Trump added: “Now, it’s every poll that says I’m going to win, because you say [Cuomo’s] gotten good marks, but I’ve gotten great marks on what we’ve done with respect to this. I’ve gotten great marks and even from almost every Democratic governor, so I’ve gotten great marks also, but we want to always make sure we have a great president and somebody that’s capable. I personally don’t think Joe Biden is capable.”
While Biden has been holding daily briefings from his Delaware home, Cuomo has dominated the airwaves — often countering Trump’s messaging — as he updates the U.S. on the nation’s coronavirus hot spot. #PresidentCuomo trended on Twitter last week as the governor’s approval rating skyrockets amid the crisis.
According to a Siena College Research Institute poll released on Monday, 87 percent of New Yorkers approve of the governor’s handling of the outbreak, compared with 41 percent who approve of Trump’s handling of the crisis. The poll was conducted March 22-26 via telephone calls with 566 registered New York State voters, and it has a margin of sampling error of 4.5 percentage points.
But Trump said the governor’s rise in the polls wasn’t his own doing.
“So I mean, one of the things — and I think he’d admit this — one of the reasons he’s been successful, if I said, ‘No, we’re not giving you four hospitals and we’re not giving you four medical centers and we’re not sending you a ship’ then he’s got to, and we didn’t give them thousands of ventilators, by the way, and millions of masks, because we’ve sent them a lot of stuff. Well, one of the reasons he’s successful is because we’ve helped make him successful,” Trump said.
But on Monday, Cuomo called out Trump for politicizing the pandemic, adding that he would not engage in politics — an act he said was “counterproductive” and “anti-American” in a time of national crisis.
“I said from Day One I wasn’t running for president, and I am not running for president now,” Cuomo said a news conference on Monday. “I am not playing politics. I just want partnership to deal with this. And I said to the president quite clearly, look, when you do good things for my state and you are a good partner, I will be the first one to say you are a good partner and I have. I went to the ship Comfort today. I said, ‘Thank you, Mr. President.‘ We opened up the Javits Center, I said thank you to the Army. They did a great job here, the Army Corps of Engineers.”
He continued: “When you help my state, I will say thank you. If I believe New York is not being served, the federal legislation that they passed, I will say that, too. You know, sometimes it is simple. Just tell the truth, right? And that‘s where we are. Tell the truth. If you are doing the right thing by New York, I will say it.“
Cuomo has frequently praised Trump for his responsiveness but has also been openly critical of the president — oftentimes condemning Trump for pulling politics into a global crisis. He was critical of the president again earlier Monday, when he told MSNBC that he can’t “decipher the daily mumblings of the president.”
“My plea is, and pardon me if I’m a little emotional, but I’m living with this 24 hours a day and I’m seeing people die all around me. The science people, the government professionals have to stand up and look the president in the eye and say this is not a political exercise,” Cuomo said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” when asked what his plea would be to the president with regards to New York’s need for more equipment. “This is not press relations. It’s not optics. The tsunami is coming. We know it is. Now is the time to gather supplies, do the preparations because it’s too late the day before. If you have not done the work before the storm hits, it’s too late to do it once the storm hits. And the storm is coming.”
Cuomo continued: “Stop the politics. Listen to the scientists and the pros and plan, because otherwise people will die who don’t need to die. That’s the bottom line.”
On Monday evening, Cuomo reiterated that he was not thinking about running for president and doubted he would consider doing so in the future. When asked by CNN‘s Chris Cuomo, his brother, whether he had thought about, was thinking about or would think about running for president, the governor recited a stern succession of “no“s.
Biden had a similar message for Trump on Monday and said the president’s comments about him don’t “warrant a response.”
“Mr. President, let’s get things done. Let’s put the politics aside,” Biden said on MSNBC after watching the clip of the president from “Fox and Friends.“ “You know we need more of everything. Why are you not insisting it be produced and demanding, using your presidential authority, to get it done? Nobody disagrees with that. Get it done. Step up and do your job. Stop campaigning.”
After expressing optimism last week that the government would be able to relax its social distancing guidelines by Easter, Trump announced Sunday that those measures would remain in place through April. He told Fox News on Monday he made the decision in consultation with top health officials and he would rely on those officials again when weighing whether to further extend the social distancing recommendations.