President Trump met with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy at the White House Thursday to discuss coronavirus testing and financial aid for states, as the president starts to shift focus to economic recovery and an easing of restrictions designed to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Murphy, a Democrat, emphasized to the president that they need significant federal financial aid moving forward in this crisis. While Murphy has extended his state’s stay-at-home order indefinitely, he unveiled a six-pronged plan on Monday to “restore economic health through public health,” which must be followed alongside its neighboring states. The road map calls for a sustained reduction in new COVID-19 cases, expanded testing and robust contact tracing before the state fully reopens.
“The financial assistance we need, and we need a significant amount, this is a big hit and this is somewhere, in New Jersey alone could be $20-30 billion. This is to allow us to keep firefighters, teachers, police, EMS on the payroll serving the communities in their hour of need. That’s something we feel strongly about,” Murphy said during his meeting with the president.
“We don’t see it as a bailout,” Murphy added. “We see this as a partnership, doing the right thing in what is the worst health care crisis in the history of our nation. I want to, again, thank the president for an extraordinary spirit of partnership across the whole spectrum of our needs.”
Murphy is allowing some golf courses and state parks to reopen starting on Saturday, but social distancing is required.
Mr. Trump’s meeting with Murphy is his third with a governor this week. He also met at the White House with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards.
As stay-at-home orders in some states begin to expire, governors have called on the federal government to assist in ramping up testing and address shortages of crucial materials needed for the testing kits, such as swabs and chemical reagents. Mr. Trumpearlier this week testing and contact tracing guidance, though the plan puts much of the responsibility on the states.
Governors are also calling for Congress to ensure the next coronavirus emergency relief package includes funding for states and local communities that are facingbecause of the financial toll of the coronavirus crisis, which has led them to increase spending on public health and unemployment.