California governor says state will 'rely disproportionately on ourselves' over federal government amid outbreak

"That's not finger pointing, it's just reality," Gov. Gavin Newsom said.

April 3, 2020, 11:18 AM

When it comes to handling the coronavirus crisis, California Gov. Gavin Newsom anticipates his state will need to "rely disproportionately" on themselves instead of the federal government.

California, which is the most populous state in the U.S., was one of the first to declare a state of emergency amid the coronavirus pandemic. As of April, there are at least 9,191 diagnosed COVID-19 cases and 203 related deaths in California.

When "The View" co-hosts questioned Newsom on Friday about whether he thinks governors will eventually have to bypass the administration and work together to exchange supplies to fight the coronavirus outbreak as needed, he said, "governors are already doing that and in a very collaborative way."

PHOTO: California Governor Gavin Newsom joins "The View," April 3, 2020.
California Governor Gavin Newsom joins "The View," April 3, 2020.

"We are working collaboratively with procurement agents in different states to see if we can go together to avoid not just the inability or ability to get more protective gear, but deal with price gouging and leverage our resources in a resourceful mindset," Newsom said.

"Here's the stubborn fact," Newsom continued. "I have handed out ... specifically 35.9 million N-95 masks. We've received from the national stockpile so far 1,089,000."

"So when you ask, 'are we going to rely on the federal government or are gonna rely on ourselves,' we're going to rely disproportionately on ourselves," he said.

Despite being involved in more than 68 lawsuits with the Trump administration, Newsom says the relationship between California and the administration "has been strong" because they were able to build a relationship early on in the fight against the novel virus.

A U.S. Navy hospital ship Mercy, a 1,000-bed hospital ship, was originally expected to go to the Seattle region, but California Gov. Gavin Newsom sent a letter to President Donald Trump requesting that the Mercy be docked in Los Angeles instead.

At a White House press conference last week, the president confirmed the Mercy would be located off the coast of Los Angeles. In a Pentagon briefing on Monday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said it was the Federal Emergency Management Agency that determined the Mercy's destination, despite his initial "hunch" that the ship would go to Seattle.

"From my perspective, the relationship has been strong and I'm not doing it to kiss the ring," Newsom said on "The View" Friday. "I'm just being forthright with the president.

"[Trump] returns calls, he reaches out, he's been proactive. We got that Mercy ship down here in Los Angeles, that was directly because he sent it down here," he continued. "I'll let you know in a few weeks if that relationship continues."

Illinois Gov. J.B Pritzker told CNN in March that states were "competing" against each other" for dwindling medical supplies, comparing it to the "wild west." Newsom, who said he's worked with Pritzker and other governors, agreed with his comparison.

"At the end of the day, we're all trying to source from similar places from all around the globe to get more ventilators," Newsom said. "We can finger point, we can lament, or we can start to address this moment head on and take some account.

Newsom went on to say that he's "trying to work with other governors in a more collaborative spirit" so they're "not competing against each other" for medical supplies in the fight against COVID-19.

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