President Donald Trump said Democrat-run states facing financial strain because of the coronavirus pandemic shouldn’t expect to be bailed out by the federal government.
“I think Congress is inclined to do a lot of things but I don’t think they’re inclined to do bailouts. A bailout is different than, you know, reimbursing for the plague,” said Trump during a sit-down in the Oval Office with reporters from The New York Post.
“It’s not fair to the Republicans because all the states that need help — they’re run by Democrats in every case. Florida is doing phenomenal, Texas is doing phenomenal, the Midwest is, you know, fantastic — very little debt.” he continued. “You look at Illinois, you look at New York, look at California, you know, those three, there’s tremendous debt there, and many others. I don’t think the Republicans want to be in a position where they bail out states that are, that have been mismanaged over a long period of time.”
The president’s statements came nearly two weeks after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) suggested states should declare bankruptcy instead of receiving a federal bailout.
“I would certainly be in favor of allowing states to use the bankruptcy route,” McConnell said during an April 22 appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s radio program. “It’s saved some cities, and there’s no good reason for it not to be available. You raised yourself the important issue of what states have done, many of them have done to themselves with their pension programs. There’s not going to be any desire on the Republican side to bail out state pensions by borrowing money from future generations.”
McConnell’s statements were swiftly slammed by the governors of the two states most drastically affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Encouraging, explicitly almost hoping for bankruptcies of American states in the midst of the biggest health care crisis this country has ever faced, is completely and utterly irresponsible,” New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said. “You have my word. We won’t go bankrupt. But you know what will happen? We will gut the living daylights … out of the services — the exact services — that our citizens need right now. We will just cut, cut, cut and cut. We won’t go bankrupt, Senator, but we will leave our citizens in the lurch in their most profound hour of need.”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said McConnell made “one of the dumb statements of all time.”
“You talk about one issue where you think you can get past partisanship and pettiness and you talk about communities where people are dying and you say they are blue states,” Cuomo said during an interview with his brother, CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “How am I supposed to reopen if you want me to declare bankruptcy?”