New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he and President Donald Trump had a ‘functional and effective conversation’ Tuesday afternoon in the Oval Office.
Cuomo called into MSNBC after his meeting with the president and said they talked about testing and relief funding for states whose budgets are experiencing shortfalls because of the coronavirus. The two New York natives also talked about the state’s response to the disease.
‘We had a functional and effective conversation,’ Cuomo told MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace. ‘The meeting went well and I think it was productive.’
He also told the president the state no longer needs the USNS Comfort, which has been docked at New York City for less than a month, and he should feel free to redeploy it.
‘I said we don’t really need the Comfort anymore, it gives us comfort, but if they need to deploy that somewhere else, they should take it,’ he said.
Trump, however, claimed he asked the governor if he could have the medical ship back.
‘I’ve asked Andrew if we could bring the Comfort back to its base in Virginia so that we can have it for other locations, and he said we would be able to do that,’ the president said at his daily White House press briefing.
‘We will be bringing the ship back at the earliest time and we’ll get it ready for its next mission, which will, I’m sure be a very important one also,’ Trump added.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo – arriving at Reagan National Airport – said he and President Donald Trump had a ‘functional and effective conversation’ in their Oval Office meeting
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told President Trump the city no longer needed the USNS Comfort and said it could be redeployed
President Donald Trump claimed that he asked New York Governor Andrew Cuomo if he could have the USNS Comfort back
Cuomo said he kept the focus on testing. He and other states have asked the federal government for more tests for the disease.
‘I stayed focused on what we were there to talk about. For me the focus was on testing,’ he said.
The two men were meeting as the Senate prepared to pass another coronavirus relief package. The measure lacked the funding for states that governors and Democrats wanted but Trump has said that will be addressed in the next round of legislation.
Cuomo also said Trump noted he’s never seen New York City – which is under a stay at home order – this way.
‘And I agree with him. I’m a born and bred New Yorker,’ the governor said. ‘You could be in the middle of a tremendous snowstorm and you’d see more New Yorkers than you’d see out now.’
The meeting lasted less than 30 minutes and the two men didn’t pose for press photographers before or after. Additionally, Cuomo appeared to slip in and out of the White House without being spotted by photographers.
New York has been one of the states hardest hit by the disease.
The governor, before he left New York for Washington D.C., said he would focus on the testing issue during the sitdown and noted he would handle their contentious relationship by telling ‘the truth’ to the president.
‘Testing. What does testing mean and how can we do it? And how can the federal government work in partnership with the states?,’ he said of the agenda at his daily press briefing Tuesday morning.
‘Because this is all new and it’s a situation that’s very difficult. And it’s a situation however you do it there’s going to be a blame game afterwards. I heard the president in his briefing the other day. He’s right. This is one of those thankless tasks,’ Cuomo said.
‘It’s a situation where you need everybody to work together,’ he added.
Cuomo down played reports of tension between himself and the president.
‘Life is a fine line. Being in government is a fine line. Everything is a fine line. I tell you how I negotiate the fine line. You tell the truth,’ he said when asked how he would handle the meeting.
‘I said that to the president on day one. And by the way, he’s done the same,’ Cuomo said, at a press conference in Albany before he landed in Washington D.C.
Arrival: Andrew Cuomo flew from Albany to Washington D.C. for the meeting with Donald Trump
President Donald Trump announced New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will visit him in the Oval Office on Tuesday
White House scene: Andrew Cuomo was headed towards a White House where nurses staged a protest over shortages of personal protective equipment
Trump announced the visit at his daily White House briefing on Monday.
‘He is coming to the Oval Office tomorrow afternoon. Andrew will be coming in with some of his people. We look forward to that,’ he said.
The president said he didn’t know of any particular reason the governor was making the trip down from New York.
‘I don’t know. He wanted to. We, believe it or not, we get along,’ Trump, 73, said. Cuomo, 62, will have to receive a coronavirus test before the meeting. The White House is requiring all people who meet with the president to receive one.
Trump and Cuomo have had an up-and-down relationship as the nation battles the
And Trump hit right back at any criticism which came his way. But they’ve also praised one another – culminating in a co-dependent relationship defined by a back-and-forth volley of insults and compliments at the nation battles the virus.
One of their most vitriol-filled clashes came when Trump tried to declare he had the authority to reopen the country over the governors. Cuomo criticized the president for making himself a king and proceeded to school him on the 10th amendment of the constitution, which gives power to the states over the federal government.
But this week Trump has been effusive of Cuomo. On Sunday he played a video of the governor giving his appreciation to the administration for its work combating the coronavirus.
Trump’s warm words for Cuomo stand in stark contrast to other governors, who he has slammed for criticizing the federal government for not providing enough coronavirus testing, medical supplies or masks.
Specifically, the president has called out Republican Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia, and Democratic Gov. J. B. Pritzker.
‘I want to draw your attention to Governor Cuomo’s remarks during his press conference today,’ Trump said after he blasted other governors for complaining about the lack of tests. ‘He said the president is right.’
‘The president is right when he says that the state should lead,’ Trump repeated of Cuomo.
But, on Friday, the two men clashed over whether the federal government has done enough to assist New York, one of the epicenters of the coronavirus outbreak.
Cuomo agreed with the president that states could take responsibility for testing but added they need the money and equipment to do it. Several governors have complained they are competing with supplies on the open market with the federal government.
The governor also suggested the president stop watching cable news and get to work.
‘First of all, if he’s sitting home watching TV, maybe he should get up and go to work, right. Second, let’s keep emotion and politics out of this and personal ego if we can because this is about the people and our job and let’s try to focus on that.
‘The president doesn’t want to help on testing. I said 11 times, 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 and too hard. That’s why we need help. I can’t do an international supply chain.’
Trump tweeted that Cuomo should say thanks, arguing he’s given New York ventilators and hospital beds. ‘Get out there and get the job done,’ Trump wrote to the governor.
‘We’ll show gratitude,’ Cuomo said in response at his press conference on Friday, ‘How many times do you want me to say thank you? And I’m saying thank you for doing your job. This was your role as president.’
‘You want me to say thank you? Thank you for doing your job,’ he said. ‘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. So thank you for having the federal government participate in a federal emergency.’
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during the 15th Anniversary of September 11 attacks in 2016
President Trump showed clips of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo praising the federal response during Sunday’s White House briefing
In response, Trump on Sunday played clips of Cuomo praising the government in his news conferences.
‘The federal government stepped up and was a great partner,’ Cuomo said in the first clip shown at the White House. ‘I’m the first one to say it. We needed help, and they were there.’
Last week, Cuomo led governors in blasting President Trump for saying he has ‘total authority’ to reopen the country over the rights of states.
Cuomo called Trump ‘schizophrenic’ and said he would take him to court over the matter.
The governor claimed he didn’t want to fight with the president – despite Trump ‘spoiling’ for one. Cuomo went on to make the point he didn’t need to fight because the constitution was on the side of the states and not the federal government.
Role: New York governor
Party: Lifelong Democrat, son of a lifelong Democrat
Electoral history: Won third term easily
Crisis poll ratings: 87% approval from New Yorkers in last poll
Father: Son of three-term Democratic New York governor Mario Cuomo, from Queens, New York. Trump’s father was a client when Mario was an attorney. Donald Trump and Mario Cuomo had a long relationship in the 1980s which soured when Trump asked Mario to have Andrew, then working for Bill Clinton’s administration, do him an unknown favor and Cuomo refused to pass it on
Links to Trump: Has known Trump since the mid-1980s when Cuomo was an aide to his father. Trump recorded a message for Cuomo’s 1990 bachelor party and took donations from the Trumps until early this decade. Defended the donations in last primary saying he would keep the money and criticize Trump
Role: President of the United States
Party: Republican, former Democrat, father was a long-term Democrat
Electoral history: Seeking second term
Crisis poll ratings: 46% job approval rating in Real Clear Politics average
Father: Bronx-born developer Fred Trump turned his family property empire into a massive fortune centered on Queens and Brooklyn. He used the Democratic machines in both boroughs to help him build new middle-class suburbs and apartment complexes, making large donations and getting tax breaks and permits as he did so. Hired Mario Cuomo as an attorney
Links to Cuomo: Andrew was a key aide to his father who became New York governor in 1984, and Trump had a relationship with both men. Trump was then a Democrat and donated to both Cuomos over their careers. In 2014 Trump considered running for New York governor but concluded he would lose
fight on this issue,’ Cuomo said at his daily press briefing in New York, referring to President Trump’s mutiny tweet.
‘Sometimes it takes more strength frankly to walk away from a fight than engage. The president will have no fight with me. I will not engage,’ he said.
The governor also spent several minutes lecturing on how the constitution favors states, essentially arguing with Trump’s point via a talk on early American history.
‘This is basic federalism, the role of states and the role of the federal government. It is important to get this right. The founding fathers understood and I remembered today that the balance between the state and the federal, the magnificent balance articulated in the constitution is the essence of our democracy. We don’t have a king in this country. We didn’t want a king, so we have a constitution and we elect the president. The states, the colonies formed the federal government. The federal government did not form the states,’ he said.
He went on to quote Alexander Hamilton, the first treasury secretary who was one of the framers of the Constitution. Hamilton’s Federalist Papers have been used by courts to determine the intentions of the founding fathers.
‘Hamilton, who in many ways was representative of this discussion of the balance of power, state governments possess inherent advantages, and will forever preclude the possibility of federal encroachment on the states. The federal head is repugnant to every rule of political calculations. Strong language but that was a premise,’ Cuomo said.
In the wake of such criticism, Trump backed down and said he would be ‘authorizing’ the governors to make their own decisions.
‘I will be speaking to all 50 governors very shortly. And I will then be authorizing each individual governor of each individual state to implement a reopening, very powerful reopening plan of their estate in a time in a manner which is most appropriate,’ Trump said.
He backed down from his threat to withhold aid from states who wouldn’t fall in line and attempted to paint his relationship with the governors as strong and respectful.
‘The governors will be very, very respectful of the presidency,’ he noted. ‘This isn’t me. This is the presidency. The presidency has such a great importance in terms of what we are doing. You can talk about constitution. You can talk about federalism. You can talk about whatever you want. But the best way, I am talking now from a managerial standpoint, to let individual governors run individual states and come to us if they have difficulty and we will help them.’
Donald Trump with Mario Cuomo, the father of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in May 1984
Before their bickering on the constitution, the two men also fought over ventilators. Cuomo argued the state needed more and Trump countered they had been sent and mocked Cuomo for not knowing they sat in a New Jersey warehouse.
Trump also dispatched the USNS Comfort to New York to help relieve the congested hospitals in the state.
The two men have a long relationship, going back at least 30 years. Both were born in Queens and have been life-long New Yorkers (even as Trump recently moved his residency to Florida).
Their ties go back to their fathers. Cuomo’s father, the late former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, worked at a law firm that represented Trump’s father Fred.
Politically, as a businessman, Donald Trump donated both Cuomos – Mario and Andrew.
Those donations to Andrew became an issue in the 2018 gubernatorial race, when actress Cynthia Nixon, who challenged Cuomo in the Democratic primary, criticized Cuomo for taking the money.
‘I’m going to be deeply critical of him and keep the contributions,’ Cuomo said in response.
Trump even contemplated running against Cuomo for governor in 2014 but ultimately decided against it when the Republican Party didn’t coalesce around him. Cuomo has been re-elected governor twice.
When Cuomo was Housing and Urban Development Secretary under President Bill Clinton, Trump pressured the family to have HUD approve a $350 million loan guarantee for a Trump project in Manhattan. The loan was not given.
Cuomo was married to Kerry Kennedy and the New York Times reported Trump recorded a video for his bachelor party in 1990. The couple divorced in 2005. Cuomo split up with chef and author Sandra Lee last year after a 12-year relationship. His brother is CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, a frequent Trump critic.
Cuomo campaigned for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election but went to Trump Tower shortly after Trump won to meet with him. Trump later claimed Cuomo promised to never run for president against him, which Cuomo denied.
READ ANDREW CUOMO’S FULL ASTONISHING ATTACK ON DONALD TRUMP
Reporter: It appears the president is also watching this press conference. He tweeted 13 minutes ago. ‘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.’ It goes on a little bit more. So wondering if you could respond to that and also the question about the overwhelmed ICUs.
Good. Let’s respond to the President.
First of all, if he’s sitting home watching TV, maybe he should get up and go to work, right.
Seoncd, let’s keep emotion and politics out of this and personal ego if we can because this is about the people and our job and let’s try to focus on that.
I have said repeatedly that when we were fighting for the additional capacity for our hospital system, that the president moved very quicky and I applauded him for it and he brought the Army Corps of Engineers and he brought them up to build the Javits Center capacity. Twenty-five hundred beds.
He’s wrong it hasn’t been used. About 800 people have gone through Javits.
To dismiss 800 people is disrespectful, but we didn’t use 2,500 beds because we didn’t reach the capacity.
When he says ‘well we built it, we didn’t need it’ it sounds like, the suggestion is, well it was request by the state that wasn’t valid. If he didn’t really believe 2,500 beds was necessary, I dont believe the federal government would have built the 2,500 beds.
And the number came from a projection from him. Him. So he should read the reports he issues.
The White House coronavirus task force had enormous, projected in the millions of people.
The CDC – which is the president – projected in the millions of people. So the projections were high. They were the president’s projections.
So for him to say to anyone, well you relied on projections and the projections were wrong, they’re your projections, Mr. president.
So were we foolish for relying on your projections Mr. President? CDC? Coronavirus task force? That’s you. We relied on your projections. OK, shouldn’t have relied on your projections.
Actually, I think the president has a better argument: yes we should have built 2,500 beds because the projection said it could get that bad and because we worked together, we flattened the curve and we didn’t hit the projection – which is actually what happened.
But don’t suggest that anyone made a mistake relying on your projections, or on Cornell, Columbia, McKinsey, etc.
Second, I have said on a number of times – I don’t know, what am I supposed to do, send a bouquet of flowers? – they were very helpful on Javits, they were very helpful sending US Navy Ship Comfort, they were on very helpful in intervening with China and getting PPE equipment out of China. They were very helpful in helping us find ventilators. I said ‘thank you, thank you, thank you.’
Now, going forward, we’re still in the midst of it. The president doesn’t want to help on testing. I said eleven times, I said the one issue we need help with is testing.
He said 11 times i dont want to get involved in testing, it’s too complicated, it’s too hard.
I know it’s too complicated and too hard. That’s why we need help. I can’t do an international supply chain.
He wants to say: ‘Well I did enough.’ Yeah, none of us have done enough. We haven’t, because it’s not over.
So yes, thank you for the Javits, thank you for the US Navy Ship Comfort. But it’s not over. We have a lot more to do and no one can do the posture of ‘just say thank you for what Ive done, and I’m now out, I’m not doing anything else. [Rubs hands] I’ve done my part.’ [Holds up hands]
What if I said to the people of my state, OK, I’m done. By the way, I’ve saved hundreds of thousands of lives, I’ve flattened the curve, I’ve created more hospital beds than anyone imagined, I’m done. I’m going home, I’m going to go see my mother, spend time with my kids and I’m going to go out fishing – in Connecticut, because their marinas are open. That’s it, I’m done.
What if I said that? That’s what he’s saying: ‘I’m done, I don’t want to help on testing, testing is too hard.’
And then the only thing he’s doing, let’s be honest, is ‘it’s up to the states to do reopening.’
By the way, it was always up to the states. What, are you going to grant me what the Constitution gave me before you were born? It’s called the 10th Amendment.
I dont need the president of the United States to tell me that I am governor and I don’t need the president of the United States to tell to me the powers of a state. People did that: Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison – they are the ones who gave me the power. And I don’t need the president of the United States to read the Constiution for me.
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, but.
So he now says it’s up to the governors, which he said repeatedly now – yesterday, version of yesterday – and now it’s up to the governors to reopen. OK I get it, and you don’t want to help on testing, which is a national problem and replicates the same chaos that you created with medical supplies because FEMA wasn’t ready.
By the way – I needed a stockpile? Where was your stockpile? 10,000 ventilators for the nation? That was your stockpile? Where your projections, the federal projections said they would need double the hospital capacity of this nation. Think about that. The CDC says double the hospital capacity of the nation. The minimum projection was 2.4 million hospital beds. You know how many hospital beds we have in this nation? 900,000. His projection says 2.4 million hospital beds, the whole hospital system is only 900 and his stockpile has 10,000 ventilators.
You were ready with your stockpile? Didn’t you read your own CDC projection? Didn’t you read your own coronavirus projection?
So thank you again Mr. President for the Javits, thank you again 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. We’re not out of the woods, we have to go forward, we need help on testing and we need funding.
It’s up to the governors, it’s up to the states – well then, provide the funding. No. They only want to pass a bill that funds their small business program for PPP, their small business program.
You need to fund the small business program. You’re going to say, after saying this monumental task is up to the individual governors and the individual states, you’re going to say, you’re going to say I’m providing no help, no assistance, no financial money. I understand why small businesses need the funding.
By the way, I know that airlines need a bailout – but not the states.
Why don’t you show as much consideration to states as you did to your big businesses and airlines? Right.
Reporter: Did you guys speak yesterday or this morning after he asked, announced the May 1st reopening of..
No. He didn’t announce anything. He said it’s up to the states, and if you say it’s up to the states and you just hold up a big microphone that can listen to all the governors, you’ll hear some governors say I can start to reopen right away, because some governors are in places where they don’t have a serious problem. They never did. By the way some states never closed down. So if you’re in a state that has a de minimus issue, yeah, then you can open up faster, you can open up tomorrow, or you can stat opening up tomorrow.
He’s doing nothing. He said it’s up to the states. It’s up to the governors which is what it always was because it’s always been the governors’ power.
Then he says ‘it’s a 50-piece puzzle.’ It’s called the map of the United States. It’s not a puzzle. And those lines are called states.
And those states have constitutional power. Remember the way this whole thing starts, the colonies create the federal, government, not the other way sound. So, introduction to constitutional theory and policy.
The states have the power to open. The states are opening on their own timelines. We’re trying to coordinate with our neighboring states. Western states are co-ordinating. Middle states are coordinating.
All he’s doing is walking in front of the parade but he has nothing to do with the timing of the parade, right. The governors are going to open when they think they should open.
All I’m saying is there’s two things they need help from. They need help from the federal government, two things: help on testing because they can’t do that and I don’t want to redo the mayhem of the PPE debacle, second point we need funding to do it.
The way you love talking about how you funded everything; big businesses are getting bailed out, airlines are getting bailed out, bail out, bail out, bailout, all with taxpayers’ money. State governments, which are the only ones which are doing this whole reopening, theyre going to need funding, right.
And, well, show gratitude. How many times do you want me to say thank you? And I’m saying thank you for doing your job. This was your role as president, OK. SO that’s the honest statement of fact without politics – I’m not running for anything so I have no agenda but delivering for the people of this state – and without ego.
You want me to say thank you? Thank you for doing your job in helping build Javits and sending the U.S. Navy Ship Comfort.
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.
So thank you for having the federal government participate in a federal emergency and thank you for your help building Javits, 2,500 beds, pursuant to your projection. Your projection. And if you don’t agree with your projection fire the head of the CDC, fire the White House coronavirus task force people, because they did the projections.
In case he forgot, or didn’t read his CDC report, just to be precise, March 13, March 13, so we’re well into it, CDC says 160 to 214 million Americans infected.
That’s over half the population . CDC. 2.4 million to 21 million Americans hospitalized. 2.4 million. Bottom number 21 million Americans hospitalized. March 13th. The CDC. March.
2.4. Let’s take their low number, which is a hell of a differential – either 2.4 or 10 times 2.4. Thank you for that great projection, but anyway, let’s take their minimum number. How many hospitals beds do you have? 900, let’s call it a million. So it’s two and a half times what your capacity is, right?
We’re the state of New York, we have a 50,000 bed capacity, but by their projections what do we need? 150,000 beds.
By the way, what did McKinsey say that we needed? 140,000 beds. They got it from the CDC, as it says on the screen [shows CDC projections slide].
That’s why we built 2,500 beds at Javits, because we listened to you, Mr. President.
And if we were following for listening to you, then shame on us. But read your own report next time before criticizing us.
[Reporter asks question about state funding and is answered by another official]
Can you pull up the White House coronavirus projection, just so the president can read what he said?
[Reporter asks about PPE shortages and nursing homes another official answers]
Cuomo: Excuse me one second. You saw the CDC projections.
This is the White House coronavirus task force, January, February, March 31st, of the projections. 1.5 million to 2.2 million deaths without the mitigation, 100 to 240 best case scenario. That’s the president’s projections.
So Mr. President, if you want to point fingers, which I think is a mistake, you’re in the middle of the game, it’s only half-time, don’t be a Monday morning quarterback at half-time, never works out well, and if you want to point fingers, we built more beds than we needed, our only mistake was in believing your numbers and believing your projections
If that was a mistake then I’m guilty but I thought New York state relying on what you said would have been a safe assumption.
I won’t make that mistake again and it was your CDC and your White House coronavirus task force that made those projections.
[Reporter asks about other states reopening. Cuomo speaks about reopening in parts of the state]
Can you put up the Navarro memo, just for kicks, just to make sure? CDC, coronavirus task force and Mr Peter Navarro’s memo to the president which the president said he never read. Peter Navarro says 100million Americans can be infected, as many as one to 2 million souls can be lost. SO whose projections were wrong? Head of the CDC, Peter Navarro and head of the White House corona task force.
Fire them all, that’s what I say. Fire them. You know the show when the president did- you’re fired? If he wants to fire someone for projections, retake his TV career, those are the three. Documented. If he wants to blame someone for the projections, blame the CDC, Peter Navarro, and whoever is on the coronavirus task force, because it’s their projections.
Peter Navarro you can fire.
[Reporter: why has this got under your skin]
It’s what he said. Well this is an important moment, he’s saying he doesn’t want to provide funding to the states and he doesn’t want to provide help on testing. And I can tell you the states can’t do it otherwise and if this testing doesn’t work, that’s a serious problem.
I don’t care about his politics, but if we don’t have federal help on testing, that’s a real problem and I’m not going to go through the chaos that was created last time on PPE where people that were genuine heroes couldn’t get PPE, because there was a lack of coordination and because everything was made in China.
We’re looking at that situation again, I can tell you that, I know enough to know that.