Two days after Gov. Gavin Newsom admitted publicly that President Donald Trump has been helpful to California as it battles the coronavirus, he was asked by “The View” host Joy Behar if that was just empty talk to ensure the state gets the supplies it needs.
“I’d be lying to you to say that he hasn’t been responsive to our needs. He has,” California’s Democratic governor told CNN on Wednesday. “And so, as a question, as a sort of an offer of objectivity, I have to acknowledge that publicly.”
Behar tried to frame that as Newsom kissing Trump’s proverbial ring.
“Governor, it’s no secret that you’ve had a combative relationship with Trump in the past, but lately, you’ve been praising him for the help he’s giving,” Behar said on Friday’s show.
“Of course, you have to, because look at how he treats governors who don’t kiss his ring,” she added. “The governor of Washington, the governor of Michigan, he said they were not appreciative and told Mike Pence, ‘Don’t call them back.’ Do you feel like you have to feed this guy’s ego to get the respirators and to get the [personal protective equipment]? Is that what’s going on?”
Newsom was quick to point out his opposition to the president on many issues.
“Let me just acknowledge the frame of your question,” he responded. “We’re involved in over 68 lawsuits with the Trump administration, and so there’s no question we have had our differences of opinion on many issues.”
But Newsom said the state and Trump administration have been partners in fighting the coronavirus for more than two months.
“I just want to remind you and maybe others that are not aware of this,” he said. “We’ve been at this since late January. California got a head start in many respects, where no one was really paying much attention.
“We started working with the administration directly to get these repatriated flights from mainland China into the state of California. Many states turned their back on those flights and those repatriation missions. California embraced them.
“We also had that Grand Princess, that large cruise ship, where we worked very collaboratively with the federal government, developed strong relationships of trust around the emergency planning and how we can bring those passengers back into our diverse communities and all across the rest of the country,” Newsom added.
The federal government has been a solid partner, he said.
“As a consequence of that, our relationship began earlier than most. And so from that perspective, all I can say is that, from my perspective, the relationship has been strong,” Newsom said.
He then rebutted Behar’s slam at Trump.
“I’m not doing it to kiss the ring — I’m not doing it in a way, you know, I’m just being forthright with the president. He returns calls, he reaches out, he’s been proactive.”
Newsom said Trump’s recent action in sending a U.S. Navy hospital ship to California was a sign of the partnership.
“We got that Mercy ship down here in Los Angeles. That was directly because he sent it down here. Two thousand medical units came to the state of California, these FMS, these field medical stations. That’s been very, very helpful, and to the extent we’re going to need more, we will, and I’ll let you know in a few weeks if that relationship continues,” he said.
As part of his effort to reject any type of ring-kissing arrangement, Newsom noted that states like California have also acted to help themselves, rather than simply expecting Trump to solve all their problems.
“Almost 36 million masks we’ve distributed in the state of California,” Newsom said.
“We received just over 1 million from the federal government. That’s not a cheap shot, that’s not finger-pointing. It’s just reality. So when you ask, are we going to rely on the federal government or are we going to rely on ourselves? We’re going to rely disproportionately on ourselves.”