March 30, 2020
Albany, NY

Audio & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo is a Guest on CNN's Cuomo Prime Time

TOP Audio & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo is...

Governor Cuomo: "If the President is helping the State of New York I will be the first person to say so. If we have a difference I will be the first person to say so and the President has been very helpful. The Comfort has been helpful. The Javits Center, 2,500 beds ... the Army Corps of Engineers did a phenomenal job. One week they came into the JavitsCenter and built an entire field hospital and they're staffing it. So those two facilities alone right there, you're talking about a great relief valve."


Cuomo: "You're going to have a hospital system deluged with people and we'll have probably twice the capacity that the health care system was designed for and that's why you'll see the doctors, the nurses, the staff - that's why they're under such stress."


Cuomo: "This this will go on for weeks and you have people showing up into really dangerous situations. They don't know if they're going to contract the virus, if they're going to bring it home. Many people are dying and this is going to go on for weeks. So that's a whole new stress on a staff."


Earlier tonight, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo was a guest on CNN's Cuomo Prime Time to discuss New York's plan to combat the novel coronavirus crisis.


AUDIO is available here


A rush transcript of the Governor's interview is available below:


Chris Cuomo: We have the governor of the State of New York, my brother, Andrew Cuomo. Governor, thank you for joining us.


Governor Cuomo: Good to be with you, Christopher. 


Chris Cuomo: The good news, huge navy ship came in today. The President said we delivered on that. It got here sooner. What is the significance because you've said that some of the reporting about the ship is right, some of it's wrong. What's the reality of what this event means? 


Governor Cuomo: The reality is President Trump sent the U.S. Navy Ship Comfort to New York. It's in New York Harbor and the Comfort and a federalfacility that we built at the Javits State Convention Center, those two facilities, 2,500 beds in Javits and 1,000 beds at the ship, will serve as basically a relief valve for the hospitals. They won't do COVID patients themselves but they'll be a relief valve for the hospital system and that's the whole battle is the capacity of the hospital system. It will be a relief valve to relieve some of those patients so the hospitals can focus on the COVID patients.


Chris Cuomo: So, simple question, has the President been stepping up? Are they keeping their word on the federal level?


Governor Cuomo: Look, I said to the President privately, I've said it publicly, we need to work together in partnership. This is the essence of federal-state relations, right? This is how we deal with these types of situations. If the President is helping the State of New York I will be the first person to say so. If we have a difference I will be the first person to say so and the President has been very helpful. The Comfort has been helpful. The Javits Center, 2,500 beds - I'll tell you, Chris, the Army Corps of Engineers did a phenomenal job. One week they came into the Javits Center and built an entire field hospital and they're staffing it. So those two facilities alone right there, you're talking about a great relief valve. Now we still have problems and we have issues, right? Your opening point was right. There's two missions. Number one, stay home. Reduce the infection rate. Don't go out. You're exposing yourself to danger. You could get infected. You could infect someone else. Second, this is going to be a battle at the hospitals, at the public health system. You're going to have a hospital system deluged with people and we'll have probably twice the capacity that the health care system was designed for and that's why you'll see the doctors, the nurses, the staff - that's why they're under such stress.


Chris Cuomo: You'll have twice the patients that the capacity was designed for, meaning you will not have the beds and the ventilators and the staff to accommodate, you believe, by a factor of two?


Governor Cuomo: Well, once you go to over-capacity it's all of the above, right? Actually the beds are the easiest thing to find. You wouldn't think of it but it's easiest to find the beds. It's the equipment because now you have every state trying to buy the same equipment, and you have countries all across the globe, the PPE, the ventilators, et cetera, and it's the staff. The staff is getting exhausted. I had one nurse say to me more than physically exhausted, I'm emotionally exhausted. This is weeks and this will go on for weeks and you have people showing up into really dangerous situations. They don't know if they're going to contract the virus, if they're going to bring it home. Many people are dying and this is going to go on for weeks. So that's a whole new stress on a staff.


Chris Cuomo: And the worst is yet to come. PPE will be a big deal. As somemay know or may not know, the Governor put out a call that if this isn't happening in a bad way in your community or even in your state, come help us. And that is really a clarion call for the need to be calling out anybody who can come to help. It will be interesting to see who responds. The President said something today that I want your take on. The answer you've given so far, you said you don't know what he means. I want you to think about it a little bit more. Let's play the sound about what the president suggested might be happening with some of the equipment we are all desperate to find for our health care professionals.


Clip of President Trump: New York hospital, it's packed all the time. How do you go from 10 to 20 to 300,000 - 10,000 to 20,000 masks to 300,000, even though this is different? Something is going on. And you ought to look into it as reporters. Where are the masks going? Are they going out the back door? How do you go from 10,000 to 300,000? And we have that in a lot of different places. So somebody should probably look into that. 


Chris Cuomo: Now you said, I don't know what he means. You know what he means. He's saying that somebody is stealing this PPE stuff, or that something is being done with it that is wrong which is the implication is I'm doing the right thing. I'm getting them the right things in New York. I don't know what they're doing with them. That's the implication. What's your response?

Governor Cuomo: My response is, first of all, if I say I don't know what he means you can't tell me that, yes, I do know what he means. You might think—

Chris Cuomo: What do you think he could mean other than that? 

Governor Cuomo: I don't know. It's a very vague thing. It went out the back door. I don't know what that means.

Chris Cuomo: What is it a stray cat? It didn't go out the back door. He is saying somebody is taking it.

Governor Cuomo: Maybe that's what he means but I don't know. It's a very vague reference. You should ask the President. But look, the exponential increase in the PPE is real, right? In the hospitals now there's COVID PPE, non-COVID PPE. Everybody is wearing COVID PPE because you don't know who has COVID and who doesn't have COVID. Every time they see a patient they have to change their PPE. So, yes, the burn rate of the PPE is much, much higher. So I think when the President says it's an incredible increase, I think he's right. If you are right by what you thought he meant when he said out the back door, as if it is being stolen or misused, if that's what he meant, then he should say that, ask for an investigation and that's how you handle that. If that's what he meant, which is what you think he meant.

Chris Cuomo: I don't know what else he could mean. But your point is taken, which is it's about the burn rate. He may not understand the facts yet. He may not want to accept it. It's a way of hedging against the need, as great as it is. But this is something that this President does. He's done it to you a few times. You know, he goes back and forth about whether or not you're good or bad. Right now, you're good. Poll numbers came out, he's very responsive to poll numbers, and they say you're popular now because of how you're doing this.So he weaponizes it and says you know what he should do, he should run for President, this guy, Cuomo. He'd be better than Biden, this guy Cuomo. But I'd beat him, too. Let me ask you something. With all of this adulation that you're getting for doing your job, are you thinking about running for President? Tell the audience.


Governor Cuomo: No. No.


Chris Cuomo: No, you won't answer?


Governor Cuomo: No. I answered. The answer is no.


Chris Cuomo: No, you're not thinking about it?


Governor Cuomo: I answered the question, sometimes it's one word. I said no.


Chris Cuomo: Have you thought about it?


Governor Cuomo: No.


Chris Cuomo: Are you open to thinking about it?


Governor Cuomo: No.


Chris Cuomo: Might you think about it at some point?


Governor Cuomo: No. No. 


Chris Cuomo: No, you won't answer? 


Governor Cuomo: No, I answered. The answer is no. No is sometimes one word. I said no. 


Chris Cuomo: Have you thought about it? 


Governor Cuomo: No. 


Chris Cuomo: Are you open to thinking about it? 


Governor Cuomo: No. 


Chris Cuomo: Might you think about it at some point? 


Governor Cuomo: No. 


Chris Cuomo: How can you know what you might think about at some point right now? 


Governor Cuomo: Because I know what I might think about and what I won't think about. I won't think about it. But you're a great interviewer by the way. 


Chris Cuomo: Appreciate it. Learned from the best. 


Governor Cuomo: Thank you. 


Chris Cuomo: The point is this: what do you think about him trying to play you against Biden? That's what's going on here. He's trying to say Joe Biden is weak, look even Cuomo is stronger than he is and he's not even running. What's your response? 


Governor Cuomo: Again, that's your interpretation of what you think the President was saying. I know Joe Biden many, many years. I worked with him when he was Vice President. He has been a tremendous asset to the State of New York when he was Vice president with President Obama. So I worked with him on a professional level, I know him very well personally. I can't say enough good things about Joe Biden. So I think he's a great public servant. I think he has been extraordinary on a number of levels. I think he's a good man. I think he has a good heart, I think he has a good soul. I think he's well-meaning. He's knowledgeable as heck. He has wisdom and I think he's a leader. At one point, Chris, it comes down to a simple concept. It's about leadership. The experience, the wisdom, the capacity to do the job. Not just think about it, not just talk about it, not just tweet about it - do the job. And Joe Biden is a guy who does the job for real Americans. We grew up, we're middle class New Yorkers. We relate to him that way. He relates to people all acrossthe country that way. His sense of connectivity, his sense of capacity, you put all that together and he's the real deal. 


Chris Cuomo: Well, we'll see. He's got to get through his primary. There's a long race to go. We'll see how this plays for the President. Two quick things: One, what do you still need in terms of the urgency? Where are you on ventilators? Where are you on PPE? Where are you in terms of being up to where you need to be because of what you think is coming? In context, TonyFauci telling America today the sober reality that we could lose 6 digits in terms of the death toll in this country because of this disease. At least 100,000. What do you still need? 


Governor Cuomo: Well if Tony Fauci is looking at the numbers right, and that's why I respect him and that's why I like to talk to him. Everybody has a theory, everybody has an idea, including you. I like to talk to Fauci, he has numbers, he has facts. We in New York, you'll have different curves in different places around the country and the virus moves faster in some areas. It moves very fast in New York because we're a very dense area.  We're very intense, we're on top of one another so the virus moves fast. We are still on our way up the mountain of the curve, we haven't hit the curve. One of the things we're doing now, I brought all the hospitals across the state together - first time ever. And I said, look, we're no longer New York City hospitals, Long Island hospitals, public hospitals, private hospitals, upstate hospitals - we're one hospital system and we're going to operate that way. And we're going to share equipment, we're going to share staff, we're going to share resources. All the fiefdoms are broken down. We're going to have to make that entire health care system work because we're still on our way up the mountain. The apex is anywhere from 6 days to 21 days away depending on who you listen to. The apex can either be one and a half times the capacity of the hospital system or three times the capacity of the hospital system, depending on which projection you reach. I want to prepare for that apex because this virus has been ahead of us every step of the way, Christopher. We have never gotten ahead of this virus and you never win fighting the last battle. And we have to get ahead of it and the next encounter when we meet the enemy is on the top of the mountain at that apex and that's what we have to be ready for. 


Chris Cuomo: Understood. Now, you've been really giving people a lot of comfort about recognizing the difficulties of staying at home, making an effortobviously to be home. You've got your kids up there, you're keeping them close. You said something about yourself. You said, I'm not really good at cooking, and I've had to learn, do stuff with the kids. I don't know why you take your shot at that, I mean, just cause you don't cook. Mom shares her secrets about how to make sauce, very few people, you shouldn't criticize yourself that you're not one of the people that mom saw as worthy to teach how to cook and make tomato sauce. 


Governor Cuomo: Well, look, I'm sure she would have, it's just that you spent so much more time in the kitchen, Chris, than I did. You were just available toher. You had that always like mom's little helper in the kitchen. I really respect that. So, I think it's because you were there and always underfoot.


Chris Cuomo: I don't see it that way. I don't see it that way.


Governor Cuomo: You spent years in the kitchen when you think of it.


Chris Cuomo: I don't see it that way. I didn't spend years.


Governor Cuomo: I didn't mean to offend you. I didn't mean to offend you.


Chris Cuomo: I think you did. That's okay, there's no offense taken. But what I'm saying is -


Governor Cuomo: Please, you helped mom in the kitchen, it was a beautiful thing. I had to do work.


Chris Cuomo: I didn't help mom in the kitchen. You're saying something different. She taught me things she chose not to teach you, is what I'm trying to say. You don't have to play the sound but - hold on one second.


Governor Cuomo: Can I ask you a question? Where are you? Where are you?


Chris Cuomo: Where am I? I'm in the process of making a point is where I am. I'm in my basement.


Governor Cuomo: But where are you physically?


Chris Cuomo: I'm in my basement.


Governor Cuomo: Oh, you're in your basement.


Chris Cuomo: That's where I am.


Governor Cuomo: You spent a lot of time there, right? Christina says she sends you there a lot. So kitchen and basement, that's where you've spent your life.


Chris Cuomo: Here is what I'm trying to say. I'm in the basement because this is where I have the ability to do this. Right now I need to be working at home. That's why I'm here. But mom, you don't have to play the sound, but last night I was doing what I do for my family which is make my mother's sauce. She taught me how to make the sauce, which is something that is very coveted. And she said I can only teach he, not she, he who will carry it on best. And you will see the b-roll of me cooking, my mother called me and said, and I was listening to one of her favorite songs, Andrea Bocelli, and you'll see I had a picture of her behind me as I always do when I'm cooking in the kitchen, a picture of my mother to remember our bond and how I care for her that she taught me how to make the sauce. She didn't teach anybody else. And she called me and said, is Andrew there? I said, no, mom, I'm all alone here out on the island with my family. And she said, where is he? And I said he's up in Albany in the house with the big gates and the attack dog. And she said, oh, that's too bad. And I said, it's okay, mom. I love him and I'll make sauce for him, too. And she started to cry, and then I said goodbye. That's what happened.


Governor Cuomo: You've always been good at manipulation. You've always been the meatball of the family. Look, some of us have to work, right? I don't have the luxury of working one hour a day. God bless you. I'm happy for you.


Chris Cuomo: First of all, it's a full-time job.


Governor Cuomo: Most of us work more than an hour a day.


Chris Cuomo: You certainly have been working a lot. And I'll tell you what, be careful, not just cause you look like you've been burning a lot of hours, but you show up in a lot of places and I know it gives comfort to people. But if you get sick, God forbid, there's only one of you right now. And if you get sick, it's a problem. So I know you like to run around with your ill-fitting jacket, but just remember that you have to stay healthy. I need you, big brother, because I love you, and you're the center of the family, but you're the center of the state right now, also.


Governor Cuomo: Yeah, but I have to do my job and mama didn't raise an armchair general in me anyway. I'm not going to sit in my basement. I say to the National Guard every time before I go out there. I'll never ask you to go anywhere that I won't go. I'll never ask you to do anything that I won't do. So, I need to be out there doing my job. You stay where you are in the basement. I think it's very nice. I love you. Be safe. Call me some time.


Chris Cuomo: I have to be honest, this basement puts me in a bad position, and I am sitting in an armchair right now. Those are two terrible facts. But you're doing the right thing, talking to the audience, being open with the media. I know you're working your tail off for everybody. I love you. I respect you. Stay safe. I'll talk to you soon. I'll send you some sauce.

Governor Cuomo: Love you, brother.

Chris Cuomo: Mom's secret sauce.

Governor Cuomo: Thanks, thanks. I know. Meatball. 

Chris Cuomo: I heard it. It's a term of endearment in Italian circles, to be the meatball. Please hang up on him now. Thank you very much. He has a lot of work to do.

Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office