Inslee, they added, also referred to the Defense Production Act, saying that the state of Washington needs companies that are more than encouraged to produce things like masks and ventilators – they need a federal mandate to force them to act. He said the Pentagon needed to take immediate action to defend companies from providing materials. And he spoke with urgency about the situation in nursing homes. A nursing home in Kirkland, Wash., Has been associated with at least 37 deaths from the coronavirus.
Trump was defensive against his efforts, two of the people said, telling Inslee that he and the federal government have already done a lot for Washington and other states in recent days, and have handled several initiatives.
A spokesman for Inslee declined to comment. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Speaking to reporters in Washington after the conversation, Inslee said of the discussion with Trump, “I will not go into detail, but I will say that I told them that states should not compete against each other. We are grateful for their help with what they have provided so far. “
The exchange was the latest flashpoint as tensions rise between Trump and some local officials over his leadership during the coronavirus outbreak, as some states see a spiraling number of cases and deaths during the pandemic.
Earlier this month, Trump called Inslee a “snake.”
“I told [Vice President Pence] not being free with the governor because the governor is a snake, “Trump said of Inslee. “And if you are nice to him, he will benefit.”
Inslee was not the only governor to hear the alarm, according to a person informed of the call, with Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D), who raised a number of issues such as New Orleans and his state support for concern, with the number of cases and deaths increasing.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) first spoke to the governors on the call as head of the National Governors Association. He appealed to Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., to have his own testing facility because the region is home to much of the workforce that keeps the federal government running, according to people familiar with the call. An official at the White House said it was in the works.
Washington D.C., Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) expressed objections to the federal relief package treating the district as a territory, the famous people say. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D), a doctor, asked Deborah Birx, the leader of the administration’s answer, about her best and worst case. She said she was still looking at modeling, said people familiar with the conversation.
The lack of personal protective equipment for health care workers was the biggest concern expressed by the governors, who said they believed the country needed a federal response so that states do not compete for medical supplies – an ongoing topic of discussion, according to the people, and informed about it .
Other moments included when West Virginia (R) Prime Minister Jim Justice expressed concern over an outbreak in a nursing home, the famous people said. At the same time, statesman Henry McMaster (R-S.C.), A Trump ally, told the president that small businesses can’t sustain too much more of the economic shutdown, say aides familiar with the conversation.
And Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) told the president that he appreciated him realizing that some states have worse situations than others and that parts of the country may reopen, said people familiar with the conversation.
Trump referred to the situation as “crazy” and said the country must come back open for business, the famous people said.
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo (D), the last governor to speak, asked the president to cooperate with governors, saying that those administrators of their states are “not political,” according to a person familiar with the conversation. Trump seemed to like Cuomo’s comments and thanked him.
Cuomo has been critical of the administration’s response, but has also gone out of his way not to oppose Trump as he tries to secure as much federal aid for his state as possible.
Earlier on Thursday, Trump sent a letter to the country’s governors advising that his administration develop “new guidelines” that can be used at the state and local levels to determine what type of social distance measures to take in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. .
The guidelines will categorize each county in the country as low risk, medium risk or high risk, Trump said.
In the letter, he said that Americans “hope the day will come soon” when they can return to their normal lives.
“In order to further this shared goal, my administration is working to publish new guidelines for state and local decision makers to be used to make decisions on maintaining, increasing or relaxing social distancing and other remedial actions they have taken,” Trump wrote .
The letter comes when public health officials have warned that premature resumption of the country’s economy may worsen the spread of the virus. Trump has said he would like to see the economy restarted by Easter on April 12.
Ovetta Wiggins, Seung Min Kim and Felicia Sonmez contributed to this report.