As the number of COVID-19 cases are on the rise, so are tensions between state and federal officials over their responses to a national crisis.
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker started Sunday on CNN talking about what he described as a lack of support for the state from the federal government, calling it the “Wild West” for medical supplies.
That got President Trump’s attention, and he went after Pritzker directly on Twitter Sunday.
“(Pritzker) shouldn’t be blaming the Federal Government for their own shortcoming. We are there to back you up should you fail, and always will be!,” Trump tweeted.
Gov. Pritzker initially responded on Twitter Sunday, saying that Trump “wasted precious months” instead of responding to the crisis.
Chicago Mayor Lightfoot also jumped in, saying on Twitter, “dear Lord- please step up and be a leader. While you have been yammering about hoaxes and fake news, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit all over America.”
Pritzker and Lightfoot previously voiced concern over the federal government’s response to COVID-19 after long lines and crowds formed at O’Hare last weekend. Travelers coming in from Europe had to wait for several hours to go through customs.
Speaking later Sunday during his daily update on COVID-19 in Illinois, Pritzker briefly commented on his exchange with Trump.
“I’m a pretty even-keeled guy, but even I am finding it hard to contain my anger with Donald Trump’s response to this national crisis,” Pritzker said.
He said here in Illinois, he has been contacted by Republicans from across the state asking how they can help, and has seen people of “all political stripes” step up and offer support.
But he said his staff has been working “24/7” to try and locate protective equipment for healthcare workers, and blames President Trump and the federal response for the difficulties they are facing.
“Apparently the only way to get the President of the United States to pay attention is to going on national television and make noise about it, which I won’t stop doing until we get what we need,” Pritzker said. “All I can say is get to work, or get out of the way.”
Pritzker also spent time during his daily update to call for volunteers looking for ways to support each other during this crisis. Organizers say the greatest need is for blood donations and food pantries. Information on ways to help are at serve.illinois.gov.