A recent poll found that a majority of Americans believe their state governors are responding to the coronavirus crisis more effectively than the national effort led by President Trump.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo blasted President Donald Trump on Friday over the president’s repeated attempts to deflect all responsibility for the coronavirus response onto states.
“The only thing he’s doing, let’s be honest, is ‘Well, it’s up to the states to do reopening,” Cuomo said during a press conference. “He wants to say, ‘Well, I did enough.’ Yeah, none of us have done enough. We haven’t, because it’s not over.”
Cuomo’s comments came one day after Trump reversed course and said it would be up to states to decide when to lift social distancing and public health guidelines to “reopen” their economies. Trump had previously—and erroneously—stated that only he could decide when to reopen states. That, of course, goes against the U.S. Constitution.
Cuomo accused Trump of doing a “180” on his initial stance and said it was evident Trump had not read the Constitution.
“Maybe he should have read the Constitution before he said he had the power to open the states, where he did a very graceful 180 and many people allowed him to do the graceful 180. He now says it’s up to the governors,” Cuomo said. “What, are you gonna grant me what the Constitution gave me before you were born? It’s called the Tenth Amendment. I don’t need the President of the United States to tell me that I’m governor and I don’t need the President of the United States to tell me the power of a state.”
Last month, a Monmouth University Poll found that a majority of Americans believe their state governors are responding to the coronavirus crisis more effectively than the national effort led by President Trump.
Cuomo’s fiery statements mark just the latest shot across the bow in what has become a tense relationship between the president and the governor of the hardest-hit state in the nation. New York state has more than 222,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and has suffered more than 12,000 deaths.
Trump and Cuomo previously sparred over the state’s shortage of ventilators, with Trump doubting that New York needed the 30,000 to 40,000 ventilators Cuomo previously requested and blaming the governor for not preparing an adequate stockpile—a point Cuomo raised on Friday.
“I needed a stockpile? Where was your stockpile? 10,000 ventilators for the nation? That was your stockpile? Your projections, the federal projections, said they would need double the hospital capacity of this nation,” Cuomo said. “[Your] stockpile has 10,000 ventilators. You were ready with your stockpile? Didn’t you read your own CDC projection?”
Cuomo said he would take charge in reopening New York, but said the states still needed help from the government to coordinate a nationwide testing strategy, which Trump has refused to do.
“The president doesn’t want to help on testing,” Cuomo said during a press conference. “I said ‘the one issue we need help with is testing.’ He said 11 times, ‘I don’t want to get involved in testing. It’s too complicated, it’s too hard.’ I know it’s too complicated, it’s too hard—that’s why we need you to help. I can’t do an international supply chain.”
Trump fired back at Cuomo on Friday afternoon in a series of tweets.
Trump, who has repeatedly told states to fend for themselves, has also criticized Cuomo and other governors for not being grateful enough. During the press conference, Cuomo thanked Trump four separate times for his help turning the Javits Center into a field hospital and for sending the USNS Comfort, a Naval hospital ship, to New York City, but made it clear he needed to do more.
“Thank you for the Javits, thank you for the US Navy ship Comfort, but it’s not over,” Cuomo said. “We’ve a lot more to do and no one can take the posture, ‘Well just say thank you for what I’ve done and I’m now out, I’m not doing anything else, I’ve done my part.’”
Cuomo also thanked Trump for helping the state obtain personal protective equipment and ventilators, but later lamented Trump’s constant need for appreciation, adding: “I don’t know what am I supposed to do, send a bouquet of flowers?”