President Trump praised Andrew Cuomo for doing a “really great job” on the coronavirus Tuesday — just a day after slamming the governor on Twitter.
The president told reporters at the White House he had a “great talk” with Cuomo Tuesday morning and that they are working together on COVID-19, including to set up new hospitals requested by Cuomo.
“We’re both doing a really great job and we’re coordinating things,” Trump said. He added that a “hotspot” of virus transmission in New York is “not the fault of anybody.”
New York now has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the US. As of Tuesday morning, there were nearly 1,400. Washington state is second with fewer than 1,000 cases.
The tone was a dramatic contrast from Monday’s social media sniping, with Trump writing “Cuomo of New York has to ‘do more’,” and the governor hitting back: “Happy to do your job, too. Just give me control of the Army Corps of Engineers and I’ll take it from there.”
Trump said he and Cuomo are working to determine when it would be necessary for the feds to step in to boost hospital capacity.
“By speaking with Gov. Cuomo and other governors, we’re going to know the points,” Trump said. “New York has got a big problem. The State of Washington has a big problem. California has some big problems. Everyone’s doing a good job, but we’re going to know what it will be.”
On hotspots, Trump said: “We’re going to be in there. We’re already making preparation for it.”
Cuomo also publicly offered an olive branch, saying at a press conference Tuesday, “I put my hand out in partnership” and “I think the president was 100 percent sincere in saying that he wanted to work together.”
“I want to say thank you,” Cuomo said. “They will have nothing but cooperation and partnership from the state of New York.”
Trump said at the White House that the pandemic has a silver lining in improving party relations. “Getting along with Democrats, getting along with Republicans … there’s been a lot of spirit, there’s been a lot of things happening that I haven’t seen happen in the first now three and a half years, that’s one of the good things,” Trump said.
But on Tuesday morning, Trump attacked a different Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, writing on Twitter she was “failing.”
“I only do that when I have to respond,” Trump explained at the press conference.
“I watched her on television, she said something that was false, and therefore I did do that, and I will continue to do that. If they’re not going to play fair — because, you know, they have the media on their side, I don’t. I just have me — and if they’re not going to play fair I’m going to do that. If they are going to play fair there’s going to be nobody, there’s going to be nobody better than Donald Trump in terms of bipartisanship.”
He added: “I want it to be bipartisan and nobody’s going to be better than me, but when they attack me or the people, these incredible people behind me, I’m not going to let them get away with it. I can’t do that.”
Later in the briefing, Trump broke further from his appreciation of bipartisanship to blast presidential candidates Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders for faulting his response. And Trump threw in a kick for former President Barack Obama.
“If you look at swine flu, the whole thing in I guess it was 2009. And what they did and the mistakes they made, they were terrible they were horrific mistakes. 17,000 people died, and I’ll be honest, they shouldn’t be criticizing because we’ve done a fantastic job,” Trump said. “The only thing we haven’t done well is to get good press. We’ve done a fantastic job and it hasn’t been appreciated.”
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