Trump, Cuomo battle over funding to states
President Trump and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Friday sparred over additional federal assistance for states as they try to ramp up their respective COVID-19 testing in the hopes of restarting their economies.
The president took to Twitter during Cuomo’s press briefing, in which the governor reiterated states’ need for federal aid to increase coronavirus testing capacity.
“Governor Cuomo should spend more time ‘doing’ and less time ‘complaining’. Get out there and get the job done,” Trump tweeted.
Trump also referred to the field hospital that was constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers at the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, saying: “We built you thousands of hospital beds that you didn’t need or use.”
….testing that you should be doing. 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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 17, 2020
When made aware of Trump’s tweet, Cuomo sought to fact-check the president, saying that 800 of the 2,500 available beds at Javits have been used. He then accused Trump of discounting 800 people and being “disrespectful.”
Cuomo added that the initial projections that said anywhere from 100,000 to 240,000 Americans could die from the virus came from the White House’s coronavirus task force.
“They were your projections, Mr. President,” a perturbed Cuomo said.
Cuomo also said he had repeatedly thanked the president for the aid that he already sent to New York, such as the USNS Comfort and the field hospital at Javits.
“How many times do you want me to say thank you for doing your job?” Cuomo said.
Cuomo reiterated that without federal help, the states would not be able to test effectively. The governor has been one of the main voices saying that widespread testing is needed for the country’s economy to reopen, something that Trump has been anxious to see happen.
“If we don’t have federal help on testing, we have a real problem,” the governor said.
Trump continued to tweet as Cuomo’s briefing winded down, saying that states “need to step up their TESTING!” He also noted that Cuomo “ridiculously” asked for 40,000 ventilators and asserted that states should have had their own stockpile of machines.
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