New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that the current COVID-19 relief bill being hashed out in Congress must include help to stricken local governments to avoid a “real recession” in the country.
“If they don’t make this bill right, frankly, they shouldn’t pass it because it will be the last bill… If this bill does not have funding for state and local government you will see a real recession, not just in New York but across the country [by] forcing state and local governments to lay off people,” Cuomo said at his daily briefing and later in an appearance on MSNBC.
“Facts are facts,” he said. “We see the numbers going up … We see experts saying, ‘We need to reset,’ but the reset has to start at the top. We have confusion, we have chaos. I think the President has to stand up and say what he didn’t say six month ago. That COVID is serious. That we can’t deny it. That it’s not political, and that it isn’t going to go away magically. That the way he handled it was wrong. It has to start with the President.”
Otherwise, ‘You’ll see a ping-pong of this virus across the country unless you have a national strategy … Giving it back and forth to each other like family members.” The thought of that makes him livid as New York — once the national epicenter of the pandemic — now has just about the best profile in the country. “Its so frustrating that … six months later … we are still talking about this on a such a level of ignorance and denial and are still so woefully unprepared” in other states.
Asked about schools, Cuomo said New York’s opening if the data says it’s safe. “I believe if we keep the virus down … if we do it intelligently like we did with the state, you phase it, you follow the science,” he said.
But the Trump administration risks repeating with schools the same mistakes it made reopening states. “It is the exact same point and the White House is saying the exact same thing – ‘Just do it.’ ”
The schools issue prompted a rare eruption of simmering hostilities between the Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, who said this morning that he is “past the point of irritation” at potshots by the governor’s office – most recently questioning the mayor’s reopening plans and calling them only “guidelines.” Cuomo said there should be more communication with parents.
“I am past the point of irritation. I just focus on the work and I focus on what I need to do for my fellow New Yorkers. And look, I was a public school parent for the entire education of both of my kids from pre-K to 12th grade. I’m thinking about the parents, I’m thinking about the kids, I’m thinking about the educators. How do we keep them safe? I know we’re doing that work every day. We’re putting really stringent approaches in place, and we’re working with the people who represent our educators and staff to get it right. So, I’m focused on the work and I’m focused on the people I serve,” de Blasio told reporters.
Cuomo, who most recently came down hard on a crowded party in the Hamptons being deejayed by the CEO of Goldman Sachs, on Monday had harsh words for another fest, a crammed weekend boat party for over 170 people. The New York City Sheriff’s department arrested the craft’s owners for disregarding social distancing and mask ordinances and, reportedly, for operating an unlicensed bar. “How a charter boat could put together a crowd on deck and leave? It’s disrespectful, it’s illegal, it violates common decency,” Cuomo said during his briefing.
An apartment tower dweller with water views saw the Liberty Belle set out from the Lower East Side Pier 36 on Saturday night and posted a photo on Twitter. That alerted Manhattan Borough president Gale Brewer, who alerted authorities.
Cuomo also talked about how intensely worried he is about New York City weathering the COVID-19 aftermath if too many of the well-heeled taxpayers who fled to second homes decide there’s no need to move back. “They are in their Hamptons homes, or Hudson Valley or Connecticut. I talk to them literally every day. I say. ‘When are you coming back? I’ll buy you a drink. I’ll cook.’ ”