President Trump adjusted his strategy against the coronavirus on Monday, tweeting his desire for Americans to endanger themselves and others by going back to work far ahead of what has been recommended by public-health officials. But on Tuesday, the president made clear that there’s one thing he isn’t changing about his approach to the outbreak: blaming his administration’s incompetence on others, particularly New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
During a Fox News town-hall event in the White House Rose Garden, Trump ramped up his attacks on the governor, who has been a vocal critic of the federal government’s sluggish response to the outbreak. In doing so, Trump said the quiet part out loud about how he views his relationship with states. “It’s a two-way street,” he said. “They have to treat us well, also. They can’t say, ‘Oh, gee, we should get this, we should get that.'”
On Governors asking for help, Trump says, "It's a two way street they have to treat us well too." …. (realized i had wrong clip before) pic.twitter.com/gXM83TCUZR
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) March 24, 2020
In other words, if governors want the federal government to help them combat the coronavirus, they’re going to need to “be nice” to the president first.
As of Tuesday, 50,000 people in the United States have tested positive for COVID-19, and just more than half of those cases are in New York. According to Gov. Cuomo, the state’s case count is doubling every three days. “We haven’t flattened the curve. And the curve is actually increasing,” he said during a news conference Tuesday. “The apex is higher than we thought, and the apex is sooner than we thought. That is a bad combination of facts.”
So far, the federal government has sent the state 400 ventilators, although Vice President Pence said on Tuesday that 4,000 more are on the way.
“You want a pat on the back for sending 400 ventilators,” Cuomo said of the shortage. “What are we going to do with 400 ventilators when we need 30,000 ventilators? You’re missing the magnitude of the problem, and the problem is defined by the magnitude.”
Trump isn’t too sympathetic to New York’s equipment problems. In the Rose Garden on Tuesday, he attacked Cuomo for not buying his own supply of ventilators, even pulling out a news story about the governor declining to purchase ventilators … in 2015.
“He’s supposed to be buying his own ventilators” — Trump is now attacking Andrew Cuomo for saying the federal government should do more to provide New York with needed medical gear pic.twitter.com/qPGd6diWm1
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 24, 2020
Later, as Dr. Deborah Leah Birx was explaining why there are so many positive cases in New York as opposed to other states — she mentioned population density, the subway, and people returning from Asia over the holiday season — Trump cut in to try to get her to blame Cuomo.
“Do you blame the governor for that?” he said with a smirk.
“Do you blame the governor for that?” — with a smug smirk on his face, Trump tries to pin blame for New York’s coronavirus outbreak on Gov. Cuomo because he allowed people to travel from Asia back to New York City during the holidays pic.twitter.com/6syuTlbWdB
—Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 24, 2020
Stay classy, Mr. President.