Cuomo Blasts Trump for Stoking Partisan Rancor

Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Flickr/ Governor Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo went after President Donald Trump again Tuesday for Trump’s recent contention in an interview with the New York Post that “blue-state bailouts” were unfair to Republicans. The governor reminded Trump publicly that the pandemic is a national issue that affects all Americans, regardless of their party.

During his May 5 coronavirus briefing, Cuomo addressed the president’s recent comments to the Post about whether the federal government should give aid to state governments for coronavirus. The governor said that while the federal government has given aid to help airlines, small business, and hotels, no assistance has been given to the state and local governments so far.

“It’s the state and local governments that fund police, fire, education, teachers, healthcare workers — if you starve the states, how do you expect the states to be able to fund this whole reopening plan?” Cuomo asked.

The governor also addressed comments by Republicans who say that they don’t want to give money to “blue states.”

“This is not a blue state issue,” he said. “Every state has coronavirus cases. It’s not just Democratic states that have an economic shortfall, Republican states have an economic shortfall. No blue state was asking for a bailout before this coronavirus. I wasn’t asking for anything from the federal government before the coronavirus. The federal government wasn’t giving New York anything for years.”

Cuomo stated that since largely halting the economy, New York — like many states — is in a deficit and has asked for aid to restart business activity. He noted that New York State puts more money into the federal government than it receives every year, compared to states like Florida, which takes out more money than it puts in.

“It can’t be, ‘It’s you vs. me’, it has to be ‘we.’ If you don’t get back to ‘we’ and you think about a collective interest, you’re going to defeat us all,” said Cuomo. “It’s not red and blue, it’s red, white, and blue. This coronavirus doesn’t kill Democrats and Republicans — it kills Americans.”

In New York State, the number of new COVID-19 hospitalizations and the number of intubations have been trending down fairly consistently, though on May 4, 230 New Yorkers died from the coronavirus, up four from the day before.

“There’s no doubt that we’re coming down the mountain,” said Cuomo. “The only question is what trail we take, what path we take, coming down the mountain — how fast does that decline continue, does the decline continue? And that is a clear function of what we do.”

He added, “Everything we have done thus far has worked, and that’s why the number is coming down.”

Testing, tracing, and isolating are crucial to beating the pandemic, the governor emphasized.

Cuomo said during the briefing that one of the debates going on nationally is in regard to how much a human life is worth. He stated that while there is a lower economic cost to reopening the state faster, it comes at the cost of losing more lives to the infection.

“That, my friends, is the decision we are really making,” said Cuomo. “What is that balance, what is that trade-off? Because it is very real.”

Early projections by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) predicted around 60,300 deaths nationwide by August 4 — a tally that has already been exceeded. Since states started announcing plans for reopening, the number of projected deaths shot up to more than 134,000.

Cuomo stated that the director of IHME noted “rising mobility in most US states as well as the easing of social distancing measures expected in 31 states by May 11, indicating that growing contacts among people will promote transmission of the coronavirus.”

“That’s a very nice way of saying when you accelerate the reopening, you will have more people coming in contact with other people — you’re relaxing social distancing,” said Cuomo. “The more people in contact with other people, the higher the infection rate of the spread of the virus. The more people who get infected, the more people die.”

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