The president is once again at war with the blue states, but this time Donald Trump’s war is not just with the blue states. It’s expanded to all states with governors who aren’t respectful enough to him, the ones who aren’t grateful. Those states, well, they might “go through some things,” as Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is discovering as she gets the Full Masha Yovanovitch.
Marie “Masha” Yovanovitch, of course, is the former U.S. diplomat who was recalled from her post in Kyiv by Trump and maligned, her golden reputation sullied by the president of the United States. For Whitmer, the Full Masha includes not being able to get the medical supplies she desperately needs for her state.
“What I’ve gotten back is that vendors with whom we’ve procured contracts—they’re being told not to send stuff to Michigan,” she said during a radio interview with a Detroit radio station. The president’s calculus is that the state he desperately needs to win for re-election won’t remember his quarrel with its governor and resulting lack of ventilators and PPE.
The Trump administration has decided that the states should largely fight the pandemic by themselves because, you know, “states’ rights.” Plus the federal government is very busy with getting Trump Diet Cokes and figuring out things for Jared to innovate.
So states are on their own, responsible for their own PPE, ventilators, and other tools they need to fight the pandemic. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other governors have expressed dismay at having to bid against one another and thus raise the price of things like ventilators, but sorry folks, free market at work. Besides Trump is very busy calling in to Fox & Friends for an hour, plus reading the names of companies in the Rose Garden.
Of course, if a governor like Cuomo happens to garner a lot of praise, well then, that’s a different story. During Trump’s hour on Fox & Friends, the trifecta of morons sort of almost praised Andrew Cuomo, and Trump shot back: “We’re giving him four hospitals and four medical centers and all of the things that we’ve done... one of the reasons he’s successful is we’ve helped make him successful.” So governors should know that if they succeed that’s pretty much because of the Trump administration, but if they fail, well, that’s really on them.
Trump has been really mad at New York. I mean, they didn’t even vote for him, and now they have the audacity to still want him to be their president. On Saturday, Trump toyed with the idea of a quarantine, saying “We might not have to do it but there’s a possibility that sometime [Saturday] we’ll do a quarantine—short term two weeks for New York, probably New Jersey and parts of Connecticut.”
And Trump is highly suspicious of New York’s need for all those ventilators. After all, they’re very expensive. “I think New York should be fine based on the numbers that we see. They should have more than enough [ventilators],” Trump continued. “I’m hearing stories that they’re not used or not using them right. We find anywhere from 2 to 4,000 that have been sent and aren’t used. We’ve done a job. Now, we’re still getting more ventilators... after this is over they’ll be selling ventilators for a dollar a piece, we’ll have a lot of them.”
Cuomo shot back that Trump’s ventilators hot take was “incorrect and grossly uninformed.”
Then on Sunday the president mused about the need for so much personal protective gear, saying, “Where are the masks going? Are they going out the back door?” He doubled down on those comments Monday, which was National Doctors Day, an observance that goes back to the New Deal, again questioning doctors’ need for medical protective gear from the highly contagious virus. The lifelong New Yorker is extremely suspicious of New Yorkers, but Cuomo is still willing to kiss the ring, and so some New Yorkers will get to live.
Michelle Goldberg pointed out in the Times on Wednesday that Trump has another motive besides his own ego: his re-election. “Trump isn’t just trying to feed his ego by coercing blue state governors into pretending that he’s doing a good job. He’s getting help with the November election. His campaign just rolled out a new ad, titled ‘Hope,’ featuring appreciative quotes from Cuomo and Gov. Gavin Newsom of California.”
And while the president clearly finds Andrew Cuomo annoying, he has reserved most of his ire for his new favorite liberal female punching bag, Whitmer. "All she does is sit there and blame the federal government," Trump said last week. He then tweeted that she was "way in over her head" and "doesn't have a clue."
If only Whitmer had been Ron DeSantis, who is getting all the supplies he asked for. “He’s a very good governor. Everyone loves him. He’s doing a fantastic job for Florida,” Trump said of the governor who once made an ad of himself with his toddler building a wall.
In a normal America, the federal government would stop the price gouging for ventilators and PPE. In a normally functioning America, the feds would be supervising the pandemic response. But they’re not, maybe because they’re too incompetent to, maybe because they don’t want to, maybe there’s some other more nefarious reason, but whatever the case, governors need to suck up to the president like their constituents’ lives depend on it. Because they do.