President Trump told the nation’s governors Monday that his administration “will step in” if needed to assist a state with its reopening plans — but didn’t specify when or how exactly federal intervention would occur.
The president made the remarks in a teleconference with state leaders on Monday afternoon, appearing from the White House Situation Room alongside first lady Melania Trump, who called on governors to put more of a focus on the physical and mental health of young children enduring the coronavirus pandemic. As part of the weekly call with state leaders, the White House invited governors to have their spouses join the call to also see and greet the first lady.
Audio of the teleconference was obtained by CBS News.
“Our gradual reopening plans are moving along and they’re moving along very rapidly,” the president said. “The governors are making their decisions, and want to make their decisions, and that’s the way I want it to, and we will step in if we see something going wrong, or if we disagree, and some people say that’s nice, and some people say I shouldn’t be doing that, but we’re going to do it if we see something wrong.”
“If you have any problem, let me know please, but it seems that the governors are largely happy. And I think I can say extraordinarily happy with respect to what we’ve done,” Mr. Trump added.
He turned next to the first lady, who reminded governors that “one of the key pillars” of her #BeBest initiative “is children’s emotional, social and physical health. Whether in quarantine or on the frontlines of the fight against the virus, many Americans, including children are experiencing increasing anxiety, depression, loneliness, isolation and fear. This administration has increased resources to support mental health.”
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Mrs. Trump encouraged governors “to make sure that children are not overlooked in this crisis” by boosting funding and personnel for child welfare programs, especially to root out potential cases of child abuse.
Children, “need us in this time more than ever,” the first lady said, adding later she’s especially worried about younger kids “because they don’t have anybody to turn to when they’re, we could say, locked up at home because of no school, no kindergarten. I’m worried about them and we need to take care of them and go and check on them.”
In speaking with individual governors, the president called out Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp, who Mr. Trump has criticized for launching the Peach State’s reopening sooner than the rest of the country.
“The opening seems to be going very well, Brian. I’m hearing your number are going down as you open. That’s a pleasant thing to hear,” the president said.
“We’ve ramped up our testing too, Mr. President,” Kemp replied.
During the call, the president also said the country has completed more than 11.4 million tests for COVID-19.
“We’re setting testing records,” he claimed.
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