President Donald Trump clashed with Democratic governors over the administration’s handling of the coronavirus threat and the role that each state should take on in combating the spread of the virus.
Tempers flew as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who recently declared a state of emergency for the state, criticized the administration and accused the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of having “handcuffed the states” by not allowing New York and other state labs to test for COVID-19 for “a period of time.”
The governor told the media that he needed the freedom to handle the virus issue on his own, saying that he is dealing with the most concentrated spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. in New Rochelle, N.Y., with more than 108 cases there.
“We have to take action, we have to do something, this is not going to stop spreading on its own,” Cuomo NBC’s “Today.” “We are going to determine our fate, and we’re going to have to take action.”
“The federal government, I think, in large measure is leaving it up to the states,” Cuomo continued. “Just take the handcuffs off of me and let New York state do what New York state can do. Let the other states take their own path forward, and we’re going to ramp up as quickly as possible now that the federal government is giving us some leeway.”
Cuomo continued to criticize the president and his administration for suggesting that all who want to test for COVID-19 can do so, while the U.S. was facing a shortage of testing supplies. He said Trump’s comments have sparked confusion and “fear.”
“To compound this issue, their messages are all over the place, frankly,” Cuomo said of the White House. “You have the President of the United States stand up and say anybody who wants to test can have a test, and then you have the vice president stand up and say, we don’t have the capacity to test.”
He added: “We can’t say to the people in this country or in this state, anyone who wants a test can have a test. It’s just not true. And that’s what causes the panic and the fear. And then you’re off to the races.”
All states have currently been granted authority by the CDC to conduct tests in their own labs and facilities, and the White House and official coronavirus task force are addressing the issue of test shortages.
Vice President Pence on Tuesday announced that more than 1.1 million tests had been sent out on Monday, with an additional 4 million more tests being sent to the states by the end of this week.
Trump and his team even received praise from the Democrats this week, as Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom, who is known to be a critic of Trump, praised him and his administration for their response to the outbreak of COVID-19. He specifically complimented them on the great job they were doing with the Grand Princess Cruise Ship passengers.
“His administration … has been consistent with the expectation that we repatriate these passengers … and we do it in a way that does justice to the spirit that defines the best of our country and the state of California,” Newsom said during a press conference this week.
“He said, ‘We’re going to do the right thing, and you have any support,’” Newsom explained. “He said everything that I could have hoped for.”
Newsom added: “And every single thing he said, they followed through on.”