WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Monday that he wouldn’t mind running against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for president, adding that he thought Cuomo would make a better candidate than former Vice President Joe Biden.
In an interview on Fox News, Trump was asked to react to speculation that Cuomo would be a better candidate for the Democrats.
“If he's going to run, that's fine," Trump said. "I wouldn't mind running against Andrew. I’ve known Andrew for a long time. I wouldn't mind that but I'll be honest, I think he’d be a better candidate than sleepy Joe."
The president added, “I wouldn’t mind running against Andrew; I don’t mind running against Joe Biden.”
“I think probably Andrew would be better,” Trump continued. “I'm telling you right now, you know, I want somebody [for] this country that's gonna do a great job, and I hope I'm going to win.”
Cuomo, of course, is not running for president and the race for the Democratic nomination is now down to just Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
Speaking at his daily coronavirus press conference later Monday, Cuomo dismissed rumors he is considering jumping into the race.
"I am not engaging the president in politics," he said. "My only goal is to engage the president in partnership. This is no time for politics."
"I'm not going to rise to the bait of a political challenge," Cuomo added. "I'm not running for president, I was never running for president. I said from day one I wasn't running for president. I'm not running for president now. I'm not playing politics."
Some have suggested that Cuomo should have launched a White House bid because they say he’s handling the coronavirus crisis well in New York. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote about it over the weekend and said she asked Cuomo if the current situation has revived his dreams of a presidential run.
“No. I know presidential politics. I was there in the White House with Clinton. I was there with Gore. No, I’m at peace with who I am and what I’m doing,” Cuomo told Dowd.
Dowd wrote that Cuomo’s friends said the New York governor will be loyal to Biden. But they said if Trump is re-elected, Cuomo could run for president in 2024.
As for the approval of the job Cuomo is doing, Trump took some credit, saying Monday that the governor is doing well because of the federal government, which has dispatched a hospital ship and ventilators to the state.
“One of the reasons he's successful is because we've helped make him successful now,” Trump said.