Gloves Are Off As Gov. Cuomo & President Trump Accuse & Name Call

Trump and Cuomo

Getty U.S. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence watch a TV clip of New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the daily coronavirus briefing at the White House on April 19, 2020 in Washington, DC.

It’s a volatile time in American History. Divisiveness over how to handle a global pandemic that has claimed 184,083 American lives so far intermingles with deep-seated political animosity as civil unrest continues to unfold over whether Black Lives Matter or Blue Lives Matter. The clashes have even culminated in people shooting and killing each other in the streets. The anger and disdain in the country are palpable.

So it’s no surprise that New York’s Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo had strong words in reaction to President Donald Trump’s latest threat — to take away funding from “weak mayors and lawless cities…while they let anarchists harm people, burn buildings, and ruin lives and businesses.” According to Fox News those cities include Portland, New York City and Seattle.

On Sept. 2 Cuomo held an emergency press briefing in which he said:

As far as this statement he’s going to stop funding for New York City – he’s not a king. He thinks he’s a king but he’s not. He’s a President. But there’s the Constitution and there are laws, nothing that he knows anything about. But the federal budget is appropriated by law with conditions of funding by law. … The statutes contain the conditions and he can’t override the law. I suspect it’s more of a political statement that he’s making than anything else, but it’s also illegal what he’s talking about.

First, from the point of view of New York City, this has been the worst president in history. President Ford said, drop dead. President has actively been trying to kill New York City ever since he’s been elected and it’s a personal animus as it normally is with the President. I think it’s because he is from New York City and New York City rejected him always. He was dismissed as a clown in New York City. Those who know him best like him least. That’s true about New York City. It’s true about his own family and I think that’s more and more clear to Americans.

Cuomo Said Trump Should Not Come to New York Without an Army But Those Veiled Threats Were Removed From the Version Shared on his Government Website

Like Trump, Cuomo hails from Queens, New York, and both men are known for not mincing words.

The New York Post reported Wednesday that Cuomo said “He better have an army if he thinks he’s gonna walk down the street in New York. New Yorkers don’t want to have anything to do with him. He can’t have enough bodyguards to walk through New York City, people don’t want to have anything to do with him.”

Later though, he seemed to try to walk back the words that could be construed as a threat, according to the NY Post, saying:

My comment about the president and bodyguards in New York City, all I’m saying is that he is persona non grata in New York City. And I think he knows that. And he’ll never come back to New York, because New Yorkers will never forget how gratuitously mean he has been to New Yorkers and how many times he’s tried to kill the city that gave him his start and birthed him. That’s what I meant about the bodyguards.

Those comments are not in the rushed version of the briefing released by his office, nor is it in the audio version that cuts off before reporter questions.

But back in April, the two men seemed to be playing nice. Cuomo tweeted that he and the President had come to an agreement on how to handle the state’s needs, saying that he and Trump had “a productive meeting” and came to an agreement on how to handle testing and the supply chain. Cuomo also emphasized the great need for federal funding for the city as it was plagued with cases of COVID-19.

With the profound way coronavirus has hit NYC, the threat of trying to take away much-needed funding due to Trump’s perception of weak leadership in places where there have been ongoing protests — and in some cases violence and looting — may have been the thing to set off Cuomo Wednesday. While the city has done a good job of getting the virus under control, it has also been hit hard by unemployment issues.

Even though Trump’s Threats to Take Away Federal Funding has to do With the Protests & Law Enforcement, The President & the Governor are Still Playing the Blame Game Regarding the Other’s Handling of the Pandemic. But What Is True?

GettyNew York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks at a news conference on July 6 ,2020 in New York City where he announced that President Donald Trump is enabling the coronavirus pandemic by not wearing a mask and downplaying the problem.

After Cuomo’s Clap Back at Trump, the President responded in his usual way, on Twitter. He accused Cuomo of being incompetent, leading to 11,000 deaths at nursing homes in the city.

According to the New York State Health Department, the big driver of so many patients in nursing homes and assisted living facilities dying from COVID-19 was the staff who worked there and likely some of the visitors. In a New York State Department of Health Issues Report On COVID-19 In Nursing Homes published in July they shared their findings:

According to data submitted by nursing homes, in many cases under the penalty of perjury, approximately 37,500 nursing home staff members — one in four of the state’s approximately 158,000 nursing home workers — were infected with COVID-19 between March and early June 2020. Of the 37,500 nursing home staff infected, nearly 7,000 of them were working in facilities in the month of March; during the same period, more than a third of the state’s nursing home facilities had residents ill with the virus. Roughly 20,000 infected nursing home workers were known to be COVID-positive by the end of the month of April. These workforce infections are reflective of the larger geographic impact of the virus’s presence across the state.

NYSDOH also considered the impact of visitation into nursing homes as a cause of infections. A review shows that prior to nursing home visitation being suspended completely on March 13, 2020, there was no tracking or testing of family and friends who were present in the facility, and any asymptomatic or symptomatic visitor could have been granted access. Given what we now know about how widespread the virus was in New York prior to testing availability in February and early March, there is a high likelihood that COVID-positive visitors entered nursing homes, although there is no specific data to support this assumption, and so ultimately this is inconclusive.

Alternately, Cuomo says that it’s the President’s refusal to lead that is the driver of America’s continued spread of COVID-19 because he hasn’t issued a mask mandate or a national strategy on testing.

The president has not issued a national mask mandate, saying that decision is best made by state and local leaders. It’s also true that there is not a national testing strategy. States are figuring creating out their own strategies. But would that make a difference?

Dr. Howard Koh served as assistant secretary for health during the H1N1 flu pandemic in 2009 and told Marketwatch on Sept. 3:

We’ve never had a national strategy. It’s always been 50 states. It’s late but still not too late to say we need a unified national strategy going forward: on testing, not just harder, but smarter; on supporting contact tracing efforts, which in too many parts of the country are overwhelmed right now because the case loads are so high; and on making sure that states are cooperating and not competing with each other for supplies and [personal protective equipment], to assure the hospital capacity is ready to go this fall.

There should be a national requirement for masks. We still have only 35 states with requirements. The messaging has been so mixed. Confusion has been allowed to grow, and that’s just unacceptable, in the worst pandemic that our country has seen this century.

In June Trump was criticized for saying there should be less testing because with testing, there will be more reportable cases, calling testing a double-edged sword that “makes us look bad.”

According to Stat, “Basically, the president was arguing that the U.S. had just as many new cases in June and July as it did in May but, with fewer tests being done in May, they weren’t being detected; with more testing now, they are.”

Stat continued, “A new STAT analysis of testing data for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, however, shows with simple-to-understand numbers why Trump’s claim is wrong. In only seven states was the rise in reported cases from mid-May to mid-July driven primarily by increased testing. In the other 26 states — among the 33 that saw cases increase during that period — the case count rose because there was actually more disease.”

But by Aug. 27 the White House seemed to change its tune, announcing it had purchased 150 million rapid COVID-19 tests to be distributed throughout the nation. The tests made by Abbott Laboratories only cost $5 each and according to the White House, “final production will be scaled to an unprecedented 50 million tests monthly.”

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