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US coronavirus update: Latest on cases, deaths and reopening

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks during a news conference at the Capitol in Olympia, Washington, on April 13.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks during a news conference at the Capitol in Olympia, Washington, on April 13. Ted S. Warren/AP

Washington state governor Jay Inslee said he’s become “infuriated ” by President Trump’s leadership during the coronavirus crisis, citing his state’s continued shortages in personal protection equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers and materials to test for the virus.

“We did not have enough PPE for nurses and many facilities and to some degree still don’t,” Inslee said in an interview with CNN.

The Washington state governor, who ran for the Democratic nomination for president last year, criticized the Trump administration for not widely invoking the Defense Production Act, which gives the government more control during emergencies to direct industrial production.

Inslee said that Washington and other states have been forced into “scrambling around the world” to purchase PPE, “because the the federal government would not accept the responsibility to help purchase this material. And most importantly they would not help to manufacture it.”

Some background: The wartime-era law has been a point of contention between states and the Trump administration. While President Trump has invoked the law in some instances during the coronavirus pandemic, the shortage of critically needed supplies has fueled calls to use the law in its full capacity.

“There was only one person in the United States who can do that. That is the president of the United States. Governors cannot do that,” Inslee said. “We do not have authority to do that. So we’ve had to rely on the president making this decision and as I’ve indicated, he refused to do so for weeks and weeks.”

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