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Some Republican governors have been holding regular conference calls to complain about President Donald Trump and swap ideas about how to cope with coronavirus outbreaks in their states, The New York Times reported.
In recent months, several Republican lawmakers have broken with the president to back restrictions as the coronavirus spreads through the US.
Trump has downplayed the significance of rising infection rates across the country and refused to unequivocally back simple preventive measures such as wearing a mask.
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President Donald Trump, flanked by Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, on May 19.
A group of Republican governors has had secret conference calls to share advice about dealing with coronavirus outbreaks sweeping through their states and vent about President Donald Trump’s response to the crisis, The New York Times reported on Sunday.
The GOP governors have for months held the calls, “usually at night and without staff present,” The Times reported, citing two party strategists familiar with the conversations.
The report described the calls as “a sort of safe space where the governors can ask their counterparts for advice, discuss best practices and, if the mood strikes them, vent about the administration and the president’s erratic leadership.”
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In recent weeks, cracks have appeared among Republican governors in their support for Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis as the rate of infections has climbed in historically Republican states in the South and the West.
Some GOP lawmakers — including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, one of the president’s biggest supporters — have publicly broken with Trump to unequivocally back measures such as wearing masks to control the spread of the virus.
Trump has expressed support for wearing masks but has refused to wear one in public for months. In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, he said he would not order Americans to wear masks.
And Lindsey Graham, the influential Republican senator from South Carolina, was among those who expressed support for Dr. Anthony Fauci, a key member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, after the White House sought to undermine him by circulating a list of what it said were incorrect statements he had told reporters.
The White House has since backed away from the attacks on Fauci.
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