Gov. Cuomo reports ‘productive’ meeting with Trump at White House

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo headed to the White House to meet with President Donald Trump on Tuesday.

The Democrat said that he had a “productive” conversation with the president about the coronavirus, NBC reported. The positive tone is a shift from recent clashing between the two New Yorkers over the pandemic response.

Cuomo: Trump meeting was “productive”

The New York governor told NBC that he lobbied Trump for help with testing and additional funding for states struggling with a cash crunch, both demands that Cuomo has hammered in recent days. According to Cuomo, Trump was understanding and co-operative about New York’s needs, and the two agreed to double testing, an “aggressive” goal.

“The state has laboratories in the state, the state regulates the labs, the state should determine where tests are taken and how they’re allocated. The tracing is a state function. But we need help from the federal government to make the supply chain work for the manufacturers,” Cuomo said.

The two men have been at odds on sharing the burden of responsibility for handling the pandemic, both criticizing and praising each other for their actions during the pandemic. While Cuomo has said that the federal government should be doing more to support New York, Trump has generally said that states are mostly responsible.

Cuomo’s tone of comity is a marked change from just days ago, when Trump and Cuomo were feuding in real time during one of the governor’s press briefings. The Democrat criticized Trump for trying to “pass the buck” without securing additional funding and tests for New York. When Trump tweeted that Cuomo should do less complaining and more doing, the Democrat lost his cool and went on an extended tirade about Trump’s efforts.

“You want me to say thank you? Thank you for doing your job,” he said, suggesting that sending the Navy ship Comfort to New York, and outfitting the Javits Center with hospital beds, was Trump doing the bare minimum.

NY has surplus equipment?

But the New Yorkers are back to praising each other, and Trump, after Tuesday’s meeting, agreed that he and Cuomo had a “productive” talk. Trump said that Cuomo is no longer in need of the Comfort, and that Cuomo will send surplus masks and ventilators to other states.

For weeks, the president had feuded with Cuomo and other governors over supplies of ventilators and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), but the focus has since shifted to securing tests to open the country up. The president has said that states should handle testing and that complaints about shortages are political in nature.

“States, not the Federal Government, should be doing the Testing – But we will work with the Governors and get it done. This is easy compared to the fast production of thousands of complex Ventilators!” he tweeted Monday.

The president has made no secret of his desire to reopen the economy, but Cuomo, whose state is the hardest hit in the country, is no rush. He extended New York’s lockdown until May 15 last week.

Cuomo has in recent days said that the “beast” is under control in New York, but that residents need to continue social distancing as hospitalization rates in the state decline.

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