By: Mark Glennon*
Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom said this on CNN on April 10 when asked about his experience working with Donald Trump to address the coronavirus pandemic:
I gotta say this. It’s just a fact or I’d be lying to the American people. Every single direct request that [Trump] was capable of meeting, he has met. We have the [hospital ship] USNS Mercy because of his direct intervention and support, and 2,000 on these federal medical stations because of his direct support. I can only speak for myself but I have to be complementary otherwise I would be simply lying to you and misleading you. That is a wonderful thing to be able to say. I hope it continues. This has been a remarkable moment. We have been able to rise above the partisanship.
Among the things Democratic Illinois Governor JB Pritzker has said to the local and national press are these:
The failures of the White House, of the president, have visited greater illness and greater number of deaths across the country…. This will go down in history as profound failure of our national government…. If [the federal government] had started in February building ventilators, getting ready for this pandemic, we would not have the problems we have today and, frankly, very fewer people would die. This is a time for serious people, not the carnival barkers that are tweeting from the cheap seats. All I can say is, get to work, or get out of the way.
But Pritzker also said this on February 28: “All I’m saying is we’re not relying upon the White House. We, in fact, have one of the best public health systems in the country. And so we’ve got experts here … who are highly capable of managing the COVID-19 [pandemic], that’s come upon us.” Do you regret saying that?
On why he sent ventilators to other states instead of keeping them for California, Newsom said this:
We thought it was the right thing to do, but I also want you to know it was the responsible thing to do as American citizens, from a moral and ethical imperative, to save lives.
Pritzker has expressed a different philosophy.
When Abbott Laboratories announced its breakthrough device for quick COVID-19 testing, Pritzker said that evening he “got on the phone and I spoke with the president and CEO of Abbott to ask that Illinois be first in line.” And on Twitter he said, “I also called @AbbottNews to ask that Illinois be first in line for their just-announced 5-minute rapid test for COVID-19.”
Pritzker further explained the basis for the resources he claims he needs from the federal government on April 10:
I won’t be satisfied until we’re past this pandemic, frankly, so you know if you hear me complain now and again. If you hear me argue for more for Illinois, it’s because we need it. And it’s because we’re doing everything that we can, and it’s not enough, and therefore we need help from others. And so I’m going to make that plea, wherever I need to. But, you know, we’re doing everything we can. I feel like we are making progress, but I’m going to be on the phone with the governors and with the vice president with the president for as long and as often as I need to be.
But Pritzker was asked again, directly, to share the methods and models on which he is basing his projections and needs for resources. He ducked the question on April 10 and has provided nothing. The only publicly available projection he has said he looks at is by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. It shows that Illinois’ peak needs for resources to address the COVID-19 virus already passed – on April 7. It shows only a small remaining need for ventilators. Spot shortages at some hospitals of personal protective equipment, however, remain severe.
*Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints.