“We’ve put our best people into Michigan, and our most talented engineers, designers,” Trump told reporters before leaving for the state. “We’re looking at the floods. We have our people from the Army Corps of Engineers there, we have FEMA there.”
Trump again noted he had spoken with Whitmer the day before.
“We have a very good understanding,” Trump said.
Whitmer, a Democrat, has been in the national spotlight in recent months because of her response to the coronavirus crisis. The attention has catapulted her toward the top of the list to be Biden’s running mate, but it has also put her in Trump’s crosshairs. She has criticized the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic, and in return, Trump has admonished her over the state’s strict stay-at-home orders.
At one point, Trump even egged on protesters in Michigan on Twitter, calling for them to “LIBERATE MICHIGAN.”
The Republican National Committee also refreshed an attack on Whitmer on Thursday just hours before Trump left the White House, blasting out an email with the subject line: “Where is Whitmer???”
“Whitmer has been a near constant presence on national television auditioning to be VP despite claiming to spend ‘100% of my energy and focus’ on Michigan,” the email read, while touting the medical supplies the Trump administration has shipped to the state during the pandemic.
Whitmer has announced plans to relax some social-distancing measures in parts of the state ahead of Memorial Day weekend.
The president’s threats and admonitions became political fodder ahead of the visit.
“In the wake of disaster, Donald Trump once again showed us who he is — threatening to pull federal funding and encouraging division,” Biden said in a statement. “Michigan is in the fight of its life as it battles this pandemic and flooding disaster, and now more than ever, leadership and empathy matter.”
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