It doesn’t happen very often, but when Democrat politicians behave like adults and cooperate with President Donald Trump, it’s a beautiful thing.
New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy is working closely with the president as his state grapples with the coronavirus pandemic. New Jersey has 6,876 confirmed cases and 81 deaths as of Friday, according to Johns Hopkins.
Murphy was asked by host Joe Scarborough on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Thursday how he is working out his relationship with Trump during the COVID-19 crisis.
His response was refreshing, and his attitude is exactly what is needed right now.
“Listen, I think as best we can — this is something that none of us have ever lived through before,” Murphy replied. He went on to say that he, Trump and Vice President Mike Pence “have a very good relationship in terms of communication.”
Although Murphy revealed that the state is still in need of additional supplies, he said Trump is assisting with the “Army Corps of Engineers building four field hospitals — that was a decision the president himself took, and I’m grateful for it.”
Federalism, which shifts responsibility mostly to the states as opposed to top-down authoritarian response, is clearly working well. State governments are doing their best to provide for their constituents while the federal government steps in where it can and should.
Given the different but complementary roles of the state and federal governments, Murphy’s willingness to work with leaders he otherwise disagrees with makes sense.
In this way, Murphy has diverged from many of his fellow Democrats, who are using the outbreak as another opportunity to hammer Trump.
New York Gov. Anthony Cuomo previously gave lip service to Trump for his leadership during the pandemic, but he ultimately scapegoated the administration when it was revealed that his state fell short in their reserve of life-saving ventilators.
Similarly, California Gov. Gavin Newsom also took a shot at the president after previously praising him for all the help the federal government provided to his state, including having sent necessary supplies and activated the National Guard, CNBC reported.
Still, when Trump rightly decided to include the modifier “Chinese” to describe the virus that came from Wuhan, China, Newsom was quick to adopt the narrative that the president was responsible for attacks on Asians.
“A disease is not a reason to be racist,” he said on Twitter. “We simply will not tolerate any form of xenophobia. This is a time to come together. To recognize our common humanity.”
A disease is not a reason to be racist. We simply will not tolerate any form of xenophobia. This is a time to come together. To recognize our common humanity.
We will get through this — together. pic.twitter.com/fRJzYLmtGa
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) March 23, 2020
Although he didn’t specifically mention Trump in the tweet, Newsweek reported that leaders from Asian advocacy groups called on Newsom and others to condemn the president.
In a March 17 open letter by state Assemblymember David Chiu, D-San Francisco, who also chairs the California Asian & Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus, Newsom was asked to denounce Trump after he called COVID-19 by the region from which it originated.
The governor clearly obeyed.
Trump has recently backed off from calling coronavirus the “Chinese virus,” deciding not to “make any more of a big deal out of it.”
With the coronavirus pandemic nowhere near contained in the United States, continued cooperation between all leaders needs to be the order of the day.
Murphy’s fellow Democrats would do well to follow suit because, as the New Jersey governor said in his closing remarks to Scarborough, “At the end of the day, we’re all in this together.”
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