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Gov. Jay Inslee: Trump Has Demonstrated an 'Abject Lack of Leadership' Amid Pandemic

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As the United States passes the grim milestone of 100,000 coronavirus deaths, many are examining the state and federal response to the outbreak. 

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) says his state was as prepared for the virus as it realistically could be.

“We’ve had a variety of emergency scenarios, but there is no preparing 7 million people for something they’ve never experienced before,” Inslee said during an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine.” 

He added, “It’s just a shock to the system.”

While there has been controversy over when Americans started practicing social distancing, Inslee defended his state, “For those that say we should have started social distancing the day the first case was identified in Wuhan, you know, intellectually that might have made sense, but to think 7 million people would accept that — they would not have accepted that.”

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He explained, “You can’t expect a large group of people to accept the necessity of things they’ve never experienced before.”

However, he said the federal response and the assistance his state received was, in his opinion, lacking.

“We also assumed that we would have a functioning leadership at the federal level that would help be a stable, effective partner, and that has not been the case because of the abject lack of leadership from the president.”

“So that was another sort of unanticipated result that has caused enormous problems in our response. We didn’t plan on that,” he added.

Inslee continued to slam President Donald Trump for his rhetoric around the outbreak.

He said, “It’s akin to Franklin Delano Roosevelt on December 8th, 1941, and for months thereafter, saying that Pearl Harbor was a hoax … That’s kind of the scenario we have had from the current president.”

“We have a president who says that testing is overrated when it is absolutely fundamental to our ability to reopen our economy,” Inslee said. 

Trump has been criticized for saying that the virus will disappear. On February 28, Trump said, “One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”

And as late as May, the president has insisted that the virus will “go away” even if a vaccine is not developed.

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Additionally, during a trip outside of Washington, D.C., Trump touted the country’s coronavirus testing capacity and then questioned whether testing is “overrated.”

“From an early refusal [by Trump] to use the Defense Production Act to an effort to contradict the public health advice from the president’s own experts, almost on a daily basis, to an effort to try to promote unsafe products,” Inslee listed as examples of how the federal response fell short.

He said, “The list goes on and on. It’s been like trying to run a marathon dragging a dead weight every day.”

Inslee also blasted Trump for encouraging Americans to participate in stay-at-home order protests, “I never thought I would live to see the day when an American president would urge American citizens to violate the law.”

“That is unimaginable to me. I’ve had some problems with other presidents, but I never thought I’d see the president stoop to that low level,” he added.

As protests began to spring up across the country, Trump sent out a series of tweets encouraging people to “liberate” their states.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1251169987110330372

At the time, Inslee accused Trump of “fomenting domestic rebellion. 

Although Trump has received some criticism for his handling of the outbreak, some governors have praised his response.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said Trump had been “thoughtful and “response” after his state received testing swabs.

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