Trump: Cuomo 'supposed to be buying his own ventilators'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse panel approves 0.5B defense policy bill House panel votes against curtailing Insurrection Act powers after heated debate House panel votes to constrain Afghan drawdown, ask for assessment on 'incentives' to attack US troops MORE said Monday that New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoNew York City delays plan to restart indoor dining, citing coronavirus outbreaks across the country Watch live: Gov. Cuomo holds press briefing The Hill's Morning Report - Republicans shift, urge people to wear masks MORE (D) should be buying the ventilators his state needs to treat coronavirus patients rather than relying on the federal government.

Trump’s remarks during a Fox News interview Monday come just hours after Cuomo issued a plea for more help from the federal government, one of several state leaders who says they still lack equipment necessary to fight the pandemic.

“He's supposed to be buying his own ventilators,” Trump said.

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“We're going to help, but if you think about Governor Cuomo, we're building him four hospitals, we're building him four medical centers. We're working very, very hard for the people of New York.”

He added that Cuomo had the chance to buy 16,000 ventilators in 2015 but didn’t do so.

It is not clear what Trump was talking about, but an opinion piece in the New York Post last week made a similar claim. Trump frequently repeats ideas and arguments he has read in conservative media.

"He obviously didn’t read the document he’s citing," Dani Lever, a spokeswoman for Cuomo, said in a statement to The Hill. "This was a 5 year old advisory task force report, which never recommended the State procure ventilators — it merely referenced that New York wouldn't be equipped with enough ventilators for a 1918 flu pandemic. No one is, including Mr. Trump."

The White House did not respond to a request for clarification.

“I’m not blaming him or anything else, but he shouldn't be talking about us,” Trump said.

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Cuomo warned on Monday that the state does not have enough ventilators for the peak of cases it expects to see in two to three weeks. 

Since the coronavirus attacks the lungs, the machines are crucial to help patients experiencing the most serious symptoms.

Cuomo said the state needs at least 30,000 of the breathing machines but has only procured 7,000, including 400 from the federal government.

“There is no other way for us to get these ventilators,” Cuomo said at a press conference Tuesday. “We’ve tried everything else. The only way we can obtain these ventilators is from the federal government. Period.”

Vice President Pence said Tuesday on Fox News that the federal government would be sending an additional 4,000 ventilators to New York over the next two days.

—Updated at 6:01 p.m.