Politics

Gretchen Whitmer on Donald Trump: 'Scary,' 'ridiculous,' 'petty,' 'unacceptable'


May 21, 2020, 2:10 PM


Gretchen Whitmer: "To have this kind of distraction is just ridiculous." (Photo: CBS News screenshot)

That woman from Michigan has punchy responses to that man from the White House, who tweeted Wednesday about "a rougue secretary of state" in Lansing.

The presidential tweet, prompted by Jocelyn Benson's plan to send absentee ballot applications to all registered voters, included this threat: "I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!"

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer reacts during an eight-minute interview Thursday, telling Gayle King of CBS This Morning that she spoke briefly with President Trump by phone about Midland's flood. "My message to him was let's try to focus on the true enemy, which is the virus and this natural disaster."

She speaks frankly and forcefully about strained relations with the Republican chief executive, so we transcribe those portions of Whitmer's replies in her conversation with King from each woman's home:

I did speak with him yesterday on the phone. I made the case that we will have to be on the same page here. We have to stop demonizing one another and really have to focus on the fact that the common enemy is the virus, and now it's a natural disaster. This is what all of our focus should be on.

I'm grateful that for the fact that FEMA has been such a great partner, and that's what my message to him was. Let's try to focus on the true enemy, which is the virus and this natural disaster, and let's try to put everyone who has a platform on the same page of saying let's do this and let's keep peopole safe in the process. That's always been my call and that was what we talked about a little bit yesterday as well.

We are at a point where we think it's OK to start re-engaging sectors of our economy. But then the flood hits and we've got to evacuate 10,000 people who are worried and scared, on top of this global pandemic. We have lost over 5,000 people here in the state of Michigan. It's been devastating.

And to have this kind of distraction [Trump's absentee voting tweet] is just ridiculous, to be honest. Threatening to take money away from a state that is hurting as bad as we are right now is just scary and I think is something that is unacceptable.

He'll be in Michgan today [at a Ypsilanti plant]. My hope is that he will see we are hard-working, good Americans and we need the support of our federal government right now as much as anybody else, if not more, because of the added challenge. And I'm hopeful that he comes away knowing that's what's most important, not petty political stuff that he had going with the secretary of state yesterday.

We've got to be focused on doing the right thing now on behalf of the people. We're all in this together. Let's pull together and take care of one another.

For his part, Trump tweeted Wednesday about Michigan flooding as he prepared to see Ford Motor Co. medical ventilator assembly operations at its Lawsonville Components Plant this afternoon:


Read more:  CBS This Morning


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