Gov. Cuomo Says White House Contributed To 'Mayhem' In COVID-19 Response


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resumed his calls for better coordination between the states and the federal government regarding the reopening of the economy, directing sharp criticism at the President Trump's reluctance to aid states in bringing coronavirus testing to scale.

Despite the president's "graceful 180" earlier this week that reopening is up to the states, Cuomo said Friday that the federal government cannot entirely wash its hands of the COVID-19 "mayhem" to which it contributed.

Cuomo acknowledged that while some states can reopen sooner than others, the ones hardest hit by the pandemic virus cannot reboot without federal funding that the president has so far been loathe to offer.

"All he's doing is walking in front of the parade, but he has nothing to do with the timing of the parade," Cuomo said of Trump's recent comments on reopening. "The governors are going to open when they think they should open. All I'm saying is...They need help from the federal government. Two things: testing, because states 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."

With a vaccine more than a year away, states like New York have to lean on widespread testing for the virus to safely reopen.

But testing — whether funded by states or private industry — cannot expand without supplies that mostly come from China. Negotiating trade with a foreign government is beyond the jurisdiction of individual states.

"I don't do China relations," Cuomo said. "I don't do international supply chain."

Costly measures taken by states to protect residents from the virus were based on recommendations by the Trump's administration, in particular, the Centers for Disease Control and the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

Cuomo scoffed at Trump's suggestions that states should thank his administration for federal aid they have already received. He said providing aid is an implicit function of the federal government, per the Constitution.

"Why don't you show as much consideration to states as you did your big businesses and to your airlines, right?" Cuomo added, referring to a $25 billion airline bailout to which the Trump administration recently agreed.

The bipartisan National Governors Association has requested $500 billion in stimulus money for the states from the federal government.

Cuomo, the vice chair of the governors association, said he believes the funding should go to states based on their proportionate need for it.

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