Trump accuses Democratic governors of keeping lockdowns because of 'politics' as he visits Michigan




  • In Politics
  • 2020-05-21 22:25:20Z
  • By USA TODAY
Trump accuses Democratic governors of keeping lockdowns because of \
Trump accuses Democratic governors of keeping lockdowns because of \'politics\' as he visits Michigan  

WASHINGTON - During a visit to the battleground state of Michigan on Thursday, President Donald Trump blasted Democratic governors who he said have been "very resistant" to lifting stay-at-home orders as the administration continues its aggressive push for states to reopen amid the coronavirus crisis.

The president traveled to Ypsilanti to tour a Ford Motor plant making ventilators needed to treat COVID-19 patients, where he insisted the country would rebound from the coronavirus pandemic, which has wrecked the U.S. economy and left millions jobless.

"You have a lot of, unfortunately in this case, Democrat governors, I think they think it's good politics to keep it closed," he told reporters when asked about reopening the economy. "I think they're being forced to open, frankly. The people want to get out. You'll break the country if you don't."

Trump suggested that Democrats were looking ahead to the November election in determining their reopening plans.

"I think they look at it as a possible November question. It's not a November question. It happens to be very bad for them," he said.

Before the president arrived in Michigan on Thursday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she is lifting portions of her stay-at-home orders and reopening more parts of Michigan's economy.

Effective immediately, she said, people across Michigan are allowed to engage in social gatherings of no more than 10 people, which had been restricted, provided they wear face covering if in close spaces and try to maintain social distancing of 6 feet or more when around people they don't live with.

Many retail businesses across the state can reopen Tuesday, but by appointment only for customers. That did not include bars or in-house dining at restaurants.

Trump: 'We don't want to have vote by mail'

Trump doubled down on a threat to withhold relief funding from Michigan after erroneously accusing the state in a tweet Wednesday morning of preparing to send out absentee ballots to its 7.7 million voters. State officials sent out applications for those who wish to request to vote by mail before its elections in August and November.

The president said voting by mail is "wrought with abuse" but noted that there are exceptions, including if a voter is president or unable to cast a ballot in person because of illness or another reasonable excuse. Trump voted by mail during Florida's primary this year.

"We don't want to have vote by mail," Trump said. "Now, if you're president of the United States and you live in Florida and you're not able to be there, you should be able to send in a ballot."

Trump declined to provide details about what funding he threatened to withhold.

In an interview with "CBS This Morning," Whitmer dismissed the president's threat as "ridiculous" and a "distraction."

More: Trump goes with his 'gut,' outside advice on decision to medicate with hydroxychloroquine

"To have this kind of distraction is just ridiculous to be honest," the governor said. "The threatening to take money away from a state that is hurting as bad as we are right now is just scary and, I think, something that is unacceptable."

As coronavirus cases and deaths decline in Michigan, the state faces a new crisis after dam failures in Midland triggered record flooding, forcing thousands to evacuate the region.

Help for Michigan flood victims

Trump and Whitmer spoke by phone Wednesday, and the president told reporters before he left the White House on Thursday that the federal government deployed members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assist in Michigan.

"We have a very good understanding," he said of his call with Whitmer.

Whitmer has been targeted by the president and other Republicans for imposing strict stay-at-home orders, which prompted anti-quarantine protests at the state Capitol last month. Trump, who has sought to pressure governors into more aggressive reopenings to revive a booming economy key to his reelection, championed those protests as proof that Americans are eager to get back to work.

"To protect the health of our people we must have a functioning economy," Trump said in remarks to Ford employees. "Americans who need and want to return to work should not be vilified, they should be supported."

The first-term Michigan governor was thrust into the national spotlight in March when Trump dismissed her as "the woman in Michigan" and "Gretchen 'Half' Whitmer" after she repeatedly criticized the federal government for a lack of planning and a slow response to the pandemic.

More: Anti-quarantine protests, Trump pressure put governors on political tightrope over coronavirus

Despite Republican pushback, Whitmer's polls have jumped since the coronavirus pandemic unfolded. A Washington Post-Ipsos poll last week found 72% of residents approve of Whitmer's response to the pandemic compared with 43% who say Trump is doing a good job, although the survey sample was not large enough to distinguish partisan lines. Last month, a Fox News poll found 64% of registered voters approved of the Michigan governor's virus response, including 90% of Democrats compared with 35% of Republicans.

"We've made a lot of governors look very good," Trump said of the administration's pandemic response during a listening session with African American leaders before touring the Ford plant.

The trip marks Trump's third visit to a 2020 battleground state in as many weeks. While the Trump campaign's signature rallies are on pause, the president is looking to boost his political standing in a pivotal state that could help sway the election in his favor in the fall.

"We got to get back to the rallies," Trump said during the tour. "I think it's going to be sooner rather than later."

Where coronavirus isn't: What's kept cases officially at zero in these 200 counties?

Contributing: Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus: Trump blasts Democrats over lockdowns in Michigan visit

COMMENTS

More Related News

Trump warns he may move Republican convention site from NC
Trump warns he may move Republican convention site from NC
  • US
  • 2020-05-25 13:39:18Z

U.S. President Donald Trump warned on Monday that he may move the Republican National Convention from North Carolina set for August if the event faces state social distancing restrictions as a result of the coronavirus. The coronavirus pandemic has forced Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden to halt campaign rallies. Trump said on Twitter that if Democratic Governor Roy Cooper does not immediately answer "whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied," then the party will find "with all of the jobs and economic development it brings, another Republican National Convention site."

Trump Tweets and Golfs, but Makes No Mention of Virus
Trump Tweets and Golfs, but Makes No Mention of Virus's Toll

WASHINGTON -- As President Donald Trump's motorcade pulled into his golf club in Virginia on an overcast Sunday, a small group of protesters waited outside the entrance. One held up a sign."I care do U?" it read. "100,000 dead."Trump and his advisers have said that he does, but he has made scant effort to demonstrate it this Memorial Day weekend. He finally ordered flags lowered to half-staff at the White House only after being badgered to do so by his critics and otherwise took no public notice as the American death toll from the coronavirus pandemic approached a staggering 100,000.While the country neared six digits of death, the president who repeatedly criticized his predecessor for...

Trump Flips Out After Biden Ad Rips Him For Golfing Amid Growing Death Toll
Trump Flips Out After Biden Ad Rips Him For Golfing Amid Growing Death Toll

Trump golfed twice over the weekend as the coronavirus death toll in the United States approached 100,000.

Trump Sows Doubt on Voting. It Keeps Some People Up at Night.
Trump Sows Doubt on Voting. It Keeps Some People Up at Night.

WASHINGTON -- In October, President Donald Trump declares a state of emergency in major cities in battleground states, like Milwaukee and Detroit, banning polling places from opening.A week before the election, Attorney General William Barr announces a criminal investigation into the Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden.After Biden wins a narrow Electoral College victory, Trump refuses to accept the results, won't leave the White House and declines to allow the Biden transition team customary access to agencies before the Jan. 20 inauguration.Far-fetched conspiracy theories? Not to a group of worst-case scenario planners -- mostly Democrats, but some anti-Trump Republicans as well...

Trump claims Jeff Sessions not
Trump claims Jeff Sessions not 'mentally qualified' to be AG as feud escalates

Trump's criticism of his former appointee is just the latest in a yearslong battle with Sessions.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Politics