Mr Pence, “ ‘Don’t call the woman in Michigan,’ ” Mr Trump said at his news conference. “I say, if they don’t treat you right, don’t call.”
But Tiffany Brown, Ms Whitmer’s spokeswoman, said the governor was committed to maintaining a functional relationship with the federal government — even if that no longer included Mr Trump. “Governor Whitmer has and will continue to have conversations with the vice president and the head of Fema [Federal Emergency Management Agency],” Ms Brown said in a statement.
As Mr Trump has had to reverse himself on his overly upbeat assessments of how quickly he could reopen the country for business, he has also increasingly targeted some of his regular foils.
On Monday morning, in an interview with Fox & Friends, he referred to speaker Nancy Pelosi as a “sick puppy” after she had appeared on CNN’s State of the Union and said the president’s early denials about the dangers of the coronavirus carried “deadly” consequences.
“As the president fiddles, people are dying,” Ms Pelosi said.
In an interview on Monday, she rolled her eyes at his attack. “Every knock from him is a boost for me, quite frankly, so I don’t care what he says,” she said.
And at his Sunday evening news conference, Mr Trump snapped at Yamiche Alcindor, a PBS NewsHour correspondent whom he has criticised publicly in the past, for asking him to defend his own statements about governors making requests for medical equipment like ventilators that he believes they do not actually need.
“Let me tell you something,” Mr Trump said, after denying he made statements that he had, in fact, made. “Be nice. Don’t be threatening. Don’t be threatening. Be nice.”
Ms Alcindor tweeted in response that she was “not the first human being, woman, black person or journalist to be told that while doing a job”.
Women who work for Mr Trump have long defended the president’s treatment of women by noting that he is an equal opportunity counter-puncher, someone whose gut reaction to being insulted by anyone is to respond in kind. And the women closest to him, like his daughter Ivanka Trump or his former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, now the White House counsellor, have often pointed to their own experiences when pressed on Mr Trump’s history of sexist attacks.
“I speak for many women who have and do work for him,” Ms Conway said on Monday. “We are on equal footing with our male colleagues, even though some of those male colleagues have not always agreed. I feel empowered, respected and engaged.”
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