WASHINGTON DC (CBS4) – Gov. Jared Polis said he put aside policy differences Wednesday during a meeting with Pres. Donald Trump; an effort by Polis to emphasize Colorado’s need for federal assistance.
“One of the reasons that an invitation to meet with the President and advocate for federal aid is always an invitation you can’t refuse, is the opportunity to advance Colorado’s needs and how we can better partner with the federal government to make sure that we have the testing and supplies that can literally translate into saving lives in our state,” said Polis in a briefing following the meeting.
While Polis said travel was tense and his flight was more crowded than he would’ve liked, he said he tested negative for COVID-19 upon arriving at the White House.
“We didn’t have to have our masks on because everybody in that environment had to be tested,” he said.
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum was also in attendance and Trump took a moment to applaud the states’ efforts in the fight against COVID-19.
“You’re both doing an excellent job, and it’s an honor to have you at the White House,” Trump said to Polis and Burgum.
Polis was also joined by Jill Hunsaker Ryan, the director of the state health department and Colorado’s Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner.
“Most Businesses are open in Colorado. Pretty much everything except for those social businesses like bars and nightclubs…” Polis told Trump.
Polis updated Trump on a number of ways Colorado succeeded in its stay-at-home order and how things were looking, so far, in phase 2.
“We’re looking at ways people can dine outdoors, sidewalks and even on a lane of the road because it’s safer to be in that environment so those are the kinds of things we think about as we’re trying to get back to as much normalcy as we can,” he told Trump.
“How are you doing with the skiing?” Trump asked.
Polis told him he was hopeful Colorado would see a return to skiing as early as June. While Trump said he believed things looked good, it didn’t take long for Polis to remind him, Colorado desperately needed testing and related supplies.
Polis said, with help from Gardner, the state was able to secure testing kits from South Korea that were now running low. Wednesday, he was able to confirm more were on the way.
“We now got the firm commitment of the President that 96,000 tests and related equipment from Thermo Fisher have arrived and are being sent out to Colorado within the next day or two, that’s part of the 195,000 expect through June through our partnership with the federal government,” said Polis.
The goal is to be testing at a minimum, 8,500 Coloradans a day by late May and to prioritize testing for employees of senior care facilities.
“We also talked about supplies generally one of the programs that we’re very appreciative of through FEMA, is scheduled to deliver their first round of masks, PPE, to nursing homes and senior centers across the state May 18.”
Polis says it’s this type of federal assistance that will help ease the burden of the state and help with recovery.
“The truth lies in this gray area in between and we in Colorado are not alone in trying to figure this out, how to have as much economic activity as possible resembling close to our full economy and we’re rapidly getting there and we’re leading the way among the states,” said Polis.