June 3, 2020
Albany, NY

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo Holds Briefing on George Floyd Protests & Provides Update on COVID-19 Progress

TOP Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript:...

Confirms 1,045 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State - Bringing Statewide Total to 374,085; New Cases in 46 Counties

 

Governor Cuomo: "They are two very different situations. Some people choose to morph those two together, all the protesters are actually looters, and we should treat them as looters. That is not a fact, that is not the truth, that is not the reality of what is going on. There are people who are protesting, and there are people who are looting, very, very different situations. The protesting is righteous indignation over Mr. Floyd's murder and systemic racism and injustice.

 

Cuomo: "COVID-19 is still a real threat. We're still battling that. I know it's not on the front pages today but it is still in people and in society. We're still battling that. That is going better than it has ever gone in New York. We have the lowest number of hospitalizations ever and we have the lowest death toll ever. God bless the people of New York for what they did. God bless the nurses and the doctors and the essential workers and the frontline workers because they saved hundreds of thousands of lives in the State of New York."

WYSIWYG

Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced outdoor dining at restaurants will be permitted in phase two of reopening. Restaurants in the seven regions that have already entered phase two - the Capital Region, Central New York, the Finger Lakes, the Mohawk Valley, the North Country, the Southern Tier and Western New York - can reopen for outdoor dining beginning tomorrow, June 4th. Outdoor tables must be spaced six feet apart, all staff must wear face coverings and customers must also wear face coverings when not seated.

 

Governor Cuomo also announced that Erie County is now eligible to resume elective surgeries and ambulatory care. The Governor previously announced that the state will allow elective outpatient treatments to resume in counties and hospitals without significant risk of COVID-19 surge in the near term, and a total of 52 counties can now resume elective surgeries (4 counties do not have hospitals).

 

VIDEO of the Governor's remarks is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.  

  

AUDIO of today's remarks is available here.

    

PHOTOS are available on the Governor's Flickr page.

   

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

 

Good morning. Pleasure to be with all of you. To my left, Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor. To my right, Robert Mujica, budget director of the State of New York, also gracing the cover of City & State magazine this month, where he has that big, warm smile that he's famous for. Today is day 95 of the situation dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, and it is day 10 of the situation dealing with the civil unrest after the murder of Mr. Floyd that we all saw on TV. The president held up the bible the other day in Washington, D.C.. Here in New York we actually read the bible, and there are some passages that I think are especially appropriate for today, and this time of where we are.

 

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God." Matthew 5:9. "If a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand." That was Mark 3:25. Actually, before Abraham Lincoln. "Turn away from evil and do good, search for peace and work to maintain it." Psalms 34:14. "The seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace." I think those words are all appropriate for where we are today.

 

Here's another quote that I think is applicable to where we are today. "You can't use the military as a political weapon." Do you remember who said that? I said that. There's another quote, "The option to use active duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort, and only in the most urgent and dire of situations. We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act." Do you know who said that? Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, appointed by President Trump.

 

"You can't set fire to the house, and then claim you are the one trying to put out the flames." Do you know who said that? You guys are not well read., that I can tell you. A.J. Parkinson said that.

 

Last night, we had continued protests across the state, but there are two very different situations that are going on, and we have to keep them separate, and we have to address them as separate situations, because they are night and day. One is protesting, and the other is looting. They are two very different situations. Some people choose to morph those two together, all the protesters are actually looters, and we should treat them as looters. That is not a fact, that is not the truth, that is not the reality of what is going on. There are people who are protesting, and there are people who are looting, very, very different situations. The protesting is righteous indignation over Mr. Floyd's murder and systemic racism and injustice. And you listen to their point, I think they're right. You look at Mr. Floyd's murder on television and it is reprehensible. There is no police officer in this nation that would defend that. And people are appalled, and again, it's not the first time. You can't say, well this is an isolated incident.

 

Mr. Floyd was one in an ongoing series. Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, you can go back to Rodney King, you can go back to Martin Luther King, there are dozens and dozens of the same case. Righteous indignation. It's more systemic racism. Righteous indignation. It's systemic injustice. Righteous indignation, yes. But, don't be violent. Because when you are violent, you lose the righteous indignation. When you are violent, you play to the critics who want to say, oh, they're all violent looters, they're all a criminal element. And that actually defeats the righteousness of the message.

 

Mr. Floyd was nonviolent. He was nonviolent against the police, the crime that they were possibly investigating was a nonviolent crime. Violence actually demeans the situation and loses the righteous indignation. And I urge the protesters to respect the curfew, because a curfew is necessary because the police have a real job of policing, dealing with the looters. The looting is criminal behavior pure and simple. There's no righteousness, there's no message, there's no indignation. These are opportunists who see the police are busy dealing with the protestors and they say well here's an opportunity to loot and to steal and to cause mayhem. That's all they are. This is criminal behavior, period, designed to create chaos. Well, there are anarchists in there also. Fine. It's all illegal behavior. We will not allow our cities in this state to be in chaos, period. Public safety is rule one. Maintaining is order is rule one. It's not going to happen in the state of New York. We're not going to allow the looting that we've seen on videotapes, the chaos that we've seen. Period.

 

The police must be empowered to keep order, stop the looting, and stop the criminal activity. Distinguish between the protestors and the looting. Yes, you have police action which is necessary to work with the protestors, but the police have to be there and be empowered to stop the looting and the chaos and the criminal behavior that people are trying to exploit this moment for their own selfish criminal purposes. The police have to be able to do their job. The police have to be supported in being able to do their job.

 

I've sent New York State Police to cities to deal with these protests. They have to have the right numbers. They have to be empowered to do their job. We've had protests again last night all across the state. I want to applaud the local police who have done a great job. I want to applaud the State Police who have done a great job. The protests were mainly peaceful all across the state. I want to thank all involved for keeping it that way, protestors included.

 

New York City, last night, was much better. The protestors were mainly peaceful. The police officers had the resources and the capacity to do their jobs. The results last night were much much different than the night before and that's what it's all about. I think the people in New York City should feel much better today than they did after the night of looting.

 

These are perilous times. There's a lot going on and we have to understand what's going on and the difference among the issues that we're dealing with. You have the COVID crisis, you have the murder of Mr. Floyd - two very different situations, but both critical in of themselves and both happening at the same time. It's then wrapped in an environment and a dynamic that is racially charged and politically charged. It makes it a very, very perilous time in this country and we have to be careful. We have to be very careful because the consequences are steep on both sides of this equation. Leadership, good government, responsibility is more important than ever before especially in these divided times.

 

COVID-19 is still a real threat. We're still battling that. I know it's not on the front pages today but it is still in people and in society. We're still battling that. That is going better than it has ever gone in New York. We have the lowest number of hospitalizations ever and we have the lowest death toll ever. God bless the people of New York for what they did. God bless the nurses and the doctors and the essential workers and the frontline workers because they saved hundreds of thousands of lives in the State of New York.

 

We have to remember what made us successful during COVID. That we're New York tough, but New York tough is multi-faceted. It means New York smart. If you're going to protest, protest intelligently. Remember the COVID virus is still out there, so protest intelligently. We're united. We're not black and white, we're not upstate, downstate. We're not red and blue. We are one state. One community and we came together that way. We're disciplined in fighting this COVID. We're disciplined in having our right to protest, but doing it peacefully and in a way that respects law and order. And we are loving at the end of the day. Yes, we have issues. Yes, we have challenges, but we've shown how good we can be as a community and how much we respect one another and the sacrifice we're willing to make for one another.

 

Let's keep that spirit that we developed over the past 95 days. Let's keep that going because that is pure magic. If we stay united and we stay loving and we stay smart, we're going to handle all of these issues and we're going to be the better for it. We've overcome the greatest challenge that this state has faced in my lifetime with this COVID virus. This was the beast that we didn't know if we could beat, but so far we've beaten it. We have to stay smart to make sure we control the beast. But we did it we overcame. We--the people--overcame together. Last words for today, do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good, Romans 12. That, my friends, is New York tough, smart, united, disciplined, and loving.

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