WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo clashed Friday over whether the federal government has done enough to assist the state, one of the epicenters of the coronavirus outbreak.
The fireworks began when Cuomo criticized the president during his daily news briefing over the federal aid needed to carry out Trump’s three-phase plan to reopen state economies.
“Don’t give them this massive undertaking that has never been done before and then not give them any resources to do it,” Cuomo said at the briefing. “Don’t ask the states to do this. ... It’s up to the governors, up to the governors, up to the governors. OK. Is there any funding so I can do these things that you want us to do? No. That is passing the buck without passing the bucks.”
Minutes later, Trump responded on Twitter, saying the governor should “spend more time ‘doing’ and less time ‘complaining.’” The president said that the federal government built New York thousands of hospital beds that he said the state didn’t need or use and provided a large number of ventilators that it should have already had.
After a reporter read Trump's tweet to Cuomo, the governor gave a lengthy response in front of the cameras.
“All he’s doing is walking in front of the parade, but he has nothing to do with the timing of the parade,” said Cuomo, who added that Trump loves talking about big businesses and airlines getting bailed out, but state governments still need funding.
“We’ll show gratitude,” Cuomo said, “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."
“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.”
Cuomo continued with the implied irony, thanking the president for helping to build 2,500 hospital beds in the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, which was a number that he said was determined by a federal projection.
“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,” said Cuomo, who moments later showed a memo that he said was written by Trump adviser Peter Navarro, who initially warned about the coronavirus outbreak in January, projecting it would infect millions of people. “Fire them all, that’s what I say. Fire them. You know the show the president did ... You’re fired.”
After Cuomo responded, Trump replied again, hitting the governor once more over the state's ventilators request and saying New York should have had them stockpiled.