Governor Kim Reynolds meets with president as Iowa partially reopens amid coronavirus uptick

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Governor Kim Reynolds (R-IA) was at the White House Wednesday meeting with President Donald Trump. The conversation focusing on Iowa’s response to the coronavirus and its reopening.

Governor Kim Reynolds (R-IA) met with President Donald Trump at the White House Wednesday. (Source: CNN)

“This is an opportunity for me to say thank you for the incredible partnership that we’ve had throughout this pandemic,” said Reynolds.

The governor gives partial credit to the Trump administration for her state’s ability to scale up testing, which she says is allowing her to open up parts of Iowa’s previously shuttered economy. The reopening comes despite increases in cases and deaths in the state.

“I didn’t rip off the bandaid, I didn’t flip a light switch. We’ve done it in a very responsible safe manner,” said Reynolds.

She says the president did not influence her decision to reopen, but that data and science did. Reynolds touts her states specifically targeted methods for reopening, saying only places that are ready will open doors.

The meat processing industry in Iowa is rife with COVID-19 with over 1600 cases popping up in plants across the state. Reynolds says it is a problem she brought to the president’s attention as those plants continue operating.

“We need to make sure that we’re continuing to provide the PPE for that essential workforce,” said Reynolds.

The governor says on calls with folks running these facilities she received confirmation that there is enough personal protective equipment for workers to do their jobs in a safe manner.

Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA) says the state lacks Personal Protective Equipment - specifically at these meat processing plants. He hoped the governor’s meeting would lead to the president stepping in.

“I would like to see the president invoke the Defense Production Act and make more PPE for those workers,” said Loebsack.

The president used that law to deem meat processing workers essential so as to not cause harm to the nation’s food supply. Loebsack and others in the Iowa delegation like Rep. Abby Finkenauer now want the president to invoke that law to provide protective gear.

“I’ve repeatedly asked the president to use the Defense Production Act for the production of PPE,” said Finkenauer. “Today, I asked Gov. Reynolds to raise this common-sense, life-saving step and other key Iowa priorities with the president during her meeting with him.”

Loebsack does not agree with reopening the economy in the middle of this crisis at meat processing plants and as the state continues to see positive cases elsewhere. He does not think the governor’s meeting with the president will lead her to reverse course.

“The president probably takes the exact same approach that she does and I think that’s quite unfortunate for the people of Iowa,” said Loebsack.

Vice President Mike Pence has a trip to Des Moines planned for this Friday. That visit is expected to include discussions surrounding the safety of the food supply.

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