WASHINGTON – As the nation grappled with coronavirus, President Donald Trump and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker engaged in a nasty Twitter fight Sunday over federal help with needed medical supplies.
“You wasted precious months when you could’ve taken action to protect Americans & Illinoisans,” Pritzker, a Democrat, tweeted at Trump. “You should be leading a national response instead of throwing tantrums from the back seat.”
Pritzker was responding to a tweet from Trump, who said he and other governors “shouldn’t be blaming the Federal Government for their own shortcomings. We are there to back you up should you fail, and always will be!”
Trump’s comment came in response to a Pritzker interview on CNN, where he said states are competing with each other – and with other countries – for necessary medical supplies like masks and gloves. “This should have been a coordinated effort by the federal government,” Pritzker said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Trump’s attack on Pritzker came less than 90 minutes after he tweeted that he was “working very well with States and our Nation’s Governors. #TEAMWORK”
In his response to Trump, Pritzker referred to the paucity of coronavirus tests as well as personal protective equipment like gloves.
“Where were the tests when we needed them?” Pritzker said to Trump. “Where’s the PPE? Get off Twitter & do your job.”
Pritzker is not alone.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y., made the same complaint and, like Pritzker and other governors, called on Trump to invoke the Defense Production Act and “order companies to make gowns, masks and gloves.”
Cuomo tweeted: “Currently, states are competing against other states for supplies.”