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President Donald Trump is reportedly demanding kind words and praise from governors and state officials battling the coronavirus crisis.
"If you're good and respectful to [Trump], he will treat you the same — it's that simple," one unnamed senior White House official told The Daily Beast Tuesday.
Earlier in the day Trump ramped up attacks on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has been scathing in his criticism of the federal government's coronavirus response in recent days.
"It's a two-way street," Trump told a Fox News town hall Tuesday. "They have to treat us well, also. They can't say, 'Oh, gee, we should get this, we should get that.'"
President Donald Trump has long demanded public displays of gratitude and admiration from officials seeking federal help — and dealt out public humiliations to those he seeks to demote.
And for governors battling the coronavirus, the president's requirement for public flattery is something they've had to take into account as they balance criticizing the federal government's flawed response to the crisis, with the need for life-saving federal funds and equipment.
"If you're good and respectful to [Trump], he will treat you the same — it's that simple," one unnamed senior White House official told The Daily Beast Tuesday, spelling out the simple logic by which the president operates.
Earlier Tuesday, during a Fox News hosted town hall recorded in the White House Rose Garden, Trump ramped up attacks on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has been a harsh critic of the federal government's response to the crisis in recent days.
"It's a two-way street," Trump remarked, seemingly linking how governors treat his administration to how it responds to their pleas for help.
Referring to governors asking for federal aid in the coronavirus crisis, he added: "They have to treat us well, also. They can't say, 'Oh, gee, we should get this, we should get that.'"
The official who spoke to the Beast shrugged off the president's response.
"The president has always said that he fights back when he needs to, and the situation with [Cuomo] is no different. If you keep that in mind, their sort of seesaw relationship during [coronavirus] doesn't come as a surprise."
Trump focuses his attacks on New York state and Andrew Cuomo
New York state is at the epicenter of the US outbreak, having recorded more than 26,000 cases as of Wednesday. The number of new cases is doubling every two days, according to a New York Times calculation.
"We need federal help and we need the federal help now," Cuomo, a Democrat, said at a Tuesday press briefing.
"New York is the canary in the coal mine, New York is happening first, what is happening to New York will happen to California and Illinois, it is just a matter of time."
He also said that only 400 ventilators had arrived from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and that while the city has 7,000, the number is far short of the 30,000 required.
"You pick the 26,000 people who are going to die because you only sent 400 ventilators," he said, in a scathing criticism of the federal government's response.
But at the Tuesday town hall, Trump sought to blame Cuomo for the crisis instead, claiming that the governor should have done more to limit the number of travellers entering the city during the early days of the outbreak.
The president even cited a debunked report claiming that Cuomo had refused to buy more ventilators for the state back in 2015 when warned of shortcomings in its preparations for a pandemic.
But Cuomo and other Democratic governors — including California's Gavin Newsom — have also offered Trump thanks and praise in the past when federal help was forthcoming, and their words did not go unnoticed by the president.
"I watched, over the last few days, Gov. [Andrew] Cuomo, I watched Gavin Newsom," Trump said Sunday."I watched both of them. And they've been, you know, very complimentary."
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