Trump threatens to withhold aid from Pennsylvania to punish its governor

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He was mad that Gov. Tom Wolf's pandemic safety rules made it hard for him to find a rally venue.

Donald Trump told Pennsylvanians on Monday that he might withhold aid for them in the future because their governor inconvenienced him.

At a rally in Allentown, Trump noted that he had had a hard time finding rally venues due to Gov. Tom Wolf's COVID-19 safety rules.

"This [venue] was set up because your governor made it almost impossible for us to find any site," he groused. "So, Tom Wolf, next time give us a little notice, Governor. And I'll remember it, Tom. I'm gonna remember it, Tom. 'Hello, Mr. President. This is Gov. Wolf. I need help. I need help.' You know what? These people are bad. We, we go out of our way, regardless Republican, Democrat, when they have a problem, but he shut us out."

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He baselessly accused Wolf and other Democratic governors of conspiring to keep their states closed until the election just to hurt his reelection chances — a conspiracy he himself has debunked.

Trump made a similar threat later in the day at a rally in Lititz, Pennsylvania, vowing, "I'll remember. I'll remember."

A campaign spokesperson did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story.

This is not the first time Trump has suggested that he provides more emergency aid to states whose governors kiss up to him.

Back in March, Trump said at a town hall on Fox News that he was providing pandemic supplies to "almost all of the governors, for the most part," but demanded that they respond in kind. "You know, it's a two-way street. They have to treat us well."

Days later, he told reporters that governors needed to show their gratitude to him for any federal help.

"I want them to be appreciative," he explained. He admitted that he had told Mike Pence — head of his pandemic response task force — not to even bother calling the Democratic governors of Michigan and Washington, deeming them insufficiently thankful.

"I say, if they don't treat you right, I don't call," Trump bragged.

In his book about the coronavirus, released this month, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo accused the Trump administration of "extortion," effectively threatening to withhold coronavirus aid if he did not do what Trump wanted.

Trump has made several campaign stops in Pennsylvania in recent weeks, hoping to again win its 20 electoral votes. He won the swing state by less than 1% in 2016, but polling averages show him losing by 5% this time around.

Much of that decline, polls suggest, comes from decreasing support among older voters — many of whom are unhappy with his botched coronavirus response and intentional attempts to mislead the public about the threat it posed.

"Telling us not to be afraid of the coronavirus when so many people in the White House are coming down with it is ridiculous," one 71-year-old Republican told the Philadelphia Inquirer last week. "I'm embarrassed that my party nominated him and that America elected him. I wouldn't even sit down to dinner with him at this point."

To date, more than 187,000 Pennsylvanians have contracted the coronavirus. At least 8,673 have died.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.