As the state of Washington grapples the spread of coronavirus, President Donald Trump on Friday lambasted the state Gov. Jay Inslee (D), calling him a “snake” for criticizing the administration’s response to the disease and demanding scientific facts about the deadly outbreak.
Trump was asked during a tour of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about Vice President Pence’s trip a day earlier to Washington, where Pence met with Inslee and other state officials to discuss the virus.
“I told Mike not to be complimentary to the governor, because that governor is a snake,” Trump said of Inslee. “I said, ‘if you’re nice to him he will take advantage.'”
“Let me just tell you, we have a lot of problems with the governor. … So, Mike may be happy with him, but I’m not,” Trump continued, claiming Democrats would refuse to give him credit for his response to the coronavirus.
Pence commended Inslee’s work combatting the coronavirus in Washington state during a press briefing on Thursday night. Inslee added that he and the vice president had productive discussions, but largely dodged questions about his issues with Trump.
Inslee suggested last week following a call with Pence that the administration would be more successful in addressing the virus if it “stuck to the science and told the truth.”
I just received a call from @VP Mike Pence, thanking Washington state for our efforts to combat the coronavirus.
I told him our work would be more successful if the Trump administration stuck to the science and told the truth.
— Jay Inslee (@JayInslee) February 28, 2020
Washington state has been the focal point of coronavirus cases in the U.S.
The state has confirmed 70 cases of the virus, with 11 fatalities. Inslee has declared a state of emergency as the government marshals resources to combat the virus.