Former President Donald Trump routinely forced governors to humble themselves and personally beg him for federal help after natural disasters, according to a forthcoming book written by a pair of New York Times reporters
According to a copy of This Will Not Happen: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future obtained by the independent Ahead of his May 3 release date, authors Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns learned from Maryland Governor Larry Hogan that Trump had a policy that only Texas and Florida, two states with Republican governors he considered close allies, would receive federal funds. help when needed without hesitation.
Hogan told the authors that Trump required the other 48 US state governors to personally address their requests to him.
“You have to call and ask me nicely,” he recalled Trump saying.
The disgraced and twice-indicted former president’s penchant for tying federal funds to political concerns was widely known at the end of his term and led to his first impeachment trial in 2019 after he tried to blackmail the Ukrainian president. Volodymyr Zelensky to do it. launch bogus investigations into President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
Trump also publicly bragged about telling then-Vice President Mike Pence not to take calls from Democratic governors who upset him when Pence was head of the White House Covid-19 task force.
But this will not happen reveals that he went further than demanding public loyalty from governors who needed federal aid for their states.
A Democratic governor, Ned Lamont of Connecticut, found that his Maryland counterpart’s description of Trump’s demand for personal applications was not at all exaggerated.
After an August 2020 storm left significant parts of his state without power, Mr. Lamont applied to the White House for help in obtaining federal disaster aid.
When he got a call back from Washington several hours later, it wasn’t a White House aide on the other end of the line.
Instead, he found himself talking to Trump, who said, “Is there anything you want me to ask you about Fema?”
When Lamont replied that he did, in fact, want to ask about Fema’s help, Trump responded, “Well, ask me nicely.”
The Connecticut governor told Martin and Burns that at the time he felt like Zelensky during his infamous July 2019 call with Trump, during which the US president demanded “a favor” after the Ukrainian leader asked to buy additional Javelin. anti-tank missiles.
He decided to play along, telling Trump his state was “in incredible distress” and saying it would “mean a lot to the people who [he represents] every day” if Mr. Trump “could bring it about [himself]” to authorize 100 percent reimbursement of disaster aid through Fema.
In this case, the forced flattery paid dividends for him.
Trump responded: “You got it.”