WASHINGTON, D.C. - President Donald Trump met with Gov. Greg Abbott Thursday afternoon to praise Texas' efforts to reopen the state's economy, just hours after the White House revealed one of the president's valets had tested positive for the coronavirus.
“We’re working very hard. The governor is working along with us. The relationship with Texas has been phenomenal. Texas is opening up and a lot of places are opening up and we want to do it and I’m not sure that we even have a choice. I think we have to do it,” said Trump.
Abbott’s meeting with the President was preceded by two White House tweets. One tweet showed that the federal government has sent Texas more than $40 billion for small business loans. The second showed the millions of medical equipment Texas has been provided to aid in its COVID-19 response.
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Abbott says it's the equipment and strategies that have allowed the state to keep up with the virus including "surge teams" to address potential virus flare-ups. “That allows the rest of the economy of big states, like Texas, to continue to go and grow while we manage and contain the outbreaks where they exist,” said Abbott.
Even White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Debroah Birx praised Texas, “We think that the progress that they're making on testing and a focused way to protect others, is really a way that we can move forward together to protect everyone in the community,” said Dr. Birx.
The President also complimented the Governor's leadership during these times. “Governor Abbott, when you look at the job he's done in Texas, I rely on his judgment,” he said.
Not all lawmakers are impressed with Gov Abbott’s recent actions.
“I think many people will die and have died as a result of the negligence of both. I'm as eager as anyone else to get a haircut to get back out and see friends and visit with constituents, but what we have to do is to listen to the doctors and medical science,” said U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin).
Doggett believes Abbott is moving too fast and says this could potentially hurt Texas in the long run.
“Both Trump and Abbott are ignoring their own medical advisors their own standards. We will eventually get through this, but the question is how many people really left to drowned along the way? When we move to less stormy seas. I’m really concerned that their action is taking us down the wrong path,” said Doggett.
Hours before the meeting, Abbott issued an executive order eliminating jail time as punishment for going against COVID-19 orders.