Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker fired back at Donald Trump on Sunday after the president accused him and other state government leaders of failing to prepare for the coronavirus crisis.
Trump was responding to accusations from the Democratic governor and media outlets that Trump’s administration was forcing states to compete for resources amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have criticized Trump for failing to properly respond to the crisis, spending several weeks downplaying its severity and predicting that cases would drop to zero while the virus was actually spreading across the United States. Many of the hardest-hit areas are now struggling to keep up with the number of cases, which are clogging medical facilities.
Pritzker had appeared on CNN’s State of the Union earlier on Sunday, saying that states were being forced to overpay for the protective equipment needed by medical professionals who are treating victims. He said that the Trump administration should have been coordinating efforts with states rather than forcing them to compete for the much-needed resources.
Trump said Pritzker and others should not be blaming him.
“.@JBPritzker, Governor of Illinois, and a very small group of certain other Governors, together with Fake News @CNN& Concast (MSDNC), 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 tweeted.
Pritzker responded by accusing Trump of failing to act during the earliest days of the crisis when he could have been leading a national response. During that time, Trump referred to the coronavirus as a “hoax” used by Democrats to hurt him politically.
“You wasted precious months when you could’ve taken action to protect Americans & Illinoisans,” Pritzker wrote on Twitter.
“You should be leading a national response instead of throwing tantrums from the back seat. Where were the tests when we needed them? Where’s the PPE? Get off Twitter & do your job.”
Trump has come under increasing scrutiny as he has attempted to move beyond initial statements downplaying the crisis and inaccurately comparing the coronavirus to the flu. The president said this week that he had always taken the crisis seriously and knew that it was a pandemic even before being officially declared to be one by the World Health Organization, though video compilations of Trump’s statements showed this did not appear to be the case.
Pritzker has taken some stringent measures this week, including being one of the first states to order bars and restaurants to close to visitors.