DENVER (CBS4) – Gov. Jared Polis will fly this week to Washington DC to meet with President Donald Trump face to face about the coronavirus outbreak in Colorado. Polis, a Democrat, was invited along with Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota, a Republican, for a one-hour meeting with the president on Wednesday.
“It’s important for him to hear what’s really going on on the ground. The fear, the anxiety, the health condition, the economic challenges the people of the country face,” Polis said. “I hope to help bring those to him … And to do my best to make sure that the president is not living in the ivory tower in the White House and is really aware of what’s going on across the country.”
Polis said he feels “some trepidation” about leaving the state on business for the first time since the outbreak. He said he will fly on a commercial flight and will wear a mask. In referring to the trip in a news conference on Monday afternoon, he said he’s “taking the risks that need to be taken for the people of Colorado.”
The governor says he’ll discuss the federal support the state of Colorado has been getting since the start of the global pandemic and will advocate for more help.
“There’s really no way that I could say no to this opportunity to advance the needs of the people of Colorado with regards to improving our federal partnership for supplies, for testing, for personal protection equipment,” he said.
While there have been times that Polis says Colorado leaders have had to go around the federal government in what he has called a global free-for-all, the governor said the federal government has been an important partner in the effort to get the needed supplies during the outbreak.
“I wish that the federal government had done a better job from the onset helping states collaborate rather than compete against one another, but we are where we are,” Polis said. “I hope to elevate our partnership to help save lives in Colorado.”
Last month the governor talked to Vice President Mike Pence in person before Pence’s graduation speech at the Air Force Academy but to this point hasn’t had an in-person meeting with Trump.
Last week it was announced that health care facilities in Colorado will receive a combined $11 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to expand capacity for COVID-19 testing. On Friday, Polis signed an executive order extending the state’s disaster emergency declaration for coronavirus.
Colorado remains under a statewide safer-at-home order due to the virus. There have been nearly 1,000 COVID-19 deaths in Colorado since the outbreak began.