Michigan Governor Calls Out Trump’s ‘Ridiculous’ Funding Threat

DETROIT, MI-JUNE 14: Michigan Democrat Gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer addresses the 37th United Auto Workers Constitutional Convention June14, 2018 at Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
May 21, 2020 12:59 p.m.
EDITORS' NOTE: TPM is making our COVID-19 coverage free to all readers during this national health crisis. If you’d like to support TPM's reporters, editors and staff, the best way to do so is to become a member.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) fired back at President Trump’s threat to withhold federal funding from the swing state during an interview on CBS Thursday morning.

On Wednesday morning, Trump threatened to withhold funding from Michigan in a tweet, which erroneously accused its secretary of state, Jocelyn Benson, of sending absentee ballots to registered voters. Trump would later clarify in another tweet that Michigan voters were being sent mail-in voting applications instead, before appearing to back away from his earlier funding threat while speaking to reporters Wednesday afternoon.

After telling CBS’ Gayle King that she urged Trump during a phone call on Wednesday to focus on the “true enemy” of both the novel coronavirus and the catastrophic flooding caused by two collapsed dams in her state, Whitmer called the President’s threat to withhold funding from Michigan amid the COVID-19 pandemic “ridiculous.”

“We are at a point where we think it’s safe to start re-engaging sectors of our economy, but then this flood hits and we’ve got to evacuate tens of thousands of people who are worried and scared, on top of this global pandemic,” Whitmer said. “And to have this kind of distraction is just ridiculous to be honest.”

Whitmer added that Trump’s threat to withhold funding from her state that is “hurting as bad as we are right now” is “scary” and “unacceptable.”

In response to Trump’s visit to the Ford plant outside of Detroit later Thursday, Whitmer said that she has no plans to meet with the President then, but hopes that he can put aside the “petty political stuff that he had going with the secretary of state.”

Watch Whitmer’s remarks below:

Key Coronavirus Crisis Links

TPM’s COVID-19 hub.
Josh Marshall’s Twitter List of Trusted Experts (Epidemiologists, Researchers, Clinicians, Journalists, Government Agencies) providing reliable real-time information on the COVID-19 Crisis.
COVID-19 Tracking Project (updated data on testing and infections in the U.S.).
Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Survey (most up to date numbers globally and for countries around the world).
Worldometers.info (extensive source of information and data visualizations on COVID-19 Crisis — discussion of data here).
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: