Cuomo Prods U.S. for Test Supplies Ahead of Meeting With Trump

(Bloomberg) -- Hours before meeting President Donald Trump, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that while it may be states’ responsibility to organize virus testing, the federal government needs to be handling international supply-chain issues.

His comments address a touchy subject between the two politicians. Trump has repeatedly said that states should be in charge of the testing needed to reopen their economies. Cuomo said he plans to ask Trump to take charge of getting manufacturers to provide testing supplies and feeding them to the states, and the states can take it from there.

“Let the federal government figure out international supply issues,” Cuomo said at his Tuesday press briefing. “That’s the intelligent distribution of responsibility.”

Cuomo held his briefing earlier than usual in light of his afternoon meeting with Trump at the White House. The governor said testing will be the topic of the day, including “how can the federal government work in partnership with the states.”

Asked about Trump’s statements about it being states’ responsibility, he responded:

“I get the instinct to distance yourself from it,” Cuomo said. “But it’s a situation where you need to understand, who’s in a better position to do what.”

Daily Briefings

Cuomo’s virus briefings, which include a mix of facts and personal stories, have become a daily comfort not just for New Yorkers but for many across the nation. New York is the epicenter of the nation’s outbreak with more than 250,000 cases and nearly 15,000 fatalities.

New York has passed the peak of the outbreak and is making plans to reopen, though Cuomo says that won’t happen until a testing and tracing protocol is place.

Cuomo’s ability to remain calm and take decisive action during the crisis has helped boost his national profile, earning him the title of “America’s governor,” and his name has even been thrown out by some as a potential presidential nominee. The governor has said he has no plans to run for the White House.

“Everything is a fine line,” Cuomo said of his relationship with Trump. Neither have a problem telling each other what’s on their mind, the governor said.

The Trump administration, though critical of Cuomo, provided help from FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build temporary hospitals. The president also sent the U.S. Navy Ship Comfort to further build hospital capacity.

Just days ago, the two Queens natives had their sharpest exchange yet, exchanging blows in real time. About a half-hour into Cuomo’s April 17 briefing, Trump posted on Twitter that the governor should spend more time “doing” and less time “complaining” about the help its needs from Washington. Cuomo fired back, saying the president should “get up and go to work” instead of watching the governor’s briefing, and that Trump cared more about helping big businesses than states.

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