Earlier today during a press briefing, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo voiced support for experts that are calling for a reset of the federal government's response to COVID-19. The Governor called on President Trump to tell the truth to the American people about the mistakes that the federal government has made in handling the virus.
AUDIO of today's remarks is available here.
A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:
You want to start over. You want to hit the reset button. I'll tell you how we hit the reset button in this country. We start this time with the truth. We do something different than was done in this country six months ago when this started. Start with the truth. Tell the American people the truth. And it starts on a reset with the President of the United States telling the truth which he did not do six months ago. And if you want to hit the reset button and you need to hit the reset button, and I believe we need to hit the reset button, then hit the reset button - but do it honestly. And it has to start with the President telling the American people the truth.
The truth is it was a mistake to deny COVID It was a mistake to downplay COVID. It was a mistake to say it's just the flu. It was a mistake to say it's gone by Easter. It was a mistake to say it's going to magically disappear when it gets warm. It was a mistake to say I see the light at the end of the tunnel. It was a mistake to say yes we're going to do testing but I don't think we need it. Those were all mistakes. Those were all untruths and they sent the wrong message to the American people because some people heard the President and believed him. And if you believed him, you wouldn't take COVID seriously. And if you didn't take COVID seriously then you wouldn't take the precautions that people were saying you should take, but that's what the President of the United States was saying six months ago.
The President of the United States said five months ago, "Reopen the economy. Liberate the states. Liberate the economy. These governors are slow walking reopening. They're just playing politics. That's what they're doing. There's no reason not to reopen the economy. Hurry up, hurry up, hurry up." Florida jumps, Texas jumps, Arizona jumps, "Yes, we're just going to reopen the economy." That was a mistake. It was an untruth. It denied the science. It denied what they're saying now. The virus will spread if you do that. Tell the truth. The truth is it was a mistake. When you saw what was going on in New York five months ago, you didn't heed the warning. It was a mistake when you saw the spike in New York. You thought somehow those people were different and your people were immune. Your people aren't immune. New Yorkers had no different immune system that made them more contagious to the virus. It was a mistake to deny the reality that happened in New York that was broadcast across the country.
That was a mistake. It was a mistake to see what we had to do here in New York - the testing, the hospital system, the contact tracing, the closed down, the phased reopening - and pay no attention to it. No attention to it. We're six months later - these states still don't have testing and contact tracing. How can it be? You had six months - here in New York we had two weeks. We were ambushed because the virus came from Europe and nobody told us. These other states had six months. How did you not set up a testing operation? How did you not expand the capacity of your hospital system? How did you not locate additional staff? How did you not locate additional PPE? You had six months. The reason they didn't - because they were listening to the President. "There is no issue. There is no problem." It was a mistake. Tell them the truth. The truth is CVOID is serious, it is deadly serious, and it's deadly serious for all of us. It's not deadly serious for Democrats, it's not deadly serious for blue states only, COVID kills Republicans and COVID affects red states.
It is deadly serious. It was not a political issue and it shouldn't have been politicized - this is not a political issue and it shouldn't have been politicized. This is public health - that's what this was and it should have never been turned into a political symbol, which is what this President did. Start with the truth, and the truth is an outbreak anywhere is an outbreak everywhere. That's what we should have learned in China, that's what we should have learned from MERS and SARS and Ebola and swine flu and H1N1. An outbreak anywhere is an outbreak everywhere. It's still true and the truth is none of us are safe until all of us are safe. That is the truth. If we don't tell the truth on the reset, COVID it will never end, and it will ricochet across the country. It will just bounce back and forth - you see how it's bouncing now it's ricocheting? It's Florida, it's Texas, it's the Midwest, it's California, oh it's back to New Jersey is on the rise, oh it's back to Massachusetts is on the rise.
It will continue, this ricocheting across the country, because that's what viruses do. It will never end. This was a colossal blunder, how covid was handled by this federal government - colossal blunder. Shame on all of you. Six months, lives lost. Hit the reset button, yes, but the way the medical experts are talking about it won't work. It won't work unless you hit the reset button and you start with the truth because if the American people are continued to be lied to the confusion, the chaos, and the denial will continue. Hit the reset button. It's called the truth. It's called the plain truth.
The American people are smart. If the President actually tells them the truth and says "I made a mistake" he's not going to be telling them anything they don't know. Every American knows he made a mistake. Every American knows this was the worst government blunder in modern history. Not since the Vietnam War have Americans sat in their living room to see the numbers on the TV screen every night saying what a mistake it was. During the Vietnam War, every night you saw the death toll. You saw the injury toll on TV. Every night they've seen this virus increasing all across the country and the death toll going up. You don't think they know it was a mistake? Then you don't know the American people. They're smarter than you think. Trust the American people. And if you don't trust them and you don't trust their intelligence, and you don't trust their ability to handle the information, then you shouldn't ask to be their leader. I trust the people of New York. I told them the truth. I told them the facts. I never sugarcoated. I never shielded. I told him the truth so they knew what to do and they did it. That's what we call being New York tough and smart and united and disciplined and loving. They should try it in Washington