RUSH TRANSCRIPT: GOVERNOR CUOMO ON PRESIDENT TRUMP'S FAMILY SEPARATION POLICY: "If the Attorney General didn't tell the President that, then the Attorney General should be fired frankly. If HHS Secretary didn't tell the President we don't have the capacity to take thousands of children in just a mere matter of days, we have no place to place them, we can't do it responsibly. If the HHS Secretary didn't say that then the HHS Secretary should be fired. So it was either gross incompetence, or, and I'm afraid this is the case, it was a purposeful manipulation that would make Machiavelli blush."
Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo addressed President Trump's family separation policy while guest on CNN's "New Day" with Christi Paul and Martin Savidge.
A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is below:
Christi Paul: Immigration has been quite a focus for our next guest. Joining us on the phone, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Governor, thank you so much for being with us. Want to first get your reaction what we just heard from Kaylee about this reporting from ProPublica that over the last five years, 125 calls have come in, they logged it from police reports and call logs of alleged sexual abuse of these children.
Governor Cuomo: Well, it's obviously very, very disturbing and going back five years, I'd like to see the information. But I have no doubt that whatever terrible conditions existed, they've only gotten worse because this was a mad scramble that the federal government did on the border. It was either gross incompetence or it was malicious. It was gross incompetence and the Attorney General didn't tell the President of the United States that when you go to a zero-tolerance policy and you arrest parents, by federal law you have to separate the children. If the Attorney General didn't tell the President that, then the Attorney General should be fired frankly. If HHS Secretary didn't tell the President we don't have the capacity to take thousands of children in just a mere matter of days, we have no place to place them, we can't do it responsibly. If the HHS Secretary didn't say that then the HHS Secretary should be fired. So it was either gross incompetence, or, and I'm afraid this is the case, it was a purposeful manipulation that would make Machiavelli blush. I think what they did is, the President said I want a wall at the border. When he didn't get the wall, he said fine. I'll set up a gauntlet, and I'll put out a message to people, if you come into this country, you're going to be subjected to all sorts of inhumane treatment. We're going to separate you from your children, we're going to send the children all over the country. We won't even be in a position to relocate them. This position, that they have 700 children that they now can't reunify—either because they deported the parents without reunifying the child first or the federal government made a decision that the parents are not good custody, custodians of their children. On what basis did you take children from their parents? And that's why New York has a lawsuit. You can't just take a child from a parent and declare that the parent is not a good custodian. They have due process rights. The children who are in New York are protected by New York law. You have to prove before a judge that child is being abused or neglected before you can rip them from their mothers' arms. So it's illegal, it's unconstitutional, and it's unconscionable.
Christi Paul: Governor Cuomo, according to this report though, it goes back 5 years. You're right there's a lot to see in it in terms of the validity of all of it, but with all of that said, we can't change the past. What is the remedy moving forward? What specifically is the state of New York doing to make sure this doesn't happen there.
Governor Cuomo: Well the way this has worked is the federal government has taken control of these children, placed them in a haphazard chaotic way, in foster care facilities all across the country. Some of those foster care facilities are in the State of New York. The foster care facilities that have the federal children, they put under a gag order, where the foster care facility can't even tell the state, which regulates the foster care facility, how many children they have or what the circumstances are. I said to the secretary of HHS, let us help. Let us help with the reunification. Let us help getting services to these children.
Christi Paul: How can New York help?
Governor Cuomo: Well they're foster care facilities in the state. I could be providing services, counseling, etc. These children are traumatized. I could help with reunification. Why wouldn't you let the states help if you actually cared about the children? Why would you put these foster care facilities under a gag order? That's why I say it's either gross incompetence, and the President should fire the lot of them, or it is purposeful and they're trying to send a signal, don't even think of crossing the border, there is no wall but there may as well be a wall, because it's worse. If you come in here, you're going to be subjected to all sorts of inhumane abuse.