See below for audio from the appearance, earlier this afternoon, of Gov. Ralph Northam on the Kojo Nnamdi Show‘s Politics Hour. Highlights include:
- Northam defended his response to the Coronavirus as “doing everything I can to keep Virginians safe,” a “stay-at-home order,” etc.
- Northam claimed – based on what, I have no idea – that all the governors “are all doing what’s in the best interest of our states.” Hmmm…I mean, that’s just flatly not true. In fact, some governors are doing a great job, while others are doing a horrible job, and most certainly NOT doing what’s in the best interest of their states. Not sure why Northam feels the need to lump all the governors – good, bad, ugly – together, when it’s such a varied lot.
- Northam emphasized, correctly, that there are a “lot of unknowns” with this virus, but the peak in Virginia appears to be sometime in May. Bottom line: this could take months, “we’re in this for the long haul.”
- On Trump’s performance during this crisis, Northam initially passed up the opportunity to criticize him, saying vaguely, “the president has taken an aspirational approach, governors have to take a realistic approach.” Yep, “aspirational,” whatever that’s supposed to mean in this context. Northam did, however, note that Trump had falsely said that “the virus was very much under control,” “15 cases will go down to zero in a couple days,” “it would disappear like a miracle,” that “everybody could be tested,” “the cure is worse than the virus,” etc. Good for Northam for reminding everyone of the crazy s*** Trump said. Also, according to Northam, people “need to know the truth,” which clearly Trump hasn’t been providing.
- Northam said that farmer’s markets will continue to remain open with social distancing, good hygiene, etc., and that farmer’s markets are “essential.”
- Northam said supply of ventilators is an issue for Virginia, that “we will need more ventilators.” Also, Northam said we need more PPE, and that states are competing with each other, but “it’s been a very chaotic situation…because we haven’t had any direction from the national level.”
- On wearing masks, Northam said that he “certainly wouldn’t discourage anybody from wearing something over their face when they’re out and about, especially if they’re around a lot other people on the sidewalk, street, etc.”
- On the state budget, Northam said “we had a great budget four weeks ago…but things have changed, as far as new spending, all of that will be put on hold…The legislature will come back on April 22 for reconvene session…We’ll make plans of how we move forward over the next few months with no new spending, but no definitive plans have been announced.”
- On new laws passed in the 2020 Virginia General Assembly session, particularly those impacting the business environment, Northam said “we’re looking at those…listening to people across Virginia…we want to do everything we can to maintain a strong business environment because we want to come out of this strong.”