New York Governor Andrew Cuomo gave a seething rebuttal to Donald Trump after the president demanded he say ‘thank you’ for federal help building out New York’s hospital capacity to confront the coronavirus crisis.
Cuomo, who has called for a measured focus on data rather than opinion in many of his briefings, lit into the president after Trump took to twitter to accuse Cuomo of ‘complaining’ – and suggested Cuomo failed to take advantage of federal help.
‘We built you thousands of hospital beds that you didn’t need or use,’ Trump fumed – in a morning and afternoon period where the president also tried to stoke opposition to stay-home orders with tweets like one saying ‘LIBERATE MICHIGAN!’
Andrew Cuomo tore into President Donald Trump, telling him ‘thank you for doing your job’ after Trump demanded he show appreciation
‘How any times do you want me to say thank you? I’m saying ‘thank you’ for doing your job,’ Cuomo said in an extended monologue during his daily press conference.
‘This was your role as president, okay?’ he said.
‘You want me to say thank you? Thank you for doing your job in helping fill Javits [convention center] … 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,’ Cuomo said, speaking as if directly to the president.
‘Thank you again Mr. President for the Javits. Thank you for the U.S. Navy ship Comfort – which by the way is just doing your job as president. It’s not really “thank you” like you wrote a check yourself. But thank you for that,’ he said.
Cuomo was referencing the USNS Comfort, which has taken on a limited number of patients.
Cuomo also blasted Trump’s new guidelines on reopening. The president urged Cuomo to ‘stop complaining’
Trump hit Cuomo after the New York governor accused him of ‘passing the buck’
Then he took on Trump’s contention that the federal help wasn’t needed, by pointing to dire warnings from the Centers for Disease Control dating to March. New York has since become the global epicenter of coronavirus cases, although the worst projections about hospital bed shortages and ventilator capacity have not come to pass.
‘Read your own report next time before you criticize it,’ he said pointing to a CDC projection from March 13 that 2.4 million to 21 million Americans could need hospitalization.
‘You were ready with your stockpile? Didn’t you read your own CDC projection? Didn’t you read your own coronavirus projection?’ Cuomo asked.
Trump tweeted Friday: ‘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,’ Trump said.
‘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!’ wrote Trump, a Queens native who launched his political career as a New York celebrity real estate developer.
Cuomo also didn’t give much credit to Trump’s new three-phase guidelines for reopening the country, which have already been criticized for leaving out clarity on which places would open and war, and appears to be a retreat from Trump’s earlier claim he has ‘total authority’ to reopen the country.
‘He didn’t announce anything. He said it’s up to the states. That’s what he said,’ Cuomo said. ‘He’s doing nothing. He said it’s up to the states.’
Cuomo appeared to set off the president by saying earlier in his televised news conference that the ”federal government is passing the buck but not passing the bucks.’
‘If you want to point fingers, we built more beds than we needed,’ Cuomo told Trump. ‘Our only mistake was then believing your numbers and believing your projections’ – a shot at both Trump and his health advisors.
‘If that was a mistake then I’m guilty,’ he continued. ‘I thought New York State relying on what you said would have been a safe assumption. I won’t make that mistake again,’ he said disparagingly.
Cuomo has joined calls by national Democrats to prioritize funding for cash-strapped states and localities – a key holdup for getting money out the door to small businesses. Cuomo accused Trump of catering to big businesses first.
‘Show as much consideration to your states as much as to your big business and to you airlines,’ he said.