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Trump Demanded ‘Reciprocity’ From Governors Who Asked for Aid: Book

  • Donald Trump frequently pushed for “reciprocity” when helping governors deal with crises.
  • Trump, for example, expected reciprocity when he agreed to dock a ship in California with passengers infected with COVID-19.
  • Reciprocity was “one of his favorite words,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom told the book’s authors.

Former President Donald Trump often asked for and expected “reciprocity” from state governors who asked the White House for assistance, according to a new book. 

The revelations about Trump’s interactions with various state governors were published in an upcoming book called “This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future,” written by New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns.

Trump, when approached by governors, demanded that they help him out in exchange for federal aid, according to an excerpt of the book obtained and reviewed by The Hill.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Trump called him to talk about a cruise ship in the San Francisco Bay that had held passengers infected with the coronavirus. Trump permitted the ship to dock so the passengers could receive treatment. After the decision to dock the ship, he told Newsom he’d wait around for “the reciprocity,” according to The Hill, citing the book. 

“He used to say that even privately — that was one of his favorite words,” Newsom told authors Martin and Burns. “It says everything and nothing at the same time.”

Another anecdote published in the book detailed how Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont called the White House for help in August 2020, following a tropical storm that caused thousands of people in the state to lose power.

“There’s something you want to ask me about FEMA?” Trump told Lamont, according to the book. “Well, ask me nicely.”

He’s also made similar demands of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Insider’s Alia Shoaib reported.

For instance, as states geared up to battle the coronavirus pandemic, Trump told governors that he would cut federal funding for most states that deployed the National Guard, The Hill reported. Governors who wanted full coverage of all costs had to “call me and ask me nicely,” the book says, according to The Hill.

“President Trump’s comments, his rhetoric and his almost flippant attitude in some contexts made it difficult for a governor like me to really push the seriousness of the medical emergency that we’re in,” Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson told the authors.

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