Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a press conference on Friday that states cannot ramp up coronavirus testing and eventually reopen unless they receive funding support from the Trump administration, while also offering his strongest criticism of the president to date.
Growing increasingly frustrated by a lack of aid from the federal government, Cuomo offered his most striking criticism of Trump yet: “He’s doing nothing… All he’s doing is walking in front of the parade.”
Cuomo’s comments came after Trump launched into a tirade on Twitter about the governor, saying he should spend “less time complaining;” Cuomo, who has tried to avoid public spats with the president, responded with: “If he’s sitting at home watching TV, maybe he should get up and go to work.”
He said that telling state governors to handle reopening without providing any additional federal funding is like “passing the buck without passing the bucks,” a comment which sparked the initial outrage from Trump.
Of the three bills passed by the federal government to address the coronavirus crisis so far, state governments have gotten “precisely zero” unrestricted funding. “How is [that] even a plausible strategy?” Cuomo asked, voicing his frustration.
The New York governor, who has criticized the past federal legislation for not providing anywhere near enough funding to his state and others, repeated again on Friday that “allocation should be proportionate to the need.”
Some states received about $200,000 for every Covid-19 case they had, Cuomo described, but New York only got around $12,000 for every case in the state—“how do you justify that?”
What to Watch for
Widespread testing is the next “major challenge” before the country can reopen, but states need federal partnership and additional funding to do that, he said. Just like with the scramble to acquire ventilators, states are again competing against each other and the federal government to acquire testing supplies: “This is mayhem, we need a coordinated approach,” the New York governor urged.
“The federal government has to be part of this approach… they can’t wipe their hands of this,” Cuomo said. “I’m willing to do what I can and more, but I’m telling you, I don’t do China relations and I don’t do international supply chain—that’s where the federal government can help [states].”
Big number: $500 billion.
That’s how much funding states will need, according to a proposal from the National Governors Association (NGA). The bipartisan call for more federal aid was led by both Republican Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland, chair of the NGA, and Cuomo, a Democrat, who serves as vice-chair.
New York is still the global epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, with more than 223,600 confirmed cases as of Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University. While the state’s curve “continues to flatten” and hospitalizations are “undeniably on the decline,” another 630 New Yorkers have died from the virus since Thursday, Cuomo said.
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