New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, right, listens as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference Tuesday Nov. 13, 2018, in New York. Amazon said it will split its much-anticipated second headquarters between New York and northern Virginia. Its New York location will be in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
It appears there’s some bipartisan consensus forming in the State of New York, and it’s occurring on two fronts.
In a rare show of solidarity, Gov. Andrew Cuomo praised President Trump’s response to the Wuhan virus pandemic, saying that the “team is on it” and that “they have been doing everything that they can do.”
Very nice @NYGovCuomo! @realDonaldTrump “team is on it. They have been responsive late at night, early in the morning. And thus far, they have been doing everything that they can do, and I want to say Thank You, and I want to say that I appreciate it.”
— Eric Trump (@EricTrump) March 18, 2020
This is a bit of a departure from Cuomo’s recent op-ed, which did level some criticism toward Trump. The President had also mildly sniped at Cuomo on Monday. But I’m gonna be fair here. The things Cuomo requested in that op-ed were mostly reasonable. For example, mobilizing the Corp of Engineers to start building hospitals and other care facilities in preparation for the coming spike is actually a good idea.
According to the New York Post, discussions on when to make that happen are going on right now and it looks like it’s going to be part of a further mobilization of resources.
Trump said he and Cuomo are working to determine when it would be necessary for the feds to step in to boost hospital capacity.
“By speaking with Gov. Cuomo and other governors, we’re going to know the points,” Trump said. “New York has got a big problem. The State of Washington has a big problem. California has some big problems. Everyone’s doing a good job, but we’re going to know what it will be.”
On hotspots, Trump said: “We’re going to be in there. We’re already making preparation for it.”
Trump also praised Cuomo in comments to reporters.
The president told reporters at the White House he had a “great talk” with Cuomo Tuesday morning and that they are working together on COVID-19, including to set up new hospitals requested by Cuomo.
“We’re both doing a really great job and we’re coordinating things,” Trump said. He added that a “hotspot” of virus transmission in New York is “not the fault of anybody.”
Meanwhile, both Republicans and Democrats are panning the response of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who’s spent his time calling for the nationalization of supply chains and going to the gym against his own guidelines.
Also, now 10 deaths in the city.
— Jesse McKinley (@jessemckinley) March 18, 2020
De Blasio has been criticized for a convoluted response, not from a month ago, but in his actions and tenor of just the past few days. Now, as things dramatically worsen, he’s considering a shelter in place order, something that may not have been necessary had he acted sooner.
Just two days ago, de Blasio was encouraging people to go out to bars.
“If you love your neighborhood bar, go there now.” @NYCMayor – adding that you should do so “briefly” and with “social distancing” but his implication is ALL nyc bars could be shut down. “Everything is on the table.” #nbc4ny pic.twitter.com/PtLsE0eZ29
— Andrew Siff (@andrewsiff4NY) March 15, 2020
The Washington Examiner also reported that de Blasio refused to close schools until a week after other districts did, further exacerbating the spread.
On Sunday afternoon, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told the media assembled for a coronavirus response press conference that he believed New York City schools should be closed. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had to that point refused to shut down schools until the governor, his fellow Democrat, publicly contradicted him. Only late Sunday did the mayor finally relent and close the schools down.
In his refusal to cancel school a week after most other districts already had, de Blasio cited the fact that many parents in the city rely on the school district to feed and provide child care during the day. Governors and mayors around the country stepped up to close schools for the sake of public health, but in the largest city in the country, de Blasio had to have his arm twisted for a week to do the right thing.
Perhaps that’s why schools shouldn’t be charged with feeding children breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Taking that responsibility off the parents has created an entitlement that isn’t sustainable in tenuous times. Giving food directly to the parents and forcing them to hold some responsibility for their children was always a better plan, but I digress.
Regardless, it’s good to see people working together to get through this, being willing to give each other credit. We need more of that kind of bipartisanship going forward because this isn’t going away next week or next month. Long term coordination is going to be key to mitigating the damage.