Back-and-forth commentary between the governor and president started during Mr Cuomo’s daily press briefing on Friday.
During the briefing, the governor criticised the president for leaving it all on the states to test residents and finance coronavirus response while, at the same time, putting pressure on them to reopen.
“The state should this, the state should this, the state should this. Yes. Well, what support have you given the states? None. I mean, how can that even be? How is it even plausible as a strategy? It doesn’t work,” Mr Cuomo said.
“Don’t give them this massive undertaking and then not given them any resources to do it,” he added, referencing the states need for federal assistance. “The federal government cannot wipe their hands of this and say, ‘Oh, the states are responsible for testing.’ We cannot do it. We cannot do it without federal help.”
The president and Mr Cuomo have a contentious relationship, but in recent weeks they have worked well together to curb the spread of Covid-19 in New York, the current epicentre of the virus for the US.
Previously, Mr Cuomo thanked the president for assisting the state by acquiring ventilators, sending USNS Comfort hospital ship, and turning the Javits Centre into a field hospital. But he’s also criticised the Trump administration for being behind on testing and providing supplies to states.
Criticism from Mr Cuomo on Friday sparked a series of angry tweets from the president.
“Governor Cuomo should spend more time ‘doing’ and less time ‘complaining’. Get out there and get the job done. Stop talking! We built you thousands of hospital beds that you didn’t need or use, gave large numbers of Ventilators that you should have had, and helped you with ... testing that you should be doing,” Mr Trump wrote. “We have given New York far more money, help and equipment than any other state, by far, & these great men & women who did the job never hear you say thanks. Your numbers are not good. Less talk and more action!”
The tweets during Mr Cuomo’s press briefing encouraged the governor to express exactly what he thought of the federal response.
“First of all, If he’s sitting home watching TV, maybe he should get up and go to work, right,” he said. “Second, let’s keep emotion and politics out of this. And personal ego, if we can. Because this is about the people and it’s about our job.”
One attack from the president was that the federal government provided New York with more hospital beds than the state ended up using.
In response, Mr Cuomo said he already “applauded” the president’s swift action in altering the Javits Centre and bringing in the USNS Comfort. But he added the requests for more hospital beds came from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention projections, an organisation under the federal government.
“For him to say to anyone, well, you relied on projections and the projections were wrong. They’re your projections, Mr. President! So were we foolish for relying on your projections, Mr. President,” the governor questioned.
He added multiple reports from the CDC and White House’s coronavirus taskforce backed up the number of hospital beds New York could need.
“The number came from a projection from him. From him. So he should read the report he issues,” Mr Cuomo said. “So the projections were high. They were the president’s projections.”
Reasoning behind New York needing less hospital beds than originally anticipated was because social distancing measures worked to help flatten the state’s curve, Mr Cuomo added, so original projections were not met.
The governor, fired up from the criticism, went on to state he already thanked the president for helping during the crisis multiple times.
“What am I supposed to do? Send a bouquet of flowers?” Mr Cuomo asked. “They were very helpful ... I said thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. The president doesn’t want to help on testing. He wants to say ‘I did enough’. None of us have done enough. It’s not over. We have a lot more to do.”
When it came to the Mr Trump’s role during the health crisis, the governor thought he was just “walking in front of the parade” while everyone else did the work.
“How many times do you want me to say thank you? And I’m saying thank you for doing your job. This was your role as president,” Mr Cuomo said.
“You want me to say thank you? Thank you for doing your job,” he said. “Thank you for participating in a modicum of federal responsibility in a national crisis, which you know is a national crisis because he declared a federal emergency. So thank you for having the federal government participate in a federal emergency.”
He went on to accuse the president of giving more consideration to big businesses and airlines when bailing them out instead of the states.
The president’s previous history in reality television was also mentioned by Mr Cuomo, with the governor encouraging Mr Trump to “fire” the people surrounding him if he was so upset over projections not being met in New York.
“If you don’t agree with your projection, fire the head of the CDC, fire the White House coronavirus task force people because they did the projections,” Mr Cuomo said. “Fire them all.”
Mr Cuomo was asked by a reporter about his attack on the president following the tweets. Previously, the governor said he would not instigate a fight between Mr Trump during the pandemic. But it has since reached a boiling point between the two politicians.
“This is an important moment … the states can’t do it alone,” Mr Cuomo said. ”I don’t care about his politics, but if we don’t have help on federal testing that’s a real problem.”
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