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Trump's disconnect with DC widens during viral pandemic

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Trump’s disconnect with DC widens during viral pandemic

WASHINGTON (AP) – District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser’s cellphone rang earlier this week from an unfamiliar quantity: It was the White House calling to say President Donald Trump needed to speak.

The president congratulated Washington’s mayor on $876 million in federal coronavirus reduction going to the Washington-area Metro system – cash that was welcome however not below the mayor’s jurisdiction, as a substitute going to a regional transportation authority.

Bowser used the second to remind Trump that the District – a metropolis of 700,000 folks that features greater than 150,000 federal employees – obtained $700 million much less in coronavirus reduction cash than every of the 50 states as a result of it was categorised as a territory at Senate Republicans’ insistence within the first spherical of federal reduction handed by Congress.

As a candidate, Trump spoke warmly of the nation’s capital and mentioned he needed “whatever is best” for its residents. But over the course of his greater than three years in workplace a disconnect between the president and District of Columbia has emerged. The public variations have solely change into extra stark during the pandemic.

“It is very important that the District is made whole, and that the District gets what it’s owed,” Bowser mentioned this week after her discuss with Trump.

Aides to the mayor mentioned Trump informed Bowser her considerations have been on his radar, however he made no commitments. Similarly, Trump informed her the problem could be addressed when she initially complained concerning the matter during a White House convention name with governors in late March.

The White House declined to remark.

The tempo of reopening after the coronavirus risk shut down exercise across the nation additionally has been some extent of rivalry between Washington and the White House.

While the Trump administration has been pushing state and native governments to hurry up reopening, Bowser insisted till lately that native an infection numbers didn’t justify any rest of her stay-at-home order.

The District is easing the order subsequent week, one of many final jurisdictions to start reopening. But metropolis and public well being officers warn that the nation’s capital will possible take months to totally come again to life.

City officers mentioned it stays unclear if college students will be capable of return to bodily lecture rooms within the fall. The guarded method stands in sharp distinction with feedback from Trump, who on Friday demanded that state and native leaders permit homes of worship to reopen “right now.”

Hours earlier, Bowser pressured it was essential for residents to stay vigilant. Houses of worship will likely be allowed to carry gatherings of as much as 10 folks within the District’s first section of the reopening.

And simply after Trump spoke, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus activity power coordinator, mentioned D.C., alongside with Chicago and Los Angeles, had skilled an extended plateau in infections that administration officers have been intently monitoring.

The capital metropolis’s coronavirus dea-th price is greater than all however 4 states: New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

“There is a disconnect,” mentioned Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District’s non-voting delegate within the U.S. House. “The White House is looking at the economy and the money, and the mayor is looking at the science first.”

Bowser acknowledges the completely different approaches, however performs down any battle with the Oval Office.

She stresses that the town’s reopening plan is predicated partially on White House activity power pointers and Washington has consulted with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal authorities’s prime infectious illness professional. The mayor added that she’s been involved with administration officers, as produce other metropolis representatives.

“We want everything open,” Bowser mentioned. “And the way to get everything open is to have a measured and phased approach.”

It wasn’t too way back that Trump courted metropolis leaders.

In 2014, as his firm was growing a resort on the historic Old Post Office constructing leased from the federal authorities, Trump donated $5,000 to Bowser’s DC Proud Inaugural Committee. Two of Trump’s youngsters – Ivanka and Eric – gave $2,000 every to the mayor’s marketing campaign after she defeated the town’s incumbent mayor within the main that yr.

After rising because the GOP front-runner in 2016, Trump mentioned in a “Meet the Press” interview that he’d “certainly look at” a decades-long push by District leaders to achieve statehood.

“I would like to do whatever is good for the District of Columbia because I love the people,” Trump mentioned.

But earlier this month, Trump informed the New York Post, “D.C. will never be a state.”

“Why? So we can have two more Democratic – Democrat – senators and five more congressmen?” added Trump, alluding to the town’s historical past of voting overwhelmingly for Democrats.

Neither has Trump embraced life in Washington like a few of his latest predecessors.

Barack and Michelle Obama loved a string of date nights at metropolis eating places. Bill Clinton jogged on the National Mall. Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter gained over some residents by enrolling their daughter, Amy, at a D.C. public faculty.

Trump’s outings within the space have centered on dinners at his personal resort and journeys to his golf membership in Northern Virginia. His rare forays elsewhere within the District have courted controversy.

Earlier this month, he determined to carry a Fox News digital city corridor on the Lincoln Memorial. While different presidents have held occasions on the steps of the memorial, Trump obtained a federal waiver to take a seat on the marbled toes of the 16th president, producing some grumbling.

In October, Trump attended a World Series recreation on the Washington Nationals’ stadium. When he appeared on ballpark video screens, the D.C. crowd showered him with boos.

Democrats and District activists additionally complain that the Trump administration has but to reimburse the town for greater than $7 million in safety prices associated to the 2017 inauguration and extra prices for Trump’s bulked-up Fourth of July celebration in Washington final yr.

“Whether it’s not paying for the inauguration or his Fourth of July event to shorting D.C. residents in coronavirus relief, he’s been clear in his attitude,” mentioned Bo Shuff, government director of the statehood advocacy group DC Vote. “He just doesn’t care about the people of D.C.”


Madhani reported from Chicago.

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