“We can’t be effective under the current situation,” Ballard said, about an hour after Trump lambasted Bowser on Twitter as part of a days-long feud over protests in the nation’s capital.
Trump and Bowser (D) have tangled in recent days over military presence in the city. On Friday, the city finished painting part of 16th Street to say “Black lives matter” in large yellow letters near the White House.
Bowser has called for the National Guard to leave D.C. streets and has mocked the president for being “alone/afraid” in the White House after he falsely accused her last week of keeping the D.C. police from protecting the White House during protests. D.C. police have been involved in the effort.
Trump attacked her as “incompetent” and “out of control” in a tweet Friday afternoon.
Federal coronavirus relief legislation treated the District as a territory for funding purposes, denying the city the minimum $1.25 billion guaranteed to each state. The District instead received $500 million, even though its residents pays federal taxes unlike territories and it is generally treated as a state for federal funding purposes.
Ballard has become one of the most profitable lobbyists in Washington during the Trump administration and he fundraises for the president’s campaign. He lives in Tallahassee and Washington and is active in Trump’s reelection effort in Florida. Ballard has secured lucrative contracts from companies and other groups looking to sway the Trump administration.
He signed a contract with the city on May 15. According to city officials, the contract can go for four months “for a not-to-exceed amount of $50,000” with the potential for more money.
Ballard publicly disclosed the contract on Friday, after city officials told The Washington Post on Thursday night that they had hired Ballard and a Democratic firm, called TheGroup, to lobby on issues related to the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“In May, the District of Columbia contracted a bipartisan team to provide strategic consulting and advice to the Administration in connection with their relationship with the United States Government in its effort to secure covid-19 funding allocations and associated issues,” the city said.
Ballard was working to help the city get additional coronavirus aid, even as Trump accused the city of seeking “handouts.” Ballard said he was making “progress.”
The mayor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.