President Donald Trump met with Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, at the White House on Wednesday, signaling bipartisan enthusiasm for the ongoing fight against the coronavirus.
“We’ve obviously turned the corner in Louisiana, we’re in a much, much better place than we thought was even possible five or six weeks ago,” Edwards said to White House reporters as he sat with President Trump in the Oval Office.
Edwards extended Louisiana’s stay-at-home order through May 15 on Monday but said he was optimistic about reopening the state in the future.
“We look forward to getting past this, returning to a newer sense of normalcy,” he said.
He acknowledged that a full sense of normalcy would only happen after successfully developing a vaccine.
Edwards’s willingness to both visit with Trump at the White House and appear on camera with him to discuss the ongoing fight was a rare moment of bipartisanship, as national Democrats continue blaming Trump for the crisis.
In 2019, President Trump held three campaign rallies in a month for Edwards’ Republican opponent Eddie Rispone, but Edwards ultimately prevailed in a close election.
Sitting in the Oval Office, however, there was no sign of animosity or partisanship.
Edwards signaled praise for Trump’s efforts on his state’s behalf as well as contributions from Republican Louisiana Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy.
“We’re looking forward to moving ahead and we just appreciate your work and your contribution to our efforts, it’s been very helpful,” he said.
Edwards said that thanks to federal commitments, Louisiana was on track to meet 200,000 coronavirus tests a month.
“This is the big piece that we’ve been looking for, and with that commitment, we really feel much better about going forward,” Edwards said.