WASHINGTON, D.C. (WVLA/WGMB) — Louisiana’s governor shared the Oval Office Wednesday with President Donald Trump and members of the White House’s COVID-19 task force.
Gov. John Bel Edwards, the only governor present at the meeting, sat next to the president in the front of the room. Between them sat a list of supplies the federal government have provided Louisiana amid the pandemic so far:
- 21,201,300 surgical and exam gloves
- 11,900 eye and face sheets
- 1,471,000 N-95, surgical and procedural masks
- 809,400 isolation and surgical gowns
“It’s an honor working with you and the people of Louisiana,” President Trump told the Democratic governor. “Great people. They’ve really gone through a lot.”
Louisiana’s health department has reported 27,660 COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday. Among them, more than 1,800 patients have died, while more than 17,300 are presumed recovered.
Edwards’ decision earlier this week to extend a statewide stay-at-home order through May 15 won Vice President Mike Pence’s support in a phone call Monday. The order would have otherwise expired May 1, but the governor hinted Louisiana does not yet meet the testing standards recommended before lifting the mitigation measure.
Trump and Edwards have maintained a strong working relationship since the president took office in 2017.
Louisiana, at one point, faced the fastest COVID-19 growth rate. The state has most recently hovered between fifth and sixth in cases per capita among U.S. states. The outbreak has prompted Edwards — as well as U.S. Sens. John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy from Louisiana — to seek federal aid.
“They were really calling me a lot and saying, ‘You’ve got to take care of Louisiana,'” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.
But Edwards maintained that despite extending his stay-at-home order, Louisiana has made progress against the novel coronavirus.
“We’re in a much, much better place than we were five, six weeks ago,” the governor said.
“That’s right,” Trump said.
Shortly after their meeting, Edwards praised the White House’s invitation.
Edwards is set to return to Louisiana by Wednesday night.