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President Donald Trump Delivers Remarks On Farmers & Food Supply Issues; President Donald Trump Takes Questions At The White House; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: No Such Scandal If Bailed-Out Businesses Lay Off Workers; New York Governor Orders Businesses That Take Government Funds To Rehire As Many People As They Laid Off; Gov. Cuomo: 105 Deaths In New York Reported On Monday. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired May 19, 2020 - 12:00   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Well, to all our viewers in United States and around the world I'm John King in Washington. This is CNN continuous coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. We expect to hear any moment now from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo his coronavirus daily briefing.

The President of the United States just now meeting with farmers at the White House promising to support them through this pandemic so that they can keep America's grocery stores shelves stocked.

The national coronavirus picture right now, you see the numbers on your screen more than 1.5 million cases here in the United States more than 90,000 American lives lost. The President of the United States taking questions at the White House right now. Let's go.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Do you want to answer the question?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: --Yes, we're gathering that data now this particular direct payment is not directly for that there will be help coming through in NRCS over the euthanasia and disposal coming that way. So there will be certainly directed there something.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it will be after this is announced and we get more data we are still are a lot of rumors out there about what's actually happening? We want to get back to my dad and make policy based on good data.


UNIDENITIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President how is your administration addressing the co-morbidities that Secretary Azar said are responsible for a lot of a coronavirus deaths, obesity, hypertension diabetes obviously very closely connected to our food supply.

TRUMP: Well, I think we just want people in this country to be healthy. How does every country address it? We want people to be healthy. We want them to be happy and we want them to have all of the benefits that you can have including great healthcare.

The Republican Party has been very strong on health care is you know and that includes pre existing conditions. And we have done a terrific job on healthcare that we got hit by a plague like nobody's ever seen before outside of maybe 1917.

And I think we've done an incredible job in producing ventilators and producing testing right now. You probably saw the numbers were over 12 million tests that are three times more four times more than any other country in the world.

We were talking about countries that have done a good job nobody's done testing like us plus we have the highest quality test. So very simply we want our people to be healthy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The diabetes, hypertension and obesity specifically that's very close to connect to the food supply. How are you addressing this specifically your own health administers, the Secretary said that's why America has so many COVID deaths.

TRUMP: We want to get people great food and that's one of the reasons we have our farmers and ranchers involved.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you talk a little bit more about this problem - you're said the problem of the reporting counts of other country, what is the problem there?

TRUMP: Oh, we take - it is relatively a small number. Actually I heard somebody speaking about it yesterday it's a very small number. But it's still cattle coming in we have tremendous amounts of supply cattle and all.

But generally speaking supply tremendous supply our farmers have done an incredible job and now the distribution is being made much better than it has been and better. I think it'll end up being much better than it's ever been zippy. But I'm saying why we bring in cattle?

Old trade deals we made a long time ago why would bring in cattle from other countries when we have so much ourselves? Now in some cases I thought your answer was very good. They've been great allies. They've been working with us for many years, sometimes we needed the cattle. Sometimes we don't since the farming business.

But I would say generally speaking unless this is a country that really has been with us we should be thinking on cattle. You know that okay, and that's what we are going to have.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On a separate subject you sent a letter last night - what reforms do they need to do to help us?

TRUMP: Well, let's first of all understand that. I don't go through the letters are very detailed long letter but basically they have to clean up their act. They have to do a better job. They have to be much more fair to other countries including the United States. So we're not going to be involved with them anymore, we'll do in a separate way. Okay. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some workers at meat packing plants say they're still concerned about their safety and that they want the government to do more to enforce and make sure that meat packing companies are keeping their - that their workers with protective equipment, testing et cetera. Is there anymore that you plan to make sure and enforce that meat packing companies are keeping their workers safe.

TRUMP: I've been very much involved with the plant since this problem came up and what we've done - they've done a lot in terms of shields and other things. But they had a disproportionately high number of people that had the problem and that's going away the plans are very, very clean now.

They're getting to a level where I think we had some are reporting that they're they've ever been. That's a good report but I don't know exactly what that means, but they are cleaner than they've ever been. They're doing a very good job I think right now in terms of the Production Act and in terms of what we're enforcing.

But meat packing plants are coming online many of them are online and fewer and fewer problems are being seen. If we didn't act we would have a big problem and somebody was in this position that didn't act we would have a big problem. But it's something that we were very much involved in because we saw it very early. Okay. Do you have a question?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, are you extending the ban on nonessential travel over the U. S. /Canada border?

TRUMP: U.S./Canada, we're dealing with the Prime Minister friend of ours and we're very close to Canada. We just signed the USMCA which is a big deal and it's with Mexico and Canada. And we're dealing on that subject and we're also on the southern border you know the wall is going up its going up very rapidly we're at 182 miles.

Wherever we have the wall it's just ended. People coming into our country illegally were stopping drug traffic, was stopping trafficking and people mostly women causing - traffic mostly women unfortunately. It's a tremendously big business. It's a horrible business and we're stopping it is a worldwide problem this isn't a problem for our southern border but southern borders a big point.

And we're stopping trafficking; the wall has had an incredible power and strength on what we're doing. I have to say that so we'll have by pretty early next year we'll have 450 to 500 miles of wall fully built. So we're doing a great job with the border. We have among the lowest numbers we've ever had of people coming in and we're moving them out as soon as they come in.

As they come in we are moving them out. Literally we're moving on that immediately and that's never taken place before, meaning in the last - in modern history it's never taken down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now I have a question of nonessential trade are you going to extend the ban that you put in place on nonessential trade?

TRUMP: Now yes, but we're talking to Canada. As things clean up in terms of the plague we're both going to want to do the normal. We want to get back everything we want to get back to normal. I think we're going to have a fantastic year next year.

I think we will do very well in the fourth quarter and I think the transition quarter which is coming up we're starting it very shortly the third quarter. I think you'll see some very good numbers but you're going to see some great numbers in the fourth quarter. And you're going to end up doing a great year next year.

And you can see it; look at the states that are opening up. They're busy and their numbers interestingly going down. So they're opening up, you look at Florida and Georgia in particular their numbers are going down.

So we're very - we're very confident that we're going to have a tremendous, tremendous turnaround. And we had to turn it off artificially and now we're turning it back on and you're going to see some tremendous numbers. Thank you very much. I'm going over to Capitol Hill.

KING: President of the United States at the White House. He's about to head to Capitol Hill now. The Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo giving his daily briefing. He is in Manhasset today.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Someone asks why we went through all this pain for two months three months because we save the lives that are why because we saved lives. And if we didn't do what we did that number of one hundred per day would have kept going up that's why we did what we did.

Did it work? You're darn right it worked. We saved many, many lives and you look at the curve in New York versus the rest of the nation we're going down. Many parts in the nation, the curve is still going up. Nassau County is now eligible for elective surgery and ambulatory care anyone who needs health service should get it.

There's no reason not to go to the hospital, no reason not to go to the doctor's office. And many reasons why you should go? Denial is not a life strategy. If you have an issue get it tested, get it resolved. We're also looking at a pilot program over the next two weeks to start to bring visitors back to hospitals.

That's going to be run by the Greater New York hospital Association in downstate and Health Association of New York State upstate. They'll be a number of hospitals participating in that Northwell has a number of hospitals but this is getting visitors back into hospitals with the right precautions, with the right equipment.

But it is terrible to have someone in the hospital and then that person is isolated not being able to see their family and friends. I understand the health reasons for that we were afraid of the virus spread but this is a pilot project to see if we can bring visitors in and do it safely. We're now taking steps to do further re opening and with fewer crowds. I'm very aggressive on encouraging sports teams to start and to operate without fans this is more an economic calculus for different sports. Some sports franchises can make this work easier than others. It depends on the economics of that sport and how much is determined by selling seats in the arena or the stadium et cetera?


CUOMO: But to the extent they can start I encourage them to start. The state will work with them to start. Downstate we have a number of sports teams. When the team plays, even if there is no one in the stands it gets broadcast and that gives people at home entertainment value. Some people will participate in.

Another reason frankly to stay-at-home as opposed to go out. Staying home is good right now. So I encourage the sports teams and again New York will be a full partner anything we can do to make it happen and make it happen safely. We will.

Memorial Day is coming up. That's an important American tradition, we want to honor our veterans and we want to make sure that no matter what happens we are still honoring our veterans. The state will allow ceremonies, local ceremonies of up to 10 people or less.

We hope that those ceremonies are broadcasted and televised in the areas. So people can be part of that tradition. Local government can make a decision that they don't want those ceremonies to happen. They don't want ten people gathering. 10 are the CDC guidelines are for 10 people gathering that's where the state got the recommendation from the Federal CDC.

But, I can understand the difference of opinions, so we'll leave it up to local government. Vehicle parades, I think are appropriate, it should be encouraged. Again this is an important tradition, many people lost their lives. This is important to many, many families all across this state and nation. It is important to the veterans that they be recognized and I think we can do that and I think we can do it safely.

New Yorkers are doing everything they can as people. Our response has been probably the most demanding in the country because we have the largest number of cases. But every step of the way, New York have stepped up as a government, we are doing everything that we can.

We are doing more testing than any other states. We have been more aggressive than any other states in nursing homes precautions. So we have been smart. New Yorkers have been smart and the government has been smart. That should be respected and now we need a Federal Government that is as smart as the people who elected their Federal Government.

New York to move forward and move forward quickly, we need a Federal Government as a partner. They're now in the midst of running a number of programs that provide cash benefits to corporations. Let's make sure when we give those corporations funding that the corporations are acting on behalf of Americans. I propose something called the Americans first law, not America First, Americans' first law.

We learned the hard way in 2008 that you can see government provides billions of dollars corporations to "Stabilize the economy". We did this after the mortgage scandal. We gave billions to the banks remember because they were too big to fail.

So we had to give billions of dollars to the banks. What did the banks do? Many of them turned around and gave themselves bonus and they gave themselves parties. And end of year bonuses and special pay bonuses.

These are the same banks that created the mortgage fraud in the first place then get bailed out by the taxpayers and ended up having parties at taxpayers' expense. I fear what they're going to do this time are they'll take the money from the government but then they'll lay off workers.

They're already talking about it. You see these corporations talking about getting lean and restructuring. That means downsizing. Why? Because they think they have an opportunity. Now many of the employees are laid off temporarily or temporarily at home.

The corporations think this is an opportunity to reopen with fewer employees. It would be such a scandal if corporations now took taxpayers' dollars and then laid-off workers and reopen. It would be such a scandal and a fraud if these corporations were allowed to receive government money, lay off workers and then government taxpayers had to subsidize the workers who were laid off.


CUOMO: So my law is very simple. If you take government funds, you must rehire the same number of workers you had pre pandemic. If you take government funds, you must rehire the same number of employees you had pre-pandemic. If you want to lay people off and get lean and restructure?

Fine, but, don't use taxpayer's money to subsidize it. And don't think taxpayers are going to pay you to lay off employees and then wind up with an unemployment problem at the end of the day. That's what happened in 2008. I was Attorney General, I brought the cases afterwards.

I brought action against AIG and against banks like Bank of America that took these bailout funds and then gave themselves bonuses and parties. Don't make the same mistake twice. The American taxpayers are doing what they have to do? Don't make fools of the American taxpayers.

Second, Washington was very quick to fund businesses and corporations. The bills they passed thus far have been funding corporations and businesses to prop up the company. Fine, who did they not fund? They did not fund states government and local government. Who do states and local government fund? They fund the hospitals and they fund the police the fund the firefighters, they fund the schoolteachers and they fund the food banks. Why was Washington so quick to fund the corporations and the big businesses but now they have to think about whether or not they are going to fund states and local governments the hospitals, the police, the firefighters and the school teachers.

What sense of priorities do you have that you see so clearly of the need for corporations but you don't see the need to continue local businesses? And what makes this so offensive to me, you turn on the TV, you see all these ads praising the healthcare workers and the nurses and the doctors who saved so many lives and worked so hard and the first responders who went out there, they're the heroes of today.

They are. They are. They should be acknowledged. And they should be funded. If you don't fund New York state government, you know what it means? That means I have to cut aid to North Well, to hospitals and nurses and doctors. It means I have to cut aids to local governments that funds police and firefighters.

I have to fund schools, teachers, who also have been heroes doing remote learning and et cetera. It is about priors. It's about values. Let me understand the large corporations are the ones who fund the political accounts of these elected officials. But let them remember that they get elected by the people.

People still vote and people still matter. Show the same consideration for the workers that you show for the corporations. That's all I am asking. And that is the American's first law and state and local government. And this is not a partisan issue; this is not Democrats versus Republicans.

I have stayed 100 miles away from any politics all through this. This is no time for politics. This is not a political divisive issue. This is all the Governors in the United States. National Governors Association represents all the Governors.

The White House left it to the Governors to do the reopening, right? All the states are doing the reopening. You can't tell the states go reopen and figure it out and then not provide them with the funding to do it.

The Head of the National Governors Association is a Republican Governor, Governor Hogan, I'm the Vice Chairman of the NGA I'm a Democrat. In unison in a united voice, we are saying to Washington you need to pass funding for state and local governments.


CUOMO: The House passed a bill that did it, that also provides funding for testing which is very important this testing, tracing enterprise. It repeals salt which is an additional tax on New Yorkers for the Federal Government.

But the Senate now has that bill, the Senate must act. Also, there was very exciting news about a company that might be close to developing a vaccine and the Federal Government is working very hard to accelerate the vaccine as they should the testing, the regulations and the procedures about getting a vaccine online.

That would be the best possible outcome. But, we have to make sure whatever company finds the vaccine, right? Finds the pot of gold that whatever company finds that, the vaccine must then be available to all people and it can't be a situation where only the rich or only the privilege can get the vaccine because one company owns the rights and they can't produce enough for everyone.

This is a public health matter. This is a national security threat. This should not be about one corporation's privacy. If the Federal Government is bending over backwards and jumping through hoops to allow this company to develop a vaccine, let's make sure the Federal Government sets the rules now and says to any companies that develop the vaccine, the next day we have to be in the position where that patent that formula can be given to companies all across the globe to produce a vaccine so we can treat everyone.

The last point is this. The world is different today than it was. There are situations in life that can happen on a moment's notice and change the very trajectory and definition of your life. You can get health news about an individual that just changes your whole life which is what was important, yesterday becomes unimportant today.

This situation this COVID virus changed the world fundamentally. I don't believe we'll go back to where we were. I don't even believe life is about going back, right? Life is about going forward. But this is a different world it's a different world individually it's a different world for families.

We are all trying to recalibrate and reassess who we are? And how we live? And what's important? And what's not important? I hope on any individual level that this period is going to make me a smarter person and a better person and a deeper person.

It made me question a lot of things about my life and a lot of priorities and a lot of things I was doing. Makes you think through personal relationships and what's important than where you have been spending your time and was that the smartest use of time?

Sometimes when something is taken away, you see how valuable it was. Now you can't go see family members if you wanted to. You can't see friends if you wanted to. When someone says you can't, changes your whole perspective and you ask yourselves, well, why hadn't I been or why didn't I?

And when I get a chance how am I going to do it differently this time? I think that can actually be a good process to go through painful but good. But, it is also true for the government. Government is important again, right?

Government most days you live your life, government politics, it is a side show, it is not really important. When does government really become important? Probably almost not in my life time you know, when is it been vital?

It is vital at the time of war, crisis, real national crisis but that's the only time it is really vital where you don't have a choice but to deal with and rely on government. Well, government is now important again in a way it has not been in my lifetime.

It matters what government does? Government has made the difference between life and death here, right? Because government is part of social action and the people who saved lives in this are New Yorkers for doing the right thing.

Government was part of that. It helps organized. Today government is going to be held to a different standards and it has to be fundamentally different. It has to be smarter than it was.


CUOMO: It matters now what happens. It matters now what happens? You have to know what you are doing now. Not just look like you know what you are doing? You have to be smart. You are not going to tweet your way through this.

You have to be smart. You have to be competent at what you do. It is something called government, you either know how to do it or you don't how to do it? For many years, anyone can be in government, you know? I don't know can anyone be a nurse? Oh no. You have to know what you are talking about.

Can anyone be a doctor? No, no, you have to know what you are talking about. Can anyone be a lawyer? No, you have to know what you are talking about. Can anyone be a plumber? No, you have to know what you are talking about. Can anyone run the government? Yes, anyone can run the government.

The less you know the better. Well, that was not true. You have to be competent. It has to be beyond politics. This is not about an ongoing campaign. You are now a government official, you represent everyone. Forget the politics. Represent the people.

It does not matter Republicans or Democrats, it is all garbage now. I am the Governor of New York. All New Yorkers, I don't care if you are Democrats or Republicans, atheist I don't care if you vote or I don't care if you don't vote. That's your business. I represent you.

You are paying me to represent you. That's how I see it. Government has to be fair and effective. That's where we all are now. That's why we've been in New York. And what it means to be New York Tough as a person and as a society and as a collector and as a government. To be smart and united to be disciplined to be loving, that's New York.

KING: The Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo, his daily coronavirus briefing this in Manhasset. Interesting to listen as the case count and the medical situation in New York improves the Governor more and more talking about politics.

Damn right it worked he says about his own performance in flattening the curve in the state of New York ending by making an appeal to Washington to fund state and local governments as this go forward.

Interesting prospective the Governor outlining what he considers being a cautious approach for reopening in New York. Here in Washington the President more bullish about reopening to the point. The President of the United States leaving the White House to head up to Capitol Hill this hour. This is for lunch-in with Senate Republicans.

That part of the President's effort to show we're getting in his view back to normal or as close to the old normal as we can. A quick break when we come back. How the President is up on Capitol Hill his administration facing scrutiny over how it is spending your money on the coronavirus stimulus?