District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser’s cellphone rang earlier this week from an unfamiliar quantity: It was the White Home calling to say President Donald Trump needed to speak.
The president congratulated Washington’s mayor on $876 million in federal coronavirus aid going to the Washington-area Metro system – cash that was welcome however not beneath the mayor’s jurisdiction, as a substitute of going to a regional transportation authority.
Bowser used the second to remind Trump that the District – a metropolis of 700,000 folks that features greater than 150,000 federal workers- received $700 million much less in coronavirus aid cash than every of the 50 states as a result of it was categorised as a territory at Senate Republicans’ insistence within the first spherical of federal aid handed by Congress.
As a candidate, Trump spoke warmly of the nation’s capital and stated he needed “no matter is greatest” for its residents. However over the course of his greater than three years in workplace a disconnect between the president and District of Columbia has emerged. The general public variations have solely change into starker in the course of the pandemic.
“It is rather vital that the District is made complete, and that the District will get what it is owed,” Bowser stated this week after her discuss with Trump.
Aides to the mayor stated Trump informed Bowser her considerations have been on his radar, however he made no commitments. Equally, Trump informed her the difficulty can be addressed when she initially complained concerning the matter throughout a White Home convention name with governors in late March.
The White Home declined to remark.
The tempo of reopening after the coronavirus menace shut down exercise across the nation additionally has been a degree of competition between Washington and the White Home.
Whereas the Trump administration has been pushing state and native governments to hurry up reopening, Bowser insisted till not too long ago that native an infection numbers did not justify any rest of her stay-home order.
The District is easing its stay-at-home order subsequent week, one of many final jurisdictions to start reopening. However metropolis and public well being officers warn that the nation’s capital will probably take months to completely come again to life.
Metropolis officers stated it stays unclear if college students will be capable to return to bodily lecture rooms within the fall. The guarded strategy stands in sharp distinction with feedback from Trump, who on Friday demanded that state and native leaders permit homes of worship to reopen “proper now.”
Hours earlier, Bowser confused it was essential for residents to stay vigilant. Homes of worship can be allowed to carry gatherings of as much as 10 folks within the District’s first part of the reopening.
And simply after Trump spoke, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White Home coronavirus job power coordinator, stated DC, together with Chicago and Los Angeles, had skilled an extended plateau in infections that administration officers have been carefully monitoring.
The capital metropolis’s coronavirus demise charge is larger than all however 4 states: New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Connecticut.
“There’s a disconnect,” stated Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District’s non-voting delegate within the US Home. “The White Home is trying on the financial system and the cash, and the mayor is trying on the science first.”
Bowser acknowledges the completely different approaches, however performs down any battle with the Oval Workplace.
She stresses that the town’s reopening plan is predicated partly on White Home job power tips and Washington has consulted with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal authorities’s prime epidemiologist. The mayor added that she’s been involved with administration officers, as produce other metropolis representatives.
“We would like the whole lot open,” Bowser stated. “And the way in which to get the whole lot open is to have a measured and phased strategy.”
It wasn’t too way back that Trump courted metropolis leaders.
In 2014, as his firm was creating a lodge on the historic Outdated Submit Workplace constructing leased from the federal authorities, Trump donated $5,000 to Bowser’s DC Proud Inaugural Committee. Two of Trump’s youngsters – Ivanka and Eric – gave $2,000 every to the mayor’s marketing campaign after she defeated the town’s incumbent mayor within the main that 12 months.
After rising because the GOP frontrunner in 2016, Trump stated in a “Meet the Press” interview that he’d “actually have a look at” a decades-long push by District leaders to achieve statehood.
“I wish to do no matter is sweet for the District of Columbia as a result of I like the folks,” Trump stated.
However earlier this month, Trump informed the New York Submit, “DC won’t ever be a state.”
“Why? So we are able to have two extra Democratic – Democrat senators and 5 extra congressmen?” added Trump, alluding to the town’s historical past of voting overwhelmingly for Democrats.
Neither has Trump embraced life in Washington like a few of his latest predecessors.
Barack and Michelle Obama loved a string of date nights at metropolis eating places. Invoice Clinton jogged on the Nationwide Mall. Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter received over some residents by enrolling their daughter, Amy, at a DC public college.
Trump’s outings within the space have centered on dinners at his personal lodge and journeys to his golf membership in Northern Virginia. His rare forays elsewhere within the District have courted controversy.
Earlier this month, he determined to carry a Fox Information digital city corridor on the Lincoln Memorial. Whereas different presidents have held occasions on the steps of the memorial, Trump received a federal waiver to take a seat on the marbled toes of the sixteenth president, producing some grumbling.
In October, Trump attended a World Collection sport on the Washington Nationals’ stadium. When he appeared on ballpark video screens, the DC crowd showered him with boos.
Democrats and District activists additionally complain that the Trump administration has but to reimburse the town for greater than $7 million in safety prices associated to the 2017 inauguration and extra prices for Trump’s bulked-up Fourth of July celebration in Washington.
“Whether or not it is not paying for the inauguration or his Fourth of July occasion to shorting D.C. residents in coronavirus aid, he is been clear in his perspective,” stated Bo Shuff, govt director of the statehood advocacy group DC Vote.
“He simply would not care concerning the folks of DC”