Governor Cuomo: "Statewide, the number is one of the lowest numbers in the United States of America. We do more testing than any state in the United States. We do more testing in one day, Jim, than most states do all week... Our tactic is wherever you see an ember, run and stamp out the ember before it becomes a flame."
Cuomo: "To Governor Whitmer who is a colleague of mine, I applaud her. I applaud how she's handled herself. I applaud what she's doing and I applaud how she's stood up to these thugs. Look, the President fans division. He does. He always has, started in Charlottesville with KKK there are good people on both sides...Divide and conquer is his strategy and it's corrosive, it's detrimental to everything we're about but it's what he has done from the beginning."
Earlier today, Governor Cuomo was a guest on CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto.
AUDIO of the Governor's interview is available here.
A rush transcript of the Governor's interview is available below:
Jim Sciutto: Joining us now is the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo. Governor, thank you for taking the time this morning.
Governor Cuomo: Good to be with you, Jim. Thank you.
Jim Sciutto: So, first question: can there be a targeted fix for this or are you concerned that New York will have to reinstitute a more broaderlockdown in response?
Governor Cuomo: Jim, this is actually how it should be done. Statewide,the number is one of the lowest numbers in the United States of America. Today, I'm going to announce an infection rate of about 1 percent, that is literally one of the lowest rates and it's remarkable because we had one of the highest rates. We do more testing than any state in the United States. We do more testing in one day, Jim, than most states do all week. So, when you do that much testing you can target exactly where the new cases come from, the quote unquote clusters, and we can target them by block. And what we're now doing is where we see a cluster, and our infection rate in a cluster is about 5 percent - which is still lower than most states - we just target those clusters and we have a couple of unique clusters, frankly, which are more religious organizations, and that's what we're targeting. But that's what should happen.
Jim Sciutto: Do you blame those groups for flouting the rules?
Governor Cuomo: Blame. You know, blame will be done by a higher authority at one time. They're not following the rules. We know what happens when you don't follow the rules, the infection rate goes up and it just proves our point from the get go. We know how to control the virus, but you have to control the virus. You have to be disciplined, and when you don't follow the rules, it goes up, and that's what's happening in these very small clusters. Now, these are religious groups. It tends to get more complicated, frankly, because of some cultural aspects. But that's what we're seeing in New York. Our tactic is wherever you see an ember, run and stamp out the ember before it becomes a flame.
Jim Sciutto: Okay. As you know, an Orthodox Jewish advocacy group and a Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, actually, filed two separate federal law suits against you over these new restrictions on religious gatherings. What is your response to those lawsuits?
Governor Cuomo: Yeah, the cluster is a predominantly ultra-orthodox cluster. The Catholic schools are closed because they happen to be in that cluster, but the issue is with that ultra-orthodox community. This is not a matter of religious freedom, right? I don't care if you're Roman Catholic, you're Jewish, you're Muslim, you're an atheist. You have to follow the rules of the state, the laws of the state. And I understand the beliefs of the ultra-orthodox, I have been very close to them all my life, I'm a big supporter of theirs, but the you have to follow the rules, Jim, because we're seeing the truth and the truth is if you don't follow the rules, the infection rate spreads, people get sick, and then you make others sick. You know we're talking about Brooklyn. We're not talking about a hermitically sealed community in a rural area. This in the middle of Brooklyn. They will make other people sick.
Jim Sciutto: The science is clear. Final question, if I can, before we go - a fellow governor, sitting governor, happens to be a Democrat, but a fellow sitting governor in this country, the target of a domestic terrorism plot, and a complicated one. I mean they tested out IEDs. I had the Lieutenant Governor on this broadcast this morning and you heard the Governor, Governor Whitmer last night say that the President's rhetoric helps fuel these groups, gives them license, and I wonder if you agree with that criticism.
Governor Cuomo: I certainly do. First, to Governor Whitmer who is a colleague of mine, I applaud her. I applaud how she's handled herself. I applaud what she's doing and I applaud how she's stood up to these thugs frankly. Look, the President fans division. He does. He always has, started in Charlottesville with KKK there are good people on both sides. No. The KKK is not good. Racism is not good. Discrimination is not good. Kidnapping is not good. Violence is not good. I see it here in New York with the political interference with this ultra-orthodox community that we have on our clusters. I believe that I have evidence that the Trump campaign is fueling their opposition and their divisiveness. The President has always done this, right? Divide and conquer is his strategy and it's corrosive, it's detrimental to everything we're about but it's what he has done from the beginning so yes, I believe he's behind it. I believe his campaign stokes it. I don't think there's any question.
Jim Sciutto: Well Governor Cuomo, we wish you and the people of New York luck as you get a handle on this. I'm a New Yorker myself and we only wish you the best.
Governor Cuomo: Thank you, Jim. Same here.