept . . .

            …so it’s possible that the house staff of the 1.0% – 0.1% are likely being captured, held hostage in situ domicilis in a state of chattel servitude… no contact with their families and loved ones.

            At least I get to dial in from the safety of my home.

    • posaune says:

      Yes, too late for NYC. My best friend, back to college days, works as a ER triage nurse at Presbyterian. She has the virus now. Quarantined at home — so far. Wondering every day when she is going to get really sick. Her colleagues at the ER tell her the morgue is full, the refrigeration trucks are lined up in the parking lot. Each staff person get only ONE mask for reuse again and again.
      While Facebook hoarded 750K masks & Apple 900K. How did this country turn so fascist?

  13. Frank Probst says:

    Suggestion for the media if you’re looking for someone to talk to about testing: James Watson (one of the guys who got the Nobel Prize for the structure of DNA) is still very much alive. He used to be the head of the NIH’s institute that was tasked with the Human Genome Project, a position that was later held by Francis Collins, who is now the head of the NIH (i.e., Anthony Fauci’s boss). These days, Watson is known for his racism, his sexism, and screwing over Rosalind Franklin. If you stay away from those topics and just talk about coronavirus testing, I can promise you one hell of an interview. Just point the camera at him and keep him on topic. He’ll pretty much handle the rest.

  14. What Constitution? says:

    Trump is still stuck back on his question of “The governor of Michigan is a GIRL?”

    • Rayne says:

      I hope it sinks like a rock but my BFF currently slumming over on the west side of the state in Dominionville says while getting groceries that “at least a third or half of them are unconcerned.”

      Clueless and certainly Trumpists.

          • P J Evans says:

            They had one show up last week in the county where I lived. The latest is in the next county, which is far more rural. They already had cases in the “big cities” in the region (which aren’t all that big, maybe as much as 200K people).

            • Rayne says:

              Those 200K cities have more population than my county. Trust me when I say they are already looking iffy because they aren’t testing people but they are having to treat “influenza-like illnesses.”

    • Rayne says:

      I’m a wee bit torqued the fuck off with Crains about their reporting.

      Sure, let’s throw some shade at the governor who’s busting her hump instead of throwing the shade at the White House which has repeatedly proven it can’t be trusted. It must be the woman in Michigan who’s the problem, right?

      Okay there, Chad. Must be the woman in Michigan. Jesus fucking Christ the media doofuses who role over for Trump tummy rubs…

      • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

        Wow, yeh that’s a pretty Stark example of a double standard. Lots of reporters are more than happy to write, “Trump says” stories without adding any qualifiers in the lede or their tweet.

        It’s got to be malice at this point to blithly give “both sides” equal weight.

        • Rayne says:

          I really should post that as an update or a fresh post because it really pisses me off.

          Bothsides-ism is killing people. Be on the side of the people in the hospital gasping for breath without any hope of relief because the federal government under Trump has failed.

      • Vicks says:

        I think it’s important that the media holds both sides accountable for the facts.
        If vendors were told not to send product to Michigan it’s a giant problem.
        On the other hand if the governor is using spin or misinformation to rile people up in a time of crises it’s a whole other problem.
        The spotlight is on our leaders, and the stakes couldn’t be higher.
        They ALL need to stop the habit of using “throw away” lines that may have scored points in the past
        They ALL need to brush up on their leadership skills and do their damnedest to watch their words.

  15. Molly Pitcher says:

    There is a chemo nurse at Memorial Sloan Kettering that our family knows. She is trained in triage and was ER before chemo. She is working 12 hour shifts while her husband and 6 month old baby stay with his parents upstate. She is pumping breast milk the entire time.

    They have 400 cancer patients with Covid19.

    • Frank Probst says:

      I worked on the peds floor there for several weeks during my residency. Those are some of the sharpest nurses I’ve met in my life. Working there during something like this would just break me. I might be able to make it through several shifts at NYP, but MSK with COVID19? Nope. That would just crush me.

  16. Scott Rose says:

    It isn’t about Toxic Donald.
    It’s about the people who are such despicable lowlifes that they still enable and/or support him.

  17. harpie says:
    8:26 PM · Mar 27, 2020

    This is GAME CHANGER. Abbott to market, starting next week, a fast point-of-care #coronavirus test, delivering positive results in 5min and negative results in 13min. Will deliver 50K tests/day to start. Kudos to Abbott and FDA’s Jeff Shuren and team at CDRH who are in the fight.

    It’s very likely that we’ll see additional approvals of POC diagnostics behind this one, extending testing to doctor offices across the U.S.

  18. RMD says:

    The pattern is fairly clear: Dem governors are being ‘handled’ by Trump’s maladministration with obstruction and seizure of orders.

    “I’m telling you, we’re killing ourselves trying to make it happen,” Baker said.

    “We’ve literally gotten to the point where our basic position is that until the god . . .” Baker said, cutting himself off before he cursed. “Until the thing shows up here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, it doesn’t exist.”

    And several times, it hasn’t. Sudders, who’s heading the state’s coronavirus command center, cited a shipment of 3 million masks that BJ’s Wholesale Club purchased and had landed in the Port of New York and New Jersey. The state, she said, had negotiated to buy them, until the federal government impounded them on March 18.

    The same day, the state had confirmed an order with the company MSC Industrial Supply for 400 masks, to be delivered on March 20, Sudders said. The federal government again stepped in — starting a trend that would become familiar when the state’s order for the ventilators also fell apart.

    “The order went through,” Sudders said, “and the feds did another force majeure.”

    “It’s almost as if these orders and products disappear,” she said. “The challenge we’re having now is, you can’t place orders with any level of confidence.”

    In his letter to Trump on Thursday formally requesting federal disaster assistance, Baker said the state had already spent $28 million on personal protective and medical equipment. But that’s dwarfed by another $50 million in orders Sudders said the state has placed with little to no return.

    • RMD says:

      NB: I should have placed the emphasis on states that vote predominantly Democratic. MA Gov. Charlie Baker is a Republican.

      • RobertJ says:

        Perhaps Trump figures he can make himself look good by benevolently distributing supplies to the states even if these are the same supplies that the states had been counting on before the Trump administration commandeered them?

        As a bonus, this lets him shift blame for shortages (and other failures) to the affected states.

  19. harpie says:

    heh…should have put this here instead of at the other two posts…third time’s the charm?

    Here’s Trump’s emergency declaration [???]:

    …dated and “issued”, and posted today, it begins:

    Yesterday, President Donald J. Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Michigan and ordered Federal assistance to supplement State, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic beginning on January 20, 2020, and continuing. […]

  20. Mikxe6 says:

    It’s fitting that Trump views himself a war-time President as he should be charged with war crimes.

  21. Thomasa says:

    The hospital reports are as if from a war. I saw corruption in wartime that was jaw-dropping; but on the American side at least it did not extend to the medical corps. The triage nurses at the evac hospital took over from the medics, got the wounded on the choppers and medevac flew them to the field hospital. Heroes all. The chopper mechanics couldn’t keep up as the Hueys were in constant use. They used a lot of OD green duc tape. The Orange One purloined the morphine ampules from the medics packs and sold them to his buddies. If the platoon sargeant found out who did it, the purp wouldn’t have come back from patrol. The exhausted nurse in the cafeteria, coffee cup in hand, puts her head on the table and cries. I give her space and walk off to hospital supply.

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