Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

Whitmer “Perplexed” By Trump’s Response to Her Major Disaster Request

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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joins Detroit Today to reflect on “soul crushing reality” we’re facing, as well as what is giving her hope.

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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joined Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson a day after the state requested a major disaster relief declaration from the federal government. President Donald Trump mentioned the request during an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, saying of Whitmer, “we don’t like to see the complaints.”

Listen: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Trump criticism, school closures and the response to COVID-19 on Detroit Today.


Whitmer says she’s “perplexed” by President Donald Trump’s response to her request for a major disaster relief declaration for Michigan.

The governor made the request Thursday, one of many requests for federal assistance as the state fights skyrocketing numbers of COVID-19 cases and related deaths.

We still need assistance from the feds and I’m hopeful they will be able to provide it.” - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

We’ve had a big problem with the young, a woman governor from — you know who I’m talking about — from Michigan,” Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity. “We can’t, we don’t like to see the complaints.”

She’s not stepping up,” said Trump. “I don’t know if she knows what’s going on, but all she does is sit there and blame the federal government. She doesn’t get it done and we send her a lot. Now she wants a declaration of emergency and, you know, we’ll have to make a decision on that.”

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Drive-thru testing for COVID-19 opened today at the Michigan State Fair Grounds.Eli Newman / WDET
Eli Newman / WDET

Drive-thru testing for COVID-19 opened today at the Michigan State Fair Grounds.

I am perplexed,” Whitmer tells Stephen Henderson on Detroit Today. “I think that I made an observation about the lack of preparedness on the front end, and I think I must have struck a nerve. That’s  incredibly unfortunate, because we’ve got to stay focused on the here and now.”

We still need assistance from the feds and I’m hopeful they will be able to provide it,” she continues.

Whitmer also addressed questions about whether schools would be back in session in April, or if she’s considering extending school closures.

If [kids] aren’t back in school before the end of the usual school year, we’ve got to figure out a plan to meet their needs.”

She says to expect an announcement about that in the next week or so.

Whitmer told WWJ Radio on Friday that it’s “unlikely” students will return to school before the scheduled end of the school year.

The governor also addresses the disturbing numbers of cases and deaths in Detroit, reports of hospitals and health systems overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, and what is giving her hope as we approach to worst part of this crisis.

We’ve been through tough times before and we will get through this. But it is going to be a challenge and everyone needs to do their part.” - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Even on these darkest days, there are sources of inspiration across our state. The teachers getting students the food they need. The nurses and the doctors who are working these incredibly long shifts and are doing so because they are trained and care about the people that they’re supposed to treat. We see it in the grocery store clerks who are working double shifts to keep food on the shelves. There is a source of inspiration in distilleries that are making hand sanitizer.

And so I think it is really important, especially in these darkest days, that we seek out those sources of inspiration to help us get through,” says Whitmer.

We will get through, we’ve been through tough times before and we will get through this. But it is going to be a challenge and everyone needs to do their part.”


Detroit Today

Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.

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This post is a part of Coronavirus in Michigan.

101.9 WDET, Detroit’s NPR Station, is committed to providing accurate, up-to-date information on coronavirus, and it's related illness COVID-19, in Michigan. 

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