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WA Gov. Inslee: Trump Trying To Inspire People To Violate The Law Is Irresponsible, “Words Can Be Fatal Too”


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Well, Jay Inslee is Governor Jay Inslee of Washington. And Governor Inslee joins me now on the phone. Governor, you called the president’s tweets saying liberate Michigan, liberate Minnesota, Virginia dangerous, unhinged. You just heard him say it. I’m wondering what your reaction is. GOV. JAY INSLEE (D-WA) (via telephone): Extreme disappointment, and frankly anger because we’ve lost over 500 people in my state, and we know — saying in automobile safety speed kills. Well, words can be fatal too. And when you have a president of the United States openly, willfully maliciously trying to encourage people not to abide by the law in these states, these orders are the law of these states. And now, the president of the United States willfully trying to inspire people to disobey and violate at law with potentially fatal consequences is unbelievably irresponsible, and I — there’s no other way to look at it. And what is doubly enraging to us, both Republicans and Democrats, that the day before this president put out very clear guidelines based on substantial epidemiological evidence of his own experts Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx that had a lot of reason to it, and that reason is, it said very clearly that we have to wrestle this virus down significantly before we let off pressure of social distancing. This is his own physicians saying this, his own guidelines that we essentially are pretty consistent with in our state approaches, both Republicans and Democrats. COOPER: Yes, I mean, the fact — INSLEE: The next day to say you should ignore that is just an outrage. COOPER: Yes, I mean, just as he was on the podium saying that some things are too tough, meaning some of the guidelines in Michigan, Minnesota, Virginia. These are the same guidelines he allegedly saw the light on and was encouraging everybody to do. INSLEE: If they’re too tough, they’re his, and they’re based on decent evidence. And for a brief shining moment that lasted about four hours, we had a unified approach between the federal government and states. Then for some — this kind of cheap bombast to do dog whistles to his base, he goes out there and creates this unnecessary tension. Look, we’re going to be working together on this, and we have sometimes, I’ve had good discussions with Mike Pence, I’ve had good discussions with Dr. Fauci, I’ve had good discussions with Admiral Polowczyk the other day. But we’ve got to get the federal government to help us get these test kits. That’s the other thing that is such a frustration because we have increased analytical ability to test but we can’t test because we don’t have the kits, we don’t have the swabs. We need millions of swabs. We need millions of transfer material for virus, and we don’t have them in any 50 states that we have enough of this. And we have been pleading with the president to show leadership on this and he just really has not been willing to do so. Now, some in his administration are helping, some in the supply chain are beginning to help. But until we have testing capability, we will not be able to successfully start up our economy, which should be our mutual goal. So, it would be helpful to have help from the president rather than cheap bombast we keep getting from him. COOPER: Can you — I mean, can you come up with any valid reason that president of the United States would not be fully leaning into getting as many tests out there as possible, you know, quick, rapid tests, so that employers could use them, people could get back to work, people could be confident and not be oh, you can get a test if you’re over a certain age, or if this, or if that? But you know what, if you feel you want and need one and want to see if you were infected in the past. I just — is there any — I can’t think of any rational explanation other than sort of political ones of not wanting a higher count of infected people to be on his record. And I hate to even think that, but trying to think of rational reason and can’t think of one. INSLEE: Well, you know, I should not try to figure out what goes on there in that mind. But the only thing that strikes me is just an inability to accept responsibility for this leadership position. We need somebody with the guts of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the commitment to mobilize the manufacturing base of the United States. That does not relieve governors of responsibility as well. Look, we’ve got obligation to go out there and fight for material as well. And we are doing that, Republicans and Democrats, big-time. But the federal government and the president is the only organization that has the capability to order people to manufacture this equipment. It is the only organization that can mobilize the entire defense industry of the United States and the supply chain. This is a supply chain that made 70 Jeeps in 1941 and 65,000 I think in 1944. We need the president to order the Pentagon to do that. Governors cannot do that. That’s the part where we really need assistance. And it’s just been maddening because I’ve talked to the president several times about this and he just kind of has this view that he likened it as not being a supply clerk, but we need a quartermaster, we need somebody to take pride in creating this supply chain. It’s a noble pursuit. It’s what got beans and the bullets to the beaches in Normandy. COOPER: Yes. INSLEE: It’s something you could be a hero on. COOPER: I mean, if people are dying or staying away from being tested or unable to kind of figure out their futures because of nasal swabs — yes, let’s get a supply clerk, let’s get a supply clerk, because you know what, nasal swabs is what is hobbling America right now? I mean, it’s ludicrous. INSLEE: It is ludicrous and to see it firsthand where I — my people literally just can’t wait. When we find a few thousand of these swabs, we rush to open the box just to make sure we got the right kind. That’s how desperate governors are working on this. These are Republicans and Democrats that are all doing this great work, as ambitiously and effectively as they possibly can. But they do not have the ability to turn the entire manufacturing capability of the United States to this task. Only the president is in position to do that. That’s why we really need that leadership. And we need to be working together, rather than have these — what are distractions of these tweets to try to foment sort of insurrection against the law of the states. COOPER: Yes. INSLEE: And I want to repeat, look, these orders are the law of these states. COOPER: Yes. INSLEE: And to have a president of the United States entreat people to ignore the law, that cannot stand. COOPER: Yes. I mean, literally, he says he’s fighting the war, and he’s the commander — he’s a wartime commander. He’s telling parts of his army to rebel against and agitate against other part — anyway. Governor Inslee, I appreciate your time. Thank you for all you’re doing.

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