CHICAGO — Governor JB Pritzker continued to exchange strong words with President Donald Trump Monday after they clashed this weekend over the federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the past few weeks, Pritzker has been critical of the pace of federal guidelines and amount of support provided to states like Illinois, drawing criticism from the president in return.
“Pritzker, he’s always complaining… because he’s not able to do what you’re supposed to do as a governor. He has not performed well,” Trump said during a Sunday briefing.
State health officials reported over 1,000 new confirmed cases and 33 additional coronavirus-related deaths in Illinois Monday, bringing the total number of deaths to more than 300.
White House officials said as of Monday the federal government has provided, “critical resources and support” to state-led efforts, pointing to $115.3 million in aid from FEMA and supplies provided to Illinois from the National Strategic Reserves.
They said the state has received 367,700 N-95 masks, 875,000 surgical masks and 300 ventilators, with an additional 172,200 N-95 masks and 150 ventilators given separately to Chicago.
While acknowledging the work of the Army Corps of Engineers to build additional hospital capacity in the state, Pritzker said Monday that supplies provided by the federal government will only last a handful of days because it’s going fast.
Pritzker said health care workers are expected to need up 1.5 million N-95 masks and 25 million gloves every 10 days to care for infected patients.
“To anyone who wants a response to some of the blame-shifting coming out of the White House, all I have to say is – look at the numbers,” Pritzker said.
Later in the day during his own news conference, Trump downplayed Pritzker’s concerns about the response so far.
“Even Governor Pritzker from Illinois is happy, of course he might not be happy when he talks to the press, but he’s happy,” Trump said.