Trump Tries To Bury Mounting Feud With New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
President Donald Trump tried to bury the political hatchet with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday, reaching out to him by phone and pointing out he's helped the state acquire new hospitals and 4,000 ventilators to combat the coronavirus.
'I am working very hard to help New York City & State. Dealing with both Mayor & Governor and producing tremendously for them, including four new medical centers and four new hospitals. Fake News that I won't help them because I don't like Cuomo (I do). Just sent 4000 ventilators!,' he wrote on Twitter.
'The four hospitals that we (FEMA) are building in NYC at the Javits Convention Center are moving along very well, ahead of schedule. Many additional ventilators also delivered. Good conversation with Governor Cuomo!,' he added later in the morning.
Trump blamed the media for reports of tension between himself and Cuomo, which came after the two men got in a heated back-and-forth about the number of ventilators the federal government sent to the state.
New York has one of the highest rates of infection and is on track to become ground zero for the disease in the United States.
President Donald Trump tried to bury the political hatchet with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, pointing out he's helped the state acquire new hospitals and 4,000 ventilators
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been universally praised for his handling of the coronavirus crisis in New York
The bickering began when Cuomo said he needed 30,000 ventilators but only received 400 from FEMA.
'What am I meant to do with 400? You want a pat on the back for that?' the governor said Tuesday before an additional 4,000 ventilators arrived.
'What am I going to do with 400 ventilators when I need 30,000?' he noted. 'You pick the 26,000 people who are going to die because you only sent 400 ventilators.'
Trump shot back Cuomo could have bought his own ventilators if he needed them.
Cuomo has been universally praised for his handling of the crisis in New York, where he's given daily updates and shut down the state to stop the spread, which has infected more than 26,000 people. Some people online have taken to calling him President Cuomo.
The latest in New York's battle against coronavirus:
There are more than 26,000 cases of coronavirus in the state of New York: 271 people have died
That includes 14,904 in New York City. On Tuesday afternoon de Blasio said 131 people in the city had died.
The White House said Tuesday anyone who has recently been to New York should self quarantine for 14 days.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has warned the situation will peak in '14 to 21 days' as he begged Trump for help
Mayor Bill de Blasio said he is also considering closing the city's parks and playgrounds
Trump, on Tuesday, waged a full-scale political attack on the governor, complete with opposition research, as he pointed out that Cuomo could have bought more ventilators five years ago to protect his state against a pandemic.
Trump, during his appearance in a Fox News virtual town hall from the White House Rose Garden, handed anchor Bill Hemmer an article and noted: 'It says New York Gov. Cuomo rejected buying recommended 16,000 ventilators in 2015 for the pandemic, for a pandemic, establish death panels and lotteries instead.'
'So he had a chance to buy in 2015, 16,000 ventilators at a very low price and he turned it down,' Trump reiterated. 'I'm not blaming him or anything else, but he shouldn't be talking about us - he's supposed to be buying his own ventilators.'
President Trump went to political war Tuesday against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo after the governor complained about Trump being reluctant to use the Defense Production Act to get him more ventilators
During a Rose Garden sit-down with Fox News Channel, President Trump (second from right) told Fox's Bill Hemmer (right) that Cuomo could have bought 16,000 more ventilators in 2015, but chose not to - and it was the governor's responsibility to get the machines
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that he needed the federal government to up its response to deal with the shortage of ventilators in the New York City area
President Trump (left) handed oppo research about New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to Fox News Channel's Bill Hemmer (right) during the course of their interview Tuesday in the White House Rose Garden
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that New York needed 30,000 ventilators to deal with the coronavirus crisis, which has hit New York City especially hard. He's procured 7,000 ventilators so far
The back-and-forth between the two men came as the Trump administration advised people who have left New York to self-quarantine for 14 days to help stop the spread of the virus.
Cuomo has argued the worst is yet to come.
'That is a dramatic increase in the rate of infection. We were looking at a freight train - we're now looking at a bullet train,' he said.
During his Tuesday press conference, the governor announced the state has procured 7,000 ventilators, but needs at a minimum of 30,000 in the next 14 days.
'Only the federal government has that power. And not to exercise that power is inexplicable to me,' said Cuomo, a Democrat. 'Volunteerism is nice and it is a beautiful thing and it is nice that these companies are coming forward and saying they want to help. That is not going to get us there.'
'And I do not, for the life of me, understand the reluctance to use the federal Defense Production act,' Cuomo added, aiming the comments at Trump.
On Sunday, Trump suggested it was his Republican instincts - to keep the federal government away from industry - that was motivating him not to use it.
'What are you doing? ... You're going to take away companies? You're going to tell companies what to do?' Trump said.
On Tuesday, Trump came armed with a March 18 op-ed written by Betsy McCaughey, the lieutenant governor of New York under Republican George Pataki.
McCaughey is also Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross' ex-wife.
McCaughey points a finger at Cuomo and wrote that after he learned that the state was 16,000 ventilators shy of what it would need in a 'severe pandemic' the Democrat chose to 'assemble a task force and draft rules for rationing the ventilators they already had.'
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Though she doesn't use the words 'death panels' as the president charged, she does say that New Yorkers would encounter a 'death officer,' who would decide whether or not they'd have access to a ventilator.
A report from November 2015 said that New York stockpiled enough ventilators 'in the face of a moderate scenario,' adding there were 'no current plans to buy enough ventilators for the most severe model' of a pandemic response.
'The State's current approach to stockpiling a limited number of ventilators balances the need to prepare for a potential pandemic against the need to maintain adequate funding for current and ongoing health care expenses,' the report said.
During the Fox News Channel town hall, Trump said that Cuomo should be grateful that the federal government has stepped in and helped to build New York additional medical facilities.
'We're building him hospitals, we're building him medical centers and he was complaining about - we're doing probably, definitely more than anybody else - and he was talking about the ventilators,' Trump said.
President Trump brought up Cuomo again when Dr. Deborah Birx (left) was explaining why New York City was seeing the highest concentration of coronavirus cases
Birx explained that a number of factors were likely involved including people picking it up during subway travel, visitors returning from Asia and Europe and the fact that New York is 'a big area of world trade and global transit'
He brought up Cuomo again when Dr. Deborah Birx, one of the leaders of the White House's coronavirus taskforce, was explaining to the Fox News Channel audience why New York is seeing the most cases.
'Across the country our test rates are under 10 per cent, except for one place - New York City, metro New York, New Jersey close to New York City,' Birx said. 'Those rates are coming in the 28 per cent range.'
Hemmer asked her if it was because of urban density.
'I think part of it is density, part of it is the spread that may have happened on metal surfaces like the subway ... part of it may be a large number of people came back after Christmas from Asia that didn't get caught up in the closure,' she explained.
Trump then interrupted.
'Do you blame the governor for that?' he mused.
'And part of it could be the Europeans who have com back subsequently,' she added.
'Obviously it is a big area of world trade and global transit,' the doctor said. 'So I think the virus was quietly expanding because until it gets into an older population you don't really see it in the same way.'
On Tuesday morning, Trump had boasted about the ventilators on Twitter, saying: Best IPTV Box 2020 'Just got 400 ventilators to NYC!'
New York is now so desperate for the ventilators that doctors have begun experimenting by having two patients share one at the same time.
Gov. Cuomo fumed earlier in the day that he needs 30,000 ventilators but that only 400 have been delivered to the state of New York
Four hundred ventilators will delivered to New York City by FEMA on Tuesday
Cuomo begged for more.
Trump on Tuesday tweeted proudly about the 400 ventilators he had sent to New York
'We have procured 7,000 ventilators - we need another 30,000. You cannot find them. You cannot buy them.
'This is a critical and desperate need.
'We're going so far as to trying an experimental procedure where we split the ventilator - you use one ventilator for two patients with two sets of tubes,' he said.
Cuomo warned that the 'apex' of the virus will hit New York in just 14-21 days.
He predicts the state will need 140,000 hospital beds including 40,000 ICU beds and 30,000 ventilators.
And he described New York as the 'canary in the coal mine' of the virus pandemic.
'We have the highest and fastest rate of infection,' he said, adding that it was not because New Yorkers were any less healthy than other states but that it was the state doing the most testing and therefore producing the highest number of positive cases.
'We're just getting there first - deploy the resources here in New York for our apex and then after the apex passes here, once we're passed the critical point, deploy the ventilators to where they are needed.
Proxima surgical gowns were among the many supplies at the Javits Center, one of several field hospitals that will be set up in Manhattan
There are also a large number of N-95 masks at the center. They are one of the hardest things to source
Boxes of face masks piled high at the Javits Center in anticipation of the wave of patients that is expected in several weeks
'We are just a test case. That's how the nation should look at it. Look at us today.
'Where we are today, you will be in three weeks, four weeks, six weeks - we are your future and what we do here will chart the course for what you do.
'I'm not asking you to help New York just to help New York. I'm asking you to help New York to help yourselves.
'Let's learn how to do it right and right here - act as one nation here and we learn the lesson here, we will save lives in your community, I promise you that,' he said.
Since yesterday, there are 4,790 new cases of the virus in the state of New York. There are 2,599 new cases in New York City alone.
Cuomo said the peak is coming faster than anticipated.
'The increase in cases continues unabated. The rate of increase has gone up, it's doubling every three days.
'We haven't flattened the curve. The curve is actually increasing.
'The anticipated need now is 140,000 hospital beds and approximately 40,000 ICU beds. Those are troubling and astronomical numbers.
'They project at this time could be 14-21 days away - not only do we have a spike in the increase, when you spike the increase in cases it accelerates the apex.'
'We're doing everything we can on every level to slow the spread,' Cuomo said.
There is an urgent need for hospital beds; the state only currently has 53,000 and Cuomo predicts 140,000 will be needed.
'I will turn this state upside down to get the number of beds we need.
'We're calling all professionals in the healthcare field - we want to enlist as many staff as we can and as many back up staff, because healthcare workers will get sick.'