Trump Calls Washington State Governor Jay Inslee ‘a Snake’
President Donald Trump lashed out at the governor of Washington State — where 13 people have died of the coronavirus — calling him “a snake” during a press briefing on the illness.
Trump’s remark, during a tour of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta on Friday, came a a day after the governor, Jay Inslee, had a cordial meeting with Vice President Mike Pence in Olympia, Washington, the state capital.
“Mike may be happy with him, but I’m not,” Trump said. “That governor is a snake.”
Inslee, a Democrat who briefly was a candidate for president, had been critical of the U.S. government response to the virus and accused the Trump administration, on his personal Twitter account, of lying.
But on Thursday, Inslee said that while he has had differences with Trump, that hasn’t affected the state and federal response. “We’re not going to allow disagreements with one person in that government” to hurt efforts to fight the virus, Inslee added.
In a tweet Wednesday from his official account, Inslee thanked the administration for lifting restrictions on testing, changes that he had asked for: “I appreciate the responsiveness to state requests on COVID-19.”
Pence complimented Inslee’s administration during his visit on Thursday. “The job that Washington State has done in confronting the coronavirus infections in the Seattle area has really been inspiring,” he said.
On Friday, after Trump’s insult was reported, Inslee said on Twitter that “it’s important for leaders to speak with one voice. I just wish the president and vice president could get on the same page.”
A nursing home east of Seattle has been at the center of the Washington State outbreak.
In Atlanta, Trump continued to offer reassurance over the spread of the virus and its effect on the economy.
But about the same time, organizers of South by Southwest canceled the annual arts, music and technology festival in Austin, Texas, because of concerns over infection.
Earlier Friday, Trump signed a $7.8 billion emergency coronavirus spending bill.
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