On Friday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer stated that mounting issues with the White House have directly affected shipments of medical supplies to Michigan.
“When the federal government told us that we needed to go it ourselves, we started procuring every item we could get our hands-on,” Whitmer said during an interview on Friday. “What I’ve gotten back is that vendors with whom we had contracts are now being told not to send stuff here to Michigan. It’s really concerning.”
Whitmer did not specify exactly who had instructed vendors to stop sending medical supplies to Michigan, but she did strongly imply that the order came from Donald Trump’s administration.
Whitmer appeared on CNN Friday night and did not back down from her claims.
“We’ve entered into a number of contracts and as we are getting closer to the date when shipments are supposed to come in, they’re getting canceled or they’re getting delayed,” Whitmer said. “We’ve been told they’re going first to the federal government.”
On Thursday evening, Whitmer stated that she had reached out to the White House asking “for a phone call with the president, ironically at the same time that all of this other stuff was going on.”
On Thursday night Trump called into Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News and slammed Whitmer and her handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Your governor of Michigan, I mean, she’s not stepping up,” Trump said. During the phone call, he did not refer to her by her name, but instead stated “a woman governor.”
“I don’t know if she knows what’s going on, but all she does is sit there and blame the federal government. She doesn’t get it done. And we send her a lot,” Trump claimed.
Later on, Friday, during a press conference Trump claimed that he had instructed Vice President Mike Pence,” don’t call the woman in Michigan.”
“If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call,” Trump told Pence. “(Pence) is a different type of person. He’ll call quietly anyway.”
For days, Whitmer has publicly pleaded that the federal government has been slow to send medical supplies from its national strategic stockpile.
Whitmer shared on Monday one hospital received a shipment last weekend from the federal government of “747 N95 protective masks, 204 gowns, 40,467 gloves, and 64 face shields.”
“With the exception of the gloves, that allotment of PPE didn’t cover one shift,” Whitmer added.
During her interview on Friday, Whitmer did not specify which vendors or which medical equipment was being blocked from being sent to Michigan.
“The fact of the matter remains, we need help and at the very least we don’t need people standing in our way from getting,” Whitmer said. “We’re working incredibly hard. But these are serious times.”
U.S. Rep. Paul Mitchell stated that members of Michigan’s congressional delegation had asked regional officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency during a conference on if vendor shipments were being redirected to FEMA. The FEMA Region 5 officials told congressional members there were no vendor shipments being diverted from Michigan and that “they would reach out (to suppliers) and try to solve the uncertainty,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell went on to call Whitmer’s statements “not productive.”
Whitmer stated that she was in no way trying to create a political feud.
“For the doctors and nurses who are wearing one mask for the whole shift, who are worried about their own personal health but are still treating the sick and the fragile, it’s crucial that everyone does their part,” she said. “That includes individuals staying homes, it includes businesses that can help manufacture this (personal protection equipment) that there’s too little of and it includes the federal government who we need partnership from.”