July 8, 2020
Albany, NY

Video, Photos, Audio & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo Responds to President Trump on Schools: 'School Reopenings Are a State Decision, Period'

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

Governor Cuomo: "I heard the President speak yesterday and what he was tweeting about today on schools. And look, this is getting a little old as far as I'm concerned. And I heard what the President said on schools, but this is been there, done that, right? School reopenings are a state decision, period. That is the law, and that is the way we're going to proceed."

 

Cuomo: "I am not going to ask anyone to put their child in a situation that I would not put my child in, and that's how I make these decisions. If it's not safe for my child, it's not safe for your child. So, we'll get the data and we'll make that decision in August. But just to be clear, the federal government has no legal authority when it comes to school openings."

 

Cuomo: "This is just a redux of what the President did on the economic reopening. If you remember, he didn't want to have anything to do with the closing of the economies... The same is true on education. He wants the schools reopened. It's not up to him. It's not up to him. It's not his legal authority, just like it was not his legal authority to say he's going to decide when the economy reopens in this state. And this is a redux because he poses a false choice, and that he's posed the false choice that is one of the reasons this nation is now in the situation that it's in."

WYSIWYG

Earlier today at a press briefing, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo responded to President Trump's effort to force schools to reopen this fall. The Governor reminded the President that he has no legal authority to open schools, and that the decision is up to the each state.

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

AUDIO of the Governor'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: 

I heard the President speak yesterday and what he was tweeting about today on schools. And look, this is getting a little old as far as I'm concerned. And I heard what the President said on schools, but this is been there, done that, right? School reopenings are a state decision, period. That is the law, and that is the way we're going to proceed. It's not up to the President of the United States. There is something called the Constitution that guides government power, and then there are a series of laws that are based on that Constitution. And the President does not have the authority to open schools. 

We will open the schools if it is safe to open the schools. Everybody wants the schools open - everybody. Nobody wants the schools open more than I do. School reopening also ties to the economic reopening, right? Because you can't really reopen the economy fully if you have the schools closed. Schools are important, not just for education, socialization of young people, we don't even know what this means to have kids who are out of school for this period of time. So, yes, we all want to open schools. But we want it to be safe. And the test that I bring to all of these things, day camps, overnight camps, is the my child test. I am not going to ask anyone to put their child in a situation that I would not put my child in, and that's how I make these decisions. If it's not safe for my child, it's not safe for your child. So, we'll get the data and we'll make that decision in August. But just to be clear, the federal government has no legal authority when it comes to school openings.

And this is just a redux of what the President did on the economic reopening. If you remember, he didn't want to have anything to do with the closing of the economies, he said the governors should do that, governors will decide if an economy closes. But then the President declared, "I have the authority to reopen the economies and I'm going to order a reopening of the economies." No, not true Mr. President. It's not what the Constitution says. I made that point and then the President said, "Okay, it's not up to me. It's up to the governors." The same is true on education. He wants the schools reopened. It's not up to him. It's not up to him. It's not his legal authority, just like it was not his legal authority to say he's going to decide when the economy reopens in this state. And this is a redux because he poses a false choice, and that he's posed the false choice that is one of the reasons this nation is now in the situation that it's in. 

On the economy he said, it's a choice between the economy and public health and he chose the economy and said to states all across this nation, "Reopen the economy right away. We have to get the economy running and that's what we have to do." It was never a choice between reopen the economy or take care of public health. It was never a choice between reopen the economy or have more Americans die. That was never the choice. And the states that made that choice are the states that are now suffering. It was, "Of course reopen. But reopen the economy and be smart about the way you re opening." It wasn't binary. It wasn't just open the floodgates. Everybody go out. No precautions, no data, no monitoring and then you're shocked when you see the infection rate coming through the roof? Everybody warned him. Everyone said, "If you just reopen, you're going to drive that infection rate up and then it's actually going to hurt the economy." And that is what happened.

His premise is now the same thing with the schools. "Open those schools. Open those doors." His own CDC puts out guidance on a semi-intelligent way to reopen the schools. He then says, "Don't listen to the CDC. I disagree with them." Oh really? Do you know Mr. President better than your health experts how to protect the health of students? Do you really want to disregard children's safety? Do you really mean that when you say that? And it's not a choice of open the schools or not open the schools. Of course, open the schools. Just like everybody wanted to open the economy, but be smart about it. Look at the health guidance. Make sure children are protected, have precautions, do the testing, monitor what happens. This has been the story throughout this COVID crisis.

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